Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes - Updated for Coronavirus

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 alternatives to a new Islabikes - but which don't compromise on lightweight or child-sized components - meaning your child will love riding them.

Before you go any further GRAB YOUR FREE KIDS BIKE BUYING CHECKLIST  as it will really help you choose the best bike.

Cycle Sprog is an family run, reader supported, website. We belong to several affiliate schemes so may receive a small commission from sales made from links on our site. We do our best to be impartial and recommend products on their quality not whether they are in a scheme.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE:  Islabikes are now out of stock of most of their bikes, so you either need to buy second hand, or go for one of the alternatives listed below. 

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.

However, 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 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. 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 Islabike is better than buying a new really cheap kids bike

At the present time the only way you're going to get hold of a genuine Islabike is to buy secondhand.

CLICK HERE TO BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON EBAY

CLICK HERE TO BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON PRELOVED

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!!)

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 FROG BIKES AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

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
Click here to download

 

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, and a really great alternative to Islabikes.

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 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:  USED HOY BIKES ON EBAY  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. 

Wiggins Bikes (£)

Wiggins Chartres 20 inch kids bike - a cheaper alternative to Islabikes

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.

Both Wiggins and Islabikes went for new colour schemes and branding in autumn of 2019 and they're some similarities in the styling of both.

Prices start at £220 for the 16" wheel bike and go through to £440 for the largest 700c road bike.  Wiggins bikes are often on offer so worth keeping an eye on.

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 

Click here to subscribe

 

Black Mountain Bikes (££££)

Black Mountain are the first kids bike brand to really revolutionise the industry since Islabikes themselves over a decade earlier.  They've taken the concept of a bike that grows with you child and turned it into a high quality reality.  We're seeing loads of parents rave about these bikes, and our own reviewer was mightly impressed.

The bikes can start out in balance bike mode if you need, and then be converted to a pedal bike (or you can just start in pedal mode if your child is already pedalling).   The frame has two size settings, so as your child grows you don't need to buy a new bike, you just adjust the frame setting and away they ride.  Clever, and saving you time and money in the long run as one of these works out a lot cheaper than two Islabikes.

Buy new:  Black Mountain Bikes are available exclusively from their website.

Buy secondhand:  They're quite new, but the first secondhand models are starting to appear on Ebay.  

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, lightweight, 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 £195 for the 14" wheel Koa through to £400 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

 

Squish Bikes (££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

 

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.

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

BUY NEW: IF TREDZ DON'T HAVE YOUR PREFERRED SIZE, CHECK NEW SALES OF SQUISH BIKES ON EBAY

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

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.

 

Vitus Bikes (£)

CYCLE SPROG REVIEWED AND RECOMMENDED BRAND

Vitus Twenty cheapest kids bike with 20" wheels

Vitus bikes were released in 2018 so are a relatively new brand. 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 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 still too new for there to be many cheap ones available secondhand.

BUY NEW: CLICK HERE TO BUY VITUS BIKES AT WIGGLE

BUY SECONDHAND: CLICK HERE TO BUY VITUS BIKES FROM eBAY

Click here for your free guide

Saracen Bikes (££)

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: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

BUY SECONDHAND: CLICK HERE FOR SARACEN BIKES FROM EBAY

Click here to download

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 they don't often come up on eBay, however, it is worth checking here to see if one is available in your area

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.

BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON EBAY

BUY SECOND HAND ISLABIKES ON PRELOVED

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!

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Other posts you may find useful:

This post was first published in December 2018 and updated in June 2020 to reflect stock availability

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