Whether your kid is a beginner or knows how to balance and pedal, getting your boy or girl the best 16-inch bike may just usher in a new era of exploration and adventure. After all, there’s something about having your own set of wheels that just screams “freedom!” I personally didn’t have a bike growing up but girls back then weren’t encouraged as much to explore but things have changed. My 5-year-old girl is already on his second bike!
So, what is a 16-inch bike?
It is a bike with 16-inch tires. That’s the diameter of the wheel, not the width. The best 16-inch bikes usually have coaster brakes. Coaster brakes are when you pedal backwards to brake. Some higher-end bikes will have handbrakes.
The 16-inch for wheels is different from the frame size, which would be the measurement of the bike from the handlebars to the ground. The frame size for a 16-inch bike would be 10 or 12 inches.
When should you get your child a 16-inch bike?
From the ‘prime’ biking age for kids from 4 to 8 years, your kid should be around 41 – 47 inches in height and has developed body coordination and balance to start riding a 16-inch bike.
It’s even perfect if your boy or kid outgrew other smaller bikes such as the 14-inch or 12-inch ones. The best way to know if your kid is ready to ride a 16-inch bike is if he or she can comfortably and confidently sit on the bike seat with feet touching the ground and pedals at 3 and 9 o’clock position.
How do you choose the best 16-inch bike?
There are a few factors to consider when choosing the best 16-inch bike:
- – Wheel size: of course, you want a 16-inch wheel size for a kid aged 4 to 8. If your kid is younger at around 3 years, you can get a 12-inch bike and if your kid is over 8 years, you can opt for a 20-inch bike. Kid aged 12 and above should go for 24-inch bikes.
- – Bike frame: the best 16-inch bike usually has a steel frame as they are both durable and economical. If you want a lighter bike, you can get an aluminum or titanium frame but they come with a higher price tag.
- – Brakes: as mentioned earlier, the best 16-inch bikes come with coaster brakes. Some may have handbrakes too but they are rare and usually more expensive. Go for coaster brakes first as they are easier for kids to use.
- – Tires: the best 16-inch bikes have pneumatic tires as they are softer and provide better shocks absorption. They do, however, require more maintenance such as pumping up the tires from time to time. Go for bikes with tires that are wider with deep treads as they provide better grip and stability, especially when your kid is riding on uneven surfaces.
- – Speeds: Most 16-inch bikes have single-speed setting but if you want your kid to have more control, you can get a bike with 3-speed or 6-speed settings. Just note that more speeds also mean more maintenance as you will need to regularly tune and oil the chain.
- – Weight: the best 16-inch bikes should be lightweight so that kids can easily maneuver them. A good rule of thumb is that the bike should be around 30% – 40% of your kid’s weight.
- – Accessories: some bikes come with bells, baskets, and kickstands while some don’t. It really depends on your preference but these accessories can help enhance your kid’s biking experience.
- -Riding ability: Just as kids’ bikes come in different sizes, they also come in different styles. The type of bike you choose should be based on your child’s riding ability and needs. For example, if your kid is still honing his or her skills, you may want to get a balance bike or a bike with training wheels. If your child is already confident on two wheels, you can opt for a pedal bike.
- -Type of Bike:There are also different types of bikes based on terrain. For instance, if you live in an area with lots of hills, you may want to get a mountain bike. Or, if you have a kid who loves speed, a BMX bike might be more up his or her alley.
- -Child’s interest: Of course, you also have to consider your child’s interests when choosing a bike. If he or she is into playing basketball, for instance, look for a bike with a basket. Or, if your kid loves all things pink, you can find plenty of bikes in that color, too.
When it comes to 16-inch bikes, we’ve rounded up some of the best options on the market. All of our picks are pedal bikes (no training wheels or balance bikes here), and they’re all Well made,safe and perfect for kids ages 4 to 8.
