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.
If you're wanting a premium brand bike, such as the Forme 16or the Squish 16, without the upfront costs, then a subscription to the Bike Club is worth considering. For just £9.99 per month you use one of their bikes, and then when your Cycle Sprog grows you upgrade to the next wheel size. We've explained more abouthow the Bike Club works here.
At the moment you should get a pop up appear when you visit their website - sign up to their newsletter and they'll send a code for your first month free. If that doesn't work ask a question in the chat and they'll probably send you one that way.
Wild Bikes are a really well specc'ed bike for the price. You get all the important features of a more expensive kids bike, such as lightweight frame, child sized components (that work) and a modern design. Just without the brand name or price tag!
This is a great value 16" wheel bike from Decathlon, which weighs in at just 7.5kg thanks to it's aluminium frame (far lighter than their other steel framed bikes). It's already sold out in the red and has a limited number left in the stylish blue option with cream wheels.
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 (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:
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.
You can 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.
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.
The Cubley 16 has all the features we’re used to seeing from the more established kids bike brands, and it’s great that Forme are also partnering with the Bike Club, who offer a kids bike rental service.
We’re impressed with the low weight of the Forme Cubley 16 – it tips the scales at just 6.64kg. It’s so important to have a bike that your child can pick up and manoeuvre without struggling if they’re going to enjoy riding it (plus it’s much easier for you when you’re carrying it around).
Other features on this bike include a size specific crank set for little legs, narrow bars, short reach stem and smaller pedals, plus grippy tyres so you don’t have to worry about your Cycle Sprog riding through puddles!
The Forme Cubley 16 can be leased from the Bike Club- you pay a monthly subscription and when your Cycle Sprog grows out of the bike just send it back and upgrade to a bigger bike.
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.
Giant are one of the world’s biggest bike brands, and the Giant ARX 16 has everything you’d expect from a single speed kids bike.
It’s really light (great for when you have to pick it up and carry it) and is fitted with versatile tyres for cycling on lots of different surfaces, child sized components and comes in a range of fun, bold colours.
The BTwin 16 is fitted with mudguards, a kickstand and a chain guard, which are all great additions, especially if you’re riding regularly to school or around town. It is available in Red and Blue and is aimed at ages 4 and 5 years old.
The woom 3 is one of the lightest 16″ wheel bike we’ve reviewed. This is due to almost every part on the Woom 3 being made from lightweight aluminium, and it meant our 4 year old tester was able to easily pick the bike up and move it around.
A nice touch is that the rear brake block and the rear brake lever both have green on them, so you can call out to your child to pull on the green brake – simple but effective!
Front: Alloy Cantilever - operated by brake lever on handlebars
Rear: Coaster Brake - stop by back pedalling
CUBE IMPAC Streetpac 1.75
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.
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.