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10 Best 16 Inch Bikes For Your 4 To 5 Year Old

Author: Kristen Bonkoski

Updated:

If your 4 or 5 year old loves biking (or perhaps YOU love biking), then you want to make sure that you are getting them a bike that they can grow their skills on.  With all the 16 inch bikes on the market, however, it can be confusing to know which bike to buy and how they stack up against each other.

To help you out, we’ve tested dozens of 16 inch bikes over the years to help find the very best ones. 

The very best 16 inch bike is the Woom 3. It is lightweight, well-designed, and built to withstand abuse. 

The best budget 16 inch bike is the Guardian 16. Not only is it affordable, it also has the proprietary SureStop braking system to help kids avoid over-the-bars accidents.

Want more options? We’ve put together a list of the ten best 16 inch bikes.

You’ll also find tips on how to choose the very best bike for YOUR 4 or 5 year old, as well as a comparison chart so you can see how they all the bikes stack up.

woom kids bike helmet

Note: The bikes on this list are perfect for 99% of our readers. If, however, you are a serious mountain bike family, check out our list of 16 Inch Mountain Bikes instead.

In This Article

Top 10 Bikes
Honorable Mentions
Local Bike Shop Brands
How To Choose
Comparison Chart
How We Tested

Best 16 Inch Kids Bikes

What Makes It SpecialOur ScorePrice (MSRP)
BEST OVERALL
1Woom 3Lightweight build, color-coded brakes99$449
2Prevelo Alpha TwoChild appropriate geometry, customer service93$399
3Early Rider Belter 16Belt drive, brushed alloy frame93$479
4Pello RevoBrand-name components, wide tires90$389
5Frog 44Bright colors, comes with fenders90$519
6Spawn Yoji 16Mountain bike geomety88$495
7Cleary HedgehogDurable steel frame, flip-flop hub85$378
8Belsize 16Belt drive, super lightweight82$339/$359
BEST BUDGET
9Guardian 16SureStop braking technology69$289
10Forth Park 16Confidence-inspiring geometry69$260
Bonus!Glerc 16Simple design, affordable62Price not available *
* Last updated: 2024-05-22 at 16:26 – More Info

 Woom 3

Overall Score: 99

Weight10/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding10/10
Customer Service10/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 13.1 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 19.3″ I Freehub: yes

Woom Bikes are hands down my favorite bike brand for young kids.  The Woom 3 boasts color-coded dual handbrakes, no coaster brake, a super lightweight build, and child-specific geometry that makes learning to ride easy.

All the components on the Woom 3 are top-notch. They include sealed bearings, Jagwire cable, a quick-release seatpost collar, and stainless steel spokes. The bike will last through multiple children and catch a good resale value, or alternatively, trade it in as part of the Woom Upcycle program.

The bike weighs a mere 13 pounds, which can make a huge difference in a child’s enjoyment and endurance. The other thing that sets the Woom 3 apart from others is the opportunity to add the Automagic hub. It does cost an additional $50, but provides an automatic, internally-geared two speed hub.

We literally have nothing negative to say about the Woom 3. The only thing that could make it better would be if it was cheaper, but it’s super competitively priced for what you get.

Read Review: Woom 3

Price: $449 List


Prevelo Alpha Two

Overall Score: 93

Weight9/10
Quality Of Components9/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding10/10
Customer Service10/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 14.4 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 17″ I Freehub: yes

The Prevelo Alpha Two is a bike for bike snobs.  This little package looks good, comes with top-notch components, and is super light. 

It has everything we look for in a kids bike–child-specific geometry, no coaster brake, and a lightweight build. The parts are quality and include custom, in-house HEIR brand three-piece cranks, stem, and saddle.

If your rider is on the smaller side, note the extremely low minimum seatpost height of 17 inches. That’s the lowest of any 16 inch bike that we’re aware of, which makes this a great option for parents wishing to skip over a 14 inch bike.

Like the Woom, Prevelo also offers a trade-up program to take a bit of a bite out of the price. You can buy it for $69 at checkout, and it gives you 40% of the price of this bike back when you buy the next size bike.

Speaking of price, keep in mind that the Prevelo Alpha Two does NOT come with all the extras (kickstand, bell, etc) that some of the other bikes on this list do. You can add them at checkout, but consider that when comparing cost.

Read Review: Prevelo Alpha Two

Price: $399 List


Early Rider Belter 16


Overall Score: 93

Weight10/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding8/10
Customer Service7/10
Aesthetics10/10

Weight: 13.1 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 17.5″ I Freehub: yes

The Early Rider Belter is a grown-up bike for little riders.  The Belter boasts a beautiful hand brushed aluminum frame, belt drive (instead of a chain), and high-quality components. 

Every little feature is top notch. The faux leather saddle even has rivets that make it look like a fancy Brooks saddle. The aluminum pedals are both narrower and lower profile than the typical plastic pedals found stock on kids bikes.

