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

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Buying a 16" wheel bike is such an important mission!  Get it right and you're giving your child (grandchild etc) a love of cycling to last a lifetime.

Usually children aged about 4 or 5 years of age are either just starting to pedal, or gaining confidence having learnt to ride on a smaller bike.

The perfect bike for your child will depend on their height, inside leg measurement and riding ability, plus your budget and how often and where it will be ridden.

You've certainly come to the right place, as here at Cycle Sprog we're experts in kids bikes - having been reviewing them, writing about them and recommending them since 2012!

We've trawled all the different brands to bring you wide choice of 14" wheel bikes bikes in different colours, prices and styles and also include options for long term leasing and buying second hand, so there's hopefully a bicycle for every budget.

Best buys on 16" wheel kids bikes

If you're looking for a 16" wheel bike for your child (or grandchild), here's our top recommendations in each price category.

Or keep scrolling for loads more advice and inspiration.

Black Friday deals on 16" wheel kids bikes

Black Friday can be a brilliant time to get a cheap deal on a 16" wheel kids bike.

However PLEASE promise us that you won't go for the cheapest, heaviest, most badly made bike shaped toy.  It will be a false economy as it will either break or your child will struggle to ride it.

These are some of our top picks for Black Friday deals on 16" wheel kids bikes

Forme Cubley 16 (with Bike Club) - £14.99 p/m £7.49 p/m

Raleigh Pop 16 - £199 £158.99

Wild Bikes Wild 16 - £275 £210

Scott Scale 16w - £389 £299

For more deals check out our article Best Black Friday deals on kids bikes.

Quick Pick - Best 16" wheel bike

We've recently had the brand new woom 3 Automagic in for review here at Cycle Sprog HQ.

Initially we were sceptical - surely automatic gearing on a 16" wheel bike is a complete gimmick?

But no! We were wrong (doesn't happen often, but we're happy to concede when it does!)

It turns out the "magic" gears work incredibly well and really helped our reviewer pick up speed and get up hills.

woom 3 automagic bike- a red bike on a country lane

We're happy to stick our necks on the line and say this is the best 16" wheel bike currently available!

Read our review of the woom 3 Automagic and tell us you're not impressed!

Buy Now

 

B'Twin 16's are great value bikes from Decathlon. The 900 model bike is lightweight aluminium which is well worth the additional upgrade from the 100 and 500 models.

Price: £119-£179

Buy Now

If you like tech then check out the Specialized Jett 16.  Download their app and key in your kids measurements to get instructions on how to set up bike for the perfect fit. It even has two pedal settings so the bike will last as little legs grow.

And even better, this bike is discounted in the Tredz Summer sale - plus sign up for their newsletter and get an extra £5 off.

RPP: £339  Now: £270 with free shipping

Save now

A great quality 16" wheel bike from a long established Derbyshire based bike brand.

Subscribe price: £12.99 per month via Bike Club

Buy new: £309.99

 

Bike Club  Buy New

The Woom 3 is one of the lightest and best made 16" wheel kids bikes available. Our reviewer really liked the green brake lever which makes it really easy to explain which brake lever your child should be using. Clever!

If you want a lightweight, quality kids bike without the upfront costs then subscribe to Bike Club.

They take the hassle out of having to buy, own and sell on a bike each time your child grown - very clever!

For inner-leg: 42cm to 52cm

Further reading: How does the Bike Club work?

Bike Club

 

A balance bike that converts into a pedal bike, with an extending frame - so 3 bikes for the price of 1! Great if your child hasn't learnt to pedal yet.

Price: £399

Buy Now

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 a 16" wheel bike for?

It goes without saying that all children are different, but on average a 16" bike is aimed at children aged between about  4 and 5 years of age.

16" wheel bikes tend to be sized for children with a minimum height of about 105 cm, with a variety of minimum inside leg measurements from about 40cm upwards.

Measure your child carefully – there’s a big variation in the height and inside leg measurements between a small 4 year old and a tall 5 year old, as well as between different makes of bike.

Please don’t be tempted to buy a bike that is too big – it can be very off-putting (and dangerous) to a 4 year old to have to ride a bike that is too large for them, and it’s unlikely to get the use it deserves.

These articles will help you:

DEALS OF THE WEEK ON 16" WHEEL BIKES

Last updated 2nd November 2022.

Discounts on many 16" wheel kids bikes at Tredz

Specialized Jett 16 kids bike

 

Tredz, who stock a wide range of great quality 16" wheel kids bikes, and offer free UK shipping and interest free finance, have a lots of discounts at the moment.

One bike that's currently discounted is the Specialized Jett 16 (pictured above)    The Jett 16 is built to be really adjustable, so you can move saddle, handlebar and pedals with the help of an online bike fit app, to get the positioning perfect for your child every time they have a growth spurt.

