Best Mountain Bikes for Kids 8 to 11 Years Old
You are buying a lifelong passion, not just a bike.
The best mountain bikes for kids in this age group now start to define a child’s lifestyle as a “Bike Lifestyle”. The skill level has reached a solid level, they are riding more on their own, and pushing themselves to be real mountain bikers. It may be riding the neighborhood trails, mountain biking with parents or even starting to ride bike parks. Whatever the case, there are now real demands of the bike itself.
As with the bikes for 5 to 8 year olds, we at Bike Austria do not allow kids to participate in the Kids MTB Summer Camps with a lower end mountain bikes purely for safety reasons. However, with 8 to 11 year olds, the simply need the best mountain bikes in order to allow their skillset and passion to flourish.
Our 3 Tips to consider for the younger riders now shift. Read on for more details.
V-Brakes vs. Disc Brakes
Tip #1–Starting with this age category, the larger wheel size, higher speeds and increased weight of the child make disc brakes essentially mandatory for advanced riders.
While V-Brakes (rim brakes) are often still adequate on 20″ bikes, they are no longer powerful enough for this generation of mountain bikers. 24″ wheels allow for higher speeds and require a greater brake force to effectively control speed, especially on longer descents. As the kids age, they also weigh more and put further stress on the brakes.
Yes, V-Brakes can still work, but parents must be aware that they will hold kids back from riding confidently with more speed and control.
Singlespeed vs. Shifting Gears
Tip #2–The quality of the drivetrain is important for both reduced weight and smoothness of operation.
The question of single speed versus an 8 to 12 speed drivetrain is no longer up for debate. Given the large wheel diameter, longer cranks arms, increased strength of the child and advanced terrain, gears are now the only option for any child with plans to mountain bike. The only exception is of course for kids in flat terrain riding primarly dirt jumps, but that is a different theme altogether.
As the bikes now start to require more components, the quality and weight of those components start to play a more significant roll. The best mountain bikes for kids ages 8 to 11 offer significant weight saving, better reliability and smoother operation than the less expensive options. The team at Bike Austria has witnessed again and again how a new bike completely transforms a child’s skill level in a single day of training.
Rigid Fork vs. Hardtail vs. Full-Suspension
While budget certainly plays a significant roll in choosing the best mountain bike for kids, we have Tips #3 and #4 to keep in mind.
Tip #3–A high quality bike with a rigid fork is ALWAYS better than an inexpensive bike with a front shock.
Front shocks on inexpensive bikes are simply anchors that do not improve the ride quality. The same argument applies to the decision between a front- and full-suspension bike. A high quality €1300 hardtail with only front suspension will outperform any €1300 full-suspension mountain bike. That brings us to Tip #4.
Tip #4–A high quality, agressively built hardtail like the Early Rider Hellion 24 with its slack geometry and front suspension will actually improve riding skills more than a full-suspension.
The biggest problem with Tip #4, is selling kids on it. If you can get your kid stoked for a Hellion 24, do it, but “stoked” is the operative word. In our kids camps and after school programs we have learned how important fun, excitement and motivation is for the kids. This brings us to our final Tip #5.
Tip #5–Riding a full-suspension simply motivated kids to become mountain bikers and is often worth the extra cost for this reason alone.
Think about it this way, how much is it worth to you, having your child get off the electronics and on his or her bike. A full-suspension can be that difference, so if it is within the parents’ budget, it is the right way to go.
Our Selection of the Best Mountain Bikes for Kids 8, 9, 10 and 11 Years Old
With much consideration, we have chosen to partner with both Early Rider and Mondraker so that we can offer the best mountain bikes for kids that work with every budget.
Junior Mountain Bike Summer Camp
The Best Mountain Bikes are Nothing Without Great Skills
Bike Austria mountain bike summer camps teach kids the freedom and exhilaration of riding fast and in control. During the 4 day camp, participants as young as 7 will learn to control their mountain bike in many different situations, all while having the time of their life. They will gain confidence in more challenging terrain. Essential basic techniques will be covered, including braking, turning-techniques, jumps, steep downhill trails, rooty singletrack, switchback corners, and more. More advanced, but essential mountain bike techniques, such as the wheelie drop and bunny hop will also be a part of the summer camp program.