The only negative is that this head-turning little bike costs a pretty penny; in fact, it’s the most expensive bike on this list by quite a bit. Is it worth it? Sure, if you have extra cash burning a hole in your pocket.

Read Review: Early Rider Belter 16

Price: $479 List


Pello Revo

Overall Score: 90

Weight9/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding8/10
Customer Service8/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 14.6 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 19″ I Freehub: yes

If your child likes riding off-road, consider the Pello Revo.  The Revo has a mountain bike feel with beefy tires and a rock-solid build.  The “ride right geometry” makes both learning to ride and mastering technical skills easy. 

Virtually all the components are brand-name so you know what you’re buying is high-quality. These parts include a Cane Creek heaset, Kenda tires, Tektro brakes, and Alex rims.

The plastic chainguard is flimsy and easy to break, which is fine if you plan on removing it (we would), but less than ideal if you were hoping to keep it on.

Read Review: Pello Romper (same bike just a bit smaller)

Price: $389 List


Frog 44

Overall Score: 90

Weight9/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding8/10
Customer Service8/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 14.1 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 18.5″ I Freehub: yes

The Frog 44 comes in a variety of bright, fun colors sure to please any child. We love that the spokes on either side of the valve are colored as well.

But enough about the way the bike looks! The Frog 44, like all the offerings from this UK company, are designed for performance. It is lightweight, has a low center of gravity, and appropriate gearing for most riding conditions.

The bike comes standard with fenders (a plus for folks who live in wet climates) as well as a bell.

Our only complaint is that while we appreciate the built-in steering limiter, we don’t love that it’s not removable. Kids who already have the biking thing down pat don’t need one.

Read Review: Frog 44

Price: $519 List


Spawn Yoji 16

spawn yogi 16


Overall Score: 90

Weight9/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding8/10
Customer Service6/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 14.7 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 19″ I Freehub: yes

The Spawn Yoji 16 is a high-quality kids’ bike from the mountain biking Mecca of Squamish, British Columbia. The Yoji is a lightweight bike with a durable aluminum frame that can withstand the challenges of trail riding.

The in-house designed components are child-specific, making the bike fit perfectly for little bodies. The wheels are off-road ready and the Loam Star tires offer puncture protection, making it easy for children to handle dirt, gravel, and grass with ease.

Some parents may find the brake setup intimidating, and the factory communication can be spotty. Additionally, the wheels attach via 15mm bolts, which are prone to leading to scrapes when kids inevitably crash.

Read Our Review: Spawn Yogi

Price: $495 List


Cleary Hedgehog


Overall Score: 85

Weight7/10
Quality Of Components10/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding8/10
Customer Service9/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 16 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 20″ I Freehub: yes

The Cleary Hedgehog is a gorgeous 16 inch bike designed for parents who take looks AND quality seriously.  The classic steel frame is durable and will last thru several children. 

Cleary offers a freehub option, and the Hedgehog comes with easy-to-pull child-sized Tektro handbrakes.

One thing that makes the Hedgehog unique is the inclusion of a flip-flop hub with the option to install different sized cogs on each side. 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 only thing dragging down our score on this bike is the weight. At 16 pounds, it is heftier than our other faves.

Read Review: Cleary Hedgehog

Price: $378 List


Belsize 16

Overall Score: 82

Weight10/10
Quality Of Components8/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding7/10
Customer Service5/10
Aesthetics9/10

Weight: 12.5 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 20″ I Freehub: yes

When we first heard about the Belsize 16, we were skeptical. How could a bike with that light of a weight and those good of components have a price tag so low?!

After testing the bike, however, we were convinced. This bike is nothing less than amazing for the price.

It has a continental belt drive, weighs in at a shockingly low 12.5 pounds, and has dual hand brakes (no coaster).

Complaints? Not many. The Belsize 16 does NOT have quick-release seatpost collar, and there’s the fact that the bike isn’t produced by a bike company (it’s produced by a Chinese sporting goods brand) so there’s always the concern of after-market customer support.

Read Our Review: Belsize 16 and Belsize 16 Pro

Price: $339 (Regular) /$359 (Pro) List


Guardian 16

Overall Score: 69

Weight6/10
Quality Of Components6/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding7/10
Customer Service10/10
Aesthetics8/10

Weight: 17.5 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 20″ I Freehub: yes

Looking for the safest bike around? Guardian uses proprietary SureStop technology to create a safer braking experience. No longer can kids grab too much brake and fly over the handlebar, as the bike’s braking system controls the force going to the front wheel.

The Guardian 16 is a more affordable high quality bike. It’s a great buy for parents who want a good bike, but don’t want to spend a fortune either.

Just remember that the more affordable price tag does come at a cost — the Guardian is heavier than the bikes further up our list.

