So, you’ve done your research and know that you want to buy your child (or grandchild) a high-quality, lightweight bicycle. The only thing keeping you from pulling the trigger is the high price.
Meet the Belsize 16. This fantastic little 16 inch bike has child appropriate geometry, brand name components, and weighs a mere 12.5 pounds.
And it costs considerably less than it’s competition. Sound too good to be true?
Keep reading to find out…..
Review In A Nutshell
- Affordable (compared to similar bikes)
- Low-maintenance belt drive
- Lightweight (12.5 lbs)
- Child-appropriate geometry
- High-quality components
- Dual handbrakes (no coaster)
- Low profile bolts
- Not from a “bike” company
- No quick release seatpost collar
Price & Where To Buy:
- $359.99 List
- Check Price at BelsizeBikes.com*
- Price not available at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-05-10 at 16:20) – More info
Great Bang For Your Buck
While the Belsize 16 isn’t exactly a “budget” bike it does offer a ton of value for your money, and comes in SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than other comparable bikes. The Early Rider Belter 16 (which the Belsize looks like) costs $439 while the Belsize will only set you back $330.
Is there anything you’re sacrificing for the lower price? Not really. The only “con” we can come up with is that the Belsize 16 doesn’t come from a dedicated bike company…..
Belsize Is Made By A11N Sports
Why might you choose NOT to buy the Belsize? The only negative we can see is that the bike is made by A11N sports, a sporting goods company that manufacturers all kinds of stuff.
Because it’s not a dedicated cycling company, we do wonder a bit about how they would deal with replacement parts and customer service issues. That’s not to say we have had any issues (we haven’t), but only that we don’t have the same kind of experience with them that we’ve had with companies like Woom, Prevelo, etc.
Belt Drive Is Unique and Low Maintenance
The biggest differentiator of the Belsize 16 is the Continental belt drive. There aren’t many kids bikes with a belt drive (the Early Rider and Priority Start 16 are the only ones that immediately come to mind).
Belt drives are rad—especially on kids bikes. Unlike a chain, you don’t have to clean and lube them.
And if you live in a wet, humid, or salty climate, you don’t have to worry about the belt drive rusting like you would with a chain. This is particularly important with kids bikes because kids are notorious for leaving bike maintenance for mom and dad and for leaving their bikes laying around outside.
If you’ve been following us for long, you know that we’re HUGE proponents of buying a lightweight bike. Most kids bikes are HEAVY, and choosing one that’s light can make a massive difference.
Lightweight bikes are more fun to ride and are easier to handle. At a mere 12.5 pounds, the Belsize 16 is one of the lightest 16 inch bikes around. For comparison sake, the similarly priced Guardian Ethos 16 weighs 17.5 pounds–a whopping 5 pounds more!
Child Appropriate Geometry Makes The Belsize Easy To Ride
Too many kids bikes have poorly designed geometry. This makes it hard for kids to balance, to learn to pedal, and to ride hard and fast.
The Belsize 16 on the other hand, has well thought proportions. We appreciate things like the long wheelbase, low center of gravity, and appropriately short cranks.
That said, it is worth noting that the geometry on the Belsize 16 is a bit more aggressive than a 16 inch bike like the Woom 3. Kids on the Belsize will be more leaned over than the upright position on the Woom.
This is neither a good or a bad thing. It just means that the Belsize is a better fit for kids who already know how to pedal or who are more athletic. A bike like the Woom is a better fit for kids just learning to pedal or who are more timid.
High Quality Components Make For A Durable And Enjoyable Ride
A bike is only as good as the components it is built up with. Fortunately, the components on the Belsize 16 are high-quality and brand name.
Why does this matter? Far too many kids bikes are made to be affordable but cut corners on quality. Consequently, they end up lasting only a year or two before they break and end up in the landfill.
If you spend a little more for a good quality kids bike, like the Belsize 16, it will last through multiple kids and can still be sold on the used market later on.
Tektro Hand Brakes
For starters, the bike has Tektro hand brakes. These brakes are the standard on higher quality kids bikes.
Unlike many kids hand brakes, the Tektro levers are both easy to pull and easy to reach. They are adjustable as well, so you can bring them in to better fit the smallest hands.
This makes them easy to learn with, and we FAR prefer them to a coaster brake. If you’re not familiar with the difference between hand brakes, read our article on hand brakes vs coaster brakes.
