Having just reviewed a couple of super impressive 16″ bikes, I was somewhat skeptical of how the Frog 48 could compete. That doubt quickly disappeared as I saw the pretty, shiny little red bike in the showroom of Salt Lake City’s Saturday Cycles. Not only was the paint job killer, the fenders, Kenda tires, and bell made the 16” bike an impressive little package.
The Frog 48, long a favorite of UK families, is finally available in the United States. Cue the cheers! My 4-year-old certainly did when I pulled the bike from the back of my SUV on a Friday afternoon. He immediately asked to bike to dinner (which we obliged), and has been riding it pretty much constantly since then.
If you are shopping for a bike for your 4-6 year old, the Frog 48 deserves a place on your short-list of options. Read on for more info.
Review in a Nutshell
- Attractive paint job
- Easy-to-reach, easy-to-pull brake levers
- Customizable – your choice of tires and rear wheel
- Comes with extras – fenders and a bell
- Steering limiter isn’t removable
- No free shipping to home
Price and Where to Buy:
Frog 48 Detailed Review
Attractive paint job and design
I’m not going to lie – my favorite thing about the Frog 48 is the paint job. It’s just so pretty!!! The Frog bikes come in a variety of beautiful color schemes and designs. In addition to the paint, there are several features that just make the bike look really slick. The minimalistic chainguard includes the Frog image, and the spokes on the wheels nearest the air valve are green to match the accent color of the bike. Of course, none of these things affect the ride quality of the bike, but don’t worry, the bike rides well too…..
Every time we take this little guy to the bike park or out on the trails, he gets SO MUCH positive feedback from other mountain bikers. They’ll compliment his bike, cheer him on as he climbs a hill, give him fist bumps. And because he’s shy, he doesn’t always respond verbally, but his little chest does puff out a bit more. He’ll ask to go ride the jump line one more time. So thank you grown-up mountain bikers for taking the time to encourage the littlest riders. It actually means a lot.
Your choice of knobby or slick tires
The Frog 48 works equally well on-road and off. Frog gives you the option of slick tires or knobby tires. We chose the knobby Kenda tires since we do a lot of mountain biking, and they have performed superbly on both the pump track and singletrack – as well as biking around town.
Your choice of coaster brake or freewheel
Again, Frog gives you the option to customize the bike. You can choose from either a coaster wheel or a freewheel. We took the freewheel, and if you want to know why, read this post. Nonetheless, it is nice to be given the option.
Dual Tektro handbrakes
We’ve had experience with the Tektro brakes on several bikes that we’ve tested, and they seem to be the standard for high-quality kids bikes. The dual brake levers are easy for little hands to operate, and the stopping power of the rim brakes is good enough that we feel comfortable letting our son ride pretty steep dirt trails with them.
Geometry, Size, and Weight
Weighing in at 14.8 pounds, the Frog 48 is lightweight – but not quite as light as some of its nearest competitors. The Woom 3 for instance weighs a mere 12.3 pounds and the Early Rider Belter weighs 12.5 pounds. If you consider that those extra 2 pounds account to 5% of my son’s bodyweight, any weight savings at this age can make a significant difference. That said, the Frog 48 is still HALF the weight of most big-box store bikes and is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
The geometry is more aggressive then the Woom 3, and is probably most comparable to the Cleary Hedgehog. For timid kids, or children just learning to ride a pedal bike, I would recommend a bicycle with more upright geometry. That said, my son LOVES the more aggressive geometry of the Frog 48 and has been doing a lot of pump-track riding with it. This is a case of choosing the correct geometry, for your child and their skill level.
Frog advertises the 48 for kids ages 4 to 5, but you are better off measuring your child and basing your purchase based off that. Read this article for tips on fitting your child to a bike. Frog also offers an awesome fit chart on their website that you should make use of before ordering. My 4.5 year old barely fits on the 48 with the seat in its lowest position, so don’t just assume your kiddo will fit on this bike for their 4th birthday. Measure first!
The Frog 48 comes with a built-in steering limiter that is super helpful for kids just learning to ride. That said, it would be nice if it was removable for kids who have mastered their control of the bike. My son has gotten frustrated multiple times at the pump track when he wasn’t able to make as sharp of turns as he would like. This was my only real criticism of the bike during testing.
Fenders and bell
The Frog 48 comes standard with fenders (or “mudguards” as the British evidently call them). This is the only bike we’ve ever tested that came with them, and is a really nice feature. On a rainy day mountain biking in Fruita, CO, they did an excellent job of keeping my 4 year old dry and clean. The bike also comes with a bell included, which kids of course love!
One thing that’s a little different about the Frog bikes than most other kids bike companies in the U.S. – Woom, Cleary, Pello, etc – is that you have to buy it through a local bike shop. You can order online thru their website, but it ends up being shipped to a bike shop to be assembled. Unlike the aforementioned companies, you also have to pay for delivery if you happen to be out of range of a local dealer – which is sort of a bummer.
The benefits of buying thru a local bike shop are obvious – it supports your local economy, they’ll (hopefully) make sure that your child is fitted to the right bike, and you can rest assured that the bike has been correctly and safely assembled. That said, if you are even moderately mechanically inclined, assembling a 16” kids bike is not difficult – in fact, I am mechanically disinclined and I do it with our test bikes ALL THE TIME. For this reason, I think it would be nice if Frog allowed shipping directly to your home, sans delivery fee.
Here’s how the Frog 48 compares to other high-quality 16” kids bikes. You might also want to check out our article on our favorite 16″ bikes.
|Bike||Price||Weight||Minimum Seat Height||Freewheel Option||Dual Handbrakes||Training Wheels||Frame Material|
|Frog 48||$350||14.8 lbs||19″||Yes||Yes||No||Aluminum|
|Woom 3||$370||12.26 lbs||19”||Yes||Yes||No||Aluminum|
|Islabikes Cnoc 16||$420||14.5 lbs||19”||No||Yes||No||Aluminum|
|Pello Revo||$300||16.2 lbs||20”||No||No||No||Aluminum|
|Cleary Hedgehog||$315||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||$230||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|
After testing the Frog 48, I’ve promptly moved it onto my “best of” list for 16” bikes. It contends with higher-priced brands like Woom, Islabikes, and Spawn. Indeed, the Frog 48 is a high-quality, easy-to-ride bike that I would recommend to any parent.