Islabikes Cnoc 16 kids’ bike review

Lightweight 16in children's bike with excellent ergonomics

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £199.00 RRP | USD $269.00

Our review

This is exactly what a kids' 16in bike should be. Now make one in pink
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Kids’ bikes typically come in one of two varieties: affordable but heavy, or trick but astronomically expensive. The Islabikes Cnoc 16 defies this rule by being a lightweight, ergonomic, adjustable, and perfectly proportioned 16in bike with a reasonable price tag. After a few months on it, our little test rider (and her father) could find only a single fault with the 13.27lb (6kg) bicycle – in North America, it’s only offered in red.

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  • Pros: Ultralight, relatively affordable, adjustable saddle, proper Q factor, reach-adjust brake, light aluminum wheels with Presta tubes
  • Cons: Only one color choice – red

Already well known in the UK, Islabikes recently began selling into the US. The company primarily produces children’s bikes, from a tiny balance model through 14in, 16in, 20in, and 24in bikes to junior road and mountain machines. The brand philosophy is to teach kids to ride bicycles in stages. First, balance with the body and practice braking. Then, pedal. Therefore, even the little balance bike comes with tiny, reach-adjust hand brakes.

US law, however, mandates that a coaster brake be added to all “sidewalk” bikes of 20in and smaller. So instead of the two tiny hand brakes used on the UK model, the US version of the Islabikes Cnoc 16 gets a single reach-adjust hand brake and a coaster brake. 

The hand brake has a mini V-brake caliper and exemplifies the bike build as a whole – adult functionality in pint-size proportions. The brake lever is already quite small and close to the bar; we brought ours a touch closer with an Allen key. Our six-year-old, 35lb (16kg) tester routinely braked with a single finger, a testament to the braking power.

The small lever fits small hands perfectly, and the mini V brake offers plenty of power
The small lever fits small hands perfectly, and the mini v brake offers plenty of power:
Ben Delaney/Future Publishing

The small lever on the Cnoc 16 fits small hands perfectly, and the brake offers plenty of power

The Q factor (the stance width between pedals) is appropriate for the size, putting the child’s feet beneath their hips instead of splayed way out as they often are on sports store kids’ bikes.

The light aluminum wheels accelerate so quickly that our tester, accustomed to steel-rim bikes and heavier tires, was initially concerned that the bike was “too speedy”. At just over 13lb (6kg), the bike is quite a change for a 35lb (16kg) rider who has also ridden mainstream 16in bikes that weigh 20lb, even 25lb.

The frame geometry works great, providing plenty of stability for little riders to ride on and off-road. Honestly, the only downside to this bike, for our female tester, was the color. She wanted a pink bike, and the Cnoc 16 only comes in red.

Islabikes only makes kids' bikes, and the total focus shows
Islabikes only makes kids’ bikes, and the total focus shows:
Ben Delaney/Future Publishing

Islabikes specializes in making kids’ bikes, and the focus shows

The Cnoc 16 is recommended for kids aged four years and older, from 41in (104cm) and taller. By way of comparison, Trek offers a heavier $210/£160 16in bike with a steel frame and steel rims. Specialized has a $240/£170 aluminum-frame 16in bike with steel wheels. Both of these are coaster brake only; young riders will have to learn hand braking on another bike. 

Years ago we bought a $499 Redline Micro for another child, wanting the superlight frame, wheels and overall ergonomic performance. And while the small hand brake was welcome, the hyper-narrow 18in race wheels weren’t the best for all-round kids’ riding.

Although not quite as difficult to find as 18in Presta tubes for the Redline, 16in Presta tubes for the Cnoc 16 aren’t exactly common in bike shops. So if you buy this bike, stock up on a few tubes.

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Color options aside, then, in terms of total performance and price the Islabikes Cnoc 16 is the best 16in kids bike we have ever seen.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Cnoc 16 (13)
Brand Islabikes

Description 16 x 1.5 Kenda Small Block Eight tyres
Pedals Islabikes proportional resin flats with ball bearings
Weight (lb) 13.27
Weight (kg) 6
Stem Islabikes aluminium ahead 43mm flip flop
Seatpost Aluminium micro adjust
Saddle Islabikes proportional saddle
Rims Islabikes aluminium single wall, 16h
Rear Hub Steel rear M30, allen key fittings
Headset Type 1" ahead
Bottom Bracket Cartridge with sealed bearings
Handlebar Islabikes small diameter riser aluminium 440mm
Grips/Tape Islabikes ultra slim grips
Front Hub aluminium front, with allen key fittings
Frame Material 7005 T6 heat treated aluminium
Fork Lightweight cro-moly blades and steerer with mudguard eyes
Cranks Islabikes aluminium 102mm, 25t ring
Cassette 14t freewheel
Brakes aluminium mini V-brakes front and rear
Brake Levers Islabikes micro levers, aluminium