The Belsize has Kenda tires. These are brand name tires that are durable and will handle a lot of wear before needing to be replaced.
The tires are best suited for paved neighborhood streets and bike paths but have enough tread to handle a bit of grass, dirt, or gravel as well.
Sealed Bearing Hubs And Threadless Headset
Both the wheels and headset on the Belsize have high quality sealed bearings. This means that they’ll move smoothly and keep doing so for a long time.
Brushed Aluminum Frame
The Belsize has a beautiful, brushed aluminum frame with clean welds. While we love the plain aluminum, you can also get it painted (blue or pink).
Soft Grips With Ends
The bike comes with nice soft grips. The ends also have ends, which help to keep little hands from slipping off.
Best Fit For 4 Year Olds
The Belsize 16 is going to provide the best fit for kids in a 4T or 5T pant. The minimum seatpost height is 18 inches, so if your child is new to a pedal bike, you want to make sure your child’s inseam is AT LEAST 18 inches long.
If your kiddo has already mastered pedaling, you can get away with a slightly shorter inseam. Making sure your child is tall enough for the bike is especially important on the Belsize because the stand over height (top tube height) of the Belsize is higher than 16 inch bikes like the Woom 3 or the Prevelo Alpha Two with their down-sweeping top tubes.
One thing worth noting is that the bike does NOT have a quick-release seatpost collar. This means that you need a tool (an allen wrench) to raise or lower the seat.
Kids grow so quickly that we sort of consider a quick release collar a must have. The good news is that it’s easy and cheap to add one after the fact if you decide you need one.
Like all (or nearly all) 16 inch bikes, the Belsize 16 has a singlespeed (one-gear) drivetrain. Because the gearing is fixed, it’s especially important to make sure it is geared appropriately.
The Belsize has a 28 tooth rear sprocket and a 46 tooth front chain ring. This makes for a 1.6 gear ratio and a 3.4 gain ratio.
This one of the lower gain ratios of our favorite 16 inch kids bikes. What does that mean?
It means that the bike is easy to pedal (excellent for families that live in hilly areas), but kids can get spun out on flat roads (less excellent for kids who like to ride fast). At the end of the day though, we’d much rather see a bike with a lower gain ratio than one that is too high.
Compared To The Belsize 16 PRO
If you’re not on a tight budget, you may also want to consider the Belsize 16 Pro. It costs a bit more, but gets you an integrated rather than square taper crank which saves weight and adds durability.
The PRO also has an alloy freehub casette (aka rear sprocket) rather than a plastic one. Again, this is a durability issue.
Finally, the two bikes differ in their gearing. While we mentioned above that the Belsize 16 has a 3.4 gain ratio, the Pro has a 4.0 gain ratio. This makes the Pro better suited for stronger more athletic riders and those living in flat areas, while the standard Belsize 16 is better for new riders and those that live in hilly areas.
Read Our Review: Belsize 16 Pro
Other Things Worth Mentioning
- Pedals. The pedals are *fine* but not our favorites. If you end up wanting a better pedal, you can always upgrade with one of our favorite kids bike pedals.
- Low profile bolts. While the axle bolts aren’t fully recessed (like those on the Woom bikes), they do have a much lower profile than the raised bolt covers on most kids bikes. This helps to keep kids from getting scratched.
- Saddle. Like the pedals, the saddle is just fine but nothing to write home about. If your child has any complaints about it, you can upgade with one of our favorite kids bike saddles.
|Belt||Continental Belt HTD 824-8M 12|
|Brakes||Tektro Dual Front Hand V-Brakes (Linear Pull)|
|Fork||Hand Brushed Al6061, Forged Drop Outs|
|Frame||Hand Brushed Al6061, Forged Drop Outs|
|Front Hub||Cartridge Bearing, CNC’D Al6061|
|Front Sprocket||CNC’D Al6061, 46T, Hollow 115|
|Grips||Er Soft Touch Mushroom|
|Handle Bar||Riser Handle Bar, 480mm Double Butted Al6061|
|Rear Hub||Four-Bearing Cassette Free | Hub, CNC’D Al6061|
|Rear Sprocket||CNC’D Al6061, 28T|
|Rims||16 x 20H, Double Walled Al6061|
|Saddle||Black Soft Leatherette|
|Seat Clamp||Er Bolt, 28.6mm|
|Seat Post||Al6061, 25.4mm|
|Stem||Forged Al6061, 60mm Reach|
|Tyre||16*1.5” Kenda, Inflatable|
Bottom-Line: A High Quality Kids Bike With An Attractive Pricetag
The Belsize 16 has most of the features that we look for in a kids bike. It’s lightweight, has child appropriate geometry, and is built up with durable components.