Read Review: Guardian 16

Price: $289 List


Forth Park 16

park 16

Overall Score: 69

Weight7/10
Quality Of Components6/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding7/10
Customer Service8/10
Aesthetics8/10

Weight: 16.9 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 18.5″ I Freehub: yes

For many kids, a 16 inch bike is the first time they will be pedaling without training wheels. The Forth Park 16 is a good bike to do it on.

The bicycle has good child-appropriate geometry that will inspire confidence, and mimics the geo found on more expensive kids bikes. It also has dual handbrakes (no coaster), a wide handlebar, and high-volume tires.

The trade-off to keep the price low is that none of the components are brand-name and it’s a bit heavier. Still, it’s a worthwhile choice for many parents on a budget.

Price: $260 List


Glerc 16

Overall Score: 62

Weight7/10
Quality Of Components5/10
Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding7/10
Customer Service5/10
Aesthetics7/10

Weight: 16.5 lbs I Minimum seatpost height: 18.5″ I Freehub: yes

The Glerc 16 is one of those rare Amazon finds we’d actually recommend. It’s Chinese made so lacks the brand name recognition of other bikes on this list, but comes with high quality components.

These include Kenda tires and a belt drive–unheard of at this point! Everything about the bike values simplicity including internally routed cables, the singlespeed drivetrain, and easy assembly.

The only thing we weren’t crazy about were the sharp (not rounded) bolts.

Read Review: Glerc

Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2024-05-22 at 16:26 – More Info)


Honorable Mentions

There are too many great 16″ kids bikes nowadays to limit a list to just five. While these bikes didn’t make it onto our short-list, they are worth a look as well.

BikeWhat Makes It SpecialPrice (MSRP)
Islabikes Cnoc 16 Cult classic, look for one used£399
Priority Start 16Belt drive, low maintenance$329
Vitus 16Bang for your buck$299
Commencal Ramones 16Beefy Vee Crown Gem tires$420
ByK E-35018″ wheels, training wheels$289
Ridgeback Dimensions 16 Road-oriented, bright colors$389
Raleigh MXR 16Durable build, upright geometry *
Co-Op Cycles 16Use your REI dividend!$229
Batch Bicycles 16Available at your local bike shop$209
* Amazon price last updated: – More Info)

Vitus 16

vitus 16 kids bike

Bargain hunters sit up and pay attention. Vitus, a UK brand, is offering some of the best kids bikes around at a budget price.

The Vitus 16 has brand-name components–Tektro brakes, Kenda tires–and a respectable weight (15.9 lbs), for a couple of hundred dollars less than many of the bikes on this list.

In fact, the only thing that keeps it from our top 10 list is that it’s no longer being shipped to the U.S. But if you’re in Europe, you’re in luck.

Price: $299 List


Raleigh MXR 16

Unlike most bikes at this price point, the Raleigh MXR 16 is durable and isn’t going to fall apart any time soon. This is a great bike for families on a tight budget who don’t want to fall victim to a poorly built kids bike.

The upright geometry is comfortable for kids and helps create confidence. At 18 pounds, it isn’t the lightest bike, but it certainly isn’t the heaviest either.

Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2024-05-16 at 12:04 – More Info)


Co-Op Cycles 16

co-op cycles 16

If you have a big fat REI dividend, the Co-Op Cycles 16 is worth a look.

It’s one of our favorite “budget” bikes. It weighs under 17 lbs (great for a bike at this pricepoint), has intelligent geometry and a solid build.

Like the ByK E-350 below, it is also one of the only bikes we’ve chosen that has the option to use training wheels. If you don’t want the training wheels, it’s even lighter.

Price: $229 List


Batch Bicycles 16 Inch

batch 16 inch kids bicycle

The Batch Bicycles kids bicycle comes is affordable, simple for parents to maintain, and available from your local bike shop. If you don’t want to deal with bike assembly or maintenance, then this is a great option.

The bike has good child specific geometry and a durable build. It does weigh more than the higher priced bikes on this list, which means it isn’t ideal for petite and lightweight kids.

Training wheels are optional.

Read Our Review: Batch Kids Bicycle

Price: $209 List


Islabikes Cnoc 16

Islabikes Cnoc 16

Note: As of fall 2018, Islabikes is no longer selling bikes in the U.S. market.  We’ve left it on this list, in case you are lucky enough to live in Europe or to find one used.

A “best of” kids bikes would not be complete without an Islabike on the list.  Islabikes is well-known for their superb customer service and quality product.  The Cnoc 16 is perfect for families who take biking seriously and want a bike for their child that will be able to make it long distances.  We also love the lightweight, removable chainguard on this bike.

Read Our Review: Islabikes Cnoc

Price: £399 List


Priority Start 16

priority start 16

Kids are not particularly well known for taking care of their bikes–they leave them outside at school, they leave them outside on the driveway at home. Lubing a chain? I’ve never seen my kiddo do that voluntarily.

