Best 16-inch bikes for 4 to 6-year-old Kids

eric-awwy By Eric Awwy, 22 Jan 2020

Schwinn Elm 16-Inch Bike - Best for Girls

Guardian Ethos 16-Inch Bike - Best Overall

Nice C BMX 16 Inch Bike - Ultralightweight

12 Minutes Read

One of the best parts of growing up is experiencing the thrill that comes with riding a bike.

The sense of accomplishment that parents feel when their kids finally master how to navigate a bike and the memories created once riding becomes a family affair are genuinely irreplaceable.

However, just any bike will not cut it. The truth is that the main ingredient to experiencing this thrill and creating these memories is having the right bike.

 If you have a kid within the four to six-year age range then 16 inches bikes are the best bet for you. Better yet, if you are wondering whether the ‘right’ bike does exist for them; the answer is yes.

The first factor that you need to key in is that bikes that have a 16-inch wheel are best suited for kids within this age range.

But listen; the wheel size isn’t the sole indicator of an appropriate bike for your kid. So what else do you need to look out for when hunting for a bike for your four to six-year-old?  We covered what you need to look for when shopping for a bike in a separate article: Buying advice for kids’ pedal bike.

Let’s have a look at the best 16-inch bikes in the market and find out.

Bike What Makes It Special Weight (Pounds) Dual Brakes Gender
Guardian Ethos Kids Bikes Proprietary SureStop braking system. 20 Yes. UNISEX.
Schwinn Koen Bike SmartStart geometry suits a child’s proportions. 20.6 Rear coaster brake and a front hand brake BOY.
Schwinn Elm Bike SmartStart geometry suits a child’s proportions. 20.6 Rear coaster brake and a front hand brake. GIRLS.
Schwinn Scorch Bike SmartStart geometry suits a child’s proportions. 20.6 Rear coaster brake and a front hand brake. BOYS.
RALEIGH  Rowdy Kids Bike Longer reach extra-wide handlebars. 19.2 Yes. Responsive dual handbrakes. BOYS.
Royal Baby Freestyle Kid’s Bike Tires have customized RoyalBaby tread. 25 Front caliper brake and rear coaster brake. UNISEX.
JOYSTAR Totem Kids Bike

Saddle holder, D.I.Y decal.

21.5 No, Coaster Brake. UNISEX.
Retrospec Koda Kids Bike Grippy tires, built-in water bottle holder. 20 No, Coaster Brake. UNISEX.
Nice C BMX Bike Rear disc brake, very lightweight, aesthetically pleasing. 17.6 Yes. UNISEX.
Dynacraft Magna Major Damage BMX Easy on the pocket, Vibrant logos. 27 No, Coaster Brake. BOYS.

1 Guardian Ethos 16-inch Bike - The Best Overall

See More Reviews

Features of the Guardian Ethos 16

  • Category: Unisex.
  • Age: 4 - 6 years.
  • Child height: 40 - 46 inches.
  • Inseam: 18 – 22 inches.
  • Saddle height: 18.5 – 23.5 inches.
  • Weight: 20 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  Steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors:  black/blue, pink/aqua, black/blue/green, purple/aqua, aqua/pink, black/red, light blue/ blue.

Guardian Bikes have built a name for themselves in the bike industry.

One of the newer creations; Guardian Ethos is a 16-inch bike that has the edge over other bikes in this category as it comes 99% assembled and has a patented braking system that is far much safer for kids.

This patented braking system known as SureStop delegates the role of stopping both bike wheels to one brake lever. As such, head-over-handlebar accidents which are prone to more traditional braking systems when the front hand brake is engaged at high speeds can be avoided.

With SureStop technology, kids stop 44% faster than when engaging traditional braking systems as this system is automatic, and the brake lever is easy to reach and compress.

You can easily decipher that this bike is engineered to suit kids’ proportions from the length of its crank arms to the spacing of its pedals and the size of the saddle, handlebars, and grips. To add ice to the cake, the saddle is positioned in such a way that the rider maintains a low center of gravity which is quite crucial for early riders.

Besides, this bike is intelligently constructed with a lightweight steel frame that allows better control and stability for kids and equipped with durable tires that have excellent traction on all terrains!

