Trek MT 60 Kids Mountain Bike Review

My son has had this bike for over a year now and has really loved it. It makes a huge difference moving up to a bike that has 6 speeds and hand brakes like the MT 60. He learned the gears in about an hour — if that — and the bike allowed him to almost immediately tackle some hills that were impractical just the day before on his old 16″ Marin bike.

Boys MT-60 mountain bike for kids

Size

This is the 20″ model and a good fit for kids with a 22 to 26 inch inseam (or more roughly a height of 45 – 52″). The bike puts kids in a slightly more lean-forward position, whereas other bikes on the market have higher handlebars which makes kids sit more upright. (Test ride to see what your child prefers.) The MT 60 has an adjustable crank which allows you to adjust the placement of the pedals and thus extend the length of time one child could ride the bike.

Shifters & Gears

The MT 60 has 6-speed twist shifters. I think the twist (or grip) shifters are a good choice for kids trying to learn to change gears. They are fairly intuitive and require less dexterity than trigger shifters, so kids don’t need to glance down to the handlebars to figure out how and where to shift. Also, twist shifters are more rugged and can take more of the abuse kids will put their bikes through.

Frame

A common complaint about many kids bikes is that the front shocks are too tight for a child’s weight and they are essentially there just for show. Not so with the Trek MT 60, if anything they bottom out a little too easily – but this is better than them not working at all.

Brakes

The bike has front and back hand brakes. This can be a bit of an adjustment for kids accustomed to pedal brakes but once they are used to them it allows for a much more confident and in-control rider. The brakes on the Trek are adjustable so you can easily change the distance from the lever to the grip. Check their grip before their first ride and ensure your child can easily grasp the brake without stretching their hand.

Boys and Girls Mountain Bike Models

The bike comes in slightly different versions for girls and boys. The two bikes have different paint jobs with the girls model also having a lower topbar. Other than that there are no major differences.

Other Options for Kids’ Bikes

Most of the major bike companies make good quality youth bikes. Marin, Giant, Gary Fisher, and Specialized being some of the most popular and well reviewed.

I highly recommend avoiding the cheap bikes from Target or other department stores. Bikes purchased there are of much lower quality — but much higher markup — and can be poorly assembled to boot.

Your local bike shop will typically have well informed staff that can give you advice on what to look for and tips on how to ride effectively and safely. Yes, they want to sell you one of their bikes, but they’re usually staffed by eager and knowledgeable bike enthusiasts who really do want you to get a bike that is the appropriate size and style.

I think most kids 6 and older will benefit by having gears – making hills much easier and helping them keep up with older kids and adults on the flat – but if you really think multiple gears are an unnecessary expense then consider a 20″ bmx bike. BMX bikes are typically much lighter than mountain bikes like the MT 60. They come with hand brakes and wide knobby tires for good control on rougher road or trail, but without the gears or shocks of mountain bikes, thus making them much lighter than a comparably sized mtb.

Conclusion

The Trek MT 60 is a great bike for kids upgrading from a 16″ model. It’s not the lightest kids bike on the market but it’s much lighter than anything you’ll find at a department store. A good range of 6 speeds will help kids negotiate hills and off-road trails with much more confidence. The MT 60 is a good moderately priced choice for kids that love to ride. (To find out where Trek bikes are sold near you click here.)

27 questions and comments

  1. Carlos Abellanosa

    Hi David, congrats for your page. I´m looking for a cyclotouring bike (20″) and the handy options I have are this bike on this review and a Mountain Lion Trek. My daughter had been used the trail-gator bar so this is going to be a big step for her. We used to ride 20-30 km avrg per day and 3-4 days ride. Both seem similar in weight and accesories; except the fork suspension on MT 60 and the friendly top bar; I will appreciate your opinion due to the bike use will be mainly for touring (not planned to install small saddle bags).

    I´m writing you from Chile and other options are Spiderman and Barbie bikes. :b

    Thanks in advance,

    Carlos Abellanosa

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I would lean towards the Mountain Lion as it doesn’t have the suspension. Other than that I don’t have a lot of input – wish I could be more help.

