Great for adults but better for kids? Cannondale Trail 20 review

Cannondale Trail 20 reviewed

from Cannondale
RRP  £420.00
Cannondale Trail 20 2023

by Myles Warwood |
Updated on

Cannondale has a whole range of adult push bikes, which we all know, and a range of kids bikes which is less well known - and includes the Cannondale Trail 20.

With a vibrant colour scheme, internal cabling and tyres capable of riding on the road and holding their own on a woodland trail, this bike is a headscratcher. The reason is the Trail Plus is only £60 more, and you ditch the heavy front suspension, replaced by bigger, thicker squishier tyres and get mechanical disc brakes for superior stopping power. Both the Trail and the Trail Plus, as shown here in the 2023 spec, use the same frame, gearing system and seat post.

The Trail offers a bike that would be comfortable riding over a reasonably flat gradient on a dusty woodland trail or a nice greenway. The front suspension soaks up bumps, not bucking your child from the seat. However, they come at the cost of weight, and your child will notice this going up a hill, and you will, too, when loading it in and out of your car.

How does the Cannondale Trail 20 ride?

A 20” wheel bike will likely be your child’s first introduction to gears, which can be pretty confusing to understand, which way for faster and what gear to be in. Cannondale has a convenient solution here in the MicroSHIFT low-torque Twist Shift. A rider on the shifter points up and down depending on which gear your child is riding in. In gear 1, for example, the rider will point uphill towards a tortoise, indicating this is a gear for riding uphill and it’s slow. In gear 7, it’ll point downhill towards a hare. This is for going downhill, fast.

Cannondale Kids Trail 20w 2023

Thanks to the suspension, this bike is comfortable but heavy. Going uphill became hard for my six-year-old as he was used to a lighter bike. His legs gave out, and he favoured pushing it instead of riding it. However, it works very well – it’s not too stiff or too light, considering the weight of the rider. There’s plenty of travel, and tree roots don’t become an issue.

The bike’s geometry means that the handlebars are slightly closer to the rider, bringing the wheelbase together just a little bit more, giving sharper and quicker handling. It’s also a little bit more comfortable for the rider and feels a little bit more stable.

How does the Cannondale Trail 20 suit kids?

The frame has a dropped top tube, meaning it’s easy for kids to get on and off. It’s also easy for a child to stand with the bike between their legs. This is a huge confidence booster when stopping the bike safely. Although, it may take your child a while to realise they don’t have to stand with their bum on the saddle.

Cannondale Kids Trail 20w 2023

The gearing is excellent and offers a wide range to help your child get up and down hills. This is a real plus point in teaching your child to ride with gears and up hills.

While there are no mud racks, there are mounting points for them. It also comes with a kickstand, which is ideal for kids. Having a kickstand will save that precious paint on the bike, and they’ll love using it when they’re not on the bike.

The thicker-than-usual tyres offer comfort and off-road grip, which does not negatively impact rolling resistance. They’ll also inspire confidence as your child rides along because they’re that little bit wider. They’ll give a better balance; you’ll see this as your child rides along.

Cannondale says this bike will thrive on trails and through town, which means as long as you stay somewhere where the gradients are steady and shallow, your child will be just fine. The use of rim brakes, though, while they’re easy to apply for little hands, doesn’t mean it gets the stopping power of the bigger brother in the Trail Plus, which is noticeable.

Any negatives to the Cannondale Trail 20?

This negative can be true of the Cannondale range in kids’ and most kids’ bikes. The welding leaves a lot to be desired. It’s by no means smooth, and it’s very noticeable. While the paintwork is nice, bright and bold, the welding caught my eye.

Weight is also an issue for this bike, and that’s brought about by the suspension, which, if you look at the Trail Plus, can be done without. However, without the suspension, it is essentially a trail plus on skinnier tyres, which might confuse the market even more.

The internal cables look great on the bike. However, they’re a faff to change and could lead to expensive service costs, as you’ll probably want to take them to your local bike shop to have them changed.

Price and competition for the Cannondale Trail 20

The Trail faces competition from the very capable Trail Plus, which is just £60 more expensive than the Trial and, in my opinion, probably a better buy. It’s lighter, and with its wider, grippier tyres will go anywhere your child wants to ride it. It also has far superior mechanical disc brakes to the Trail rim brakes.

However, that being said, the Trail is a good bike, and if you want other kids’ bikes with front suspension, you might be looking at the Scott Scale or the Orbea MX, with the Orbea being a bit more expensive.

You might also want to consider the Cannondale Cujo, the 2022 model of the Trail Plus, with a slightly different geometry. Still, it does away with the heavy suspension, has external cables and mechanical disc brakes and is considerably less money.


While the Trail is a perfectly capable bike, it gets bested by its bigger brother, the trail plus, for not that much more money. I’d even argue that it gets beaten by the 2022 Cujo. The most significant limiting factor of the bike is its weight brought about by the front suspension.

For buzzing about through a park or down a path, it’s great fun, and your child will love it. When it gets hilly, their opinions might change, however. It’s smooth and comfortable with good handling and a nice easy on-and-off top tube.

I like the bike, but I like its rivals just that little bit more, and they’re from the same brand, too.


  • Well balanced
  • Good handling
  • Comfortable ride


  • Heavy

More items to consider

Cannondale Cujo 20w 2022
Price: £337.50 (was £450.00)


Scott Scale 20 2023

How the product was tested

The Trail was swapped out for my six-year-old's regular bike and taken out and used on many different occasions across different terrain and riding types. We used it on the same routes as we test all kid's bikes on, which have a mix of hills, flats and woodland tracks. This helps us compare what the bikes are like over these different terrain.

Myles is a Autos & Fitness Product Writer for What's The Best, Parkers and CAR. His areas of expertise include cycling, fitness tech and hot hatches.

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