Whether cooking, mowing the lawn or washing your car—your kids want to be involved in your activities.
And it’s the same for cycling.
The best 16 inch bikes enable your children to join you on the open road—an experience that will have a positive benefit for the rest of their lives.
The Top 5 Best 16 Inch Bikes
What’s A 16-Inch Bike?Manufacturers usually size adult bikes by the size of their frame—for children’s bikes, they use the diameter of their wheels. Hence, as the name suggests, a 16-inch bike is one with wheel rims measuring 16 inches. Typically, brands size kid’s cycles from between 12 to 26 inches—after that, they become the adult models.
Who Is a 16-Inch Bike Suitable For?Often you’ll see 16-inch bikes being advertised for kids between four to six years, sometimes even as old as seven. Although this can be a reasonably good guide—be a little careful. A perfectly sized bike for your child depends on their height—not their age. If the cycle is too small, it’s going to be both challenging and uncomfortable for them to ride. Too large, and they may not be able to reach the floor when mounted—which is a danger. The best 16 inch bikes are perfect for kids between three feet, 1.5 inches (95 cm) to three feet, 8.8 inches (114 cm).
The Benefits of a 16-Inch BikeLet me tell you something. When I first began cycling, it was all about me—a positive move to boost my wellbeing and kick my unhealthy habits. Yet, it wasn’t long before my daughter (and my husband) wanted to be part of my new two-wheeled life. And this, more than anything, delivered the greatest rewards. Here’s why getting your tiny terrors onto one of the best 16 inch bikes is a phenomenal decision.
Gives them a Head StartAs the age-old cliché says, you never forget how to ride a bike—and that’s a fact that has scientific truth. Teaching your child to ride a bike as early as possible not only gives them a vital life-skill—but can also give you the one-upmanship of your little tike being on two-wheels before the similarly-aged Jimmy next door.
Gets them Away from ScreensSmartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs—it seems these days that kids are constantly in front of screens. Research shows that the average American child spends up to five hours per day watching TV—nevermind other technology. The best 16 inch bike enables them to get them away from these hypnotic mediums.
Provides Quality TimeBeing a cycling family allows you to spend valuable time together—creating new memories, forging bonds and being away from the day-to-day humdrum.
Elevates HappinessResearch shows that children that play in the great outdoors are happier and suffer fewer mental issues than those that don’t. Furthermore, studies illustrate that if your child spends time in the natural outside world—as an adult, they’ll experience fewer psychological problems than those who were denied by their parents this experience.
Boosts HealthGet this. In the USA, a shocking 13.9 percent of two to five-year-old children are obese. Between six to eleven-year-olds, this rises to 18.4 percent. A cycling child is a fitter child—helping them to elevate their health and wellbeing while still having fun.
How to Choose the Best 16 Inch BikesKids are picky, right? And it becomes worse as every year passes. Choosing the best 16 inch bike is a balance between selecting features you know they’ll love—but also ensuring it has all the safety and practicality characteristics critical for daily use. It may be heavily-stickered with child-appealing images of Spiderman or Wonderwoman—but if the brakes are too tricky to operate—it’s useless. Here are some points to think about when picking the best 16 inch bike.
Training WheelsIt’s a controversial topic—but training wheels, or stabilizers, have their place. If your small person is moving directly from a balance bike to a pedal version—they could be considered an extraneous feature—as your child already has the stability to control a cycle. However, if this is your child’s first experience on a bike—I believe training wheels are helpful, allowing your little one to become comfortable with riding position, steering, and brakes before moving on to balance. Different models either come with training wheels as standard, as optional extras or not offered at all.
WeightThe heavier the bike—the more effort that’s required to both ride it and lift it up from the floor. Consider the relative strength of your child when selecting the best 16 inch bike. Generally speaking, steel cycles are heavier than their aluminum counterparts.
BrakesMost commonly, brakes on 16-inch bikes come in three types—hand-lever, coaster or a combination of the two. Coasters apply stopping power when your child pedals backward. Although simple to use, the problem arises in that learner cyclists often subconsciously pedal in reverse to maintain balance—which will result in the bike coming to a halt and your child falling off. Personally, I prefer the hand-activated brakes—with many manufacturers making them comfortable for even the tiniest hands to operate.
DesignYou want a cycle that your child will ride—so try and select one that they will consider ‘cool.’ While avoiding gender stereotyping may be important to you—just bear in mind the practicalities. Let’s face it, if your daughter is intent on a cycle that makes her feel like a princess—you’re going to have more success convincing her to ride it than the one you selected because of its unisex qualities.
