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Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes - Spring 2020

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 lightweight 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 a 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 still thinking of buying a new kids bike for under £100, read this first. 

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.

Buying a second hand quality kids bike is better than buying a new cheap kids bike

There are now a large number of great quality second hand kids bikes from several manufacturers, including Islabikes, widely available. The bikes have been outgrown by their current owners but have plenty of years use left in them. You can quite often get a real bargain, and many parents manage to resell on each second bike after use to keep their overall costs of bike ownership close to zero (the really clever ones actually manage to make a profit over 10 years of Islabikes ownership- let us know if you manage this!!)

Here at Cycle Sprog we need to make enough money to feed and clothe our growing Sprogs! One way we do this is by using affiliate schemes where possible. This means we may receive a small commission from sales made when our readers click a link and buy a bike. Thanks for your support.

CLICK HERE TO BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON EBAY

CLICK HERE TO BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON PRELOVED

Where second-hand bikes are readily available we've included the links so you can choose between buying new and second hand.

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 remains 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.

BUY NEW NOW:  FROG BIKES AT TREDZ

SAVE £5 ON A FROG BIKE AT TREDZ: Just sign up for their newsletter before you complete your purchase and they'll immediately send you a voucher code to add to your basket. You can find the sign up halfway down their home page (look for the red banner)

BUY SECONDHAND:  Frog bikes have been around for such a long time, and are so popular, that there are now lots available second hand.  As with Islabikes they're built to last so it's possible to get some great bikes - check out  SECOND HAND FROG BIKES ON EBAY  and USED FROG BIKES ON PRELOVED

Hoy Bikes (£££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

hoy-bonaly-20-inch-wheel-2018-kids-bike-red-EV306432-3000-1

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 £520.

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

BUY NEW NOW:  HOY BIKES AT EVANS CYCLES 

TOP TIP: If you sign up for the Evans Cycles Newsletter they'll send you a voucher code to save £5 off your first purchase. You can sign up by scrolling to the bottom of any page on their website - an email should be sent to you within a couple of minutes.

BUY SECOND HAND:  Hoy Bikes have been around for long enough for there to be a lot now available second hand. Please note that there was a complete redesign of the bikes in 2018, so second hand models are likely to be slightly heavier, but they are still a very good specification, long lasting bike.  USED HOY BIKES ON EBAY

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 £175 for their 14" wheel bike and progress to £240 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.

BUY NEW: WILD BIKES AT GO OUTDOORS

BUY SECONDHAND: Wild Bikes only came out at the end of 2018 so it will be quite some time before cheap ones become available second hand.

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 £250 for their 14" wheel bike and go up to £350 for their 26" wheel bike.  Squish launched their first mountain bikes in November 2018 and they retail from £450. 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 online, Tredz Bikes are currently offering a 10% discount if you use the code shown below at checkout when clicking through via our link.

BUY NEW: SQUISH BIKES AT TREDZ WITH FREE HOME DELIVERY.

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: If you sign up for the Tredz newsletter (which you can do from their homepage) before you complete your purchase, they will immediately give you a £5 gift voucher - nice!

BUY SECOND HAND:  Squish Bikes are still relatively new, so there are only a few second hand bikes starting to come through. This does mean you may be able to negotiate a good bargain!  Check out Squish Bikes on eBay to see if there's any available.

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 (£240) through to the CP26 (£310) plus they also do mountain bikes, including the full suspension Cuda Impact, which we've reviewed.

BUY NEW: Cuda Bike are available through a network of local bike shops  and are also sold new on eBay

BUY SECOND HAND: A few Cuda Performance bikes do come up second hand on eBay. Be careful as there are a number of ranges of Cuda kids bikes, and some are much cheaper and heavier bikes. Look for the CP (Cuda Performance) to confirm which model it is.

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 £240 for the 14" to £299 for the 24" wheeled bikes.  They are still too new for there to be many cheap ones available secondhand.

===> CLICK HERE TO BUY VITUS BIKES AT WIGGLE

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

Saracen make a great range of lightweight kids bikes, which are ideal if you're looking for something that little bit different to everyone one else. They have a range of rigid fork and front suspension bikes in a wide range of wheel sizes.

BUY NOW: SARACEN KIDS BIKES FROM TREDZ

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: If you sign up for the Tredz newsletter (which you can do from their homepage) before you complete your purchase, they will immediately give you a £5 gift voucher - nice!

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 online 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)

BUY NEW: CLICK HERE TO SELECT YOUR PINNACLE KIDS BIKE

TOP TIP: If you sign up for the Evans Cycles Newsletter they'll send you a voucher code to save £5 off your first purchase. You can sign up by scrolling to the bottom of any page on their website - an email should be sent to you within a couple of minutes.

BUY SECONDHAND:  Because the Pinnacle range is some of Evan Cycles most popular kids bikes there are quite a few that come up second hand, at very reasonable prices. Check out Pinnacle Bikes on eBay

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 online and either collected in store or delivered to your home free of charge.

Price start at £275 for the 16" wheel bike and go through to £550 for the largest 700c road bike.  There's currently a 30% discount running if you order now and collect instore within 7 days.

BUY NEW:  WIGGINS BIKES AT HALFORDS

BUY SECONDHAND:  Wiggins kids bikes have just been around long enough for there to start to be a quite a few becoming available second hand (always a sign of a good bike!) Check out Wiggins Bikes on eBay 

Cheap Islabikes

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 March 2020 to reflect stock availability

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