Frog 48 Kids’ 16″ Bike Review

Frog 48 Review

Having just reviewed a couple of super impressive 16″ bikes, I was somewhat skeptical of how the Frog 48 could compete. That doubt quickly disappeared as I saw the pretty, shiny little red bike in the showroom of Salt Lake City’s Saturday Cycles.  Not only was the paint job killer, the fenders, Kenda tires, and bell made the 16” bike an impressive little package.

The Frog 48, long a favorite of UK families, is finally available in the United States.  Cue the cheers!  My 4-year-old certainly did when I pulled the bike from the back of my SUV on a Friday afternoon.  He immediately asked to bike to dinner (which we obliged), and has been riding it pretty much constantly since then.

If you are shopping for a bike for your 4-6 year old, the Frog 48 deserves a place on your short-list of options.  Read on for more info.


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Attractive paint job
  • Easy-to-reach, easy-to-pull brake levers
  • Customizable – your choice of tires and rear wheel
  • Comes with extras – fenders and a bell

Cons:

  • Steering limiter isn’t removable
  • No free shipping to home

Price and Where to Buy:


Frog 48 Detailed Review

Attractive paint job and design

I’m not going to lie – my favorite thing about the Frog 48 is the paint job.  It’s just so pretty!!!  The Frog bikes come in a variety of beautiful color schemes and designs.  In addition to the paint, there are several features that just make the bike look really slick.  The minimalistic chainguard includes the Frog image, and the spokes on the wheels nearest the air valve are green to match the accent color of the bike.  Of course, none of these things affect the ride quality of the bike, but don’t worry, the bike rides well too…..

Your choice of knobby or slick tires

The Frog 48 works equally well on-road and off.  Frog gives you the option of slick tires or knobby tires.  We chose the knobby Kenda tires since we do a lot of mountain biking, and they have performed superbly on both the pump track and singletrack – as well as biking around town.

Frog 48 Kenda Tires

Your choice of coaster brake or freewheel

Again, Frog gives you the option to customize the bike.  You can choose from either a coaster wheel or a freewheel.  We took the freewheel, and if you want to know why, read this post.  Nonetheless, it is nice to be given the option.

Dual Tektro handbrakes

We’ve had experience with the Tektro brakes on several bikes that we’ve tested, and they seem to be the standard for high-quality kids bikes.  The dual brake levers are easy for little hands to operate, and the stopping power of the rim brakes is good enough that we feel comfortable letting our son ride pretty steep dirt trails with them.

Frog 48 Handbrakes

Geometry, Size, and Weight

Weighing in at 14.8 pounds, the Frog 48 is lightweight – but not quite as light as some of its nearest competitors.  The Woom 3 for instance weighs a mere 12.3 pounds and the Early Rider Belter weighs 12.5 pounds.  If you consider that those extra 2 pounds account to 5% of my son’s bodyweight, any weight savings at this age can make a significant difference.  That said, the Frog 48 is still HALF the weight of most big-box store bikes and is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

The geometry is more aggressive then the Woom 3, and is probably most comparable to the Cleary Hedgehog.   For timid kids, or children just learning to ride a pedal bike,  I would recommend a bicycle with  more upright geometry.  That said, my son LOVES the more aggressive geometry of the Frog 48 and has been doing a lot of pump-track riding with it.  This is a case of choosing the correct geometry, for your child and their skill level.

Frog advertises the 48 for kids ages 4 to 5, but you are better off measuring your child and basing your purchase based off that.  Read this article for tips on fitting your child to a bike.  Frog also offers an awesome fit chart on their website that you should make use of before ordering.  My 4.5 year old barely fits on the 48 with the seat in its lowest position, so don’t just assume your kiddo will fit on this bike for their 4th birthday.  Measure first!

Steering limiter

The Frog 48 comes with a built-in steering limiter that is super helpful for kids just learning to ride.  That said, it would be nice if it was removable for kids who have mastered their control of the bike.  My son has gotten frustrated multiple times at the pump track when he wasn’t able to make as sharp of turns as he would like.  This was my only real criticism of the bike during testing.

Fenders and bell

The Frog 48 comes standard with fenders (or “mudguards” as the British evidently call them).  This is the only bike we’ve ever tested that came with them, and is a really nice feature.  On a rainy day mountain biking in Fruita, CO, they did an excellent job of keeping my 4 year old dry and clean.  The bike also comes with a bell included, which kids of course love!

Frog 48 Fenders

Purchasing

One thing that’s a little different about the Frog bikes than most other kids bike companies in the U.S. – Woom, Cleary, Pello, etc – is that you have to buy it through a local bike shop.  You can order online thru their website, but it ends up being shipped to a bike shop to be assembled.   Unlike the aforementioned companies, you also have to pay for delivery if you happen to be out of range of a local dealer – which is sort of a bummer.

The benefits of buying thru a local bike shop are obvious – it supports your local economy, they’ll (hopefully) make sure that your child is fitted to the right bike, and you can rest assured that the bike has been correctly and safely assembled.  That said, if you are even moderately mechanically inclined, assembling a 16” kids bike is not difficult – in fact, I am mechanically disinclined and I do it with our test bikes ALL THE TIME.  For this reason, I think it would be nice if Frog allowed shipping directly to your home, sans delivery fee.

Comparison

Here’s how the Frog 48 compares to other high-quality 16” kids bikes.

BikePriceWeightMinimum Seat HeightFreewheel OptionDual HandbrakesTraining WheelsFrame Material
Frog 48$32014.8 lbs19″YesYesNoAluminum
Woom 3$37012.26 lbs19”YesYesNoAluminum
Islabikes Cnoc 16$42014.5 lbs19”NoYesNoAluminum
Pello Revo$30016.2 lbs20”NoNoNoAluminum
Cleary Hedgehog$31516 lbs19”YesYesNoSteel
Early Rider Belter$42012.5 lbs19.5”YesYesNoAluminum
Spawn Banshee$35015 lbs18.5”YesYesNoAluminum
Stampede Bikes Sprinter$23017.8 lbs22”YesYesNoAluminum
ByK E-350*$25917.6 lbs18”NoYesYesAluminum
Ridgeback Dimensions$34916 lbs20.5”YesYesNoAluminum

Bottom-Line

After testing the Frog 48, I’ve promptly moved it onto my “best of” list for 16” bikes.  It contends with higher-priced brands like Woom, Islabikes, and Spawn.  Indeed, the Frog 48 is a high-quality, easy-to-ride bike that I would recommend to any parent.

Kristen

Kristen is a project manager and writer. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her family on the trails in Salt Lake City and Park City, UT.

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