It is hard to decide what to like best about the Cleary Hedgehog–the beautifully painted steel frame, the top-notch componentry, or the way the little bike performs out on the trail. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose. Your child can have it all: form and function.
The Hedgehog is Cleary’s 16 inch bike, sized for kids ages 4 to 6. The geometry and design make it look and perform like a real (albeit tiny) mountain bike. That said, it performs just as well on rides around town and on the kindergarten commute as it does on singletrack.
April 2023 Update: Added additional information on scoring.
Review in a Nutshell
Overall Score: 85
- Sturdy and attractive steel frame
- High-quality components
- Reversible freehub wheel provides two gear ratios
- Larger than average pedals provide stability and control
- No quick release for the seatpost
Price & Where to Buy:
- $378 at ClearyBikes.com*
- $378 at ReadySetPedal.com*
Cleary Hedgehog VideoReview
The most unique thing about the Cleary Hedgehog, and most Cleary bikes for that matter, is the steel frame. (Most high-end kids bikes have aluminum frames). Steel versus aluminum is largely a personal preference, although I personally like both the aesthetics and the durably of a steel frame.
The Hedgehog is so durable in fact that it has no maximum rider weight. On the Cleary website, they encourage parents to take the bike for a spin.
I decided to take them up on this offer and rode the Hedgehog around one morning while my son was watching his cartoons. The thing was rad, and despite the cinnamon rolls I ate for breakfast, it didn’t so much as groan.
On a more cosmetic note, the paint job on the Hedgehog is beautiful. It has three coats of paint and a protective top coat, and despite multiple crashes while testing the bike, we didn’t so much as scratch it.
The Cleary Hedgehog is more than just a nice frame. From the headset to the pedals to the tires and the brakes, each part is quality. The FSA headset provides smooth steering and is guaranteed to last thru not one but tow kids (or more). Other brand name components include Kenda Kontact tires and Tektro handbrakes.
Speaking of the Tektro handbrakes, they are easy-to-reach and easy-to-pull. Even the smallest, weakest hands will have no problem mastering the brake levers.
The Hedgehog does NOT have a coaster which we love. (If you’re not sure why we prefer bikes without a coaster, read this article).
The 1.75″ wide tires have a nice all-terrain tread that rolls fast on pavement but can still handle riding gravel, grass, and mud. If your child plans on doing more serious off-road riding, then you may consider upgrading their tires to something a little more knobby.
The last thing that we really dig about the Hedgehog are the nice big pedals. This gives kids more stability and makes their feet less likely to slip off. The crank arms are also slightly angled out, making the bike ideal for doing “tricks.” Compare the Hedgehog’s pedals (left) to more typical kids bike pedals (right).
The only thing that we can think of that is missing on the build is a quick-release for the seat post. A quick-release seat collar on a kids bike is a must, in my opinion.
Kids grow quickly (seemingly overnight) which necessitates frequent seat-height adjustments. Additionally, if you are doing any mountain biking, there is nothing more obnoxious than having to pull out a multi-tool in order to drop the saddle for a big decent. If you decide to purchase the Hedgehog, you might want to invest in a quick-release saddle collar as an upgrade.
The Cleary Hedgehog is an average-sized 16″ bike and will comfortably fit most kids around 4 to 5 years old. My son, who wears a 5T pant, fits perfectly on the bike.
The minimum seat height is 19″, which makes it appropriate for kids with an inseam of AT LEAST 17″. If your child is not already a confident pedaler, you would be better off waiting until your child has an inseam closer to 19″.
Unlike many inferior kids bikes, the Cleary Hedgehog has been thoughtfully designed with child-appropriate geometry. It has a long wheelbase which adds stability and nice wide handlebars that improve steering. The handlebars are slightly upswept which provides a more upright riding position than a flat bar.
While not overly aggressive, the Hedgehog does have a leaned-over position compared to a bike like the Woom 3. This is nice for athletic, confident kids, but if you have a child that is hesitant or has not yet learned to pedal, you might consider a bike with a more upright riding position.
Reversible freehub wheel
One interesting about the Cleary Hedgehog is that it has a reversible wheel with the option to install different sized cogs on each side. (It only comes with one cog).
Whether or not you choose to install a second cog, will largely depend on on the kind of terrain your child is riding. If you go mountain biking on the weekend, and then ride around flat roads during the week, this might make sense.