The belt drive also helps set it apart from the myriad of kids bikes on the market. In fact, if you live in a wet or salty climate, OR you simply hate dealing with bike maintenance, then the belt drive might be THE selling feature.
In our opinion, the most attractive thing about the Belsize 16 is the pricetag. It offers almost everything we’d ask for in a 16 inch bike, at an incredibly competitive pricepoint.
More Reading To Help You Choose
- 5 Best Bikes for Your 4 to 6 Year Old (16 Inch Bikes)
- Best Kids Bikes: How To Choose, Reviews, & More!
- The Ultimate Guide To Kids Bike Sizes (And Bike Size Chart)
The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.
Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.
If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!
14 thoughts on “Belsize 16 Review: A More Affordable High Quality Kids Bike”
Please review the 20 inch too!
Would love to! Looking at the specs though, it’s pretty much identical except for the size/weight.
I noticed your Belsize has a riser handlebar, whereas the version for sale online now has flat bars. Any idea what’s going on there, and if the flat bar would create any weight distribution issues?. I can’t really fathom why they would put a flat bar on a kid’s bike, when even professional mountain bikers switched to riser bars decades ago, for the improved comfort.
Hi Martin, That is kind of weird that they’ve changed it. Their pics show the flat bars but the specs mention the riser bar. I’ll email and see if I can get a response……In any case, I don’t think you’ll have any weight distribution issues (we’ve tested other bikes with a flat bar), but I do think it’s less comfortable. You could always swap out bars later on your own as well…..
I’m in between this bike and the guardian. Any last words of wisdom?
Leaning toward this bike due to the belt
Yeah, the belt drive is super cool! I’d also lean toward this bike due to the weight. The only thing worth considering is that the geo is more aggressive than the Guardian, so if you have a more timid rider the Guardian could be a better pick.
It has kenda 16 x1.5 tires. Any idea the biggest tire that will fit the rim and frame?
We have this bike and love it, but after a recent ride I realized that the front hub is now missing a bolt and nut. I’ve contacted the company, but do you happen to know what size bolt we need to replace it, and where I might find a replacement nut?
FYI, I contacted Belsize and heard back immediately. They offered to replace the parts for the cost of shipping (from China, so not insignificant), which I accepted. They came quickly and were what I needed (although I still don’t have the bolt size/thread type, just the part number). Great customer service, with the downside of the high shipping cost.
We are now trying to decide between this bike and park cycle 16 for our 3.75 year old little girl who is a medium to aggresive rider. Could you please advise us? Which one might be better.
Are there any other extremely light weight bikes like this in 24” for kids? Everything seems to be more than 18lbs.
Great detailed reviews and overall site. I purchased the 16″ Belsize new for my 4 year old daughter and the seat design mounted to post seams to be the weakest link to the overall design. Sure a quick release would be great on a growing child’s bike but I’m ok with this. The issue is that the seat itself can not be tightened enough to the top of seat post which allows it to move counter clockwise about 20° from straight. I’ve written Belsize directly asking for a replacement of defective seat and will update the group post accordingly as I now realize some parts are not common off the shelf items that a local bike shop would be able to order, much less stock.
I’m pretty sure this is the bike we’ll be getting for my son, seems just about perfect for the price point – not looking to spend $500 on a bike he’ll probably only ride for a year or so, but also don’t want a bike shaped object.
One question for you Kristen, or anyone else who might know. On the Belsize website, reviews are mostly very positive, but a few mention the rear brake being difficult to pull, some without any adjustment that seems to make it better. Any insight on this? My son has only used coaster brakes on a Strider bike with pedal kit so far, so the thought of the front being easy to pull and the back not is a little worrying with the potential to go over the handlebars in that scenario.
The Belsize has Tektro v-brakes, which are pretty much the gold standard on kids bikes. You’ll find the same brakes on the much more expensive Early Rider Belter, for example. While our tester had no problem pulling the brake levers, he did already have significant experience with hand brakes. Sometimes there is a learning curve, especially for more timid kids. Barring there actually being something mechanically wrong with the brakes in those reviews (which is possible), I’m guessing that was the case. If you are worried about it, you could always look at the Guardian 16, which can be an easier bike to first brake with.