Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes - 2019

If you're looking for a proper bike for your child (i.e. one that is light enough for them to pick up, has well designed components and brakes and gears that really work) you may have come across the leading brands of kids bikes - Islabikes.  Now, Islabikes produce fabulous kids bikes and if you can afford them, it really is worth considering investing in them.  However, for many families the outlay on such a quality bike is just too much.  In this post we explore some of the cheaper alternatives to Islabikes - but which don't compromise on light weight or child sized components - meaning your child will love riding them.

Is there a quality difference between buying an Islabike and a cheaper bike?

Yes! Obviously if you're buying an Islabike you're getting over 12 years of R&D. They offer a 5 year warranty on the frame and forks plus 2 years on the components. This speaks volumes about the quality of these bikes. We've reviewed most of the Islabikes range over the years, and never fail to recommend them.

The differences between Islabikes and some of the slightly cheaper bikes are in the detail - the gleam of the paintwork, the purr of the hubs turning, the ease with which the chain moves across the gears. They're all minor details for a child who's going to ride the bike around the park, but start to become important if cycling is an big part of your child's life (or you enjoy - and can afford - the finer things in life).

Why aren't the really cheap bikes featured on this page?

There are lots of reasons, but the main one being that a REALLY cheap bike is usually designed as a toy, rather than a bike. Read our post on 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike if you need convincing, but these types of bikes tend to be frustrating for kids to ride, difficult for parents to maintain, and usually don't get ridden anywhere near as much as a slightly more expensive bike.

If you're looking for cheaper alternatives to Islabikes, but still wanting some of the quality that these bikes bring, then you do need to pay a certain amount of money. For this reason, we only feature lightweight kids bikes with components such as brake levers, crank length and saddle size that we know have been proportioned correctly for the age and size of the child riding it.

Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes 

Frog Bikes (£££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Cheapest Frog 55 kids bike on Black Friday

Once upon a time, not so long ago, if you wanted a cheaper alternative to an Islabike, the answer was Frog Bikes.  Now, as you can see from this article, there are lots of other options, but Frog remain one of the most popular choices for parents and kids.  The reason is the quality of the bikes (they offer a 2 year warranty on all their bikes, with the frame and forks extending to 5 years if you register the bike). So quality wise, they're expecting their bikes to last as long as an Islabike, and this is reflected in their resale values.   They're not the cheapest bikes featured on this page, but they are certainly cheaper alternatives to Islabikes at every bike size.

We've reviewed a wide range of Frog Bikes over the years - and always been very impressed.

Frog have a huge range of bikes - balance bikes, starter bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bike, road/cyclocross bikes and even track bikes (something Islabikes don't do).  Also, Frog have a network of local bike shops who stock their bikes, meaning you can try before you buy.

If you prefer to buy online, all you need to do is measure your child's inside leg and then go online at Tredz and choose your Frog Bike (size and colour)

BUY NOW:  FROG BIKES AT TREDZ - plus get free home delivery 

Hoy Bikes (£££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand



Hoy Bikes (as the name suggests) are designed in conjunction with the Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and have had a massive makeover earlier in 2018. This has made them some of the lightest weight and best looking kids bikes around. At the smaller end of the age range, they're only slightly cheaper than Islabikes, but as you start to progress through the sizes, the specification changes, so by 24" and 26" wheels you're getting disc brakes and a decent rigid fork mountain bike with the Bonaly, or a gravel / cyclocross / road bike with the Meadowmill  - both for under £500.

We've just reviewed the Hoy 16 and our Hoy 20 Bonaly bikes and our reviewers were really impressed with these bikes.

BUY NOW:  HOY BIKES AT EVANS CYCLES with FREE kids bike helmet

Squish Bikes (££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

(PLUS 10% saving and free home delivery at Tredz)

The Squish 18 is a great bike for a 6 year old girlSquish Bikes have a range of well thought through bikes designed for young riders, that start at £230 for their 14" wheel bike and go up to £320 for their 26" wheel bike.  Squish are also just about to launch their first mountain bikes (at the end of November 2018), which will retail at £430. Squish bikes come with a 3 year warranty on frame and forks, and 1 year on components.

Here at Cycle Sprog we've reviewed the Squish 18 kids bike and found it to be a decent bike for the money - it stood up to the daily commute to school by our reviewer.

Squish Bikes are available at a wide network of small local bike shops, so are a good choice for those of you wanting to shop local.  As well as being competitively priced you have the advantage of being able to take advice from experts in all things bike.

However, if you prefer to buy on-line, Tredz Bikes are currently offering a 10% discount if you use the code SPROG10 at checkout when clicking our link (or you can use their other codes FREEHELMET or BESAFE to get a free kids cycle helmet up to the value of £30 - which is only valid up to wheel size 20") or a free set of lights on any bike costing over £250. They also offer free home delivery.



