Cleary Hedgehog 16″ Kids Bike Review

Cleary Hedgehog ReviewIt 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″ 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.


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Sturdy and attractive steel frame
  • High-quality components
  • Reversible freehub wheel provides two gear ratios
  • Larger than average pedals provide stability and control

Cons:

  • No quick release for the seatpost

Price & Where to Buy:


Cleary Hedgehog Detailed Review

Frame

Cleary Hedgehog Kids Bike

The most unique thing about the Cleary Hedgehog, and all 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 didnt so much as scratch it.

Components

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 Ahead 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 Tekro 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).

Tektro Handbrakes on Cleary Hedgehog

The Kenda Kontact 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).

Cleary Hedgehog Pedals

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.

Sizing

Cleary Hedgehog Kids 16" Bike

The Cleary Hedgehog is an average-sized 16″ bike and will comfortably fit most kids ages 4.5 to 6 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″.

Geometry

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.

Cleary Hedgehog Geometry

While not overly agressive, the Hedgehog does have a somewhat leaned-over position compared to a bike like the Woom 3.  This is actually 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

Cleary Hedgehog 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.

Cost

The Cleary Hegehog 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.

Weight

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 Aplha Two, for instance, weighs 15 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.

Cleary Hedgehog

Comparison Chart

Curious how the Cleary Hegehog compares to similar 16″ bikes?  Let us help itch that scratch.  Here are what we consider the nicest 16″ bikes on the market, and how the Hedgehog compares.

For more information on 16″ bikes, read our article on The Best 16″ Bikes for Kids.

Bike Price (MSRP) Weight Minimum Seat Height Freewheel Option Dual Handbrakes Training Wheels Frame Material
Prevelo Alpha Two $370 14.9 lbs 18″ Yes Yes No Aluminum
Woom 3 $370 12.26 lbs 19” Yes Yes No Aluminum
Cnoc 16 $420 14.5 lbs 19” No Yes No Aluminum
Pello Revo $300 16.2 lbs 20” No No No Aluminum
Cleary Hedgehog $350 16 lbs 19” Yes Yes No Steel
Early Rider Belter $420 12.5 lbs 19.5” Yes Yes No Aluminum
Spawn Banshee $350 15 lbs 18.5” Yes Yes No Aluminum
Stampede Bikes Sprinter $250 17.8 lbs 22” Yes Yes No Aluminum
ByK E-350* $259 17.6 lbs 18” No Yes Yes Aluminum
Ridgeback Dimensions $349 16 lbs 20.5” Yes Yes No Aluminum

* All the bikes on this list have 16” wheels, with the exception of the ByK E-350 which has 18” wheels

Bottom-Line

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 speced with top-shelf components, has a rock-solid steel frame, and rides like a dream.  Whether your little one needs a new bike to ride to kindergarten or to hit the pump track, the Hedgehog will deliver.

Buy Now:

 

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! 


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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3 Responses

  1. Neelima says:

    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 🙂

    • Kristen says:

      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.
      Cheers,
      KB

  2. Michele says:

    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!

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