That’s why we like the Priority Start 16. With its belt drive, rather than a chain, the bike has been designed to be low maintenance. It is the perfect bike for commuting around town.

Read Review: Priority Start

Price: $329 List


Commencal Ramones 16

commencal ramones 16

If your little one wants to head off-road, check out the Commencal Ramones 16. It has beefy Vee Crown Gem tries that can roll over just about anything.

This is also one of the few bigger adult bike brands making great kids bikes. If you want to buy from a local bike shop, this is one you can probably find locally.

Read Review: Commencal Ramones 14 (same bike, just a bit smaller)

Price: $420 List


ByK E-350

ByK E-350

The ByK E-350 is unique in that it is sized like a 16 inch bike but actually has 18 inch wheels.  This can be a plus as larger wheels make it easier to roll over obstacles and to go fast. 

The E-350 has dual handbrakes AND a coaster brake. It’s also one of the only bikes on this list that will accept training wheels, so if you have a compelling reason to use them, this could be a top pick.

Price: $289 List


Ridgeback Dimensions 16

Ridgeback Dimensions 16


For “road cyclists in training,” the Ridgeback Dimensions is a perfect choice.  It is fast, aggressive (but not overly so) geometry, and comes in bright, fun colors.

Price: $389


What About The Local Bike Shop (LBS) Brands?!?!

What’s glaringly missing from this list? The bikes from the big bike brands.

These are also the bikes you are most likely to find at your local bike shop. So, what’s up? Do we hate all the big brand names?

No. It’s just that the bike companies haven’t done that well in creating great kids bikes. They DO create great adult bikes.

This is particularly true in the smaller sizes–12 inch, 14 inch, and 16 inch bikes. The big brands are still offering bikes in these sizes with coaster brakes, really heavy weights, and training wheels. (Two noticeable exception is the Norco Roller 16 and Specialized Jett 16, both listed below).

If for whatever reason you really have to buy a bike from your local bike shop, here are what we think of the 16 inch bikes from the bigger brands.

Specialized Jett 16

specialized jett 16

The Specialized Jett 16 is a BIG improvement over previous Specialized kid’s bikes. The Jett is designed to maximize the amount of time your child can spend on the bike thanks to a long seatpost and adjustable handlebar.

But our favorite thing about the Jett is that it’s lightweight. If you’re looking for a LBS brand bike that doesn’t weigh a ton, this is the bike you want.

Read Our Review: Specialized Jett

Price: $500

Norco Coaster 16

Norco Roller 16

For a LBS brand, Norco is doing an amazing job The Norco Coaster 16 has dual handbrakes, beefy mountain bike style tires, a reasonably low weight, and good geo. If you’re looking for a LBS brand, go with the Norco!

Price: $309

Cannondale Trail 16

Cannondale Trail 16

Despite it’s name, the Cannondale Trail 16 is best suited for the road. It has slick tires, coaster brake and training wheels. There’s nothing about this bike that we love, but it is certainly a step up from anything you’ll find at Walmart.

Price: $280 List

Trek Precaliber 16

Trek Precaliber 16

The new Trek Precaliber 16 is better than prior year’s models. At 18 pounds, it’s lighter than some of the other LBS brands, and it has a low center of gravity. Of course, we’re not crazy about the coaster brake or training wheels.

Price: $299


Comparison Chart: 16 Inch Bikes

BikeWeightMinimum Seatpost HeightFreewheel Option?Dual Handbrakes?Training Wheels?Frame Material
Woom 313.1 lbs19”YesYesNoAluminum
Prevelo Alpha Two14.9 lbs18″YesYesNoAluminum
Cleary Hedgehog16 lbs19”YesYesNoSteel
Frog 4414.0 lbs19″YesYesNoAluminum
Pello Revo16.2 lbs20”NoNoNoAluminum
Early Rider Belter 16 12.5 lbs19.5”YesYesNoAluminum
Spawn Yoji 1614.5 lbs18.5”YesYesNoAluminum
Islabikes CIslabikes Cnoc 16noc 1614.5 lbs19”NoYesNoAluminum
Guardian AIROS / Ethos 1616 lbs18.5"YesNoNoAluminum
Vitus 1615.9 lbs18"YesYesNoAluminum
Priority Start 1615.9 lbs18.5"YesYesNoAluminum
Co-Op Cycles 1616 lbsNoYesYesAluminum
Commencal Ramones 1616.3 lbs20.5"YesYesNoAluminum
ByK E-35017.6 lbs18”NoYesYesAluminum
Ridgeback Dimensions 1616 lbs20.5”YesYesNoAluminum
Raleigh MXR 1618.3 lbs19.5"NoNoYesAluminum
Batch Bicycles 1618.5 lbsNoNoYesAluminum
Belsize 1612.57 lbs18"YesYesNoAluminum
Park 1616.5 lbs18.5″YesYesNoAluminum
Norco Roller 1617.2 lbs20"YesYesNoAluminum
Specialized Riprock 1620 lbs22.2"NoNoYesAluminum
Cannondale Trail 1619 lbs25.4"NoNoYesAluminum
Trek Precaliber 1617.98 lbs20.5"NoNoYesAluminum
Specialized Jett 1615.2 lbs18"YesYesNoAluminum

How to Choose the Very Best 16 Inch Bike for Your Child

Below, I’ll give you a list of all the good bikes on the market, but how do you know which one is best for YOUR child? Consider these factors.