Cuda Performance Range (£££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand 

Cuda CP14 Starter bike - 14" wheel kids pedal bike

Cuda Bikes have a number of kids bikes in their range, but the "Performance" bikes (identified by CP before the wheel size) are those that are designed to be a cheaper alternative to Islabikes.   The range extends from the CP16 (£230) through to the CP26 (£320) plus they also do mountain bikes, including the full suspension Cuda Impact, which we've reviewed.

Cuda Bike are available only through a network of local bike shops.

Vitus Bikes (£)

Vitus bikes were released in 2016 as Verenti bikes, but have been relaunched and improved for 2018/19.  They're clearly taking on the more expensive Frog Bikes and Islabikes, at a much cheaper price point. You get a lightweight 6061 alloy frame, child proportioned components, Kenda tyres and easy to use gearing (where fitted).

Vitus Twenty cheapest kids bike with 20" wheels

Vitus kids bikes are available exclusively at Wiggle and  Chain Reaction Cycles, and come in 14", 16", 2o" and 24" wheels, as well as a balance bike.   They are priced from £190 for the 14" to £240 for the 24" wheeled bikes


Wild Bikes (£)

Wild Bikes 18 inch wheel lightweight kids bike - make a cheaper alternative to Islabikes or Frog Bikes

Wild Bikes are the new range of lightweight kids bikes from Go Outdoors.  As is common with many larger retailers, Go Outdoors have looked at what their smaller competitors have produced, and then come in with a very similar but cheaper option.  Wild Bikes start at £140 for their 14" wheel bike and progress to £192 for their 24" wheeler (they don't do a 26" wheel bike at the moment).

Wild Bikes only come with a 1 year warranty, but it's still a much better specified bike than the majority of cheap kids bikes around, and should be fun and easy to ride.

Note. If you don't have one, you will need to purchase the members discount card (which is £5) at time of purchase to get the best prices at Go Outdoors.


Saracen Bikes (££)

With 10% discount AND free home delivery

Saracen Mantra 2 - one of the best 20" wheel hybrid bikes around this year - cheaper alternatives to Islabikes and Frog Bikes

Tredz Bikes are currently selling off their 2018 Saracen kids bikes, to make way for the new 2019 range. These are great quality kids bikes, and it's unusual to get them with such a discount.  Obviously, once they've gone, they've gone for good!

Plus, if you buy through our link to Saracen kids bikes you are eligible for an exclusive 10% discount code - just add SPROG10 at checkout.  Alternatively add FREEHELMET to get a free kids helmet worth up to £30 on bikes with wheel sizes of 20" and below.

Bikes include the Saracen Mantra R 2.0  - a 20" wheel bike  pictured above -  which is currently reduced from its RRP of £299.99 to £269.99.   The additional 10% discount by using the SPROG10 voucher code brings the total down to just £242.99


If your child isn't on 20" wheels, fear not - Saracen do the full range of sizes from balance bike upwards, and Tredz have all 2018 models remaining in stock currently reduced.


Pinnacle Bikes (£)

Pinnacle Kauri 26" kids bike for 10 year old boy

Pinnacle Bikes are available exclusively at Evans Cycles. They're not Evans Premium range - that's the Hoy Range (see above), so not going to be a true rival to an Islabike.  However, the bikes in the range are some of their best selling, and get great reviews from customers who are pleased with the low cost, light weight and handling of the bikes.   You can reserve your bike on-line but get your local store to help build it up.

Pinnacle Bikes start at £180 for the 14" wheel Koa through to £380 for their 26" wheel bike (which comes with disc brakes)



Wiggins Bikes (£)

Wiggins Rouen 540c kids road bike

Wiggins Bikes are designed, as you've probably guessed, in conjunction with Sir Bradley Wiggins.  They start with a balance bike and go all the way through starter bikes and flat handlebar hybrid bikes, to some of the best value drop handlebar road bikes available for kids.  They're available exclusively at Halfords and can be ordered on line and either collected in store or delivered to your home free of charge.

Price start at £180 for the 16" wheel bike and go through to £360 for the largest 700c road bike.  There's currently a 20% discount running if you order now and collect instore within 7 days.


Cheap Islabikes


If none of the above brands take your fancy, and you're absolutely set on getting your child an Islabike, then check out our post on where to find a cheap, second hand Islabikes. Due to the longevity and build quality of these bikes you can reliably buy second hand, sometimes at a fraction of the cost of a new bike.

We hope you manage to find the perfect bike for your Cycle Sprog - do leave a comment below and let us know how you got on.  If we've missed off your favourite brand, do tell us about it too!

Other posts you may find useful:

This post was first published in December 2018 and updated in 2019 to reflect stock availability

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