Kids can easily create a bond with this bike as it will stay with them throughout the years. This is thanks to the fact that this bike is equipped with a quick-release seat clamp post that can easily be adjusted up and down to better suit a kid’s size.

While parents will glee over the child-specific arrangement of the bike’s components, kids will be over the moon due to the highly conspicuous and cool decal patterns of the bike.

A much safer braking system, high-quality construction and child-specific geometry added to a striking décor make this one of the best 16-inch bikes in the industry. With this one, you get the best value for your money.

It earns 4.9 out of 5 stars from our panel of reviewers.

Read the full review of the Guardian Ethos.

2 Schwinn Koen Bike (BEST BOYS BIKE)

See More Reviews

Features of the Schwinn Koen

  • Category: Boys'Bike.
  • Age: 3 - 5 years.
  • Child height: 38 - 48 inches.
  • Inseam: 20 – 25 inches.
  • Saddle height: 20.5 – 24.5 inches.
  • Weight: 20.6 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  Steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: black, blue, red.

Well-constructed bikes always have a distinct feature that divides them from their competitors. In this case, Schwinn bikes utilize a SmartStart design that makes their bikes a better fit for children’s proportions.

This redesign of bike geometry entails a lighter steel frame for better control of the bike, smaller grips to fit miniature hands and a narrower pedal position that matches children’s smaller hips.  This makes for a more comfortable and natural riding position.

For braking, this bike is armed with both a rear coaster brake and front caliper brake. Although the handbrake is not as effective as the coaster brake, it is a great way to familiarize kids with hand-brake-only stopping which they are bound to use when they get older.

Furthermore, little hands are protected from the chain and grease by a full-coverage chain guard.

At the core of this bike, however, is training wheels that can easily be detached when the child is ready, an adjustable saddle that ensures the kid grows with the bike, a saddle handle which can be used to hold your child steady during their early bike strides and a number plate for easy identification.

For the above reasons, Schwinn Koen bike is undoubtedly a winner for little boy riders in our books. It checked all the things we were looking for in the best 16-inch boys’ bike.

Our team of editors awarded it 4.8 out of 5 stars.

3 Schwinn Elm Bike (BEST GIRLS’ BIKE)

See More Reviews

Features of the Schwinn Elm Girl's Bike

  • Category: Girls' Bike.
  • Age: 3 - 5 years. 
  • Child height: 38 - 48 inches.
  • Inseam: 20 – 25 inches.     
  • Saddle height: 20.5 – 24.5 inches.
  • Weight: 20.6 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: purple, teal, pink.

What’s better than one greatly engineered bike? Two!

Schwinn Elm is a 16-inch girls’ bike that also is fine-tuned with SmartStart frame geometry. Unlike most cheap store-bikes it is not merely a shrunken down version of adult bikes.

Instead, it is fashioned to suit a child’s proportions with a lighter frame, miniature grip diameters, smaller saddle, and narrower Q-factors.  

It is also embellished with removable training wheels which ensure less wobble for beginners, an adjustable saddle that can be raised or lowered to fit child’s size, a saddle handle for towing and a full-coverage chain guard to shield little fingers.

This is in addition to a range of braking mechanisms including a rear coaster brake and a front hand brake.

At the heart of this bike, however, is a front basket where little girls can store their favorite riding supplies. Schwinn Elm Girls bike is effortlessly one of the best 16-inch girls’ bikes in the market.

On a scale of one to five, it scored 4.8 stars out of 5.


See More Reviews

Features of the Schwinn Scorch Kid's Bike

  • Category: Boys' Bike.
  • Age: 3 - 5 years.
  • Child height: 38 – 48 inches.
  • Inseam: 20 – 25 inches.     
  • Saddle height: 20.5 – 24.5 inches.
  • Weight: 20.6 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  Steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: grey and yellow.

Schwinn SmartStart bikes are definitely an upgrade from low-end store bikes. One thing for sure is that the bikes compensate for the higher price tag with a befitting construction. 

Schwinn Scorch bike is just the right size for little boys as children’s proportions dictate its make. 

For starters, little youngsters have no qualms about handling the bike’s grips as they are not too thick. Additionally, the saddle fits them correctly and can be adjusted to match their height with no need for additional tools.

