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Hornit Hero 16



High quality and usefully light kids' bike that's fun and confidence inspiring
Low maintenance
Wide colour range
Lifetime warranty
Lifetime warranty is non-transferable
Long cranks limit clearance

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
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  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Hornit Hero is a starter pedal bike for younger riders – roughly 3.5 to 6 years old – that's light and built to a high quality. The component choice means it's tough enough to withstand the rigours that younger riders can inflict, though as the lifetime warranty is non-transferable it won't actually be useful long to many families.

For younger riders, bike weight can be easily overlooked, but when it could be around half their body weight, if not more, it's actually very important. It could be the same as a 75kg adult pedalling a bike weighing 37.5kg... not a pleasant thought. The Hero 16 though weighs in at 6.25kg, ready to ride with pedals and the optional kickstand, which is close to its competitors.

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One potential plus is the lifetime warranty for the frame and fork, as this is a step above other brands, which are usually 3-5 years. The warranty is not transferrable though, and with a typical lifespan of the bike being 2-3 years, it will only be a factor for households who can pass down the bike to younger siblings.

The Hero features a belt drive and, while this is not unique – the Black Mountain Skøg does too, for instance – most others use chains. The benefit of a belt drive is reduced maintenance and a slightly lower weight.

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - rear hub.jpg

Other key details include the short-reach brake levers, a 22mm handlebar diameter more suited to smaller hands, and slim but soft and comfortable grips. The seatpost also gets a direct-mounted saddle that allows the lowest possible standover. It extends to give a range (from the ground to the top of the saddle) of 47cm to 57cm.

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike 1.jpg

One excellent safety consideration is the inclusion of a bar end cap underneath the grip, which should protect the rider even if the grip end wears through (hardly uncommon on a child's bike).

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - brake lever.jpg

The Hero comes in four colour options and can also be specced with a kickstand (£10), as fitted to our test bike, and mudguards (£26).

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - kickstand.jpg

The bike arrives almost completely assembled with excellent, clear instructions for what remains to be bolted on: the front wheel, handlebar and pedals. All of which should take no longer than five minutes.

My 5yr-old daughter is 110cm tall with 45cm inside leg, putting her at the centre of the sizing range (40.5cm to 50.5cm). She is a competent rider and I feel towards the upper end of what the bike is capable of, given the lack of gears and the hilly area we live in. From the first ride, she loved the bike and felt very confident with it. She was stable and cornering well, and found it far more agile than her geared 20in bike that she has begun to ride.

> 16 of the best kids' bikes – we take a look at everything from balance bikes to junior superbikes

The 115mm crank is an interesting choice; the Islabike Cnoc 16 has 102mm cranks, for instance, while the Frog 44's are 89mm and the Black Mountain Skøg's are 102mm. Hornit claims the increased length makes for more efficient pedalling on the flats, but when testing, my daughter had problems with clearance when cornering, often clipping the crank arms on the ground despite my best efforts to ensure she didn't pedal through corners.

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - crank.jpg

One big plus for me is the option to specify a 1-1/8in steerer with a 31.8mm bar clamp. With a short 40mm stem as standard, it's easy to add length or height if necessary.

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - stem.jpg

The Kenda 1.5in slick tyres make for easy rolling and while not a huge volume, it is enough to help dampen the ride. For smaller riders, it is also much easier to drop the tyre pressures to improve comfort without affecting the likelihood of punctures.

2022 Hornit HERO 16inch Pedal Bike - tyre.jpg

While the bike is likely to be used on more sedate terrain, given the lack of gears there is clearance to add a larger volume tyre with tread should local riding conditions dictate the need for more grip, with cornering I expect being the biggest motivator to change.


At £389 this compares well with the Islabike Cnoc 16 at £399, though that has a lower claimed weight of 5.6kg. Its five year warranty on frame and forks will be plenty for many, too.

The Frog 44 has a claimed weight of 6.4kg and a five-year warranty of frame and forks, and is less at £350, while the Black Mountain Skøg is £399 with a claimed weight of 6.1kg and a three-year warranty. While that's the shortest of all these, it can be transferred to the second owner.


The Hornit Hero is a great all-around offering, with low weight and sensible components that add up to a bike that gives confidence to the rider. The longer crank arms may not suit everyone, and the lifetime warranty may be of limited real-world use, but beyond that it's great – light, nicely made and fun.


