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

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.

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Forme Cubley 18 (£250 or £11.95 per month)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike

Forme Cubley 18

Forme Cubley 18 Key Data: 

Price new: £250
Lease£11.95 a month
Inside Leg:  50cm to 54cm  
Saddle to floor:  55cm to 59cm
Bike weight: 
7.56 kg
Brakes: Tektro V Brake
Frame:  Alloy 6061
Tyres:  Deli all weather 18" x 1.5"
Available colours:  Red, Blue and Pink
Warranty:  Lifetime on Frame

Rent Now Buy New  Buy Local

The Forme Cubley 18 is the newest 18" wheel bike on the market and is proving a popular choice for kids who aren't quite ready for a 20" wheel bike with gears, but have outgrown their smaller bike.

Forme is a UK brand, based in Derbyshire and with over a decade's experience of designing and manufacturing adult bikes. They're now taking that expertise and applying it to their junior range, which launched in 2020.

With the Cubley 18 you're getting a very lightweight bike (it weighs just 7.56kg) so your child will be able to pick it up and move it around themselves (useful for climbing up and down any steps or obstacles on their route).

You'll notice the difference too when you're carrying it or trying to put onto a car rack.

Forme have specified this bike to have all the features we'd expect from a quality kids bike.

So you get appropriately sized pedals which are designed to keep pressure off the rider's heel.  This helps your child ride faster and reduces the risk of their foot slipping off the pedal.

The components are junior sized, for example, the cranks are proportioned for a child's legs and the handlebars and stem have been sized for their arm length.

Kids want to ride their bike all year round so Forme have made the headset (the bit that connects frame and fork) fully internal to fend off foul weather and aid longevity.

Check out our first impressions review of the Forme kids bikes .

Rent Now Buy New  Buy Local

Squish 18 (RRP £280 or £12.10 per month) 

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike

Squish 18

Squish 18 Key Data:

Price: £280
Lease: £12.10 per month

Minimum height: 110cm
Minimum Inside Leg: 50cm
Bike weight: 6.98 kg
Brakes:  Tektro V-brake - adjustable
Frame: Alloy
Tyres: Dawes Cadence
Colours:  Aqua, Blue
Warranty: Frame and Forks - 3 years; components - 1 year (excluding wear and tear)

Rent Now Buy New Buy Used

Lightweight and packed with great components, the Squish 18 is a single speed bundle of fun

It has a long wheelbase to give confidence and easy to use 'child-sized' brakes that are perfect for smaller hands.

The Squish 18 is adorned with lightweight alloy components including chain wheel, wheel hubs, and rims.

Small block tyres are fitted to give good grip on a variety of surfaces, so the Squish 18 can be used for fun in the mud too.

It feels as though it's been well thought out and put together, not only in its structural design but also in how it has taken the desires of a child into account too.

Paintwork is hardwearing, the colour scheme works well and it's just fun. A sticker set accompanies the bike and these can be used on the frame or anywhere else that takes their fancy.

You can read our full review of the Squish 18 here.

Rent Now Buy New Buy Used

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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: £230
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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Cube Cubie 180 (£349)


The Cube Cubie is an 18" wheel small kids mountain bike for children who are too small for gears and suspension bikes

Cube Cubie 180 Key Data:

Price: £349
Standover height:  48.5cm
Bike weight: 7.5kg
Frame: Alloy
Tyres: Schwalbe Black Jack
Gears:  No
Brakes:  Alloy V-Brake With Powermodulator
Colours:  Blue/White and Indigo/Mint
Accessories: Can be fitted with training wheels/Stabilisers
Warranty: Frame 6 years; rest of bike 2 years

If your Cycle Sprog is desperate to get a proper mountain bike but isn't quite old enough to handle a 20" wheel bike with gears, then the Cube Cubie 180 should keep them happy during the waiting phase.

The Cubie 180 is inspired by Cube's adult and junior range of mountain bikes - we've reviewed a couple of Cube's kids mountain bikes and have been really impressed.

Cubes only 18" wheel bike has a lightweight aluminium frame and forks that have been designed to take the knocks and scrapes a little shredder will undoubtedly give it.

The Cubie 180 has front and rear V brake bosses so your child can learn how to control their speed using brake levers designed for little hands.

The single-speed Hudson 25T chainset is fitted with a chainguard to keep the chain away from legs and clothing.

The Cubie 180 comes with new width Schwalbe Black Jack tyres which are a mountain bike tyre suitable for all terrain types.

The good news is there's no heavy suspension or gearing to weigh the Cubie 180 down, meaning it weighs only 7.5kg

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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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Autumn cycling

The days are starting to draw in, it’s getting a bit colder and the leaves are changing colour.

Autumn can be a wonderful time of the year to get out cycling with your child – from finding brightly coloured leaves, collecting conkers, seeing squirrels, racing cyclocross or riding muddy routes there’s usually a lot to keep them occupied, what ever their age.

Here’s our pick of article to help you get out on two wheels this time of year:


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