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The best 16″ wheel starter bikes for ages 4 to 6 years
It probably only seems like yesterday that you were cuddling a little baby, so how can it be that they’re now ready to ride a pedal bike??? Time flies, and choosing a first bike for your child is such a huge milestone. In this article we take a look at the best 16″ wheel kids bikes aimed at children aged between about 4 and 6 years, depending on their height, inside leg measurement and riding ability.
What makes a good 16″ wheel kids bike?
The bikes in this post are all well specified and lightweight (under 8kg) single gear bikes, with child specific components such as shorter cranks, small reach brakes and small saddles and 16 inch wheels. We’ve deliberately ignored bikes with gears, as this adds complexity and weight that the majority of children don’t need at this age.
This means all the bikes featured will be fun and easy to ride, and should last several children (and hopefully allow you to sell on at the end, to recoup some of the cost back). Unless stated they all come with Kenda small block tyres, which are perfect for grass, tarmac and gravel.
At the end of the article we’ve compared the 16″ wheel bikes for price, warranty period and weight, as you need to make sure you get the correct bike for your child and your pocket. If possible, testing before you buy is best.
You may find our article 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike useful.
How much should I pay for a 16″ wheel bike?
You can get a decent new bike for as little as £160 or spend over £350, depending on how much riding your child is going to do and how much you can afford. There’s a roaring trade in good quality used 16″ wheel kids bikes, as decent models are built to last more than one child, so check out our guide to buying a second-hand kids bike.
If you’re buying new, then don’t forget to check out our list of discount codes too – you might get your perfect bike that little bit cheaper!
The best 16″ wheel kids bikes
Frog 48 (RRP £250)
Frog Bikes are great – they’re designed specifically for young riders, they’re lightweight (the 16″ wheel Frog 48 is just 6.75 kg), fun to ride, and come in a large choice of colours. With a range that stretches from small balance bikes through to large 26″ wheel mountain and hybrid bikes, we’re seeing brand loyalty from families as their children grow through the range, which is a sign of a quality bike. This is backed up by a free 5 year warranty on frame and forks if you register the bike (2 years if you don’t), and this quality means that they sell extremely well second-hand on Ebay.
The Frog 48 comes with two sets of tyres – hybrid for most surfaces (Kenda 16″ x 1.5″) and off-road for those hitting the trails (Kenda K1153 16″*1.75). It also comes with front and rear plastic mudguards (not shown), which are great if your child likes riding through every puddle they see!
Frog Bikes are also available on a long-term lease through The Bike Club if you don’t want to buy outright.
Wiggins Macon (RRP £190)
Sold exclusively at Halfords, the Wiggins kids bike range is both stylish and well specified with components designed for young riders. The 16″ wheel bike in the range is called the “Macon” and has the Wiggins signature reverse ‘curved’ fork and mod target design, making is aesthetically slightly different from the majority of other 16″ wheel bikes. The Macon has a lightweight double butted aluminium frame and aluminium forks, which helps it weigh in at a very respectable 6.4 kg. The Wiggins Macon retails at £190 and is available via “click and collect” at your nearest Halfords store, where they can help you assemble the bike correctly for your child.
Hoy Bonaly 16 (RRP £260)
Sir Chris Hoy is famous for being the author of the Flying Fergus range of kids books and the Hoy range of kids bikes (apparently he also used to race bikes and picked up a few medals in his time….) The Hoy Bonaly 16 is the smallest pedal bike in a range which is renowned for being hard-wearing – Hoy Bikes are used by British Cycling Go-Ride instructors, who loan them out at races and events up and down the country. For those who like their cycling heritage, the Bonaly 16 pictured is the same colour dark orange as Sir Chris’s very first track bike, and Bonaly is the area at the foothills of the Pentlands where he cycled off-road for the first time. The Bonaly 16 also comes in white or blue, has mounts for a bottle cage and mudguards – useful for year round or distance cycling.
Hoy Bikes are available exclusively at Evans Cycles, and the Bonaly 16 retails at £260.
Vitus Sixteen (RRP £160)
Vitus Bikes are the in-house brand for the newly merged Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles. This new kids bike range has really taken our eye, as it’s been designed with an attention to detail that usually comes with a much higher price tag. For just over £150 you’re getting a light weight 6061 alloy frame, combined with steel forks (which add weight but it’s a trade-off to keep the price down), and the all important child specific components. The Vitus Sixteen comes in at 7.2kg, so it’s the heaviest bike we’re featuring. However it has a 2 year frame warranty and 12 month parts warranty, so has been designed to last longer than many other cheap kids bikes out there.
Islabikes Cnoc 16 (RRP £289.99)
Islabikes are the original quality kids bike manufacturers. When you buy an Islabike you’re buying over a decade of obsessive attention to detail from a company who are synonymous with creating bikes designed for children. The Cnoc 16 has everything you want from a first bike in terms of child sized components, longevity and light weight (6.1 kg with pedals). It also has stunning looks and the brand reputation to back it up. Mudguards, off-road tyres and a kick stand are available as additional options either at time of purchase or later.
You’ll notice that unlike many of its competitors the Cnoc 16 has a chain guard, to protect clothes and fingers from the greasy chain.
This all comes at a price, although you should recoup a large part of the £289.99 tag when you sell it on – Islabikes sell like hot cakes on Ebay and other forums. New they are only available direct from Islabikes.