Woom 3

Size

16 inch bikes are generally appropriate to buy for 4 and 5 year old kids, and you can expect them to last a year or two. That said, each child is different. For instance, my son and his cousin who are only a few months apart are nearly six inches apart in height.

Therefore, it is really very important to measure your child before buying a bike. What may fit one child at 4 may not fit another until 5.

For maximum comfort and stability, I recommend that your child’s inseam be at least as long as the minimum seat height. While technically their inseam can be slightly shorter than the minimum seat height (it will fit on their tippy-toes), kids this young who are just learning to ride do best if they can put their feet flat on the ground.

If your child is already a master pedaler, then you can pick a slightly larger bike. In this case, you can choose a bike with a minimum seatpost that is about 2 inches taller than their inseam. Don’t go any bigger than that, or your child will really struggle.

Prevelo Alpha Two

The other thing to consider is the bike’s standover height. If your child is still a bit on the small side for a 16″ inch, look for a bike with a sloped top-tube that allows your child to stand over the frame comfortably.

Finally, check your child’s inseam and height measurements against those recommended by the manufacturer of the bike you are considering. Most of the company’s on this list do a great job of this. Woom, for example, has a tape measure you can get to ensure the right fit. Guardian has gone more high-tech with a virtual fit tool on their website.

Weight

After ensuring a bike is the right size, the next most important thing to consider is the weight. Most kids bikes, especially those from the big box stores, weight WAY too much for young kids.

When comparing two bikes, I will always pick the lightest one. It makes a huge difference in a child’s enjoyment level and in how long they can ride.

Look for a bike that is no more than 30% of your child’s body weight (tough isn’t it)? Of all the bikes on our list, the Belsize 16 is the lightest, followed closely by the Woom 3 and the Early Rider Belter.

bike weight graph

Price

Unfortunately, just like most things in life, the more you spend on a bike the better quality it is going to b (generally).

child on the belsize 16 pro

The good news is that when you buy a high-quality bike, like any of those on our Top 10 list, it will last thru several children. This makes it a good investment if you have younger kids it can be passed on to or to sell on Craiglist.

That said, there is a tipping point where spending more doesn’t always equate to a better bike. In the chart below, we compare price vs our overall score.

value (price vs score)

The Woom 3, for example, has the highest score but not the highest price. In our opinion, you do not get more bike for spending more money for the Early Rider, Spawn, or Frog.

Of course, we realize that not everybody wants to spend over $300 on a kids bike. If that’s you, look at the Guardian, Forth, or Glerc. All provide good value, and the Glerc is a killer deal.

Another option is to familiarize yourself with the bikes on this list and then search for one used. Buying a high quality, used kids bike is the best bang for your buck overall. (The tricky part is finding one).

Brakes

I’m a huge proponent of teaching children to use hand brakes and bypassing coaster brakes. I’m at a point now where I won’t even put my son on a bike with a coaster brake, or teach another child to ride using one.

To decide whether a freewheel or coaster brake set-up is best for you, and more about both options, read this detailed article I’ve written.

You’ll notice that all of the bikes on our top 10 list come with a freewheel rather than a coaster.

Tektro Handbrakes on Cleary Hedgehog

Training Wheels

Training wheels? Just don’t do it! If your child hasn’t mastered a balance bike yet, start there and then transition to a pedal bike later.

Alternatively, you can buy a pedal bike and temporarily remove the pedals. Have your child learn to scoot and glide on the bike before putting the pedals back on.

If you go this route, make sure the bike you choose has a minimum seatpost height no larger than your child’s inseam. They need to be able to put their feet flat on the ground!

If you MUST have training wheels, the Byk E-350 and the Co-Op Cycles 16 are two bikess on this list that offer them.

Frame Material

This is a highly personal choice—some people have a clear preference for aluminum or steel. I don’t personally.

Aluminum is the lighter material, and we all know how important saving weight is on kids bikes, but steel is super durable (and classic).

Cleary Hedgehog Kids 16

Where To Shop

The easiest place to start is where NOT to shop. Walmart and other big box shops are not bike shops and we wouldn’t recommend buying a bike from them.

A local bike shop (or REI) is a big step in the right direction. These shops will offer better quality bikes, but beware that not all shops carry a good selection of kids bikes AND not all bike shop staff are well versed in kids bikes or even in fitting the right sized bike. If you are going to go to LBS, know what size and brand you are looking for before you go.

