Skip to content

Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive news and offers

Bike Club logo
Top Six Beginner Mountain Biking Tips for Kids collection header image

Top Six Beginner Mountain Biking Tips for Kids

Mountain biking is an enjoyable outdoor activity that provides kids with numerous benefits, including developing strength and coordination, as well as nurturing a spirit of adventure. 

To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, it's important to equip children with the right skills and knowledge. In this blog, we will discuss the six best beginner mountain bike tips for kids. 

By following these suggestions, your children can explore a different style of riding, which involves self-confidence and builds an interest in an alternative type of kids bike. 

Frog kids mountain bikes

Choose the Right Bike & Gear 

Selecting the appropriate type of mountain bike & gear for your child is crucial for their comfort and safety. Here's what you need to consider:  

Bike Size 

Ensure that the bike is the correct size for your child. They should be able to stand over the frame with a few inches of clearance and reach the handlebars comfortably.  

Bike Weight 

Opt for a lightweight bike that allows your child to manoeuvre easily. Heavy bikes can be tricky to control and can lead to tired arms and legs.  

Proper Bike Fit 

Adjust the seat height and handlebar position to suit your child's body proportions. A correct bike fit enhances control and stability.  

Grips and Pedals 

Provide your child with suitable grips that offer good hand contact and comfort. Consider platform pedals with pins that provide grip and stability.  

At Bike Club, we stock some of the best mountain bikes for kids that are available today in our online store. These include: 

Forme offers a variety of mountain bikes, and you can find detailed information about them in our convenient guide located here. 

Bike Setup 

The setup of a lightweight children's mountain bike includes the following three elements: 

Saddle Height 

Proper saddle height is crucial for a comfortable and efficient riding experience. 

Leg Extension 

When your child sits on the bike and their feet are on the pedals, their leg should be almost straight, with a slight bend in the knee. 

This allows for efficient pedalling without overextending or straining the leg muscles. 

Suspension 

Suspension systems on kids' mountain bikes help absorb impacts and provide a smoother ride on rough terrain. 

However, not all kids' mountain bikes have suspension forks, especially in the lower price ranges. 

frog kids mountain bike

Master Basic Riding Techniques 

Before tackling challenging trails, kids should focus on mastering the fundamental skills necessary for mountain biking success. These skills include: 

Balancing 

Practice balancing exercises to help your child maintain stability on the bike. Encourage them to ride in a straight line, lift their feet off the ground, and maintain control. 

Braking and Shifting 

Teach your child how to use the brakes effectively, emphasizing the importance of controlling their speed. Introduce gear shifting gradually, showing them how to shift up or down according to the terrain. 

Body Positioning 

Teach your child to adopt a balanced and relaxed body position on the bike. Encourage them to keep their pedals level, their weight centred, and their eyes looking forward. 

Cornering and Turning 

Help your child how to approach corners and turns, emphasizing the importance of leaning their body and looking through the turn. 

Climbing and Descending 

Teach your child how to tackle hills and descents with confidence. Demonstrate proper body positioning, gear selection, and braking techniques for climbing and descending. 

Bike Club refer a friend offer

Start with Easy Trails and Progress Gradually 

Finding suitable trails is crucial for a positive mountain biking experience. Start with beginner-friendly trails that offer smooth surfaces, gentle slopes, and fewer obstacles. 

As your child's skills progress, gradually introduce them to more challenging tracks & trails. 

Here are a few factors to consider: 

Trail Difficulty 

Look for some that are specifically designed for kids or marked as beginner or easy trails. These often have wider paths, fewer technical features, and manageable gradients. 

Trail Length 

Start with shorter trails to build endurance and gradually increase the distance as your child becomes more comfortable and confident. 

Trail Conditions 

Consider trail conditions like loose gravel or mud, and select well-maintained tracks that match your child's riding abilities. 

Trail Features 

Pay attention to the presence of obstacles like rocks, roots, or drops. Choose trails with minimal technical features initially and progress to more challenging ones as your child improves. 

Local Bike Parks 

Bike parks have trails and features specifically designed for young riders. They are a great choice for kids wanting to practice their skills in a controlled setting. 