While the pedals of low-end store bikes are positioned wider, those of this higher-end 16-inch bikes match their width to the child’s hip-width.

Beginners can also use the training wheels that accompany it for better balance and engage either the rear coaster brake or the front handbrake for powerful stopping. For further safety, this bike endorses a full-coverage chain guard that not only protects little fingers from harm but also prevents the grease from drying

Schwinn Scorch is the last of the Schwinn SmartStart bikes that made it to our list but is definitely not the least in terms of performance as it also easily earned 4.8 stars.


See More Reviews

Features of the Raleigh Rowdy 16 Kid's Bike

  • Category: Boys' Bike.
  • Age: 3 - 6 years.
  • Child height: 38 - 48 inches.
  • Inseam: 20 – 25 inches.
  • Saddle height: 21.5 - 26 inches.
  • Weight: 19.2 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material: aluminum.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: green and blue.

The Raleigh Rowdy 16” is an ideal bike for more experienced and aggressive riders.

This is because, as compared to most, this bike has a longer reach and extra-wide handlebars. 

The 540mm wide handlebars function well on wider turns but can prove a little problematic for narrower turns. However, if the wider handlebars prove to be a hindrance for your child, they can easily be shortened at any local bike store.

Additionally, because the handlebars are set lower, the rider will have to lean towards the handlebars to reach them. This means that the riding position will be leaning rather than upright. This coupled with the fact that training wheels do not accompany the bike, makes it more appropriate for experienced riders. 

On the plus side, the Raleigh Jr. mountain saddle and soft PVC grips not only fit a child’s proportions but further enhance the comfort experienced by the little riders.

Another distinct feature of this bike is that it is coaster brake free meaning that little riders can fully explore their pedaling power without experiencing unexpected breaks.

In place of a coaster brake, this bike is equipped with dual responsive handbrakes. The alloy V-brakes function well for speed control and easy stopping.

The bike’s frame is constructed with aluminum making it extremely lightweight, durable, and rust-free.  This lightweight nature further makes it very easy for kids to maneuver.

But the ease of using this bike does not just stop there. Its single-speed drive train allows kids to focus on riding the bike without having to shift gears.

When put to the test, this bike effortlessly proved that it deserved a spot in the best 16-inch bikes category. Thus it was awarded 4.7 out of 5 stars.

6 Royal Baby Freestyle Kid’s Bike (BEST TIRES)

See More Reviews

Features of the Royal Baby Freestyle Kid’s Bike

  • Category: Unisex.
  • Age: 3 - 6 years.
  • Child height: 38 - 48 inches.
  • Inseam: 20 – 25 inches.
  • Saddle height: 21-25 inches.
  • Weight: 25 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  BMX Sport, Steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: red, blue, fuchsia, green, orange, pink, and white.

The Royalbaby Freestyle is one of the most budget-friendly bikes that performed remarkably well in our review. What is interesting about this bike is that in spite of its low price tag, it has a lot to offer.

RoyalBaby concentrates strictly on kids’ bicycles. This deliberate focus allows them to strive for innovation and perfection, so kids have a better riding experience on their bikes. 

RoyalBaby Freestyle bike is a 16-inch kid’s bike constructed with a sturdy steel frame that features a one-piece crank and fully enclosed chain guard that keeps wandering little fingers safe.

It also features an easy-to-adjust quick release clamp post that can be easily heightened or lowered for different-sized riders in addition to a comfortable and well-cushioned saddle. Thanks to its flanged grips, little hands will definitely not slide off them.

Another factor that stands out is that it is endowed with pneumatic rubber 2.4 inch wide knobby tires that have a customized RoyalBaby tread. It is also accompanied by unique heavy-duty training wheels that are designed to dampen noise on the go.

For safety, the front caliper brake and rear coaster brake are a powerful combination for learning how to stop the bike.

As for assembly, because the bike comes 95% assembled, all you have to do is install the training wheels, pedals, handlebar, and saddle and you can hit the road!

The icing on the cake for this budget-friendly bike is that it is further accessorized with a bell and water bottle.

We dare say that Royalbaby Freestyle bike can put up a good fight against other expensive alternatives.

