Bikes are a great way to get kids outside and active, as well as provide a ton of fun. The problem is, with so many electric bikes on the market today that are too fast and dangerous for young riders, how do you decide which one is right for your child? And what safety features are important?
There’s a lot to know about electric bikes, leaving parents with many questions during the buying process.
Before buying an electric bike for a kid, a parent or guardian should ask a lot of questions. First, you should know if your child is allowed to ride one where you live, the average cost of a good quality e-bike, how to choose the best e-bike, and whether an e-bike is safe for your child.
In this guide, I’ll help you explore everything you need to know to make the best decisions on buying an electric bike for a kid. I’ll also go over safety considerations and age requirements as well as highlight some of the best models for teens on the market today!
Are E-Bikes Good for Kids?
In general, riding an electric bike could make sense for teens. There are multiple benefits, even though safety is a significant concern.
The benefits for kids riding e-bikes include:
- The ability to keep up with bigger and stronger cyclists
- Staying healthy and fit
- Reducing stress
- Improving mood and self-esteem
- Decreasing indoor screen time
Keeping Up with Others
It can be frustrating for everyone when a child is unable to keep up with other riders. Older children may resent having to wait for their younger siblings to catch up, while parents might wish that they could get more exercise during their time off from work.
Even if older family members don’t have an electric bike, allowing younger riders to have one will help everyone get greater enjoyment out of riding. Further, kids will feel stronger and more capable since they’re able to keep up with everyone (this means less whining!).
Staying Healthy and Fit
Additionally, kids of all ages are more easily encouraged to get outside in the fresh air (and away from the computer or other electronics) when they know they’ll have fun. And, since riding an electric bike makes every hill surmountable and gives them more assistance when they get tired, it won’t feel like exercise!
Since riding an electric bike is fun and easy, kids become more physically active, thus increasing their stamina and building muscle all while keeping their weight regulated.
Although just about any form of exercise can help reduce stress, riding an electric bike also offers fresh air and greater independence. Children and teens often get overwhelmed with schoolwork and feel pressured to achieve. Riding an electric bike may help decrease stress and improve academic achievement.
Further, there may be other stressors in a child’s family or with friends that threaten their well-being. So, having fun riding an electric bicycle is a great way to decrease stress and increase overall happiness.
Improving Mood and Self-Esteem
According to research from the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, exercise can reduce depression and even improve a child’s self-esteem. And it’s possible that exercise itself increases self-esteem, which then helps decrease depression.
Thus, getting exercise on an e-bike offers many ways for a child to become healthier both mentally and physically.
Decreasing Screen Time
Finally, riding an ebike will reduce the amount of time your child spends watching TV or playing electronic games. In general, it’s known that watching too much TV has negative effects on a child’s health.
What Age Does My Child Have to Be to Ride an Electric Bike?
This is an excellent question because your child may not be legally allowed to ride an e-bike where you live!
On average, a child needs to be a minimum of 14 years of age to ride an electric bike. However, laws regarding riding age may differ in each state or country and may depend on e-bike classification. Some places have no age restrictions while others don’t allow anyone under 16 to ride an e-bike.
Always check the laws in your local area before letting a kid ride an e-bike.
The truth is that the laws surrounding e-bikes are confusing and complex, including laws on age restrictions and licensing. And in the United States, each state determines the rules, which makes things even more confusing (this may be, at least partially, why not a lot of manufacturers make e-bikes for kids).
But, I’m going to help clarify the restrictions so that you can make sure your child can legally ride where you live.
To begin, there don’t seem to be any age restrictions in the EU (which is good news if you live there or plan on traveling there and riding an e-bike with your family). However, right next door, the UK requires kids to be age 14 or older to ride an e-bike legally.
In Canada, electric bikes can be ridden at a minimum age of 12 in Alberta and 16 in Ontario and British Columbia.
Clearly, each country has its own age laws (that may change), so be sure to check them out if you live there or if you plan on riding while visiting.
Taking a closer look at all of the individual states in the US, here’s a chart from Wikipedia indicating state laws surrounding e-bikes in general, as well as age. In regards to your kids’ safety and to follow regulations, you’ll want to look at “Max Speed”, “Max Power”, “Minimum age”, and “Driver’s License”.
Keep in mind that laws can change at any time! The good news, however, is that e-biking laws have been changing consistently for the better, giving us all more freedom to ride. For example, more and more states in the US are starting to classify e-bikes as bicycles and not motorized vehicles! This will help e-bikes become more accessible to children. In fact, now that California is using a 3-tier class system, kids are able to ride e-bikes if it’s a Class 1 or 2.
