16 Inch Bicycle — To What Size Kids?

boy riding a 16-inch kids bicycle up a concrete hill

A 16-inch bicycle is often the next step for children after graduating from a balance bike. But, it’s essential to ensure the new choice is both safe and comfortable by making sure you’re getting the correct size.

Who exactly is a 16-inch kids’ bike designed for?

The exact size recommendation differs from one manufacturer to another, but our online calculator below will give you a close estimate and a good starting point.

How to Measure a 16-inch Kids’ Bike?

how to measure 16-inch bike

Unlike bicycles for adults which are measured according to the frame size, kids’ bikes are measured based on the diameter of the wheel. Therefore, a 16-inch bicycle is a bicycle with 16″ wheels and a frame of corresponding size.

To find out what size kids can ride a 16″ bike, we recommend using our online calculator below by choosing the desired wheel size from the drop-down menu. You’ll then be taken to a separate page with a printable size chart that lets you know if that is the right size for your child.

Make sure to also read the detailed measuring instructions to ensure you’re getting the right information.


Frame Diagram


Measuring Instructions

  1. Measure the diameter of the existing tire, as illustrated above (D), or look on the tire for the size (it looks like this: nn" x n.n").
  2. If you find the tire size, the first dimension is the tire diameter, the second dimension is the tire thickness.
  3. Record the tire diameter, as this also represents the bike frame size.
  4. Select your bike size from the drop-down on the right to see a rider chart.


Kids Bike

Rider Charts

Once you know your bike's frame size, select it from the drop-down to see how tall riders should be to use this bike.


Wheel Size (D) - This is the outer diameter of the wheel, with the tire installed on the rim.

Kids Bike Sizing (in) - Kids bikes are measured in inches.


Frequently Asked Questions

16-inch kids bikes FAQ

1. What age is a 16-inch bike for?

A 16-inch bike typically caters to kids between 4-6 years of age. However, age should not be the only factor to consider when choosing the right kids' bike size. The age should be a starting point, but you should also consider the child's inseam and the bike's seat height and stepover clearance. 

2. Is a 16-inch bike 40cm?

No, a 16-inch bike is not 40 cm. Kids' bikes are measured based on the wheel size, so a 16-inch kids' bike is a bicycle with a 16" wheel diameter. When talking about kids' bike sizes, the frame size is not considered at all, but measures such as seat height range and stepover clearance are important. 

3. Is a 16-inch bike too small for a 5-year-old?

No, a 16-inch bike is not too small for a 5-year-old. In fact, this should be the perfect size for a 5-year-old as most 16" bikes cater to kids between 4-6 years of age. However, this also depends on how tall your child is, as not all 5-year-olds are the same and don't grow at the same rate. 

4. What height is a 16-inch bike frame for?

A 16-inch kids' bike typically fits kids between 2'10" - 4'0" (88 cm - 124 cm), but this depends on the manufacturer and the frame size. Kids' bikes are measured based on the wheel diameter, so most 16" bicycles have slight differences. It's best to check the manufacturer's sizing chart before making a purchase. 

See 16" Kids' Bikes on REI    See 16" Kids' Bikes on Amazon


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