Is A 20-inch Bike Small? Consider 6 Factors To Get Answer

The most common question we get for a 20-inch bike is that is a 20-inch bike small? Or how big is a 20-inch bike?

People always ask these questions but surprisingly there’s little information out there on the internet that answers them in a simple and informative way.

So, we did all the hard work and extensive research to give the answers you need, so that you don’t have to go crazy searching around for them.

The answer to these questions depends on two things, the type of your bike and whether you are an adult or a kid. A 20-inch bike for boys and girls is totally different from a 20-inch bike for adults.

Is a 20-inch bike small? Let’s reveal:

The 20-inch bikes are referred to as junior mountain bikes, and they are perfect for all-terrain adventures. These bikes are lightweight, robust, and have a wide range of gears and ensure safety, and provides a comfortable ride.

Brakes on 20-inch bikes are v-brakes or disc brakes. Disc brakes provide more stopping power but they are most costly. Only the 20-inch bikes offer a larger profile to accommodate larger feet with flat pedals.

In the case of kids, a 20-inch bike means it features a 20-inch wheel. They are mostly suitable for children between the ages of 7 to 9. But we can’t say so confidently about the age range of a 20-inch bike. Because what is perfect for one kid might not be the best 20-inch bike for another!

So, before you purchase, make sure you measure the 20-inch bike with the kid’s inseam and height. As long as their inseam is between 22 to 25 inches, they are fine to go with a 20-inch bike.

But you also have to check whether the bike comes with or without stabilizers. The stabilizer is used so that the kid can safely get on or off the bike and the measurements also slightly change here.

Here inseam measurement should be between 20 to 22 inches if the 20-inch wheel has a stabilizer. Otherwise, without the stabilizer, the inseam measurement should be between 21 to 23 inches.

To choose a 20-inch bike for your kid, follow the below-given factors:

1. Pay attention to seat height:

A 20-inch bike is generally best fit for a 6 to 7 years old child. But if your child is taller you should consider getting a 24-inch bike.  A 20-inch bike can fit different sized kids. If you are confused, then make sure to get a bike with a seat height of  2 – 3 inches above your child’s inseam. That’s it and you are good to go.

2. Weight:

Ideally, your kid’s bike should be 30% less than their body weight. The lighter the bike you get, the easier it is to ride. Many 20 inch bikes also come with gears, which adds a lot of extra and unnecessary weight.

You should avoid getting a 20-inch bike with gear if your child is just a beginner. Otherwise, if your child is an aggressive singletrack rider, you can consider getting a geared bike.

3. Frame design:

The frame design of a 20-inch bike often varies according to a specific type of rider. A bike built for commuting is more comfortable with its upright position. Again bike built for aggressive riding often offers aggressive leaned forward position.

So, there is no one best kid’s bike. All you have to do is choose according to the types of riders and terrains.

4. Brakes:

Handbrakes are best when it comes to children, as they are much more efficient and have more stopping power than coaster brakes.

5. Gears:

For some kids, gear can be too much to handle. But for others gear can be a welcomed addition to the bike. As learning when and how to shift is confusing and challenging, so it’s best to not provide a geared bike to a beginner.

Again you should also be considerate about the gain ratio while choosing a single gear.

A low gain ratio of 2 to 3.5 is much easier to pedal from the start and reaches a lower maximum speed. They are not ideal for long flat terrains, however perfect for hills and obstacles.

Again higher gain ratio of 3.5 to 5 are harder to pedal from the start and can reach a higher maximum speed. They are best for long rides as the bike gains more distance with every pedal stroke.

6. Price:

You can get good bikes on a budget. But the more expensive the bike is, it is more lightweight, offers higher-end components and frame design making them easier to ride.

Is a 20-inch bike small for adults?

As an adult, you can also purchase a 20-inch bike, not the 20-inch bike for kids, but the 20-inch bikes for adults.

But in the case of adults, things get a bit more complicated. When you look for a 20-inch bike for an adult, you can find that there are different types of bikes with lots of categories.

It’s sure not small compared to an adult, but it becomes hard to determine how big it should be. Because selecting the right-sized bike is now not about pairing up the inseam with the wheel size anymore. Now you have to consider a lot of factors like the type of bike, height, and riding style.

Depending on the brand, an adult with a height between 5.10 and 6.1 can easily ride a 20-inch bike. Being safe while riding is important, so what matters is that your bike should fit perfectly to provide you a comfortable ride.

For knowing if a 20-inch bike fits you make sure you measure your height and inseam and check it with the size chart of your desired brands.

The 20-inch bike may seem small for adults, but even the standard BMX bikes offer them more maneuverability. But 20-inch bikes being small has drawbacks like they still get affected by the obstacles and rocks on the roads. They also require the unique frame geometry to provide the normal upright position for the riders!

Daniel D. Harris

I am Daniel D. Harris, an enthusiastic biker who loves to ride bicycles. I keep on sharing my experience of cycling through this blog. I do keep writing to assist you in finding the city bikes, bike lights, bike pedals, and many more things related to bicycles. You may find my blog useful once you read some posts. Find me on twitter. Have a good day bikers!

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