Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes

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.

Take a moment to GRAB YOUR FREE KIDS BIKE BUYING CHECKLIST which will help you record all the information you need to find the perfect bike for your child. 
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.

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.

Why not rent an Islabike?

If you’re looking for an Islabike but want to avoid the upfront cost, then it’s worth taking a look at The Bike Club.  They have some secondhand (but great condition) Islabikes available on their monthly rental scheme, and if they don’t have Islabikes in stock you can rest assured that the other bikes they stock are really good quality, durable bikes too, as they’re sent out time and time again to kids to ride.

It’s all very simple with The Bike Club – you just pay a monthly subscription and your child uses the bike until they outgrow it. Then you send it back and upgrade to a larger bike.

The Bike Club is a great way to find a cheap kids bike - including cheap Frog Bikes, Islabikes, Squish Bikes and Forme Kinder and Cubley children's bikes. You lease your child a bike for a monthly rent and send the bike back when you child has outgrown it

Their Islabikes are always very popular, but they’re adding to the collection all the time, so it’s worth a check in case they have the size / model you’re looking for available.

RENT NOW:  Islabikes to lease at The Bike Club

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 

Take a moment to GRAB YOUR FREE KIDS BIKE BUYING CHECKLIST which will help you record all the information you need to find the perfect bike for your child. 

Frog Bikes (£££) 

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Frog Bikes can be rented via The Bike Club

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.   If you want to avoid the up front costs of buying a new Frog Bike, you can lease them (either new or used) for a monthly subscription from The Bike Club.  You just pay a monthly subscription, and when you child outgrows the bike you return it and upgrade to a larger bike – either a Frog or a different model.

BUY NEW NOW:  FROG BIKES 

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

RENT NOW:  FROG BIKES FOR LEASE AT THE BIKE CLUB

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 EBAYand USED FROG BIKES ON PRELOVED

 

Squish Bikes (££)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

This brand is available to lease at The Bike Club

 

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.  They’re also available to rent at The Bike Club if you want to avoid the upfront cost of a new bike.

BUY NEW: SQUISH BIKES 

BUY NEW: CHECK NEW SALES OF SQUISH BIKES ON EBAY

RENT NOW:  Squish Kids Bikes are available to lease on a monthly subscription from The Bike Club

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 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: VITUS BIKES

BUY SECONDHAND: CLICK HERE TO BUY VITUS BIKES FROM eBay

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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 your 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.

On the face of it, these bikes look to be far too expensive to be considered a cheaper alternative to Islabikes.  However, they’re a very clever design that can help reduce your costs over a number of years.  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, so always worth checking!  

 

 

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

 

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 

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 for your free guide

 

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 December 2020 to reflect stock availability

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