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.

Best buys on 18″ wheel first bikes for 5 year olds

If you're looking for a 18" wheel pedal bike for your 5 or 6 year old, then here's our quick picks on the best buys at different price points to suit all budgets.

The Kidvelo Rookie 18 is a great bike for slightly older children who may not have learnt to ride yet because you can convert it from a balance bike to a pedal bike. We think this bike offers good value for a lightweight bike with pedals too.

Price: £260

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This 18" wheeled Frog bike bridges the gap between a small pedal bike and a larger geared bike. This single speed, easy to ride bike is a good option for children who are too tall for a standard 16″ wheel pedal bike, but don’t have the ability yet to move onto a bike with gears.

Discounted price: £385

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The Forme Cubley 18 is a great bike for all round riding, now available to lease through Bike Club.

Subscribed price: £13.99 per month

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These uniquely designed bikes have an extending frame which allows the bike to grow with your child. This makes a Black Mountain KAPEL a clever investment as you don't have to upgrade as frequently. There is also an optional balance bike kit if your child hasn't yet mastered pedalling.

Price: £499

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Before you start take a moment to grab your FREE kids bike buying checklist to 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:

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 18" wheel kids bikes

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

Raleigh Pop 18

If you’re looking for an 18″ wheel bike with gears then one option is the Raleigh Pop 18. It’s available in blue and green and is aimed at ages 5 to 7 years old. 

It’s worth pointing out that the Pop is about 2 kg heavier than a lot of the other 18″ bikes, so you need to consider whether your child is a strong and confident cyclist able to cope with this additional weight and the complexity of the gears.

Kidvelo Rookie 18 Balance / Pedal Bike

Kidvelo rookie 18 balance to pedal bike

The Kidvelo Rookie 18 is a great bike for slightly older children who may not have learnt to ride yet and will likely start pedalling soon.

It is aimed at ages 5 to 8 years old and starts off as a large balance bike and then if and when your child is ready to try out pedals the Rookie 18 then easily converts to a pedal bike, with a simple-to-fit pedal conversion kit. So you essentially get 2 bikes for the price of one.

You can convert easily if your child needs to try pedals for a short time and then revert back to a balance bike for a while longer. It’s designed to work effortlessly in either balance bike or pedal bike mode.

The Rookie 18 balance-to-pedal bike is also a popular choice for children with additional needs who may want to learn their balance using the balance bike mode and then have the opportunity to progress to using pedals.

We’ve reviewed the Kidvelo Rookie 12, which was the first bike in their range, and were very impressed.

Click here for more help

The Black Mountain HÜTTO is actually a 20" wheel bike, but we've included in this article because it's actually designed to replace a 18" wheel and a 20" wheel bike, due to it's growing frame design, so may suit a taller child better than the 18" wheel KAPĒL.

The HUTTO comes in three different versions - the standard version is adequate for most types of riding, but if you're planning on getting out on the trails there's two mountain bike versions available. The HÜTTO Trail has front suspension and the HÜTTO Disc has the added benefit of disc brakes.

If your child is not pedalling you can buy a separate balance bike convertor kit for the HÜTTO.

orange and green how to carry your kids by bike advert with a photo of a family on a bike ride

Before you go.....

If you're planning on buying your child a helmet to go with their new bike, do make sure they're wearing it properly (otherwise there's not much point them having it on!)

Is your child’s bike helmet fitted correctly?

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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