If you didn’t find the age information you need for your area, and to confirm the current age limits, check with your local government. Nothing will be more frustrating than buying an e-bike for your kid who isn’t allowed to ride it!
Safety Considerations for Kids Riding E-Bikes
Before buying an e-bike for a child or teen, however, parents should understand the risk factors and added concerns of riding an electric bike. To stay safe, kids should learn how to properly ride an electric bike, restrict their speed, follow road safety rules, and wear a bike helmet and other protective gear.
It’s important to use good judgment. No matter what the age limits for legally riding an electric bike are where you live (see the chart in this article below), your first concern should be whether your kid is able to handle the added responsibility of a bike with electric power. If your child is impulsive or thrill-seeking, you’ll want a bike with a low-wattage motor (250W). Or, you simply might wait a couple of years until your kid is older and more responsible.
Pre-teens and teens have been involved in deadly accidents when riding at high speeds, irresponsibly, or not wearing a helmet.
If your child refuses to wear a helmet, then riding an electric bike is not safe for them.
Once you decide to buy an e-bike for your kid, make sure they have plenty of space and time to learn to ride it safely before letting them ride near other people and traffic. And, certainly, encourage them to ride their e-bike on the sidewalk wherever possible.
Help them learn basic bicycle road rules as well as how to respect and ride around pedestrians, without making them annoyed or angry. Teach them to slow down when approaching a person or pet, and how to use their bell while saying “excuse me” and “thank you.” And make sure they understand that wearing a helmet goes along with riding an e-bike.
Finally, parents, it’ll probably fall on you to keep their electric bike in safe running condition. So, don’t forget to tighten the nuts and bolts on it regularly and get it tuned up every 500 miles or so. Good maintenance will also save you money in the long run!
Electric Bike Prices
In general, electric bikes for kids cost between $300 to $2000, depending on quality and features. You’ll find many bikes that fall at the lower end of the price range when shopping for less powerful ones. However, e-bikes made just for kids are limited in quantity and most other options have a price over $1000.
Ultimately, the price you pay will depend upon the brand, the quality of components, and the features included in each model.
For example, you can get a kid’s Swagtron E-B6 Bandit with 250W motor and 20″ wheels for $1195. But a Pedego Trail Tracker with a 500W motor, throttle, and 20″ wheels will cost over twice as much at $2495. With the Pedego, you’re paying more for the higher-powered motor and added throttle, as well as for the higher-end brand.
Should I Buy the Cheapest E-Bike for My Kid?
When buying an electric bike for any age, you’ll get better quality parts with a higher-quality, more expensive model. The difference when purchasing for a kid, however, is that they may soon outgrow their e-bikes. So, it makes sense to buy a cheaper e-bike, especially if they won’t fit on it for more than 1-3 years.
Thus it’s a good idea to take into account that you may need to buy a second electric bicycle within a few years, and choose one accordingly.
That being said, you’ll also want to take these questions into consideration:
- How fast and how far do you want your kids to ride?
- How often will they ride?
- What are the maintenance costs for a kids electric bike?
- Do you expect to be spending more on accessories?
How Fast and How Far They Will Ride
As a parent myself, I’m guessing that limiting your child’s speed will make you more comfortable with buying an e-bike. So, you need to take into account the maximum speed that can be attained on any model.
The e-bikes designed specifically for kids are likely to have lower-powered 250W motors as opposed to 750W motors. Riding a 750W motor myself, I can tell you that it is fast! And although the motor cuts out at 20mph, you can get the bike up to 28mph with strong pedaling or coasting downhill. That’s way too fast for a young child (and even many adults)!
Next, decide how far you want your child to be able to ride. In other words, how far can the e-bike’s battery go on a single charge? If your 8-year-old is only going to be riding with you on your 8-mile daily rides, then you don’t need a battery that has a range of 45 miles. A bigger battery with a longer range will cost more but may be important for a teen who wants to ride longer distances.
How Often Your Kid Will Ride
Occasional weekend rides might make buying a less expensive bike (with cheaper parts) a good idea. However, if your child will be riding regularly, perhaps commuting to school each day, then buying a cheaper e-bike will mean more repairs and maintenance costs. In this case, paying more for one that uses better quality parts that won’t break as often and has a better warranty makes sense. You might also consider a folding bike for a student who needs to store the bike at school/
Whether you buy a cheap e-bike model or not, you should consider how much you’ll end up spending on maintenance, as this will factor into your total cost.