It is important to note that you have to actually uninstall and flip the wheel to make this gear change so it is still a singlespeed bike, but one that offers slightly more flexibility.
The Cleary Hedgehog is a solid bike at a solid price. While it compares favorably to any of the highest-end 16″ bikes out there, it has a more affordable pricetag than many. Because of the steel frame and quality components, you can also expect that this bike will fetch a good resale price on Craigslist or be able to be handed down to a younger sibling.
The Cleary Hedgehog tips the scales at 16 pounds. Compare this to many 16″ department store bikes that weigh nearly double that. A lighter weight bike will make a huge difference in your child’s enjoyment, endurance, and capability.
While light, the Hedgehog does weigh more than the very lightest 16″ bikes. The Prevelo Alpha Two, for instance, weighs 14.5 pounds, and the Woom 3 comes in at an amazing 13 pounds. (The Hedgehog also happens to be a little cheaper).
While I wouldn’t necessarily pass over the Hedgehog based on its weight, I might think twice about a lighter bike if you have a child that is particularly small or lightweight.
How We Scored The Cleary Hedgehog
|Quality Of Components||10/10|
|Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding||8/10|
Compared to the other bikes on our Top 10 list, the Cleary Hedgehog is a little hefty. In fact, at 16 lbs it outweighed all of our top contenders with the exception of the more “budget” oriented bikes.
The other area it lost several points was in “geometry and ease of riding.” The aggressive geometry, while fine for more athletic kids, isn’t as ideal for the average young rider.
Where the Cleary Hedgehog did shine was in “quality of components.” Here it scored 10/10. The parts speced on this little bike are top notch.
More 16 Inch Bike Choices
The Cleary Hedgehog is an ideal choice for families who like to mountain bike or hit up the pump track in addition to around town riding. If that sounds like you, the other bikes you may want to consider are the Prevelo Alpha Two and the Spawn Yogi. These are both good all around bikes as well, and score highly on our list of the best 16 inch bikes.
If you do even more aggressive mountain biking, you could consider one of the bikes off our top 16 inch mountain bike list as well. These bikes have features like disc brakes, which the Hedgehog does not offer.
For a parent that wants a nice-looking bike, and for a kid who wants a nice-riding bike, the Cleary Hedgehog is a winner. It is built with top-shelf components, has a rock-solid steel frame, and rides like a dream for athletic kids. Whether your little one needs a new bike to ride to kindergarten or to hit the pump track, the Hedgehog will deliver.
Disclosure: We were given a loaner bike by Cleary Bikes to facilitate this review. We were not compensated in any way for writing the review, and all opinions are our own. Some links in this review are affiliate links–meaning if you end up clicking thru and making a purchase, we get a small percentage back.
Also a special thanks to Motion Makers in Asheville who built up our Hegehog and helped ship it back to Cleary. If you are in Asheville, NC check out their shop–they are Cleary dealers!
4 thoughts on “Cleary Hedgehog 16 Inch Kids Bike Review”
Thank you for the great info.
My son is 3.5 year old, 41.5″ tall, 17″ inseam (without shoes). He is very good with his Strider balance bike and has been asking me to get him a pedal bike. So basically want to transition from balance bike to pedal bike.
I’m confused between Woom 3, Cleary Hedgehog and Prevelo Alpha Two.
I also don’t want him to outgrow too soon hence not considering Woom 2.
Looking for your recommendation.
Thanks in advance 🙂
Hi Neelima, You’ve narrowed it down to the best bikes out there. You can’t make a bad decision. My personal favorite is the Woom 3 simply because it’s the lightest. They are all fantastic bikes though, so go with whichever one strikes your fancy.
Hi, we plan to get my son his first pedal bike when he turns 5 in November. Requirements: Orange only, no coaster brake. He loves his Scoot balance bike, especially going fast downhill. He’s petite, about 43′ tall and 37 lbs. The Scoot is at 17″ now and he has a definite bend in the knee, so his inseam with shoes is about 18″. would you suggest the Cleary Hedgehog, Spawn Yoji 16″, Frog 48, or something else? Thanks!
I love this bike! It’s so well made and looks great. My son loves it too. It’s perfect for him because it has a reversible freehub wheel and two gear ratios, so he can get the perfect gear for whatever he’s doing. The price is great too, and I highly recommend it.