An 18-inch bike is a rather uncommon sizing in a brand’s repertoire of bike sizes. So, if you are in the market for an 18 inch wheel bike, you’d do well to know that there aren’t many models out there for you to choose from.
So, what’s the best kid’s 18-inch bike you can get for your boy or girl? Read on to see the 5 models that we, at InchBike, have reviewed on this list. Note that we could only find 5 bike manufacturers, altogether, that had 18 inch bikes in their stable of models, and that was available for sale in the US.
18 Inch Bike For Boys & Girls
|Brand||Joey 3.5 Ergonomic||Marin Donky Jr. 18″||Schwinn Koen 18″||Mongoose Legion L18||Cube Cubie 180|
front & rear
|Tektro Hand brakes|
front & rear
|Caliper – front and rear |
+ rear coaster
|Aluminum U brakes |
front and rear
|V brakes |
front and rear
Joey 3.5 Ergonomic Kids Bicycle – 18 Inch Girls Bike – Training Wheels
Joey is a company that manufactures these cute little bikes for cute little kids.
The Joey 3.5 Ergonomic Kids Bicycle is the only one on the list that is styled as a neighborhood bike.
This sweet-looking bicycle could be the girls 18-inch bike with training wheels that you are looking for as most of the bikes on this list have a BMX-styled slightly aggressive appearance that may not appeal to some kids.
But that doesn’t mean you have to rule out this bike as an option for boys either.
The frame is made of steel that weighs the bike at a decent 17.5 lbs.
The bike also features a low center of gravity concept design which helps in better control and ride handling.
The bike also has front and rear caliper brakes that can be operated with hands.
Another interesting aspect of this bike is that it comes in 6 colors for all the color-conscious kids out there.
|Front and rear caliper brakes|
Marin Donky Jr. 18″
Marin is a California-based adult performance bike manufacturer that started out with manufacturing mountain bikes.
The Marin Donky Jr. 18” is a slick-looking 18 inch bike that is styled as a BMX bike.
But make no mistake, this bike is not for the BMX-park kind of stunts. Instead, it makes for a trusted companion for the kid on those neighborhood sidewalks, driveways, and bike paths.
The frame is made of aluminum but there is no mention of weight by the manufacturer.
The bike is fitted with front and rear Tektro short-reach hand brakes and comes in 3 color variants.
The bike is also fitted with a full-cover polycarbonate chain guard that helps prevent scrapes and scratches.
|Front and rear Tektro hand brakes|
|No mention of weight|
Schwinn Koen 18
Schwinn is a popular bike brand well known for its budget models.
Koen 18 is the 18-inch boys’ bike model. Normally, Schwinn also carries a matching girls’ model under the brand name Elm.
Since the Elm model is missing in this lineup, one can safely assume that Schwinn is catering to boys only in this 18-inch wheel segment.
The frame of the bike is made of steel as is expected from a budget brand and is styled as a BMX bike with a high-rise handlebar.
The bike is fitted with front and rear caliper brakes in addition to the rear coaster brake, which we felt was rather unnecessary.
Schwinn boasts of SmartStart, which, per the company is a technology focussed on kid-specific geometry and fit, but don’t expect too much out of this budget brand.
The bike also comes with attached training wheels. It’s also the cheapest bike on the list at $190.
|Front and rear caliper brakes|
Rear coaster brake
Mongoose Legion L18
Mongoose is a brand well known for its BMX bikes and has its roots in the sport too.
The Mongoose Legion L18 is the only proper 18 inch BMX bike on this list and is a good starter bike for kids getting into the sport.
The bike is made of high-tensile steel which is stronger than normal steel which would enable the bike to absorb some of the poundings it’ll endure in its lifetime as a BMX bike.
However, this is a low-cost option, thereby making the bike heavier compared to other types of materials used in BMX bikes such as Chromoly.
The bike has a BMX geometry with high-rise handlebars, aluminum U brakes in the front and rear with 2.3” tires.
