Does A Kid Need An eMtb?

Written by Alison Littlefield, on December 17, 2023

We'd probably all agree that kids on bikes is universally a good thing. Cycling  provides kids with physical, social and even emotional well being, and it’s important that young riders get safe and reliable cycling equipment that will turn riding a bike into a lifelong passion. Luckily, kids have it good these days, with the number of youth-sized bikes and the amount of great equipment available to them. 

Along with advancements in helmets and safety equipment for kids, we’ve seen a wide range of outstanding kid-size bikes hit the market, most recently kids eMtbs. Is this a good thing? We think so but there is still a lot of people polarized against eMtbs no matter who the rider is or under any circumstance. While improvements in helmets, equipment, and junior pedal bikes are all obviously positive developments, the number of electronically powered wheeled vehicles now available to and marketed towards kids is both noteworthy and even a little alarming which is one reason to be for the kid's pedal-assist eMtb.

Kids are motorized and mobile

From elementary school, to junior high and even high school, kids seem to be obsessed with motorized scooters and “throttle bikes” (such as the super-popular Jetson 12”-wheeled bikes). Even toddler-sized motorized Jeeps and convertibles are far more common these days, and it’s hard for kids to see them cruising around and not want to get in on the action. But are motorized scooters and throttle-controlled mini bikes a good idea for kids to ride around, and is there a better option? 

Throttle-controlled bikes (where pedaling is not entirely necessary, or not at all required in some cases) tend to be really appealing to kids. It’s hard to deny the draw of motorized transport with no effort, but that easy speed and power requires an amount of control and skill that many young riders might not have developed yet.

Learning to ride a pedal bike hones not only balance and the ability to steer, but also the skill to keep a bike upright and in motion while engaging more of your body. More finely tuned reaction time and situational awareness are developed when you’re pedaling and actively propelling yourself. Throttle-controlled bikes and scooters also tend to accelerate remarkably quickly, and it can be hard to determine whether the rider's braking skill (and even the brakes themselves) are up to the task of safely slowing down. Getting used to stopping a bike at slower (and progressively faster) speeds is a much better way to learn how the process works.

Good news for kids AND parents

Fortunately for budding riders and their parents, there are a growing number of kid-scaled electronically assisted pedal bike options available, and they’re a much safer and still fun alternative to the full-powered bikes marketed to younger riders. E-mountain bikes are an especially good way to go, as they provide not only the fun and exciting aspect of powered riding, but also the versatility to ride pretty much anywhere. A kid’s eMtb exposes its young rider to the thrill of mountain biking, encourages physical activity and input on the bike, and provides a supportive boost when needed.  The biggest downside certainly is the weight of these bikes. It is significant for a lightweight rider which can make maneuverability more difficult when the pedal-assist is not engaged.

Trail riding at a young age will also help kids learn proper cycling etiquette a bit earlier, as they navigate sharing the trail with other riders. It’s also a great way to foster a sense of community and respect for other riders. An eMtb can help enhance this experience by removing just a bit of the physical effort required in climbing, along with some of the anxiety that often comes with sharing the trail with faster riders.

The Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids

The new Specialized Turbo Levo SL Kids presents the best kids eMtb option we’ve seen so far, with flagship quality and impressive battery range. Featuring high quality components, friendly geometry and adjustability not found on subpar kids eBikes, the Turbo Levo SL Kids ensures a great experience and a long-term fit for a growing child. Along with smooth power to help them zip along, Specialized has designed the kids Levo SL with a longer reach to help create more stability, along with shorter chainstays for maximum maneuverability and responsiveness. Your young rider will have both the confidence and ability to follow you just about anywhere. In time, you might need your own eMtb just to keep up!Electric-assist mountain bikes like the Levo SL Kids are also (and maybe most importantly) a great way for kids to ride along with parents and bigger siblings without some of the frustration that comes with being a pint-sized pilot. Kids can more easily keep up on the trail, navigate obstacles and feel more of the confidence and sense of accomplishment that comes with a great ride. More quality time together on the bike enables kids and parents to explore, foster a shared interest in outdoor activities and of course create lasting memories together. 

Electrify their future

The investment in a kids eMtb is not just about providing a mode of transportation, but rather a gateway to a healthier, safer and more connected family experience. The technology that’s found its way down into the youth bike segment is impressive, but the positive effect it will have on a young rider throughout their life is what will be truly amazing. We believe in getting people out on two wheels and in our mind bikes are just like guitars. Sometimes you feel like playing the acoustic guitar and sometimes you feel like playing the electric! Both are fun and both have their place even for the little ones. Have any questions on eMtbs for kids? Give us a call at the shop, send us an email, or reach out to us on our chat.


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