The Five Best 16 Inch BikesBased on industry-expert opinions, customer feedback, and my personal experience and knowledge—I’ve found the ultimate and best 16 inch bikes. Let’s get down to business.
In my opinion, this is the best 16 inch bike currently on the market.
If your child wants to feel ‘grown-up,’ I’d suggest this cycle’s bold styling and mountain bike appearance will more than keep them happy.
The 16-inch model comes complete with both training wheels and a kickstand. Hence, once you’ve removed the stabilizers, they have no excuse to leave it lying haphazardly on the ground—although they probably will.
Additionally, these training wheels have the benefit of extra rubber—reducing the tell-tale ‘clatter’ often associated with these cycling aids.
The inclusion of front-wheel caliper and rear coaster brakes will give your little one the versatility of different stopping methods. It’s pleasing to notice that the manufacturer has shortened the distance between the handgrip and brake lever—making it easier for small hands to operate.
Another ‘adult’ feature to please the children is the inclusion of a water bottle and holder over the rear wheel. Not only giving them extra fun value but also with the practical application of keeping your kid hydrated on family outings.
With a steel frame, this cycle should be particularly hard-wearing and able to stand up to even the toughest of destructive children—although it does make the cycle a little heavy at 24.8 pounds.
- Includes a handlebar-mounted bell.
- Easily adjustable seat height with a quick-release seat post.
- Arrives 95 percent assembled—also includes tools.
- Heavily cushioned seat.
- Full chainguard to protect clothing and annoying chain displacements.
- Pneumatic 2.4-inch tires.
- Includes front, rear and wheel reflectors.
- Handle on the rear of the seat for you to assist with early pedaling experience.
- Upright riding position for increased visibility.
- The weight may be an issue for younger or less able riders.
- Rear reflector requires removal to fit the kickstand.
If you have a child who wants an eye-catching cycle that stands out from the crowd—this could be one of the best 16 inch bikes.
Available in a choice of teal, purple and pink colors—combined with highly decorative Schwinn branding—it’s definitely a head-turner.
The handlebars incorporate a lateral foam cover—meaning those inevitable accidents will not result in some nasty head bangs. Furthermore, the included training wheels will assist those early pedaling days.
If your little one has their favorite toy they cannot be without or wants to play commuting or grocery shopping, I’m sure they’ll love the generous front carrier basket.
Unlike many children’s bikes, which are simply scaled-down versions of adult models, the manufacturer has taken time to make all aspects of this cycle suitable for a kiddy’s dimensions. As such, it has smaller handle grip diameters and narrower pedal positions to accommodate tiny people’s smaller hips.
Additionally, the intelligent seat angle design means that when you raise the saddle, the arm-reach to the handlebars also increases—hence fitting your child for longer.
This cycle incorporates a rear coaster and front caliper brake.
- Full chainguard to protect hands, feet and clothing.
- Includes a lifetime warranty.
- Made by a respected cycle manufacturer.
- You can easily adjust the seat without using tools.
- The manufacturer has designed the bike’s proportions with a child’s dimensions in mind.
- Includes safety foam on the handlebars.
- Choice of three colors.
- Heavily treaded tires.
- Step-through design for easy mounting and dismounting—useful if your child has short legs.
- Includes pedal reflectors.
- Weighing 27.1 pounds, it’s a heavy bike.
- Training wheels lack sufficient rubber, making them quite noisy.
- Bold styling may be too much for some kids or parent’s tastes.
If you’re planning on weekend leisurely rides with your family, or indeed cycling vacations—I’d propose this may be the best 16 inch bike.
With a nostalgic cruiser-style design, this cycle should please those kids who have already developed an aesthetic, grown-up taste. It’s available in a choice of muted pastel colors with retro brown seat and handle grips. And, for the more sporty, you can opt for the bolder hues with a black saddle.
Complete with training wheels and a full chainguard—this bike has riser handlebars, angled back towards the rider. I’d suggest that this would suit children that will feel more stable in a fully upright position.
This cycle has a sole coaster brake. It could, therefore, suit younger kids who have neither the hand strength or size to manipulate a handle-mounted lever.
A particularly novel feature, especially for more creative youngsters, is the inclusion of a DIY decal kit. This enables your little one to customize the frame and chainguard with their own words—be it their name, favorite superhero, or sports team.