Save now

 

20% off Vitus 16 - down to £179.99 from £279

Vitus 16 kids bike 2021

Chain Reaction Cycles currently have a massive 20% off the Vitus 16, which is a really well specified, lightweight  bike that is great fun to ride and looks great too!  You're going to really struggle to find a similar quality bike at this price - a real bargain!

Save now

 

What makes a good 16″ wheel kids bike for a 4 and 5 year old?

The kids bikes recommended in this article are all well specified and lightweight (almost all under 8kg) single gear bikes, with child specific components such as shorter cranks, small reach brakes and small saddles and 16 inch wheels.

The majority of bikes for this age group don’t have gears, as this adds complexity and weight that most children don’t need when they are only 4 years old.

This means that all the bikes featured will be fun and easy to ride and should last several children (and still allow you to sell on at the end, to recoup some of the cost back).

16" wheel not the right size? 

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

The best 14" starter bikes 

The best 18" wheel kids bikes

Big balance bikes for taller children

or use our Kids Bike Finder to quickly find the perfect bike

 

The best 16" wheel kids bikes

Here's our selection of the best 16 inch wheel kids bikes currently available.

We list prices based on the new cost, so it's worth checking the next price band for sales or second hand bargains, plus

Best budget 16" wheel kids bikes - under £250 RRP

These 16 inch bikes are all great choices for getting your little one riding confidently.  All the bikes we recommend have been designed with children in mind, with details like easy to use brakes and child proportioned components.

At this price point the 16" wheel bikes will be slightly heavier than their more expensive counterparts, and the components are likely to be own brand.  But these bikes are all built for cycling safely and enjoyable which is the most important thing to remember when buying your child a bike. (Read our article on why you shouldn't buy a REALLY cheap new kids bike here)

BTwin 16 900

It’s unusual to find a lightweight aluminium framed 16″ wheel kids bike at this price point.  B’Twin is the in-house brand for Decathlon, which explains why – they’re such a huge company they have economies of scale that many smaller brands don’t have.  This means they can deliver a great value kids bike at a cheap price.

Until recently Decathlon’s kids bikes were all heavy steel framed affairs, but they’re been upgrading their range and the B’Twin 16 900 is a great example of what they’ve managed to deliver.

The BTwin 16 weighs in at 7.3kg, which is significantly lighter than most cheap 16 inch kids bikes at this price, or lower.

Plus the bicycle is fitted with mudguards, a kickstand and a chain guard, which can be great additions if you’re riding regularly to school or around town and want your child to ride their own bike.

Best midrange 16" wheel kids bikes (£250 - £350)

There are a lot of really good 16" wheel kids bikes to choose from in the midrange price category.

Once you go above £250 (new RRP) you generally get lighter frames, improved specification of components and a wider choice of styles and colours.

The brands in this price bracket tend to be the smallest offerings from big bike brands, so they're able to use economies of scale to deliver decent bikes at a good price, back up by decent warranties.

 

Specialized Jett 16

The Specialized Jett 16 is the smallest bike in the Jett range. The bike is designed to be easily configured as your child grows so that they get maximum use out of it, and comes with an online app to key in your child’s measurements.

The app tells you which position to put the saddle, handlebars and pedals for the most comfortable ride and you just recheck it every time your child has a growth spurt.

We’ve reviewed the slightly larger Jett 20 and were very impressed with it’s performance in more urban settings, although it’s able to handle gentle off road riding too.

Wild 16

The Wild 16 is worth considering if you’re looking for a lightweight 16″ wheel bike at a decent price, and aren’t bothered about the kudos of a bigger name.

Whilst we haven’t reviewed this bike range, we’ve seen them in use and have had positive comments from a few Cycle Sprog readers.

Vitus 16

The Vitus 16 is a great choice for budding cyclists who want to ride further and faster as they get confidence and strength on their bike. It has a lightweight 6061 alloy frame and fork plus the all important child specific components such as brake levers, saddle and handlebars.

We’ve reviewed several larger Vitus bikes and our testers have been very impressed with the build quality and comfort of the ride.

Squish 16

The Squish 16 is a lightweight starter bike specified with child-sized components and fitted with good quality Kenda tyres for confident riding on different surfaces.

We’ve not reviewed this particular bike, but we have tested out the slightly larger Squish 18. Our reviewer particularly liked the lightweight of the frame, and the ease of steering and braking. Read our review here.

Boardman JNR 16″

Best premium 16" wheel kids bikes (Over £350 RRP)

With most things in life the more you pay, the better the quality. Kids bikes are no exception, and once you start looking at the premium brands you'll notice the little details, such as the quality and sheen of the paintwork, the ease with which all the components work, the durability of the build and the length of the warranty.

The vast majority of premium 16" wheel bikes are made by companies who only build kids bikes. This means they obsess over the details and spend time and money on R&D to constantly improve their products.

