Cleary Scout 24 inch Mountain Bike Review

If you’re looking for a reliable, beginner to intermediate mountain bike for your budding rider, look no further than the Cleary Scout. This bike looks good, feels solid, and handles rocky trails and jumps with no problem. Our 8 year old loves it, and most importantly, it makes him excited to ride.

For those familiar with Cleary, they have had the Scout in their line-up for some time. Traditionally known for steel frames, they’ve been branching out and making aluminum bikes as well. The Scout is one of them. With updated components and a lighter weight thanks to the aluminum, it’s a solid choice for kids wanting to transition to a bike with suspension.

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Cleary Scout Stats

This bike comes in two different wheel/frame sizes: 20 inch and 24 inch. Check their website for specific sizing, but generally ages 5-8 would fit the 20 inch, while 7-10 year olds would want the 24 inch,

We own the 24 inch version, so I’ll stick with those specs here.

  • Suntour 80 MM travel air suspension fork
  • Nutt hydraulic 160 mm rotor brakes
  • 1×10 speed cassette
  • 27 lbs (24 inch)
  • Alex 24 x 25 mm tubeless compatible rims
  • 24×2.25 tires
  • Dropper post ready
  • Lightweight alloy frame
  • Low bottom bracket height to accomodate smaller riders
  • Fits kids with inseams of 22-26 inches
  • Child specific and modern geometry for a comfortable fit
  • $1,062 (but often with a nice sale price)
  • Sweet sparkly intergalactic green paint job

Who Is The Cleary Scout 24 Inch Bike Best For?

Great for Introducing Suspension

This bike comes into the picture for that moment when you realize your kid is ready to ride real mountain bike trails with you, and is ready for suspension! For the most part, kids don’t generally need suspension, because they’re light enough that adding it will just make their bike unnecessarily heavy. Often, wider, cushier tires will work just fine instead of shocks.

But if you feel they are ready to level up and can handle a bit more weight/ would benefit from suspension, this bike is a great option. It’s great bang for your buck, combining quality components and a simple design.

Once you’re ready to enter into the world of ‘real’ mountain bikes for kids, you might be shocked at the adult sized prices you find for higher end bikes. Although for most people $1000 feels like a lot for a kids bike, it’s actually one of the more moderately priced quality bikes out there, and we feel it’s one of the best ‘bang for your buck’ mountain bikes.

Not a Downhill Specific Bike

If you are a family of serious downhill riders, this might not be the bike for you. But if you are a family who wants a nice all around bike, for trails and cross country riding, with the occasional bike park laps, this bike would be a great fit.

My son has taken it on trails around southern Utah, as well as trails here in our Idaho mountains, and it excels in both. It performs on rocky desert rides and on the flowy dirt trails of the mountains, as well as our neighborhood and front yard jumps and bike parks.

What We Love About the Cleary Scout

A few of our favorite features of this bike are the air fork, the rad paint job, the 1X drivetrain, lightweight frame, and the hydraulic disc brakes. It is also really compatible to upgrades.

Suntour XCR Air Fork

Coil vs Air Forks

There are two schools of front suspension: air forks and coil forks. Coil forks are much heavier, because they are solid coil springs that compress. Although they are great for long, rough descents and big hits or impacts, they are generally just dead weight on a kids bike. Kid’s don’t weigh enough to even compress these.

Air forks are much lighter weight and perform well for cross country riding or really all but extreme riding. They are worth the price to take significant weight off a kids bike. They work with pressurized air and just need tight seals and an air can to adjust to your kid’s riding abilities.

The bottom line is that I’d rather have no suspension than a coil fork on my kids bike. Which is why I love that Cleary used an air fork for their Scout- it’s a quality fork that can be serviced by professionals if needed, and doesn’t add unnecessary weight to a kid’s bike, where pounds really count. This fork can also lock out on climbs for added control on uphills.

My kid can feel cool and grownup riding a bike with suspension but it won’t be a hindrance to his bike weight or riding ability.

Head Turning Sparkles

It may seem silly, but the paint job on this bike is so beautiful! It sparkles in the sun and gets comments every time we take it out. They call it intergalactic green. And it’s a really great gender neutral paint, because, green, and because, sparkles! It gives the bike a really high quality look.

Simple 1X10 Drivetrain

We love the gearing on this bike because it’s simple for kids to use and gives them what they need and nothing more. Having only one ring up front makes it so they only have one shifter to worry about, simplifying climbing especially.

The Microshift shifter is an easy to use trigger shifter, eliminating the twist grip shifting that can get stiff and hard to use with time and age. My kiddo is average or maybe even on the small size for his age, and he has no problems with this trigger shifter.

Lightweight Alloy Aluminum Frame

While I love Cleary for their steel frames, steel does add weight to a bike. Steel excels on long rides, gravel rides, and when hauling gear (all things I love!) but is not needed on a mountain bike. I love that they added this option.

Thin walled, oversized tubes are strong and don’t flex, allowing kids to ride fast and hard without wobble. They look good, perform well, and bring the weight of the bike to 27 lbs. Not the lightest bike on the market, but definitely respectable.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

There are two basic types of brakes on bikes- V brakes (rim brakes) or disc brakes. They both have their place, but disc brakes are more common on mountain bikes. Then, there are two types of disc breaks- hydraulic or mechanical.

Hydraulic brakes are more powerful, offer better control (especially for small hands) and are generally lighter in weight. Cleary chose hydraulic brakes especially for this reason- it takes much less force on the brake lever to stop, making it a safer choice for smaller hands.