Our committee of reviewers graded it at 4.6 out of 5 stars.


See More Reviews

Features of the Joy Star Totem 16" Bike

  • Category: Unisex.
  • Age: 4 – 7 years.
  • Child height: 41 – 52 inches.
  • Inseam: 18-22 inches.
  • Saddle height: 19-22 inches.
  • Weight: 21.5 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  High tensile steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: Blue, beige, red, orange, pink, green.

The Joystar Totem is a 16-inch bike made of premium steel and rubber pneumatic tires that easily get through rocky and bumpy terrains. A limited lifetime warranty further backs the durable steel frame.

On arrival, the average parent would only take about fifteen minutes to assemble the bike, and it becomes ready to hit the trails.

The bike is accessorized with detachable training wheels for increased stability and features a coaster brake and hand brake to diversify the stopping options. With both braking mechanisms, kids who don’t have the power to manipulate the handbrake can smoothly pedal backward.

Different sized kids within the four to six-year age range can all comfortably fit on this bike owing to its quick-release seat post that can be heightened and lowered.

Another striking feature about this bike is that the saddle comes with a holder that enables parents to grasp and teach children how to balance when the training wheels are off.

The most pleasing feature about this bike is that it comes with D.I.Y decal that allows children to label their names on the stickers, thereby giving their bikes a personal touch.

The stickers can be attached on the frame of the bike or on the fully enclosed chain guard which functions to protect both little fingers and the chain’s grease from damage.

For these reasons, Joystar Totem makes a confident cameo in our expertly reviewed list and earns 4.6 out of 5 stars.

8 Retrospec Koda Kids Bike (BEST COLOR OPTIONS)

See More Reviews

Features of the Retrpspect Koda 16 Inch Bike

  • Category: Unisex.
  • Age: 3 – 7 years.
  • Child height: 35 – 47 inches.
  • Inseam: 21 – 26 inches.     
  • Saddle height: 22 – 26 inches.
  • Weight: 20 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  Steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: black & red, blippi, blue & lime, blush pink, burnt orange, Eco green, forest, seafoam & tangerine.

The Retrospec Koda is another budget-friendly 16-inch kids’ bike that features a one-piece crank and full chainguard. Here’s the good news, you do not need to waste much time to make it ready for the road as it comes 95% assembled.

This bike boasts of a lightweight hand-built high tensile steel frame that can hold up its own against falls. Its wide, grippy tires give little riders total reliable grip both on and off-road while its well-proportioned miniature seat makes for a comfortable ride. 

Retrospect Koda also comes with training wheels for wheel support and can easily be transitioned into a two-wheeler by simply removing the training wheels.

For safe braking, the outdoor-committed rider has the option to choose either the rear coaster brake or the handbrake to slow down or stop the bike.

Knowing how little riders who have a passion for cycling can get thirsty on the trail, Retrospec Koda comes embellished with a built-in water bottle holder.

With this bike, young riders can easily take on every riding learning curve. It is no wonder that it highly scored 4.5 out of stars


See More Reviews

Features of Nice C BMX Bike

  • Category: Unisex
  • Age: 4 - 8 years.
  • Child height: 42 -54 inches.
  • Inseam: 18 - 22 inches.      
  • Saddle height: 19 – 22 inches.
  • Weight: 17.6 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  aluminum.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors: champagne.

At first glance, NiceC BMX is a winner based on appearance alone but what is more pleasing is that this bike does not just tick off the aesthetic checkbox but also performs remarkably well in terms of functionality.

The frame of this bike mimics the letter ‘N’ in a slanted form that allows a low center of gravity as well as a low step-through frame.

Because it comes pre-assembled, all you have to install is the handlebars, pedals, saddle and an optional training wheel and your little one can jump on it!

It is made of a one-piece aluminum frame which is quite advantageous in that it is lightweight, rust-free, and durable and keeps children safe from broken bicycle frame accidents. Beginners can use the detachable training wheels and disengage them once they are more confident in their skill.

Other than being extremely easy for kids to maneuver, it is the only bike listed that features a disc brake.

It boasts of a safe dual braking system featuring the traditional front v-brake and a rear disc brake that offers superior speed modulation for excellent stopping. The great thing about the rear disc brake is that there is no chance of your child flying over the bars as opposed to a front disc brake.