Reviews of the Best 16-inch Bikes 2022
1. Woom 3
Our overall best 16-inch bike in this 2022 list is the Woom 3 Pedal Bike by WOOM BIKES USA known for the design of lightweight bikes for kids. We ranked it top as it is designed to help young riders to be at ease even when just starting out. Your kids weight gets equally distributed and because of its low center of gravity, even the timidest riders will find it easy to start riding it.
The Woom Bikes Company is known for making child-specific bikes that are high-end and top-notch quality. Their bikes are smaller, lighter, and with a low center of gravity, making this bike one of the best beginner-friendly bikes.
Kids find this bike very easy to balance. It also has a unique brake system that enables small hands to pull while using minimal strength to stop the bike. This is the other reason it is beginner-friendly. The faster your child can learn to use the dual handbrakes, the easier it will be for them to use a pedal bike later.
The Woom 3 has tons of other features that you will love. One is that it has a super-light aluminum frame that allows easy balancing and control. Second, the seat post and open seat tube allow the bike to be adjusted as your child grows. Third, this bike has a specially designed saddle that keeps your child in an almost upright position, which is more comfortable and less strenuous on the back and neck.
This unique design also allows the child to ride comfortably when sitting or standing. It also has a steering limiter that helps to keep your child safe by preventing the handlebars from overturning and keeping your child steady. And lastly, it has pretty impressive tires that perform great on any terrain because of low rolling resistance and shock absorbers.
- Price: $ 389
- Front & rear hand V-brake
- Aluminum frame
- Upright geometry
- Optional kickstand and bell
- Gain ratio: 3.56
- Kenda Small Block 1.5 inch tires
- Top-notch quality components
- Ergonomically designed grip
- Steering limiter for safety
- High-quality tires with good shock absorption and low resistance
- Reflective stripes give it good visibility even when it’s dark
- Expensive pricing
2. Prevelo Alpha Two
Our second pick in this list of best 16-inch bikes is the Prevelo Alpha Two by Prevelo which is designed for more rigorous and long rides compared to Woom 3. It has extra padding and your kid can try different tricks or pedal faster without compromising his/her safety.
This brand also came close to the top as it has the highest gain ratio in this list and for each pedal stroke, the bike covers more distance than any other bike on this list.
Prevelo Alpha Two is perfect for adventurous young riders who love long trips. The wheels are suitable for all terrains and a low center of gravity and high gearing ability enables the rider to go over hilly areas easily. At 15 pounds, it is one of the lightest, allowing kids to have better control and maneuverability.
Even though it is not painted like other bikes, the Prevelo bike is simply stunning. With its brushed shiny aluminum frame, no kid can resist its charm.
It has a slight dip on top of the top frame, allowing kids to easily get on and off the bike.
The Alpha Two is a great balance bike and doesn’t come with a coaster brake. Coaster brakes cause problems, especially for beginners who often pedal backward accidentally, causing the bike to come to an abrupt stop. You don’t have to worry about this issue with Alpha Two, as the bike will continue being in motion until your child uses the dual handbrakes.
Its tires are from the Kendall Small Block Eight brand with a sealed bearing bottom bracket to give your child enjoyable nice and smooth rides.
- Price: $379
- Tekro dual hand brakes with small reach brake levers
- Aluminum frame
- Weighs 15 pounds
- 3.8 gain ratio
- Excellent quality components
- Durable frame
- Has no coaster brake
- Great child-appropriate geometry with a low center of balance
- Lacks some important components like a kickstand
- Limited color options
3. Pello Revo
Our third best 16-inch bike with stable tires is the Pello Revo. This bike’s tires have knobby tires for extra traction. While it is great for rough terrains, it also works perfect in paved surfaces.
Pello Revo is another great 16-inch bike and a fantastic choice for kids who are learning how to ride. It works nicely over any terrain, from trails to pavements. All its components are high quality and durable, making this bike a valuable purchase that will last for many years.