Your final option is to shop online. Many of the best kids bike brands ONLY sell through their websites.

If you do shop online, we recommend buying directly from the brand rather than via Amazon or other websites than might sell knock-offs. This ensures the bikes are properly assembled, and that you get the best after-market customer service support. Which brings us to our next point…

woom 3 in pink

Customer Service

How important good customer service is in picking a bike is a personal matter. If you’re good working on bikes–assembling them and fixing them–then you may be fine buying from a brand with a lower degree of customer service.

However, if you are less confident with bikes, then a reputable company with a strong emphasis on customer service is worth considering. Such a company will guarantee that your bike is assembled correctly and thoroughly inspected before it’s shipped to you.

Additionally, they will help you with obtaining replacement parts if and when required.


How We Came Up Our List Of The Best 16 Inch Bikes

Our journey with kids bikes began 8 years ago when our son was just a toddler! Since then, we have extensively tested and reviewed LOTS of bikes, and also gained valuable insights while riding with other parents and kids.

Rest assured that the bikes listed here are ones that we have personally tried and tested, and we confidently recommend them to fellow parents. Every bike on the list is a top-quality option, though of course, we do have our favorites!

How We Tested The Bikes

We put these bikes through their paces, and while we may be too big to ride them ourselves, we enlisted our kids, as well as our friends’ and neighbors’ little ones, to help us out.

These bikes have been ridden in the ways they were intended, but also tested on more challenging terrain, from singletrack to DIY ramps. We’re passionate about biking and ride year-round, so we know how to push bikes to their limits.

Beyond our own experiences, we also value input from our community. We receive countless emails from all of you and have a thriving Facebook group. We connect with parents in real life, chatting with them at the pump track and the school bike corral. We appreciate and consider all of the feedback we receive.

Woom 3 Bike

How We Scored The Bikes

Putting a numeric score to a bike is a tough thing; although it helps make our ratings more accurate, it’s still subjective. We urge you not to spend too much time belaboring these scores, and instead look for a bike that seems like it would be a good fit for YOUR child.

All that said, here is what we were looking for when ranking the bikes.

  • Weight: We mentioned it early and we’ll mention it again, for young kids weight is the single most important factor in choosing a bike. We’ve given it 30% of our overall score.
  • Quality components: Durable and high end parts mean that a bike will be enjoyable and fun to ride AND that it will last through multiple children. We don’t recommend any bikes that will end up in a landfill anytime soon. We gave this another 30% of the total score.
  • Child Appropriate Geometry / Ease Of Riding: Here we looked at things like the frame geometry, wheelbase length, and crank length. It also takes into account how easily our testers were able to get riding on the bike–no easy feat for kids hopping on their first pedal bikes. This was 20% of our score.
  • Customer service: Many of the bikes on our list are direct to consumer, meaning you order them online rather than buying thru a local bike shop. This makes it really important that the bike is properly assembled and thoroughly inspected before shipping. It also means that we look for brands that actually answer email and phone calls with issues and questions. This accounted for 10% of our total score.
  • Aesthetics: The way a bike LOOKS shouldn’t really matter, but it does. Kids are more likely to ride bikes they think look awesome, and we’re more likely to spend our hard earned money on things that look nice too. This was the final 10% of our score.

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    About Us

    The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.

    Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for bikinelg with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.

    If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!

    30 thoughts on “10 Best 16 Inch Bikes For Your 4 To 5 Year Old”

    1. Thank you so much Kristen! All your info helping greatly as I start my search. Any feedback on Norco 16” Freewheel (Mirage). It is handbrake/ freewheel which was a Priority for me. The weight is 17.9. And at the tops of what I could afford at $259. Hoping to buy local instead of online and I know that limits my choices. Hoped I could find a quality used bike but unfortunately just couldn’t. Thanks for any input on this bike if you have!

      Reply
      • Hi Sarah,
        For your price range, and wanting to buy local, the Norco is a great choice. I haven’t personally tested it, but have had the opportunity to see plenty of kids riding it, and have received good feedback from other parents on it. I’d say go for it (and then let us know what you think too)!

