The majority of the links on this site are affiliate links and we earn from qualifying purchases.

Menu

9 Best 16 Inch BMX Bikes for Kids (Freestyle/Street)

Sunday Primer 16

Looking for a 16 inch BMX bike for your child? We’ve researched and surveyed lots of parents to come up with a list of the 9 best options on the market.

These bikes are intended primarily for freestyle riding. In other words, they are perfect for the skate park, bike jumps, pump track, or playing around in the neighborhood. They can also be used for BMX racing, though if your child is super serious about racing, you might be better served by a race-specific bike. (More on that later).


Age Range for 16 Inch BMX Bikes

16 inch BMX bikes are best suited for kids between 5 and 8 years old.

An even better indicator of appropriate bike size is height. 16″ BMX bikes are a good fit for children between 3’7″ and 4’6″.

You might notice that the appropriate age range for a BMX bike is quite different from a regular kids bike. Kids who are very comfortable on a 20″ pedal bike for riding to and from school will still want a 16″ bike for BMX.

Freestyle BMX vs Race BMX

The bikes on this list are intended primarily for “freestyle” or street BMX. They are perfect for learning tricks and taking to the skate park.

What about BMX racing? While several of these bikes can be used for racing, particularly if you swap out skinnier tires, if your child’s primary focus is BMX racing, you’d be better off getting your child a bike made specifically for BMX racing, such as the Redline Proline Mini or the DK Swift Mini.

We’re also working on a “best of” list of race bikes, so stay tuned for that…..

When NOT to Buy a BMX Bike For Your Child

BMX bikes are awesome for doing tricks, going to the skate park, and goofing off in the neighborhood. What they are not so great for is riding long distances.

If you are looking for a bike for your child to ride around town or join in on family bike rides, they will be better off with a traditional 20″ pedal bike. These bikes have better geometry, bigger wheels, and gears to make long distance riding enjoyable.

Similarly, if your child is interested in trail riding, they will be better off with a 20″ mountain bike.


Cult Juvenile 16

Cult Juvenile 16

With an aluminum frame, 16.5” top tube, and integrated headset, the Cult Juvenile is ready for whatever can be thrown at it.

Similar to both Haro and Sunday, this ride comes with a U-brake mounted under the seat stays. The build is spec’d with in-house parts like the chain, seat and grips. Chromo cranks and a 9-tooth cassette/hub are components that seem to be a standard for this size of BMX bike. The chromoly bar and crank arms against the black frame really make this bike shine.

The Juvenile is another ride that is ready to clear the doubles!

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $349.99

Fit 16 Misfit

Fit 16 Misfit

The Misfit’s aluminum frame is eye catching in all the best ways. Coming in two colors and built with a rear V-brake, Chromoly cranks and in-house components this ride mirrors many of the other bikes mentioned here.

Steep angles, a wide handlebar and 2.25 wide tires will offer stability and durability as your little one learns to pump and roll all the fun stuff.

At 19 pounds, this ride is beating some of the competition and looking good doing it.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $359.99

Haro Downtown 16

Haro Downtown

Another long-time contender in the BMX world, Haro has been building a myriad of bikes for decades.

The Downtown is equipped with a rear U-brake, tapered fork, and the right geo to provide years of fun to your little ripper. Kenda Kontact tires are a nice touch to the build spec and will offer great traction and durability. Hi-Ten components, steel cranks, and a Haro branded seat round out the build.

This bike is guaranteed fun.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $359.99

Haro Leucadia 16

Luecadia 16

Like the Downtown, the Leucadia is a complete ride with a classic geometry offering fun from cruising the neighborhood to finding the local pump and jump park. Mirroring the downtown’s component build down to the chromoly cranks, the Leucadia is equipped for fun.

The bike has a rear U-brake mounted under the seat stays. Kenda Kontact tires and a Haro branded seat are nice additions. The frame features a welded seat clamp and Haro’s “Hi-Ten” tubing with alloy bits to keep the weight down.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $299

Redline Proline Pitboss

Redline Proline Pitboss

Redline has held my attention with BMX bikes ever since I was a child myself. The Proline Pitboss is no exception.

As with most of the bikes mentioned here, a tapered, chromoly steel fork does the major duty of taking impact upfront. Proprietary aluminum is Redline’s choice for frame material.

Nearly all of the components are in-house branded down to the cranks. The only exceptions are the Vee Speedster tires and the Tektro brake. The rear wheel comes with a flip-flop hub so one can change the gearing ratio for the kiddo.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $349.99

Sunday Primer 16

sunday primer 16 inch

The Primer is a beautiful bike with many features that are similar to Haro’s bikes. Hi-Ten tubing for the frame and handlebar, a u-brake under the seat stays and chromoly cranks offer the same durability and reliability.

Sunday has paid attention to the geo needs for little kids though and built this bike to truly fit as a BMX bike for your 5 year old. A mix of in-house components with Odyssey brakes keep the build lightweight and ready to shred.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $349.99

Kink Carve 16″

The Kink Carve is a high-quality BMX bike with a beautiful gloss-black steel frame. Most of the components are in-house and include a well-designed 3-piece crank. The tires are nice wide Innova 16″ x 2.4″, and the bottom-bracket and headset both have sealed bearings.

