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.
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:
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!
The woom 3 can be leased from the Bike Club for a monthly subscription. When you need the next size up just send the bike back and upgrade.
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 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 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.
Price: £185 Saddle height: 465mm - 580mm Bike weight: 6.81 kg Frame and forks: Alloy Brakes: Alloy V-Brake with Alloy Tektro Junior Short Reach Lever With Adjustable Reach Available colours: Red, Blue, Purple Warranty: 12 months
The Cuda Trace 16 is part of a new range of good value kids bikes. Cuda used to have two ranges - a high specification, high price "Performance" range, and a budget range.
They've taken the best bits of both (i.e good quality and low price) and merged to make the new Trace range.
Price: £180 Height range: 105–120cm Saddle height range:47.8 to 60.6cm Bike weight: 7.3 kg Brakes: Own brand v-brakes - Stop Easy system Frame: Aluminium Features: Mudguard and fully enclosed chain guard Available colours: Blue or Red B'Twin Kids Bike Warranty: Lifetime (frame, stem, handlebars). Availability of spare parts: 2 years
We've never listed the BTwin 16" wheel kids bikes on our pages before, because they have, up until very recently, been heavy steel framed bikes which don't get particularly great reviews from parents who have used them for a decent length of time.
This is certainly a step up from Decathlons previous offerings, and you'll definitely notice the weight difference between this aluminium framed bike (7.3 kg) and the cheaper steel frame bikes (from 9.2kg).
The bike is fitted with mudguards, a kickstand and a chainguard, which are all great additions, especially if you're riding regularly to school or around town.
Price: From £190 Inside leg: 47cm - 56cm (alu) 45cm - 54cm Child height: 110cm - 127cm (alu) 109cm - 125cm Bike weight: 8.8kg (alu) and 9.5 kg Brakes: Front: Alloy Cantilever; Rear: Backpedal hub brake Frame: Steel Colours: Various Puky Bike Warranty:
5-year on frames, forks and handlebars if registered online with Puky within 4 weeks of purchase
Puky are a very reputable German company, who are best known in the UK for their indestructible balance bikes. They also make a range of kids bikes which have been harder to come by in this country.
Over the past year or so they've become available in the UK. The attraction of these bikes is the city bike style step through frame, a back pedal rear coaster brake and a rear rack, for those looking for a more continental style of riding.
You must be aware however that these bikes are significantly heavier than most of the other bikes featured - think European kids cycling sedately to kinder garden on flat well maintained cycle paths, which is what these bikes are designed for, not for rugged off road adventures.
However, this isn't your normal type of cheap steel framed bike, which is likely to rust very quickly. Puky coat the entire bike is a special protective powder coating, which means it'll survive whatever weather you throw at it!
RRP: £205 Height range: 100 - 110 cm Minimum inside leg: 47 cm Bike weight: 6.3 kg Frame and forks: Alloy Brakes: Tektro alloy with Tektro full alloy short reach levers Available colours: Orange, teal Warranty: 1 year
Wild Bikes are a good value bike. They come with an attractive two-tone paint scheme, and all the child sized components we'd expect to see on a bike at a higher price point.
Whilst we haven't reviewed this bike range, we've seen them in use and have had positive comments from quite a few Cycle Sprog readers. The range has been designed with younger riders in mind and taken learnings from the leaders in the market.
The Wild 16 is definitely worth considering if you're looking for a lightweight bike at a decent price, and aren't bothered about the kudos of a bigger name.
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.
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 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.
Hoy Bikes are renowned as being really reliable, lightweight and fun to ride kids bikes – after all they are the brain child of Sir Chris Hoy, one of the world’s most successful competitive cyclists!
Our 5 year old tester really enjoyed this bike – she found it easy to brake and steer – plus her parents liked the light weight and robustness of the bike.
Hoy Bikes are sold in Evans Cycles, and Mike Ashley's empire has been having some issues with customer service. This won't affect the riding experience, but could be stressful if something goes wrong with your order. Check out their Trust Pilot scores to see how they're doing at the moment.
Sponsored content: If you've got an old Hoy Bike that's been outgrown but you've not got round to selling on, then The Bike Club are here to help. Click here for a valuation and then sit back whilst they send a courier (and a bike box!) to come and collect it from your home - freeing up space and giving you cash for the next bike.
Early Rider Belter 16
Early Rider Belter key data:
Price: £359 TypicalAge range: 4-5 years Height range:102-120 cm Bike weight: 5.9 kg Brakes: Tektro BX1V Frame and forks: Hand Brushed AL6061, Forged Drop Outs Tyres: Vee Speedster 16x2.0 27TPI WB Available colours: Brushed Alloy Early Rider Warranty: 1 year
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.