This brand prides itself on its RideRight Geometry with a low center of gravity, easy grips, child-sized saddle, lightweight frame, and knobby tires that can handle trails beautifully. This ensures that your child gets an enjoyable riding experience no matter where their adventure takes them.
You should know that the Pello Revo bike comes with a standard backpedal, but there is an option to buy the freewheel kit so that your child doesn’t have to use coaster brakes. As you know, coaster brakes are a pain to use, especially on rough terrain, and sometimes even affect the rider’s balance. With the freewheel kit, your child can maintain balance by pedaling backward.
This bike places the rider in a semi-upright position, and the handlebars can rotate inwards towards the child or away from the child, whichever way feels comfortable for them.
- Price: $359
- Aluminum frame
- Dual hand brakes and a coaster brake
- Knobby tires
- Gain ratio: 3.55
- Semi-upright position for more aggressive riding
- Wide, knobby tires provide great traction for all terrains
- Handlebars can be rotated for comfort
- Has a coaster brake, but it is removable
- The brakes can be frustrating
4. Raleigh Bikes Rowdy 16
Raleigh rowdy provides the best value in the $260 range. It has really cool designs for both boys and girls. It is made of aluminum construction, making it sturdy, supportive, and durable.
The bike is lightweight and easy to handle. It provides great maneuverability to move around the neighborhood or dirt trails. With PVC grips, the handles are very gentle for little hands, and a supportive mountain saddle provides comfortable seating all through. The geometry and near-flat handlebars of the bike make it ideal for aggressive riders.
It has front and rear V brakes which your child can use to bring the bike to a stop. Like all the others in this category, it has a single-speed drive to keep kids focused on the road while they practice. This bike works alright even with a taller child because it has an integrated 19″ to 21″ inseam, offering more room for leg extension.
- Price: $260
- Aluminum frame
- Front and Rear V-handbrakes
- Gain ratio: 3.5
- Durable construction
- Perfect sized grips handle for small hands
- Excellent value for money
- Not the best for timid riders
5. Early Rider Belter 16
Although the Early Rider costs more than twice the price of some other bikes on this list, its sleek looks and exceptional functionality make it a valuable purchase. It is great for riders from three and a half to six years of age.
Early Rider is perhaps the easiest bike for children, including beginners, to ride. Weighing just 13.7pounds, it is the lightest bike on this list, so small children can pick it up and be able to maneuver and control it without breaking a sweat. It also has a low seat and plenty of space, so your child is able to gain and maintain stability with ease. Further, it uses front and rear V pull brakes which are easy for small hands to access and use.
The bike comes with a belt drive that doesn’t need to be greased or maintained to compensate for the hefty price. Better still, it eliminates the likelihood of snagging on clothing, stretching, or slipping off the gears, the most common issues seen with other chain designs. It also features a faux leather saddle for comfort.
Also, the Belter 16 has two mounting positions for the pedals, and the seat height can be adjusted to ensure a comfortable riding position as your child grows.
- Price: $ 419
- Front and Rear V-brakes
- Aluminum frame
- Gain ratio: 4.15
- Attractive, hand-brushed aluminum frame
- Seats low to the ground for easier balancing and maneuvering
- No coaster brakes
- Carbon belt drive that doesn’t need greasing or maintenance
6. RoyalBaby 16
This one is a best seller on Amazon, and it is functional just as it is attractive. It has great designs for both boys and girls. Even better, it is the most affordable on this list, despite some impressive features that some other high-end bikes lack.
The bike has a steel frame which is supportive and sturdy. It comes mostly preassembled, so you will just need a few minutes to get it ready for your eager child to hit the road. For the price, we loved that it has a quick-adjust seat and a kickstand. (Many cheap bikes with trainer wheels do not come with a kickstand). Talking of training wheels, they can easily be removed to allow your child to get used to riding a real bike.
It has both a front caliper brake and rear coaster braking, giving your child more options to stop the bike. It is also the only bike on this list that comes with accessories such as a handy water bottle.