Most electric bikes need tune-ups every 500 miles or so (but sooner on a cheap electric bike). This cost can range from $75-&150. So, depending on how far you ride in 6 months, a tune-up could be needed every 4 months, 6 months, or just once a year.
Further, a brake adjustment can cost an additional $20-$40, while a new tire can cost around $30.
Spending Money on Accessories
Finally, a cheaper e-bike will be less likely to have the accessories you want. You might decide to add a rear-view mirror, water bottle holder, bike bell, rear cargo rack, upgraded bike seat, etc.
It’s best to decide which add-ons you’ll want before making a purchase so that you can total the cost. It could be that buying a more expensive e-bike will provide some of these features at a lower cost.
How to Choose the Right E-Bike for Your Kids
Kids, like many adults, are drawn to the cool features of electric bikes. The only problem is that not all e-bikes are made for kids! The tips in this section will help you choose the right e-bike for your child before you make an impulsive purchase. Naturally, you’ll want to find a bike at an affordable price, but there are other important considerations as well.
Here’s what you should consider to help you choose the perfect pedal assist bike:
- Find out what features are important to you, like color or battery life (chart of features)
- Get a bike that is the right size for your child.
- Look at reviews of different bikes before buying one
- Whether your child enjoys riding a regular bike
- If you want your child to take longer rides
What should I look out for when buying an e-bike for my child?
Important Features Checklist:
Review this checklist to decide what features you’re looking for:
|Battery range (run time) of 20+ miles|
|Max speed of 12-15mph|
|Max speed of 20mph|
|Weight of e-bike under 55 lbs|
|Hybrid (rides on and off dirt/gravel)|
|Color of the e-bike (does it matter?)|
|Upgraded, plush seat|
|Fenders (protect from flying debris)|
|Foldable (saves space; can take on a train or bus)|
|Throttle (not recommended for young kids)|
|Warranty over 1 year|
You will also want to consider the bike type (such as e-mountain bikes, fat tire bikes, or hybrids), getting one with a lower seat height and/or lower center, fat tires vs standard tires, LED lights in the display, and important basic accessories like a rearview mirror.
Which e-bike is best for my child’s age and height?
This is one of the most important considerations when it comes to kids’ electric bikes. If it doesn’t fit properly, then your child won’t be comfortable on it!
Therefore, your first consideration is fit.
Take a look at this general age guide for the best fit that considers your child’s height. However, if your child is taller or shorter than average for their age, you might need to adjust for size.
Bike Frame Size
|Average Height||E-Bike’s Frame Size|
You may also want to consider the handlebar height and the seat height if your young child’s legs or arms haven’t caught up with their body.
Electric bicycle speed and power
Next, take a look at power and speed. A teenager 14 years up might be able to responsibly handle a more powerful e-bike, such as one with 500W or 750W. But, most younger kids will get more than enough power with a 250W model.
250W motors are typically limited to going 15-20mph, but some manufacturers limit the speed to far less for kids’ e-bikes, so this is a good thing to look out for. The purpose is to get your child moving and to keep up with the family, not to race (unless you’re looking at electric dirt bikes perhaps).
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend anything more than 250W for kids under 12… and wouldn’t even buy my own teenagers anything over 500W.
How to use reviews when buying
I always recommend reading the reviews of every kid’s electric bike you are considering. You’ll learn a lot of information if you read carefully.
Here’s my advice on reading reviews:
- Ignore reviews that are hostile (they may be coming from hostile people and don’t accurately represent the product)
- Read specifically to weed out the factors that are most important. For example, if you have a child who’s 4’9″ and are concerned about getting a good fit, look for other reviewers talking about how it fits their similar-size child.
- Only look at e-bike reviews if they have 3-stars and up (and preferably 4+ stars)
- Make certain the reviewer is actually talking about the product you’re interested in
- If you see a common problem re-occurring in the reviews for the same e-bike model, decide if you could live with that problem… because there’s a good chance you might have to.
- Don’t buy an e-bike without reviews! Leave that to impulsive buyers and wait until that model has a good number of reviews.
Where to Buy Kid’s E-Bikes Online
Generally speaking, you can find e-bikes for kids in a few places online including Amazon and various individual brands. However, you may also choose to look through the hundreds of models built for adults to find the perfect fit for your child.
Therefore, buying an e-bike for your child can be a little frustrating. Further, many “electric” bikes you’ll see for kids are actually dirt bikes for off-roading rather than bikes for riding on neighborhood streets and bike paths.
