How to choose a kid’s bike under $500

Three kids riding bikes along gravel road smiling

Bruce Newton

Posted April 19, 2020

A guide to four of the best kid’s bikes for under $500.

The training wheels are gone, it’s time for a real ride. These are four of the best kid’s bikes under $500.

So, here are some kid's bikes that won’t break the budget.

Giant ATX Disc - $499

This is the sort of money plenty of adults would think they’d spend on themselves let alone their kids. But you get what you pay for. Giant is the Toyota of bike brands and that means decent quality at an equally decent price. 

The ATX is an entry-level mountain bike suitable for riding to school and basic trails – no jumps! It comes with cable disc brakes, front suspension and a reasonable gearset. 

Smaller ATX frames come with 26-inch wheels, while the larger frames are fitted with 27.5-inch wheels. That’s done so the stand-over height of the frame crossbar is lower, making it easier for smaller kids to handle.

Thumbs up: A great way to sample basic mountain biking. 
Thumbs down: Right on the limit of our price range.

Malvern Star Roxy 24-inch - $279.99

You can buy bikes cheaper than this, but you’re starting to take a risk on product quality.

The Roxy is significant because it rolls on smaller 24-inch rather than adult 26-inch wheels. That’s because some kids are still too small to go full-size even if they’re ready and eager riders. Of course, you may have to swap up to a bigger bicycle in 12 months as your child grows.

Spec-wise, the Roxy is female-specific with a lower standover height. It comes with only a single front chainring, seven gears on the back, basic suspension fork and V-brakes rather than discs.

Thumbs up: Size suits smaller riders.
Thumbs down: Basic component set.

Malvern Star Attitude 24 Disc - $419

All shined up in chrome, this is a great-looking 24-inch boys’ bike that’s also specified well, reflecting the extra money you’re paying over the Roxy.

Effectively, it’s a full-size bicycle with smaller wheels. The components include cable disc brakes, basic suspension fork and a 3x drivetrain. 

Compared to the Roxy, the Attitude is boosted significantly with an alloy rather than steel frame. That means it’s lighter and that makes it easier to keep pedalling.

Thumbs up: Alloy frame is lighter than steel.
Thumbs down: Kids will grow out of this frame.

Liv Alight 3 - $529

Yep, we’ve busted our self-imposed $500 cap here. But not by much. 

This is a rare example of a kids bike in the current age that’s not a mountain bike. Instead, it’s a flat bar road bike, which means it’s light and fast-rolling. But without suspension and chunky tyres it’s more suited to sealed bike paths than riding on dirt.

Liv is a female-specific brand, but there are versions of this style of bike for both sexes.

Thumbs up: Female-specific design.
Thumbs down: Not suitable for off-road riding.

Don't forget

It can be easy to be seduced by the shiny and cheap new bikes in the ‘big box’ stores, but you get what you pay for and often that means component sets with a short lifespan. It also means you’ll be assembling the bike. Confident in that? Often it’s a wise investment to go to a bike shop and spend that little bit extra for the right bike built properly.

Did you know RACV has roadside assistance for bicycles?
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