- Price: $130
- Steel frame
- Front caliper and rear coaster brake
- Comes almost out of the box ready to use
- Most affordable on this list
- Comes with a bonus water bottle
- It has a kickstand
- Reviewers wish it didn’t have “baby” printed all over
- Coaster brakes (expected for the price)
Best 16-INCH Bikes FOR GIRLS
1. Raleigh Jazzi
Any girl will fall in love with Raleigh Jazzi’s adorable colors and eye-catching designs. We love that the designs are girlish without being babyish. The bike is affordably priced, well designed, good quality, and durable with a lifetime warranty. It is also one of the lightest bikes, which means it is a bike that your girl will want to use every day.
This bike is perfect for a beginner as it comes with training wheels which can be removed once your girl has mastered balancing. We also love that the wheels perform great on pavements or trails.
The bike is also great for adventurous riders who want to go over small jumps or curbs and around the neighborhood. Low positioned handlebars make this bike easy to ride.
- Price: $170
- Aluminium frame
- Coaster brakes
- Lifetime warranty
- Adorable girly designs
- Affordable pricing
- Durable materials with a lifetime warranty
- Low height; easy for small children to get on and off and easier balancing
- Comes with removable training wheels to help beginners learn to balance
- Easy to assemble
- Training wheels make a squeaking noise when the bike is moving
- Coaster brake
2. COEWSKE steel frame kids bike, little princess style 12-20 inch, with training wheels
The COEWSKE Company designs their bike with unique styles for boys and girls. The bike above is one of the adorable designs for girls to ride in style like the princess. Featuring a front basket, a bell, and a special seat on the rear for your girl’s favorite doll, your little princess can take along all she needs for her adventures.
The bike uses a steel frame, so it is a bit heavy, but it has an ergonomic design to keep your child comfortable. It has a curved and low top frame allowing easy on and off. Flange grips help keep little hands from slipping as the ride. It also has a quick-release seat post, providing the perfect fitting for your child.
It has a front and rear V brake and pedal brake that are easy for kids to bring the bike to a stop. Other great features are a full chainguard for safety and smooth ride, shock absorbers for a bump-free ride, and thick and wide inflatable rubber tires for comfortable rides.
- Steel frame
- Front and Rear V hand brakes
- Full chainguard
- Super cute designs for girls
- Fast and effortless assembly; comes 95% assembled with all required tools
- Comes with removable training wheels for stability
- Reasonable pricing
- Doesn’t come with a kickstand
- It may not last
How tall should you be for a 16-inch bike?
For a child to comfortably ride a 16-inch bike, they should be about 3’7″ to 4’0″ tall.
What age should a kid be to ride a 16-inch bike?
16-inch bikes are designed for children aged 4 to 6 years.
16-inch bike for a 4-year-old? Is it ideal? For 5-year olds, For 3-year olds, for 6 and 7-year olds? Which age is best?
A 16-inch bike provides the best fit for 4 and 5-year-olds, but the best way to know is by measuring your child’s inseam (length along the inside of the legs) and comparing it to the bike’s seat height. If your child is a beginner, they should be able to place their feet to the ground, when standing over the bike’s saddle. If they are experienced riders, they should have their toes touching the floor. This ensures they can ride the bike and be able to bring it to a stop safely. For a 16 inch bike, your child’s inseam should be between 18 to 22 inches/ 40-50 cm.
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Mary Stephens is our infant development and baby fun activities specialist here at Motherhood HQ. She has over 10 years of experience dealing with kids, previously as a K3 teacher and now as a K9-12 teacher specializing in physical education and Social Studies. She is certified to teach in New York and Massachusetts and when not teaching trampoline jump tricks or giving toddler safety guides, she enjoys writing and providing helpful guides to parents on baby fun activities from infancy to toddlerhood. Mary is also an independent consultant providing parents with fun activities at home and appropriate toys and baby gear for infants and toddler development. She can be reached at her email, mary.s(at)motherhoodhq.com.