The best 18″ wheel kids bikes for a 5 year old

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18" wheel kids bikes are becoming more and more popular, as they plug the gap between a small starter bike and a larger geared bike.

Some children aren't quite the right size, ability or age to move up to a bigger geared bike, and a 18" wheel bike can be a great solution (plus they usually cost a bit less than a geared bike too!)

A word of warning though -  it's a wheel size that has traditionally been dominated by very cheap "toy" bikes (and click here to read why we don't recommend these).

Thankfully now there's a number of good quality 18" wheel bikes that are available to buy or lease long term.

In this article we'll take a look at the best 18" wheel kids bikes - they're all great bikes that should bring years of fun for your child.

We include options on where to buy new and also how to lease long term or buy second hand (where available) so there's hopefully something suitable for every budget.

Before you start 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. 

What age child is an 18" wheel bike for?

Obviously all children are different, but on average an 18" wheel bike is suitable for children aged between about 5 and 6 years of age. In general 18" wheel bikes tend to be suitable for children with a minimum inside leg of approx 50cm and a minimum height of about 110cm.

Every 18" bike has different geometry (sizing) so we've provided the measurements provided by the manufacturer, to allow you to choose the one that fits your child. Please measure your child carefully and if possible test ride the bike if you're worried it won't fit.

These articles will help you:

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Do 18" wheel bikes have gears?

Some children can cope with gears on an 18″ wheel bike, others will not need them.  As this is a cross-over size, some brands have gears, and others don't.

Gears add weight, complexity and price, and on many brands don't make an appearance until 20" wheels.

Some Cycle Sprogs are ready for them earlier, and they can also be useful if you live in a very hilly area (even if you need to change them yourself at the bottom of the hill!)

18" wheel not the right size? 

Check out these other articles to find a smaller or bigger bike:

The best 20" wheel bikes for 6 and 7 year olds

The best 16" wheel bikes for 4 and 5 year olds

Big balance bikes for taller children


The best 18" wheel kids bikes

Here's our selection of the best 18" wheel kids bikes currently available.

Puky 18" wheel bikes

uky 18 inch kids city bike with step through frame for cycling to school every day

Price: from £199
Height: 115 to 130 cm
Inside Leg: 49 to 58 cm
Bike weight:  10.3 kg
Frame: Some steel, some aluminium
Brakes:  Rear coaster brake on some models. Front v brake
Gears:  No
Features:  Luggage rack, low step through frame, chain guard, kick stand (plus basket on some models)
  Green and Pink

 5-year on frames, forks and handlebars if registered online with Puky within 4 weeks of purchase

Puky have a great range of 18" wheel bikes, with six different models to choose from.  There majority are a very traditional step through style "city bike" frame with an upright riding position, from a long established German brand.

These bikes are designed with a more sedate urban style cycling in mind than some of the smaller mountain bikes that seem to be the trend at the moment with many brands.

The majority of their bikes are steel framed, which is reflected in their heavier weight, but this is a well designed steel frame bike, compared to some of the really cheap offerings you can get at catalogue retailers.

Puky apply an impact-resistant and durable powder coating to the bike which encases the metal components like a plastic coating and is UV and weather resistant. It's apparently also free of toxins and pollutants.

You must also be aware that on some of the models the rear brake is a coaster brake, which are popular on the continent, but not so much here in the UK. This means your child needs to back pedal to activate the rear brake. Some kids love this, others struggle to transition from using two lever brakes.

Puky have several have different designs available, with varying amounts of accessories (such as baskets) and components fitted.

We know someone who has used a Puky bike for riding to school all year round and they've been very pleased with it, especially as their Sprog wanted a more upright riding position.

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Puky LS Pro 18 (£300)

Puky LS Pro 18

Puky LS Pro 18 Key Data

Price: £339.99
Minimum height: 105cm
Bike weight: 6.3 kg
Frame: Aluminium
Gears:  No
Brakes:   V-Brakes
Colours:   Silver-orange, silver-blue and silver-berry

 5-year on frames, forks and handlebars if registered online with Puky within 4 weeks of purchase

The new Puky LS Pro 18 is a really lightweight 18" wheel bike that comes from a brand that is renowned on the continent for building really reliable kids bikes and balance bikes.

They've got the weight so low by having not only an aluminium frame but fork, crank and seat post  too.  The Puky LS Pro also features the new HEBIE Chainlooper - which is designed to protect little fingers.

The bike has a special coating applied to the paint to make sure it doesn't chip, so you can expect this bike to still look great when you come to sell it on when your own child has outgrown it.

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Wild 18

Wild Bikes 18

Wild 18 Key Data

Price: £225
Height range: 110 - 120 cm
Minimum inside leg: 49cm
Bike weight: 7.2kg
Frame and forks: Alloy
Gears:  No
Brakes:  Tektro alloy with Tektro full alloy short reach levers
Colour:  Yellow/red
Warranty: 1 year

Wild Bikes are an in-house brand sold by some of the companies in the JD Sports business, such as Go Outdoors, Black and Millets.

Everyone we know who has bought a Wild Bike is really impressed with it because you're getting a good quality, well designed and lightweight bike at a slightly lower price than some of the established names.

The Wild 18 has an upright riding position for a low centre of gravity, and narrower cranks which bring their legs closer together in line with their smaller hips, which combined with the low weight of the bike gives an enjoyable and easy riding experience.

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Raleigh Pop 18


Raleigh Pop 18

Raleigh Pop 18 Key Data:

Price: £270
Suggested Age Range: 5 - 7 years
Height range: 112 - 125cm
Bike weight: 9.9kg
Frame: Aluminium
Tyres: 18 x 1.50, black tanwall with puncture protection
Gears:  Yes - 6 gears (Shimano Tourney TZ20 14-28 x 32T)
Brakes:  Aluminium V-brake with adjustable 3-finger brake levers
Colours:  Green, Blue
Warranty:  1 year

If you're looking for an 18" wheel bike with gears then one option is the Raleigh Pop 18.

It's worth pointing out that the Pop is about 2 kg heavier than most of the other bikes featured on this page, so you need to consider whether your child is a strong and confident cyclist able to cope with this additional weight.

The components on the Pop 18 are mainly steel, so it may rust more easily than some of the more expensive bikes so do make sure you keep it well maintained, especially after riding in the rain.

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Other 18" wheel bikes

These are other 18" bikes which you may wish to check out if you can't find what you're looking for in our recommendations:

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