        Reply
    2. I am looking for my 4 year old to get him a pedal bike this fall/winter. He’s a speed demon on his Strider and I just found a used Strider Super (16” pneumatic tires, rear caliper brake) to get him used to the higher weight and handbrake concept. His seat is currently set at 17-17.5 inches. He loves riding on graveled trails and the awesome large skate park near our house. We haven’t done much singletrack with him since last summer because he complained about how bumpy it was on his normal Strider (foam tires), but I expect that we’ll be back on it shortly now that he has pneumatic tires, since that is my favorite riding.
      The most important quality for this upcoming bike is durability, as I have a 20 month old son who just started gliding on his Strider (must… keep….. up!!!!) and another son due at the end of the month that I want this bike to last through (so nearly 6 years of foreseeable use). I live in the very wet and rainy Pacific Northwest. I don’t want coaster brakes and definitely want front and rear handbrakes; 16 pounds is pretty much my cutoff as my son is still under 40 pounds. I had pre-ordered a Stampede, but they cancelled the order and aren’t producing anything in 2018 (the specs on that looked like the sweet spot for fit, components, weight, and price) so I’m back to shopping. I like several bikes but I have concerns about each. To compound this, I don’t have a convenient bike shop to check any of these out at.
      Cleary Hedgehog: Probably the frontrunner, I’m concerned about the steel frame rusting and also the low gearing. I’d definitely have to get a second freewheel to increase the top end speed but they no longer have the 13 tooth cog (smallest Cleary offers) in stock. The flip-flop hub would seem to be an advantage for swapping between single track/skate park riding and neighborhood riding. If it is a little big for him, I can delay giving it to him and let him keep enjoying the Strider Super.
      Frog 48: Looks great, but I think the steering limiter would frustrate him (we go to the skate park/pump track 2-3 times a week).
      Woom 3: Everyone raves about it, but I’m not sure about the upright geometry vs. the Cleary/Frog and how good it will be for the skate park and singletrack riding. My eldest is fairly aggressive and my younger son is acting even more aggressive/fearless when riding (he’s a full year ahead of my eldest son’s bike usage/progression). I love the weight, but wish the SRAM Automatix hub was still available, as the gearing seems a little low once he’s used to pedaling (the chainring is smaller than most others used).
      Spawn Banshee: The Yoji 16 sounds great and it is out of my price range, but there are used Spawn Banshees always for sale about 3 hours north of me in Canada. Several forums have made it seem like the Spawns are smaller and wouldn’t last as long; also I’ve got the impression that you pay a lot for used Banshees but the Cleary may have better components at a similar price to a used Banshee.
      Commencal Ramones 16: I can’t find much reliable information about this one, especially about minimum seat heights. The rest of it looks good, but it’s weight is a little more than ideal.
      Norco Samurai: I’ve heard good things but can’t find weight or minimum seat height. The price is enough to keep me interested, especially because a semi-local bike shop can order one for me (but they don’t keep any in stock).
      What would you recommend?

      Reply
      • Wow, you have definitely done your homework and put a lot of thought into this.

        Of the bikes you’ve listed, I would go with either the Hedgehog or the Woom 3. Both are great bikes. With the Cleary, the frame is powdercoated so I dont *think* rust would be too much of an issue especially if it is stored indoors. You can always order the cog you want elsewhere and install it later. Honestly, I would wait until he’s riding it and then see if the gearing is even an issue.

        As for the Woom 3, it is without a doubt my son’s favorite bike and he has LOTS. I know a lot of parents have concerns about the geometry, but my son is VERY agressive–on the pump track, skatepark, and on singletrack. It has not hurt him at all; if anything it has helped him develop into a more confident and skilled rider. I agree with your concerns on the Frog and Spawn, and don’t have any personal experience with the Commencal or the Norco but know they both a weigh a bit more. Hopefully, I’ll be doing some reveiws of those bikes soon.

        Reply
        • Thanks for the advice! I’m now leaning more to the Woom 3, but have a couple more questions. Would it still be your kid’s favorite without the two speed hub that’s no longer available? I’m still concerned about its geometry and cockpit size because my son has a long torso and short legs; the Cleary or the Prevolo Alpha 2 might provide more time before upgrading is required. Do you think the Woom will last through 3 kids?

          Reply
          • Great questions. I do think the Woom would still be his favorite bike without the Automatix hub, but maybe not quite as much so. He definitely loves that hub and it is sad that it is no longer made. All three bikes are high quality and will last thru three kids, no problem. You’ve narrowed it down to some great bikes and you really can’t go wrong.

            Reply
    3. How about the haro shredder 16? We have tried a lot of bikes but the cheapest of the ones we like is the haro shredder. I am getting one for about 60 odd in fairly excellent condition. My son is comfortable on the prevelo alpha two and can just about manage to get his feet to touch the ground, but we havent yet tried the haro. Do you think he’d be able get an equivalent comfortable ride on the haro? I am about to have a girl and was hoping this bike would last until she can use it (thats about 3-4 years away).

      Reply
      • Sorry had to ask about one other option I have. This is a Jamis Laser 16 for about the same price as the haro. There’s a difference in their geometry and weight. My son is a little light weight for his age group. Which do you think would be a better choice? Thanks..

        Reply
        • Adding one more comment, we checked out the Jamis lazer but thats way too heavy for my kid. We had an option on a cannondale 16″ as well but it is relatively heavy at 21lbs and also the geometry isnt that great. Its a little too aggressive for my son’s tastes. The haro was great, weight wise and with its not too aggressive stance, but it had been used a lot and for the price (100) it wasnt justified especially since I got a Cnoc 16 for 175 in great condition. Of all the bikes my son loved this and the prevelo the most. Couldnt find a used prevelo alpha two for around the same price as the cnoc 16, so got the cnoc 16.