      Reply
  2. Brandy Lynskey

    Thank you for the wonderful review!

    Considering the MT 60 for my 6 y/o daughter. Do you know exactly how much the bike weighs? From what I’ve read, the bike weighs nearly 30 pounds.

    Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      I don’t know exactly but that sounds heavy. I would have guessed 25 or 26 pounds. It was a good bike, though I’d probably go with the Scott if we were to buy another 20 inch. My son now has the Scott 24 inch and it’s really great. Good luck.

      Reply
  3. Bill

    Went to REI for the first time to shop kids bike and I was totally blown away by the 2012 Marin Hidden Canyon 20″ boys bike. The guy at their bike department put it on a scale and it weighed 26 lbs., about two pounds lighter than the MT 60 and the Marin has 14 speeds. I think the Marin Hidden Canyon 20 is an excellent bike for a 6 to 9 year old and would like to hear from anyone else who has shopped this bike.

    Reply
    1. David

      Hi Bill. I really like the Marin bikes too. (Some of them have disk brakes though I don’t think the Hidden Canyon one does.) I was talking to a dad at a mountain bike park here in Seattle and he said his son loved the Marin. Can’t remember the particular bike though.

      Reply
  4. JH from Cape Cod

    Thanks for the review. I like the MT60 but it’s HEAVY especially compared with the weight of my son.
    The redline conquest 20 is a great tip. I will check into that. I would probably run it single chainring up front.
    Another mountain biker suggested I look into a quality BMX bike. We did do an open house practice day at the local track and it was fun.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi JH. Thanks for the comment. Scott make some great kids bikes too. If you want a multi-speed bike that’s also light you can’t beat Redline.

      Reply
      1. Gary F from London UK

        My 6-year old went for a Ridgeback MX-20. Wow, what a difference from the previous non-geared heavier toy 18-inch bike. He figured out the gears in about 10 minutes and now goes long distances (eg 10km) up hills, down, flat — getting hard to keep up with him!

        For him, the shock absorbers are a necessity — we like to go off-road.

        The nice thing about the MX-60 is that it has a really clever rear gear-derailer guard, so that when he crashes or drops the bike, the gears don’t get damaaged, mis-aligned.

        None of the other bikes seem to have this — for this reason alone I recommend the MX-60. But for our holiday home in Poland, where Ridgebacks are not available, I am minded to try one of the other bikes, like the Trek MT-60. The Kona seems to be nice and light, but also not available in Poland. The Specialized seems a bit too expensive, so am looking forward to trying the Trek.

        Any thoughts on the Raleigh?

        Reply
        1. DavidDavid Post author

          Hi Gary. Yes, totally agree on the gears. They’re fairly easy for a 6 year old to figure out and they make a huge difference on the hills. It’s hard to overstate just how big a difference. Rides that were nearly impossible with a single gear become easy overnight.

          I don’t know much about the Raleigh kids bikes. I’ve been taking a look at the Scott bikes lately (available at REI) and they’re great. They have 20″ models with and without shocks. If someone wanted more of a road bike the one without has good components and is fairly light.

          Reply
          1. Gary F from London

            We ended up getting the MT-60 … the Scott wasn’t available in Poland. I agree with you the Trek MT-60 is a tad heavy, and clunky … the Ridgeback MX20 is better, but there’s not much in it … Of the bikes I have seen, the Kona MKena looks interesting (light), but it wasn’t readily available in Poland and it didn’t have a rear de-railer guard. The Specialised was in theory available, but only on-order, and rather pricey, which doesn’t suit when you have limited holiday time.
            All in all, they all seem very similar, and my son loves both bikes, but he has slightly better control with the Ridgeback MX20, which I can definitely recommend.