Most importantly, don’t assume that because a model has smaller tires it’ll be good for your kid. Many e-bikes have smaller tires so that they can fold up easily… but they may weigh way too much for a smaller child and the frame itself may be too big.
You can buy one on Amazon, but read the fine print and reviews carefully to determine whether it’ll work for your son or daughter. The other option is to buy from an online brand directly. Then you can get questions about the e-bike answered before making a purchase.
To make the buying process easier, I’ve already done the research for you.
Listed in the next section, you’ll find a variety of e-bikes from online brands as well as Amazon.
What Are the Best Electric Bikes for Kids?
The best electric bike brands focus on safety and let parents know the risks of allowing a child to ride one.
The truth about finding the best electric bikes for kids is that models aren’t typically designed just for kids.
However, there are a number of smaller e-bike models that may fit kids who are over 4’10”. Since most of these bikes are geared towards adults, make sure you keep all of the other tips in mind discussed in this article, especially its hub motor power.
Best E-Bike for Ages 14 and Up
One of the best-priced e-bikes from the high-quality Pedego brand at $1695, the Element comes in 6 different colors to please any kid! It’ll fit kids 4’11” and up, which likely means that kids 14 and older, as well as younger kids who are taller than average.
With 20″ wheels and 4″ fat tires, it’ll take your pre-teen or teen electric bike rider anywhere they want to go, including on the road and on trails. Plus, it’ll go up to 40 miles with its 48 Volt battery and easily tackle hills with its 500W motor. So, it’s a pretty powerful e-bike for the price.
This model even comes with a twist throttle and 5 levels of pedal assist so your kid can ride easy or ride hard! However, the motor will still max out at 20 mph. at 50 lbs of weight, it may be a little heavy if your younger teen needs to lift it.
Another good option, the Pedego Latch is an electric folding bike. A foldable bike can come in pretty handy for throwing the back of the car or traveling. However, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the Element, ranging from $2795-$3095.
But it does come in three cool colors… back, lime green, and “space” blue. This is a comfortable choice for parents to buy a child because it only has a 250W motor. But that’s still plenty of power for most youth to get where they want to go.
Other bonuses include a twist throttle, 5 levels of pedal assist, built-in safety lights, and even a USB charger! Like the Element, it has a top speed of 20mph, which should easily satisfy any teen. And it weighs slightly less at around just 46 lbs.
Further, even though it’s foldable, it’s still plenty of bike with 20″ wheels that can fit a variety of sized people. Just fold it up in a few seconds, clip it together, and pop it in the car (or it even attaches to a rear bike rack).
If you’d rather just get a starter e-bike with a slow speed for your child, without all the fanfare and expense, this may be for you. A cool little folding bike with only 12″ wheels, this may be just what your kid needs to get around. It’s fairly simple, with a 250W motor, a short-range battery of 15 miles. You can get the Bolt with only a throttle (no pedals) or the Jetson Bolt Pro with pedal assist and throttle, giving your child all the power they’ll need.
Getting up to 15.5 mph, it has an adjustable seat height and can carry up to 250 lbs. It can be easily folded and taken wherever it needs to go with the built-in carrying handle. The Jetson e-bike isn’t designed just for kids but it’ll work for kids ages 12-16+ who just want to ride it to school and around town. Another plus… The reviews mention kids riding who are as short as 4’9″.
And the best thing about this mini folding e-bike? It’s around $494 on Amazon! So, although it can work as a starter e-bike, its parts are cheap, so read the reviews to decide if this is for you!
Taking Small Kids on Your Ride
Since we don’t want to leave small children, toddlers, and infants at home, parents can put a kid’s seat on their own e-bike. Check out this cool option:
This is a whopper of a bike (and that’s reflected in its $4295 price tag). But, if you want to take two kids on the back of it, you can have up to 400 lbs. So, kids under 6 can easily ride along with you.
With this e-bike, the entire family can take a ride with up to two kids! Click the link above for more details.
Summary of E-Bikes for Kids
As a parent, you can have a lot more confidence in buying an electric bike for your kid after reading this guide telling you what you need to know about kids’ e-bikes. Keep in mind that the e-biking industry is always changing and that it’s good to review your child’s e-bike needs regularly.
Ultimately, your goal is this… to provide an opportunity for your kids to get outside, reduce stress, get healthy, and have fun with the family while staying safe. And the great thing is that kids can accomplish all of this with an electric bicycle that fits them!