07 December 2022

Children’s Bike Review: Islabike Cnoc 16

October 20, 2015

With Christmas around the corner you may be considering investing in a first bike for your child or relative. Here, Maria David and her niece give Islabike Cnoc 16 a trial run – her verdict? When looking for a decent quality bike you can’t go far wrong with an Islabike.


Islabikes have a range of machines from balance bikes for learners to two wheelers for older kids and small adults looking for more adventurous or competitive riding.

The brainchild of elite cyclo cross racer, Isla Rowntree, the bikes were produced specifically in response to a demand for quality bicycles for small people. Isla herself, had difficulties finding a suitable bike that would fit her when she started riding regularly as a youngster.

“I realised that most children’s bikes simply didn’t offer a high-quality riding experience for young cyclists.” she explained. “It was incredibly frustrating to see children struggling to fully enjoy the sport I love. With Islabikes I aimed to change that.”


My 5-year old niece has been riding the Cnoc 16. She hadn’t ridden a two-wheeler before but took to it straight away. Little children, like we grown-ups, get excited at the sight of a new bike particularly when it is in your favourite colour and it has your name painted on the frame as Islabikes offer to do. (The Cnoc 16 comes in a variety of lovely, bright shades)

Initially we removed the pedals and my niece rode the Cnoc 16 as a balance bike. The good thing about the bike is that the geometry and the tyre width make the rider immediately feel in a comfortable and in an optimum position when riding.


The Cnoc 16 has a front brake which is a good for introducing the concept of controlling speed – though initially this wasn’t an issue since my niece was not breaking any records!

Some kids’ bikes can be a little heavy, but the Cnoc 16 was surprisingly light to carry and manoeuvre  – a godsend when you know that at some point you will end up carrying the bike home when your child gets tired!

Quality components comparable to what is on an adult bike gives the confidence that the bike won’t fall apart after the inevitable fall or rough use and also means the bike can be passed down through the family*.


After a week of scooting around the local park we put the pedals on and my niece attempted an initial stint on a two-wheeler.

“Look at me, I’m riding! It’s great!” She squealed.

After that my niece wanted to ride everywhere – on the road, through the woods etc. She had a little spin around the course at Ride London, though wanted to try tricks like the BMX demonstration riders! I think it’ll be a while before she is at that stage!


The great thing is that as a little girl, my niece really developed a taste for cycling through riding a bike she really loved.

I feel that experiencing a decent quality bike is what will carry through a little girl’s keenness for cycling right into adulthood.

Good points

  • A massive point of difference to cheaper kids bikes is that it is light, so she is not struggling to manoeuvre it. So often you see children struggling with heavy, clunky bikes and when they are hard to move they are more likely to bash themselves with pedals or on the handlebars – putting them off completely. Adults don’t like heavy bikes, so why would children?
  • Quality components and craftsmanship mean that the bike will last – an Islabike can be passed down through the family for years or sold-on at a good price.
  • These bikes are designed with care, attention and a genuine love of cycling, it shows and with the right approach to teaching (i.e. patience and fun) then the child can’t fail to love riding too.

Bad points 

  • There aren’t any, except the price is higher than a highstreet store bike. There’s good reason for this though, so our advice is to save up and get something that will last, cheap bikes are on the whole a false economy (unless you like spending the whole time tinkering with dodgy brakes and lugging a heavy bike around that is).

Islabike Cnoc
Sizes: 14 (age 3+) or 16 (age 4+)
For more bikes and information: www.islabikes.co.uk

Maria David and Danielle Sellwood, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

*Eds note – these bikes are so well respected that they hold their value, we sold our sons Islabike Benin second hand for not far below the full price after three years of happy riding.



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