  5. Jim from Fairfield, CT

    I went with the Redline (And I have a Trek 7.5 for a mix of fitness and commuting and love that bike.). But The Conquest 20 was only about $90 more at a shop in Norwalk than the MT 60 and it just seemed like a bike really engineered specifically for a kid this age. Here’s a good link to an overview of the bike, which for 2011 will be blue, instead of Red, but you can still get red ones now: http://reviews.roadbikereview.com/blog/sea-otter-classic-2010-redline-conquest-20/

    Reply
  6. Jim from Fairfield,CT

    David–Liked your review (and the site!). But I am now torn between the Redline Conquest 20 for my 7 year old and the Trek MT 60 you reviewed above. I’m leaning toward the Redline. It’s 10 pounds lighter has what appear to be a better gear system to grow into and has a solid steel fork and less knobby tires–he’s almost exclusively a road rider. Anyone have experience with Redline for kids?Did you like the bike?

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      HI Jim. The Redline are awesome and great for moving back and forth from the road to the trail. About a month ago I was at a kid’s cyclocross event and lifted the Trek and the Redline at the same time and couldn’t believe the difference — so I’m sure you’re right on the 10 pounds. Kids this age probably don’t get a lot of benefit out of the shocks either. (That said they do like having them as they look “cool”.) A big difference however is price — the Redline is another couple hundred dollars.

      I’d love to hear what you decide. Drop back after you make your purchase and give us a quick review.

      Reply
  7. L.S.

    I got this bike for my son 3 years back and thought it was great. Ya, a bit heavy but durable and the gears made a huge difference. (Now time to upgrade.)

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hi L.S. Yes, we’ve definitely been pleased with it. You can get a better bike, but for the price it’s been really good and my son has certainly loved it.

      Reply
  8. Kelly from Portland

    Nice review. Not much info on kids bike out there, you should tackle this area if that’s something you’re interested in, cause there’s no one doing kids reviews well and consistently. Like the advice on bmx bikes. Don’t think kids need the shocks and weight of a mountain bike. Keep it simple. Kona and I think redline do bikes that tkae up that middle space between mountain and road bikes.

    K.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Have you been reading my mail Kelly? I’ve been thinking about doing more kids’ bikes’ reviews. All things being equal (and they never are) go with the lightest kids bike you can find.

      Reply
  9. Mike in Vancouver

    Scott, Redline and G. Fisher make the kids best kids bikes. The Trek is decent but too heavy for its price range.

    Reply
    1. DavidDavid Post author

      Hey Mike. Been checking out a lot of bikes lately and am starting to agree with you. I really notice the MT60’s weight the more I compare it to other bikes.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
  10. Gary from Chicago

    We tested the Trek and the specialized Hotrock for girls and went with the Mt60 for girls. Both were very good. So much better than the bikes I had as a kid. But it’s worth the money. Some kids on our street have cheaper bikes and boy, do they struggle to keep up with my daughter (and I don’t think it’s ability). Part of me says it’s good for kids to tough it out a bit, but on the other hand, the kids that have the nicer bikes that are easier and funner to ride – They LIke To Ride. I mean, it makes such a difference.

    Reply
    1. Michael

      Thanks for the review on the Trek. Have you written your review on the Specialized Hotrock yet? We are just starting our search for a bike for our 7 year old son. Our research is starting here on the internet. We are looking at the 20 inch Specialized Hotrock, Scott Voltage Jr. and the Trek MT60. Any thoughts? Thanks for pointing out the weight concern on some of these mtn, bikes.

      Reply
      1. DavidDavid Post author

        Hi Michael. They’re all good bikes. The Hotrock puts the kids in a bit more of an upright position while the Trek and Scott have them more down in a racing position – not sure which one your son will like. (Though I just looked at the new models and the Trek MT 60 looks like it’s added some height to the handlebars – so perhaps there’s little difference now.) The Hotrock has a chain guide off the front cassette which I find sort of lame and unnecessary. The seat on the Scott is sleeker and less foamy (more like on an adult bike) – imagine some kids will like this and some might find it a little uncomfortable. If weight is your prime consideration check out the Redline youth bikes. Good luck.

        Reply
        1. Michael

          Thanks! We took your advise and bought the Trek MT60 this afternoon. Our son fell in love with it the minute he rode it around in the store. As soon as we got home he tackled the hill we live on. The smile on his face was priceless. Thanks again for your help.

          Reply

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