Frog kids mountain bike

Learn to Handle Obstacles and Terrain Features 

Learning to handle obstacles and terrain features is an important skill for kids in mountain biking. Here's a simplified breakdown of how they can learn and improve: 

Start with Basic Obstacles 

  • Begin by introducing simple obstacles like small bumps or roots on a trail. 
  • Encourage your child to approach the obstacles at a controlled speed, lifting their front wheel slightly to roll over them smoothly. 
  • Emphasize the importance of keeping their body balanced and relaxed, using their arms and legs as shock absorbers. 

Progress to Larger Obstacles 

  • As your child gains confidence and skill, gradually introduce larger obstacles such as logs or rocks. 
  • Teach them techniques like "manualling" (lifting the front wheel while shifting their weight back) to clear obstacles. 
  • Encourage them to practice timing and coordination, aiming to clear the obstacle smoothly without losing control. 

Tackle Descents 

  • Help your child develop descending skills by starting with gentle slopes and gradually progressing to steeper descents. 
  • Teach them to maintain a centred position on the bike, keeping their weight slightly behind the saddle. 
  • Instruct them to use their body and bike positioning to maintain balance and control, while modulating their brakes to control speed. 

Navigate Uphill Sections 

  • Guide your child on climbing techniques, including shifting to a lower gear for easier pedalling. 
  • Teach them to distribute their weight evenly on the bike and to lean forward to maintain traction on the front wheel. 
  • Encourage them to find a steady rhythm and pace while conserving energy for long uphill sections. 

Handle Tight Turns 

  • Practice cornering skills with your child, starting with wide turns and progressing to tighter ones. 
  • Teach them to lean their body and bike into the turn, looking through the corner and maintaining a smooth line. 
  • Emphasize the importance of braking before the turn, entering at a controlled speed, and accelerating out of the turn. 

Explore Different Trail Features 

  • Introduce various trail features like berms, jumps, and drop-offs as your child's skills progress. 

Practice, Patience, and Progression 

  • Encourage your child to practice regularly and gradually increase the difficulty level of obstacles and terrain features. 
  • Remind them that mastering these skills takes time and patience, and that progression comes with consistent practice. 

Stay Safe and Ride Responsibly 

Safety is paramount in any outdoor activity, and mountain biking is no exception. It is essential to establish good safety habits right from the start. Here are some tips for beginners and experienced riders to consider: 

Protective Gear 

Ensure that your child wears a properly fitting helmet at all times. Additionally, knee and elbow pads, as well as gloves, can provide extra protection against injuries. 

Bike Maintenance 

Regularly inspect your child's bike to ensure brakes, tires, and gears are in good working condition. Teach them to perform a pre-ride check to identify any potential issues. 

Traffic and Trail Etiquette 

Teach your child to follow traffic rules and respect other trail users. Teach them how to signal and yield when necessary. 

Hydration and Snacks 

Encourage your child to stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle and drinking regularly during rides. Pack nutritious snacks to replenish their energy levels. 

The Questions Parents Ask Us Regularly About Mountain Biking 

At what age can you start mountain biking?  

The age at which children can start mountain biking can vary depending on their physical development, coordination, and interest. Children as young as 5 or 6 years old can start with beginner-level mountain biking on easy trails. 

What age is a 24-inch junior mountain bike for?  

A kids 24 inch mountain bike is suitable for children aged 8 to 12 years old. However, this depends on their height and leg length. 

The wheel size refers to the diameter of the wheels on the bike. It's worth noting there are high quality kids 20 inch mountain bikes available too. 

How can I stay safe while mountain biking?  

Safety is paramount in mountain biking. Here are some tips to help your child stay safe while enjoying their rides: 

  • Wear protective gear 
  • Bike maintenance 
  • Know and follow trail rules 
  • Ride within their abilities 
  • Ride with a friend 
  • Stay hydrated at all times 
  • Learn and use the proper technique 
  • Be mindful of weather and trail conditions 

Mountain biking can be an exciting and rewarding experience for kids. By following these tips, you can help your child develop the necessary skills, stay safe, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Remember, the key is to start slowly, build confidence, and have fun along the way. So, gear up, hit the trails, and embark on a memorable kid's bike adventure today.