          Reply
    4. You have provided so much helpful information. Thank you! I have an almost 5 year old who hasn’t had a balance bike. I was going to do training wheels, but after reading your webpage I am going to do a pedal bike and take off the pedals until he learns to balance. I would have never thought to do this if it wasn’t for your article. You saved us a lot of money and frustration. thanks!!

      Reply
    5. Any thoughts on BMX style bikes? What’s good, what to avoid? Recommended models for 5-7 year old just starting out? Also, I tried downloading your cheat sheet, but there isn’t a working link for the download. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Hi Corey,
        We are actually planning on a bike BMX review project for 2019, but as of right now, I don’t have enough experience to give you a good recommendation. As for the cheat sheet, I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work for you. If you want to send me an email (kristenbonkoski@bpcole.org), I will get it to you.

        Reply
    6. The Louis Garneau Petit 16 is not on your list but is super awesome. Lists for $360 CAD ($270 USD). Aluminum frame, dual Tektro hand brakes, free wheel, riser bar, threadless stem, 19″ seat height, and only 15.8 pounds. Low bottom bracket for good leg extension even when at the lowest seat position, long wheelbase for a relaxed riding position, and overall great geometry for little kids. Best part is you can buy it at a local bike shop.

      Reply
    7. Hello, please could you let me know what you think of the Guardian original(339$) and Guardian Ethos (239$) bikes? thanks!

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    8. Hello, please could you let me know what you think of the Guardian original(339$) and Guardian Ethos (239$) bikes? I was looking at the sub 200$ range, but Guardian Ethos is the one that came closest to that range and would be a tough stretch but maximum I could at this age (4.5 years child), maybe once she’s older I ll get her a better one.

      Reply
    9. WOOM renewed their 2019 line with full protection chain box and side reflective tyres (changed the latter from Kenda to Schwalbe, ate last in Europe).

      Reply
    10. I’m looking at the Woom and the Commencal Ramon 2020 (now with disc brakes). We will mainly be riding dirt trails. Which would you recommend for my 4 year old. He currently rides a Haro shredder and rips it on the trails.

      Reply
    11. Hi Kristen,
      Been a big fan of your reviews. Just wondering if parents do actually install kickstand on kids’ bikes (16”)? Been to a few stores locally, either the available selection doesn’t look good with the bike’s colour, or they have negative reviews on the clamping system (screws & nuts breaking if tighten too much).

      Reply
      • Hi Derek,
        Thanks for the kind words. I’m a big fan of kickstands on little kids bikes…keeps them from throwing them on the ground all the time…..I don’t know about good looking kickstands, but we have the Greenfield kickstand (https://amzn.to/2lJDoZr) on several bikes and really like it. You will have to cut-it down but it’s designed to be able to do that. What bike are you planning on putting it on?
        Cheers,
        KB

        Reply
    12. Hi I’m looking for bikes for my girls. I called a couple local bike shops about the batch bikes. But everyone is having trouble even getting bikes in because of covid. Understandable but one place mentioned looking into retrospec bikes (the koda kids bike) they also have a new one coming out I think it was the Beaumont for kids . I don’t see that you mentioned them. What are you’re feeling in this bike for kids. The town we live in doesn’t have sidewalk so we are limited to parks or our property which is mostly compacted dirt (DG). I need 3 bikes (for triplet girls) so I would really like to keep my cost down. I haven’t been able to find used bikes right now either, except for the big box store ones.

      Reply
      • Hi Breanne,
        It really is SO hard to find bikes right now, I feel ‘ya! I don’t have any first-hand experience with the Retrospec bikes, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. Just looking at the specs, I’d be concerned about the weight (it’s really heavy!) and the quill-style headset (these have a tendency to rattle loose on cheaper bikes). That said, any bike is better than no bike, and if that’s all you can find right now in your price range, I wouldn’t feel bad about it.

        Reply
    13. Hi! I read your review of the Guardian 16 and it sold me on it. But when you listed your top picks, it was on the list. I’m confused. The Guardian review even seemed to put it ahead of the Woom. Help?

      Reply
    14. Hello,
      Thanks a lot for the detailed article. My 4 year old currently has a woom 2 but he is outgrowing fast. Since woom is very hard to find these and I m seeing used islabike come on sale time to time. My only concern is that it has coaster break. Is there a way to convert it into a free wheel? I like everything about islabikes but the coaster break. Thanks .

      Reply
    15. My oldest (4) is about to graduate to a 16 wheel bike. I’m planning to get him one for his birthday (rs) at the beginning of next month. He’s great at hand brakes and coaster brakes. He can ride off curbs and loves to ride. He’s 44 with a 16 inseam. What would you choose? We’ve had him on a Cleary Gecko 12 which I absolutely adore! But my 3 year old has taken it over since he learned to pedal last month.

      Reply

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