The seat incorporates a rear handle—allowing you to stabilize your child during those early pedaling days. Unlike on other models, it’s reserved and hardly visible, which may please your child, saving them from peer-related embarrassment.
- Suitable for the younger end of the 16-inch bike spectrum.
- Steel frame for durability.
- Comes complete with a chrome safety bell.
- Distinctive styling.
- Sweep-back handlebars for an upright riding position.
- Choice of seven colors.
- Impressively treaded tires.
- Customizable stickers for frame and chainguard.
- Includes rear, front and wheel reflectors.
- Only being 85 percent assembled, it will require a little attention before first use.
- Lack of lever brakes may make it too basic for more competent child cyclists.
If your son or daughter loves a bit of extreme adventure in their leisure time—it’s my feeling that this is one of the best 16 inch bikes.
Appearance-wise, you’d struggle to notice this mountain bike looking cycle was for kids—apart from its giveaway wheel size. It’s available in a choice of green or blue frame colors, with black mountain saddle and soft handle grips.
With the adult-styling, I’d suggest that this bike may suit the more competent rider—or those towards the upper end of the 4-7 age group—since there are no training wheels included.
Having a rugged design, and heavily treaded tires, I’d say this cycle will be equally as happy on school commutes, leisure rides, or more demanding gravel tracks. The flat handlebar design will promote a more forward-leaning position, ideal for those children who want the exhilaration of speed.
In keeping with its ‘real’ bike feel—this cycle includes pull lever V-brakes, front and rear—there’s no coaster brake. Hence they can practice using the more traditional format before they progress onto adult machines.
Another impressive feature is the aluminum frame. While incredibly strong, it makes the bike lightweight—weighing just 22 pounds.
- Respected manufacturer.
- Pull-level V-brakes on both the front and rear wheels.
- Adult style design.
- Flat handlebars for a more adventurous riding position.
- Lightweight aluminum frame.
- A cycle equally suitable for on and off-road use.
- Suitable for boys and girls.
- Fairly easy to assemble.
- As a more adult-styled and featured cycle—it’s a little hard on the wallet.
- Lacks chainguard, fenders and reflectors.
Should you be seeking one of the best 16 inch bikes—but you’re on a limited budget—I believe this could be the solution.
Although remarkably lower in price than its competitors, I’d suggest this BMX-styled cycle still has sufficient impressive features to make it a machine your kids will love.
If your child isn’t up to the standard of pulling wheelies or completing bunny-hops—he or she will welcome the inclusion of training wheels to get them started on their new cycling journey.
In true BMX style, this bike lacks lever brakes—instead, it relies purely on a back-pedaling coaster brake. That said, it’s probably more to make it simpler for those with smaller hands rather than being a BMX purist design.
I’d say that it’s bold yellow styling with urban graffiti decals will be attractive to those youngsters wanting a little edginess in their two-wheeler. A matching foam handlebar cross-pad should prevent any unwanted injuries should your child push the bike to the max.
Weighing 24.03 pounds and with a steel-frame construction, I feel this cycle will stand up to the challenges of curb-jumping, accidental crashes and general kiddie demands.
- A feature-packed cycle that isn’t going to break the bank.
- Full chainguard to protect inquisitive hands.
- Foam pad on the handlebars for safety.
- Distinctive and bold BMX styling.
- One year guarantee on frame and forks.
- Reflectors in both pedals.
- Solid tread on black tires complemented by silver rims.
- Padded grips to reduce hand fatigue.
- It’s a little complicated to assemble if you’re not mechanically minded.
- Only available in yellow.
- Wheel bearings are a little tight, meaning it requires a little leg effort to ride.
The Best 16 Inch Bikes Conclusion
Getting on two-wheels with the whole family is a priceless experience, delivering benefits to your child that research shows will help them throughout their lives.
Above, I detailed my five best 16 inch bikes—all of which are excellent examples in this competitive category. However, for me, the RoyalBaby Freestyle is on top of the pile.
With training wheels included as standard—it’s equally suitable for all ability ranges. The combination of lever and coaster brakes means that even if their hands are currently too small to operate the brakes manually, they can still stop.
Furthermore, it’s sporty appearance, kickstand, reflectors and the seriously welcome water bottle and holder—means it’s a cycle your kids will want to be seen riding.
That said, for you or your child, one of the others may appeal. Such as the cruiser-styled Joystar, the mini-adult Raleigh Rowdy, or the dollar-friendly Major Damage.
But, for the best 16 inch bike that ticks all the categories, I believe it’s hard to beat the RoyalBaby Freestyle.