The bike comes in only 1 color – silver. At $210, this is also the second least expensive bike on our list.
Aluminum U brake front and rear
Cube Cubie 180
Cube is a German brand with roots in mountain biking.
Cubie 180 is a starter 18 inch mountain bike for kids aspiring to get into the sport.
It’s an off-roader able to handle light neighborhood trails; perfect for adventurous family rides.
The frame is made of aluminum and weighs in at 15.4 lbs.
This is also the lightest bike on this list and the rigid alloy fork adds to the stiffness of the bike.
The bike is also equipped with V-brakes with powermodulator in the front and rear.
The bike is also aesthetically pleasing to look at and comes in 2 color variants.
What to look for when buying an 18-inch bike:
An 18-inch bike is for a kid aged 4 to 5 years.
However, age is only a guideline as kids of the same age can vary widely in terms of their height and size.
However, keep in mind that 18-inch bikes are not a staple size with many of the bike manufacturers as compared to the rest of the wheel sizes.
There are very few 18-inch models (4 that’s available in the United States) in the market compared to dozens of models that are available in the other size categories.
An 18 inch wheel bike is good for kids who are between 40 and 50 inches tall.
If your kid is learning to bike, check the standover height – how comfortable is the child while standing over the bike, and whether she can balance and hold the bike without difficulty.
For this purpose, it’s better to measure the inseam length of the child and making sure that the inseam height is a couple of inches taller than the standover height.
During the learning phase, set the saddle height to be a couple of inches shorter than the inseam height so that the child can plant the feet firmly on the ground even while seated.
Once the child has learned how to balance, set the seat height to be a couple of inches taller than the inseam length so that the kid can tiptoe with her feet which would help her pedal efficiently.
There is no one fixed weight for an 18-inch bike.
Weight varies depending on a lot of factors such as the materials used, the extra features the bike has, etc.
Since 18 inch bike models are rare, and since we have reviewed pretty much all that is available in the market, there are some things we can point out.
None of the 18-inch models, at any price point, have any extra features such as gears, suspension forks, etc., that can add weight to the bike.
Look for a bike frame made of aluminum, if you can afford the price, rather than steel, as aluminum is lightweight and is less prone to rust.
Kids enjoy biking more if the weight of the bike is on the lower side, as they are not physically developed enough to lug around heavier weights in proportion to their body weight, unlike adults.
Out of the 5 bikes that are featured on this list, 3 have BMX type styling, one is a starter mountain bike, and only one, Joey 3.5, is styled as a neighborhood bike.
Having said that, all bikes can equally be used as neighborhood bikes as well.
Mongoose Legion is the only one that can be used for BMX-type riding.
So, all the bikes, except Joey 3.5, have a slightly aggressive stance and feel to them.
For the geometry, check for:
- The space between the seat and handlebars. If it’s too short, the kid can feel cramped and will have knees closer to the handlebar during the top of the stroke, and will have to expend more effort while pedaling.
- The distance between the two pedals, also known as the Q factor. The higher the Q factor, the wider the splay of the legs while pedaling and the lesser the control and handling of the bike.
- Wheelbase distance: The distance between the two wheel hubs. The longer the wheelbase length, the better the control while shorter ones provide for nimbleness and agility.
All the 18-inch bikes featured on this list have either steel or aluminum as the frame material.
Steel is a strong material, however, is heavier than aluminum and is prone to rust too.
The lighter the bike, the better is the experience for the child.
We have reviewed almost all the 18-inch bikes available in the market and none of the bikes on this list have features such as gears or suspension forks.
All the bikes come with front and rear hand brakes. Joey and Schwinn come with attached training wheels. Marin also has a full-cover chainguard.
The price ranges from $190 to $406.
We have omitted most of the mass-manufactured big-box bike brands from our list as they have poor build quality and geometry.
The wise choice is to find a good bike for your kid at a price that you can afford.