These bikes also really hold their value well, as they built to last. This means they make good investments new, and there's some great secondhand options available too.

Frog 44

Frog Bikes come with everything you expect from a quality kids bike – child specific components, a good riding position and a light weight frame which all combine to make learning to ride such great fun.

The Frog 44 is a new version of the really popular Frog 48, their previous sixteen inch wheel bike.  They’ve introduced a lower standover for the frame, meaning children can start riding it with legs 4 cm shorter than before (i.e 44cm rather than 48cm inside leg). 

We’ve reviewed a wide range of Frog Bikes over the years and they’ve always been well designed and specified.

Subscribe to the Bike Club and get the Frog 44 for a low monthly cost. When it gets too small just upgrade it for a bigger Frog. 

Learn more: Is the Bike Club Any Good? 

Cube Cubie 160

The Cube Cubie 160 is styled on Cube’s adult mountain bike range, so looks a lot more grown up than some other little bikes.

It’s worth noting that this bike has a rear coaster brake, which means your child has to back pedal to stop. These brakes tend to be more popular in the US and continental Europe than the UK, but can be useful for children who aren’t yet able to operate more traditional brake levers.

The Cube Cubie 160 comes with a rear mudguard to keep off most of the dirt and a chain guard to keep things clean.

Islabikes Cnoc 16

Sadly Islabikes stopped selling new bikes in 2023, so this bike is now only available to buy second hand.

The Islabikes Cnoc 16 has everything you want from a first bike in terms of child sized components, longevity and lightweight (5.6kg). Mudguards, off-road tyres and a kickstand are available for this bike.

We’ve reviewed a number of Islabikes over the years and have never failed to be impressed at the quality and attention to detail of these bikes.

Need more help on buying a kids bike?

We know that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find that perfect bike for your child - especially when stocks are low or timescales are tight.

Please don't get too stressed!  We've got lots of articles to help you through the process to ensure you find the best bike for your child, plus our FREE kids buying guide will help you record everything you need.

Keep up to date with the latest Cycle Sprog articles

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Comments

Patty

Hi I have a very short 5 year old. Already very confident on an Islabike Cnoc 14s. Would like to get her on a 16” bike – which one has the lowest seat height? Her older sister had the Carrera cosmos but that is still too big for her. Would the Islabike Cnoc 16 be lower? Or it looks like the new Vitus might be even better? Can you confirm? Thanks

Karen

Hi Patty, Thanks for getting in touch. The Vitus website states that the recommended inside leg for the 16″ is 40 – 54cm which is 2cm less than the Islabikes Cnoc 16. However, we haven’t personally verified that measurement. You also need to remember it can be more than just the leg – you need to also consider your daughter’s reach.
We haven’t been able to do a comparison between these three specific bikes – it might be worth asking on the Family Cycling UK facebook group to see if anyone has experience of these bikes and can help you with measurements of their children. The alternative is to try and find someone locally who has the Islabikes which you could try out. Kind regards Karen

Jamie

Hi just wanted to say this guide has been an amazing help in my search for the right bikes for my little ones. Especialy the tips on 2nd hand buying and how models have changed. Thank you

Penny Millar

Hi Jamie
Thank you for your comment. We’re very pleased to hear that you’ve found the post so helpful and have sourced bikes for your cycle sprogs! We wish you many happy days out on your bikes. Penny

Carolann

Hello,

Thanks for this great blog, so useful!! We went bike shopping for my almost 3 and a half year old daughter today. Tried the Frog 43 and her feet were easily flat on the floor, which I guess is good for balance biking (which she already does well) and for learning to pedal, but we, and the lady in the shop (a reputable independent bike shop) felt the bike wouldn’t last her very long at all. They didn’t have the Frog 48 and we already had the Wild from Go Outdoors in mind so we bought that in the 16’’ size. Only problem is her tip toes only just touch the floor!

Am wondering if we have now bought too big?? The sizing in Go Outdoors suggested that size for 1m upwards but she is 98/99cm… Do we stick with what we have but leave trying to pedal until she is a bit taller?? Would be annoying to spend so much when we know it won’t last, but then I don’t want to make it harder for her either. Confused!!

Nicola

Hello,
Thanks for this brilliant list, really useful. We’re hoping to get our son his first pedal bike for Christmas and have been looking at the Early Rider Belter 16. It’s a very lightweight bike and seems to babe a good spec, so just wondered if there’s a reason why it’s not included here?

Karen

Hi Nicola,
Thanks for getting in touch. We try to include only bikes that are currently available and the Belter 16 hasn’t been in stock in the UK for quite some time so I’d taken it off the list. Their website now says that bikes will be arriving end of October, so once I know it’s available for purchase I can add it back in.
Hope your son enjoys his first pedal bike – exciting times! Karen

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