Looking for a 16 inch BMX bike for your child? We’ve researched, tested, 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.
If BMX racing is what you’re interested in, pick a bike from this list instead:
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
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 a ride that is ready to clear the doubles!
Fit 16 Misfit
The Fit 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.
We The People Seed 16
We The People make amazing BMX bikes, and the WTP Seed 16 is an adult quality bike in a pint sized package. You’ll find high quality in-house WTP components like the Salt Rookie cranks and Salt Junior stem and pedals .
This bike isn’t cheap, but it can stand up to some serious riding. If your child is ready to take things to the next level, this is the bike to do it.
The only drawback is that all those bomb-proof parts come at a price–in addition to the pricetag the bike is also fairly heavy at 21.5 pounds.
Haro Downtown 16
Another long-time contender in the BMX world, Haro has been building a myriad of bikes for decades.
The Haro 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.
Sunday Primer 16
The Sunday 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.
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…..
Colony Horizon 16
When choosing a bike for a young rider, you need to make sure that the geometry has been appropriately scaled. The Colony Horizon has done just that, providing a bike with a low stand over and easy maneuverability.
The bike is built up on a lightweight alloy frame coupled with a CrMo fork. Components include in-house Colony wheels and drivetrain.
GT Lil Performer
GT has been a staple in the cycling industry for decades. The GT 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.
SE Bikes Bronco
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, the SE Bronco 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.
Comparison Chart: 16″ Kids BMX Bikes
Not sure how these bikes stack up against each other? Use this comparison chart to help you choose.
|Bike||Weight||Wheel Size||Fork Material||Frame Material||Tires||Brake||Front chainring||Cassette||Top Tube Length|
|GT Lil Performer||21.1 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16x2.1"||U-Brake||25T||8T||16.3"|
|SE Bikes Bronco||21.7 lbs||16"||Steel||Aluminum||16x2.1"||V-Brake||36T||16T||15.1"|
|Haro Downtown 16||22.5 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16x2.25"||U-Brake||25T||9T||16.4"|
|Fit 16 Misfit||21.3 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16x2.25"||V-Brake||25T||9T||16.5"|
|Sunday Primer 16||23.3 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16x2.1"||U-Brake||25T||9T||16"|
|Kink Carve 16||22 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16x2.4"||U-Brake||25T||9T||16.5"|
|Cult Juvenile 16||17.4 lbs||16"||Steel||Aluminum||16x2.3"||U-Brake||25T||9T||16.5"|
|Colony Horizon 16||20.3 lbs||16"||Steel||Aluminum||16" x 2.1"||U-Brake||25T||9T||15.9"|
|We The People Seed 16||21.3 lbs||16"||Steel||Steel||16" x 2.2"||U-Brake||25T||10T||16"|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.