The NiceC is further enhanced by extra wide and thick tires that run smoothly on just about any surface, have better shock absorption, and are also durable.

Kids will definitely appreciate the TPR soft grips which together with the non-slip resin pedals with reflectors, enhance their security and comfort level on the bike.

Weighing a mere 17.6 pounds, the NiceC BMX is one of the lightest and most functional 16-inch bikes we have come across. Our team of editors awarded it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

10 Dynacraft Magna Major Damage BMX (BEST ON A BUDGET)

See More Reviews

Features of the Dynacraft Magna Major Damage BMX Bike

  • Category: Boys'Bike.
  • Age: 4 - 8 years.
  • Child height: 42 – 52 inches.
  • Inseam: 18 – 22 inches.
  • Saddle height: 19 – 22 inches.
  • Weight: 27 pounds.
  • Frame and fork material:  steel.
  • Gears: single speed.
  • Colors:  yellow/ black.

If you are a big fan of BMX frames, then the Dynacraft Magna Major is the bike that you ought to look into.

This bike is the definition of flashy as very vibrant logos decorate its frame. A notable characteristic of this bike is that it features a handlebar pad with graphics so your kid will definitely be the coolest one on the block.

The Magna Major is an excellent choice for younger aggressive riders.

The good news for parents is that the steel construction of the bike is sturdy and the frame and fork also have a lifetime warranty so if your child is fond of throwing their bikes around you won’t have to worry about replacement issues.

The 16 x 1.75 wheels come equipped with high-quality grippy tires that function exceptionally well both on and off-road.

In addition, the bike features detachable training wheels for extra stability and easy removal and an adjustable well-padded seat to fit a wide range of riders that matches the comfortable and well-proportioned black grips. 

Our only reservation about this bike is that its only braking mechanism is a coaster brake. Although the coaster brake functions exceptionally well, riders do not get the exposure and experience of using hand brakes which they will eventually need to use as they get older.

Not only does the Magna Major look good but it is also affordable and fun to ride! It is undoubtedly a bang for your money.

For those reasons, it earned 4.4 out of 5 stars from our panel of reviewers.

Frequently Asked Questions on 16-inch Bikes for Kids

What age is a 16-inch bike for?

A 16-inch bike is the best bike for a 4, 5, or 6-year-old boy or girl. From our observation and years of rising with sprogs, we can confirm that 16” bikes fit kids at the age of 4 years.

The kids can then grow with the bikes until they are 5-6 years old. Ideally, it is the best bike to transition from balance bikes. We say so because; the 12-inch bikes aren’t a good fit as we previously explored.

So, you can be confident to shop for 16 inches bikes for your kid as their first pedal bike. If you have a daughter aged 4, 5, or 6 years, a girls’ 16-inch bike should be a priority for the sprouting rider. Otherwise, if it is a boy between 4 and 6 years old, get them the best boys 16-inch bike.

What is a 16-inch bike?

Parents worried whether 16-inch bikes are fit for their kids transitioning from balance bikes also wonder about just how big a 16-inch bike is. Well, a 16-inch bike has a 16-inch wheel and is best suited for 4-6-year-old kids. It is a bike best and comfortably ridden by a child with an inseam of between 16” and 22”.

Many brands produce lightweight, study, and confidence-inspiring bikes including Guardian, Schwinn, WOOM, Priority, Prevelo, Cleary, and Frog bikes.


The ideal 16-inch bike to us is one that is appropriately sized for kids, instills a safe braking mechanism, is comfortable, encourages a low-center of gravity, does not require professional skills to assemble, and its weight is child-optimized so it can easily be maneuvered.

To top it all off, the ideal bike gives value for money. And that is exactly what the Guardian Ethos was for us.

But that is not to say that it is the only bike that fulfills everyone’s bike requirements. On the contrary, everyone has their bike preferences. 

Remember the thrill we talked about earlier? By choosing either of the options mentioned above, your child can now have a go at experiencing it!

When choosing a 16-inch bike, consider your child’s inseam, weight, price, color preferences, height, braking, gearing, training wheels, and frame materials.

Happy riding!

Current Rating:
0.00 Rated by 63 Readers