Early Rider Belter 16 (RRP from £349)
There are two models of the Early Rider Belter 16 and they’re some of the lightest 16″ wheel bikes around (at 5.65 kg). They’re also two of the best looking kids bikes, and this combines to give them a hefty price tag. You’ll notice that the Early Riders are different from all the other 16″ wheel kids bikes in this article, as they use a belt drive rather than a chain. This means no greasy parts or rusty chains to worry about – a quick hose down if it’s muddy and you’re ready for the next ride. The hand brushed and lacquered aluminium frame is beautiful to look at, and will turn heads wherever your child rides it.
The slightly cheaper of the models is the Belter 16 Urban (above) which will, as the name suggests, handle everything a young city dweller needs. The tyres aren’t Kenda small block, so you may get some slipping if you decide to go on more serious trails, so this is where the Early Rider Belter 16 Trail comes into its own. Released in 2017, it’s designed specifically for little mountain bikers, with exclusive 16″ Maxxis Maxx Daddy tyres to handle muddy trails and tracks and Ritchey handlebars, seat clamp and stem to keep the weight low (just 5.65 kg)
Custom built Belter 16″ Trail with Hope Gold full upgrade (from £775)
If money’s no object and mountain biking is your kid’s passion, then you can always upgrade to the Belter 16″ Hope bike. A custom-built thoroughbred adorned with top-notch Hope Tech components, designed and actually made in Barnoldswick, Lancashire. The spec list includes Hope Tech 3 disc brake calipers and levers, floating discs, stem, headset, seat post clamp and quick release skewer. There’s also a pair of lightweight Renthal bars thrown into the mix. Wow!
Early Rider are happy to work with you to create your dream bike (at any cost) – see their website for more details.
Woom 3 (RRP £290)
Woom are an Austrian kids bike company and their products have recently become available in the UK. Think of them as the central European equivalent of Islabikes in terms of attention to detail, and you’re not far off the mark. With the manufacturer claiming the Woom 3 weights just 5.5kg, it’s the lightest 16″ wheel bike we’ve found – just pipping the Early Riders. This is due to almost every part on the Woom 3 being made from lightweight aluminium. We’re not sure whether the weight includes the kickstand, which comes fitted to the bike – ideal for neat storage and preventing the bike getting thrown on the ground.
The Woom 3 is available exclusively from The Little Bike Company and retails at £290.
Cuda CP16 (RRP £240)
The Cuda Performance range is a good alternative to the Frog and Islabikes range for those who like the modern single colour design on their kids bike. They’re good-looking (three colours are available) with ‘child-specific’ components. Weight wise they’re at the heavier end of the bikes featured (7kg with pedals), but this is still a lot lighter than the majority of 16″ wheel kids bikes available.
The Cuda CP16 is sold in a wide range of local independent bike shops, meaning you can try before you buy.
Summary of the best 16 inch wheel kids bikes
Below is the information that is publicly available about the bikes we’ve listed above. Please note that weights are as stated on websites, some may include pedal weight, others may not. Where the website states with pedals we’ve put (wp) after the weight.
It’s sorted in price order, cheapest first, but you can re-sort on weight or inside leg to find the best bike for your child and your bank balance. You can also use it as a reference if you’re looking at other 16″ wheel kids bikes – how do they compare to the price and weight of the ones listed? (Remember if the weight isn’t listed for a bike, it’s likely to be HEAVY!)
|Bike||Weight||Price||Frame Size||Minimum Inside Leg (max where stated)||Saddle Height||Height Guide||Warranty|
|Vitus Sixteen||7.2 kg||£160||-||-||-||104-122cm||Frame 2 year
Parts 1 year
|Wiggins Macon||6.4 kg||£190||9"||-||-||112-127cm||Not stated|
|Cuda CP16||7 kg (wp)||£240||-||-||49 - 58cm||-||1 year|
|Frog 48||6.75 kg||£250 (includes two sets of tyres)||9.5"||48cm||-||-|| 2 years - frames, forks, parts, paintwork.
5 years on frames and forks if registered on Frog Website
|Hoy Bonaly 16||6.3 kg||£260||-||-||-||-||Not stated|
|Islabikes Cnoc 16||6.1 kg (wp)||£290||9"||42 - 52cm||104-120cm||Frame and forks: 5 year
Components: 2 year
|Woom 3||5.6 kg||£290||-||46 - 54 cm||-||-||Frame and Forks: 5 year
Components: 2 year
|Early Rider Belter 16 Urban||5.65 kg||£349||-||45cm||47-57cm||105 cm||1 year|
|Early Rider Belter 16 Trail||5.65 kg||£359||-||45cm||47-57cm||105 cm||1 year|
Other articles you may find useful:
- 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike
- Guide to buying a second-hand kids bike
- The best 20″ wheel hybrid bikes for kids aged 6 to 8
- The best starter bikes – 14″ wheel kids bikes
- FollowMe tandem cycle hitch – full review of how to pull your 16″ wheel bike behind an adult bike
- The best children’s winter cycling gloves
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links on this post about 16″ wheel kids bikes contain affiliate links, which mean that Cycle Sprog may get a small commission if you click on them. This doesn’t affect what you pay, and doesn’t apply to all links – we include bikes because we think they’re good, not because they belong to an affiliate scheme.
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