Disc brakes help kids with increased control- they stop quickly when pressed and require less hand strength to engage. They also work better in wet or variable weather conditions.

They do require a bit more maintenance and bike knowledge to service, but it’s worth it for the benefits. We did have some trouble getting the brakes to line up just right on the first installation, but we haven’t had any issues since. If you do have this issue, taking it to your local bike shop is helpful so you don’t ruin them trying to figure it out yourself.

Upgrade Compatible

We love that this bike offers the ability to upgrade things fairly easily. It comes with tubeless ready rims so you can convert to tubeless tires if you wish. We like that you can add a dropper post easily, which is becoming more and more popular. And we like that the cables are routed internally so it keeps a nice clean look and cables don’t get in the way.

What We Don’t Love About the Cleary Scout

There honestly isn’t much we don’t love about this bike. It seems to check all our boxes and we haven’t had any big issues or disappointments. More color options would be nice, we had some trouble with the brake installation, and the components are not especially high end. The price can feel a bit high for average families, but the sale price makes it a great deal.

Color Options

We love the Intergalactic green, but it would be nice if there were more options. Definitely keep the sparkles though, those are a big hit. I could see pink being a fun addition, but again, this is trivial and has nothing to do with the bike’s performance. Cleary does offer fun and colorful upgrades, like grips and pedals, as well as fun bags to add pops of color. We love their Burrito Bag especially.

Mid-level Components

I won’t say the components on this bike are high end, but I don’t feel they need to be. The ones on there work great, especially for a kid who will ride it for a few years before re-selling or handing it down. If you are a really serious biking family, you can upgrade most parts fairly easily.

Cleary Scout Fork

Things people upgrade most frequently: the pedals, grips, and fork. At this pricepoint, Cleary cannot provide the best suspension fork out there, thus why it’s not recommended for serious downhill riding. If you want a lighter weight fork with more travel, it’s upgradeable depending on your budget.


Some also found the pedals to be a bit bulky and replaced them with lighter, nicer pedals. Again, up to you. Most bikes come with lower end stock pedals.

Extra Wide Handlebars

One thing my kid has mentioned (and other kids as well) is that the handlebars are really wide, which takes some getting used to. If your kiddo really struggles with the reach, you can swap out the handlebars for smaller ones or cut them down; you can also change the stem to shorten the reach.

One thing I like is that if you don’t love the components, they are easily changed. You don’t have to worry about them being department store quality, where if something breaks it’s not fixable. Every component is quality enough to be repaired or switched out at a bike shop if needed, which is a big plus. It keeps bikes out of landfills and is much more sustainable.


The price on this bike can feel like a lot for a kid’s bike. Most average families feel a little sticker shock at higher end, child specific bike prices. Believe me, I’ve been there. But after some research and experience, I’ve learned the price is worth it if you want a quality and functional kids mountain bike. These bikes will hold up to multiple users, can be repaired, and hold a pretty good re-sale value.

And as we mentioned earlier, this actually is a pretty budget friendly bike compared to many other high end mountain bikes for kids. There are only a handful of other kids mountain bikes in this quality bracket close to this price point (like the Woom Off Air).

For the last year or so, Cleary has had this bike on sale, somewhere around 40% off. This makes it much more affordable and worth the money, giving it a solid edge over competitors. I imagine they had some supply issues during Covid and then, like most bike companies, over-ordered to compensate. Don’t let the extended sale turn you off- you’re getting a great bike for the price.

A boy rides his Cleary bike off a front yard jump.

Cleary Perks

Cleary Re-Ride Program

Something I like about Cleary- if you don’t want to re-sell or hand down your bike, you can trade it in for a rebate on the next size up. This helps bikes become more affordable as your kids grow quickly. The used bikes they take back are then refurbished and donated to kids in need, helping to make sure more kids get cool bikes.

Lifetime Warranty

Cleary also backs their bikes by a lifetime warranty, which is really helpful when you’re investing in higher priced bikes. We’ve used this warranty in the past on some of our other Cleary bikes, when again, the Covid crisis limited bike part availability. They only had a few brake models available and some of them ended up being faulty. We contacted them and had new brakes sent right away, along with reimbursements for a local shop to switch them out. We’ve always been really happy with their customer service.

Rider Experience

Our son saved up to buy this bike last fall, and he has not been disappointed. A few of his friends also own this bike, so we’re developing quite a little intergalactic pack around these parts. All of them seem to love riding it as well, mostly around our local trails. They’ve ridden rocky trails, smooth cross country trails, moderate climbs and fast descents, and bike park laps. It feels stable and solid, and doesn’t seem to slow our riders down.

With a modern relaxed, hard tail geometry, this bike keeps kids comfortable while allowing for easy pedaling and maneuvering. It is able to fit a wide range of riders, because as you move the seat higher, it can angle back, accommodating riders for longer as they grow. My 4’2 (50 in) 8 year old has plenty of room to grow on the 24 inch.

A boy stands, smiling with his Cleary mountain bike

Bottom Line

The Cleary Scout seems to perform on most terrain, making it a great all around budget friendly mountain bike for the budding shredder. It seems durable and safe, as well as capable and fun to ride. It’s great to look at, and Cleary gives lots of options for making it customized to your rider’s preferences.

We recommend this bike to any of our friends looking for a great starter mountain bike or a quality ride to help their kid progress.

Buy the Cleary Scout on their site or on Amazon.

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