Not bad for a starter bike…..

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $320

GT Lil Performer

GT Lil Performer

GT has been a staple in the cycling industry for decades. The Lil Performer is a solid entry into the 16 inch BMX lineup of available bikes.

With steel tubing, a mounted rear U-brake, and a myriad of GT branded parts to spec out the build, this bike is ready to hit both the indoor and dirt tracks alike.

This model has been in GT’s lineup for years and because of it’s solid design will continue to do so for many more.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $265

SE Bikes Bronco

se bikes bronco 16

SE Racing is a BMX brand that builds quality rides meant to last for an entire childhood and beyond. With an aluminum frame and both a coaster brake, in addition to a rear V-brake, this ride is meant for little ones trying to learn the ropes of BMX.

SE does spec this bike with training wheels, but with the advent of balance bikes there isn’t as much of a need for those anymore. Some might find that as a handy feature though.

At 21.7 pounds, the Bronco might feel a bit hefty for a 5-year-old, but unfortunately, that’s not too atypical for kids BMX bikes.

Price (MSRP) & Where to Buy:

  • $189.00 USD

Comparison Chart: 16″ Kids BMX Bikes

Not sure how these bikes stack up against each other? Use this comparison chart to help you choose.

BikePrice (MSRP)WeightWheel SizeFork MaterialFrame MaterialTiresBrakeFront chainringCassetteTop Tube Length
GT Lil Performer26521.1 lbs16″SteelSteel16×2.1″U-Brake25T8T16.3″
SE Bikes Bronco18921.7 lbs16″SteelAluminum16×2.1″V-Brake36T16T15.1″
Haro Downtown 16359.9922.5 lbs16″SteelSteel16×2.25″U-Brake25T9T16.4″
Haro Leucadia 16299.9922.5 lbs16″SteelSteel16×2.25″U-Brake25T9T16.4″
Fit 16 Misfit36919 lbs16″SteelAluminum16×2.25″V-Brake25T9T16.5″
Sunday Primer 16349.9923.3 lbs16″SteelSteel16×2.1″U-Brake25T9T16″
Redline Proline Pitboss349.9914.6 lbs16″SteelAluminum16×2″V-Brake36T16T14.4″
Kink Carve 16309.9922 lbs16″SteelSteel16×2.4″U-Brake25T9T16.5″
Cult Juvenile 1635017.4 lbs16″SteelAluminum18×2.3″U-Brake25T9T16.5″


What to Consider Before Buying

Top Tube Length

The smaller your child, the shorter you want the top tube to make sure they fit comfortably. And vice versa: the closer your child is to the top end of the 16″ age range, the longer you’ll want the top tube. There is quite a bit of variation in the geometry and frame size of the different 16 inch BMX bikes, so keep this in mind when shopping.

Weight

Additionally, weight can make a big difference in your child’s enjoyment on a bike. While weight on a “trick” bike is far less important than on a race BMX bike or a pedal bike for longer-distance riding, a lighter bike is still key in helping your child to succeed. A heavy bike can be difficult (and even dangerous) for young kids to learn to jump and perform tricks on.

Frame Material

Most BMX bike frames are made with steel. In particular, you want to look for a bike frame made of Chromoly steel (or CroMo for short). This is high-grade steel that offers superior durability and longevity. Hi-tensile still is a bit heavier and less durable and usually found on cheaper bikes from the big box stores.

If your child is planning on using the bike for racing as well, you’ll probably want to look for a BMX bike with an aluminum frame. Aluminum frames are lighter than steel.

Cranks

BMX bikes come with 1, 2, or 3-piece cranks. Try to avoid bikes with 1-piece cranks as they are cheaper and lack durability. Two-peice cranks are better, but three-piece cranks are best. They have better strength and durability, and also help distinguish higher-end bikes from less durable ones.

Tires

The width and tread of the tires on the bike should match the type of riding your child will be doing. (Although you can always swap out tires later). For skate park and street riding, look for a wide tire with a slick tread. For dirt jumps or the pump track, you’ll want a tire with a bit more tread, similar to a mountain bike tire.

As previously mentioned, if your child wants to use the bike for some BMX racing as well, you’ll want to swap out the stock tires for narrower tires that roll faster on the track.

Brakes

You’ll notice that there are two types of brakes on the bikes on this list: U-brakes and V-brakes.

U-brakes are usually installed on bikes intended for freestyle riding. They are mounted inside the rear triangle and well out of the way of the rider. You’ll find v-brakes on BMX bikes that are intended more for racing.

1 thought on “9 Best 16 Inch BMX Bikes for Kids (Freestyle/Street)”

  1. This article is right on time as I made a bad choice in a 16″ bike for my son that had a 18.5 top tube. Way too long for a 4 year old. Thank you for this. We ordered a new one!

Leave a Comment