High quality and usefully light kids' bike that's fun and confidence inspiring

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Make and model: Hornit Hero 16

Size tested: 16in wheels

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Hornit says: "The HERO 16 has been designed for children with an average inside leg measurement of 40.5-50.5cm (approx. 3.5-6 years old). Weighing just 5.7kg, the HERO's super lightweight aluminium frame and upright riding position and slightly longer cranks make it easier for your child to manoeuvre and control with confidence, while being light enough to carry around. The premium Gates belt drive system is maintenance free so no more oily or rusty chains and is safer for inquisitive little fingers."

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Hornit lists:


40.5-50.5cm inside leg measurement.

For kids who are 105 - 120cm tall.

Approx age: 3.5-6 years.


5.7 kg with 16in wheels. Frame is 6061 Butted Aluminum.


Double wall aluminium alloy rims.

Sealed bearing hubs.

Double butted spokes.


Japanese quality aluminium headset for smooth handling.

Short (40mm) lightweight stem for agile steering.


Double butted aluminum riser bars.


Ergonomic grips designed for children's hands.

Short Reach V-Brakes.

Independent Brake Sets for Front and Rear Wheels.

Adjustable Brake Levers designed for children's hands.


Gates carbon drive belt drive 48/22T gearing.

Aluminium alloy cranks 115mm length.

Sealed cartridge bottom bracket.

Freewheel hub - no coaster brakes.

Optimised size, flat plastic platform pedals.

Q-Factor 144mm.

Full pedal stroke cycle distance: 238 cm.

Aluminium belt tensioners.


Combo seatpost saddle.

5mm Allen key seat clamp.

Adjustable seat height of 47 to 57 cm (ground - saddle top).


6061 Butted Aluminum.


Kenda 16in * 1.5in tyres for maximum grip and suspension.

Fits CLUG hybrid.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

Hornet have two sizes for the Hero: the 14in at £369, and the 16in at £389.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

High quality with a good paint finish.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

It's lightweight aluminium. The mudguard bolt options are a nice touch.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

It makes for an agile but confident handling bike for younger riders.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

It's for kids who are 105-120cm tall.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, on harder surfaces there were no problems.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No issues that I could see.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Not too twitchy, but sharp enough to make cornering easy.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It gave easy pedalling uphill, in or out of the saddle.

The drivetrain

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Wheels and tyres

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Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? My daughter certainly did

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

At £389 this compares well with the Islabike Cnoc 16 at £399, though that has a lower claimed weight of 5.6kg. Its five year warranty on frame and forks will be plenty for many, too.

The Frog 44 has a claimed weight of 6.4kg and a five-year warranty of frame and forks, and is less at £350, while the Black Mountain Skøg is £399 with a claimed weight of 6.1kg and a three-year warranty. While that's the shortest of all these, it can be transferred to the second owner.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
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Use this box to explain your overall score

The Hornit Hero is a great bike for the transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike. The geometry and components make it low weight, easy to manoeuvre and should mean minimal maintenance. It is a little more than some other 16in bikes of similar quality though, and while the lifetime warranty might seem great, in reality it won't be a factor for most families. It's still very good though.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 168  Weight: 62

I usually ride:   My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding

Matt is an endurance nut who loves big rides and big events. He's a former full-time racer and 24hr event specialist, but now is also happy riding off-road on gravel bikes or XC mountain bikes and exploring the mountains and hills of Mid Wales.

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Chris Hayes | 1 year ago

We bought Early Rider belters, used them until our son grew out of them, and then sold them on eBay. The second-hand values of these bikes are so high his entire cycling experience from the ages of 5 to 9 can't have cost more than a couple of hundred quid.... i.e. a similar cost to couple of 11kg land-fill bikes....


Dogless replied to Chris Hayes | 1 year ago

Second hand bikes are often so unworn, I can't see an argument for buying (expensive) new ones. We treat ours like temporary rentals, they all eventually get sold for the price we paid.

Dogless | 1 year ago

Still around twice the price of a go outdoors Wild bike for a very similar spec and build quality. There really is no reason to be spending £400 on a kids bike, it's absurd. The frames are all the same, as are the components, you really are just paying for the name, even more than with grown up bikes.

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