Cleary Hedgehog 16″

Pedal Bike Review

Pure biking goodness in a pint-size package, Cleary Bikes are the perfect single-speed bikes for aggressive young riders. For the average rider, the geometry is not ideal.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $315

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Seat Height: 19" - 26"

Weight: 16 lb.

Frame Material:

Tire Size: 16"

Brakes: Dual Hand

Handlebar: Flat

Gain Ratio: 3.02

Q Factor: 6"

Wheelbase: 708

Available Online: Yes

Review

No crazy graphics or clunky fenders, but rather pure biking goodness in a pint-size package. Designed and developed by a father in California, Cleary Bikes is a new line of kids bikes designed to meet the needs of the youngest riders. With great emphasis placed on weight and geometry, every aspect of Cleary Bikes is fine tuned to ensure proper stability and responsive handling throughout their line of bikes, which range from a 12″ balance bike to a 20″ pedal bike. Not yet having a bike to try out, a local reader was gracious enough to stop by to give us a chance to see their daughter’s new 16″ Cleary Bikes Hedgehog in action. After having a challenging time on her lower-end 12″ pedal bike, our reader set out to find a better bike for her daughter and soon came across Cleary Bikes. In addition to upgrading to a lighter-weight bike with kid-friendly geometry, she knew she needed a bike without the momentum-crushing, back pedal coaster brake, previously limiting her daughter’s progression.  One of the few 16″ without a coaster brake, she knew the Hedgehog was the perfect bike for her daughter.

Her daughter agreed. Within two days of having her bike, she happily and eagerly followed her mom on a nine-mile bike ride and begging for more upon completion. Quite the feat, especially since her previously record on her older bike was a long and painful two miles.

Cleary 3.5Working with her daughter, instead of against, our reader raved about the Hedgehog’s efficiency. From starting to stopping, the Hedgehog seemed to be in-sync with her daughter’s body as she easily leaned in and out of turns without much thought.  Even with the Hedgehog being slightly too big for her (done intentionally as the bike won’t get much use during the upcoming cold winter months), she was was much more comfortable on the Hedgehog than on the smallerand heavier 16″ Next Rocket (Walmart’s $50 16″ bike).  Unlike the Hedgehog, she was unable to start or stop the Next on her own.

Cleary 5

While only 3 lb. lighter, the difference in the geometry of the two bikes was a huge contributor to the Hedgehog’s performance. Compared to the Next, the Hedgehog’s longer wheelbase and flat handlebars creates a much lower-center of gravity for its riders, thereby increasing stability and maneuverability.

Cleary 2.5

The easy-pull hand brakes of the Cleary were also easily engaged by our tester. Having to reply solely on her hands (she refused to use a coaster brake after a bad experience with her 12″ bike), the brakes were quick and responsive, even when used at higher speeds.  Note of caution: kids should always be instructed to mainly use the brake on the back tire (generally the right hand brake) to stop and NOT just the front brake, which can cause a child to be thrown over the handlebars. The front brake, should only be used in conjunction with the back brake.

Cleary 6.5

A slim race-style saddle, an internally-routed brake cable, a solid three-piece crank and a threadless headset are just a few more of Cleary Bikes’ quality upgrades not typically found on kids bikes.

Cleary 7

 Compared to other bikes, the Hedgehog bikes offer the complete package of proper geometry, high quality and light weight without the cumbersome coaster brake. In addition, the extra-long seat posts (standard on all the bikes), allows for up to 5″ of seat height adjust.

Cleary 4.6

Lastly, although similar in may ways, the angled crank arms of the Cleary are intentionally used to allow for a wider, more athletic stance, which they found to be more stable.  During her short testing period, our tester rode both the Islabikes 14″ CNOC and the Cleary Hedgehog and performed equally well on both.

Cleary 1.5

Update: Since we published this review, we have had the chance to compare the Hedgehog to additional lightweight 16″ bikes and found the geometry of the Hedgehog to be too aggressive for the average rider.  When compared with the the WOOM3 and the Early Rider, the Cleary requires the rider to sit much more forward on the bike.  While good for really adventurous riders who plan on hitting trails, when given the choice, all of our riders preferred the bikes with the more upright body position.  When an upright position is paired with a lower-bottom bracket, allows kids to sit in a more natural position while still maintaining a low center-of-gravity on the bike.

WOOM3 compare2

Bottom Line: Pure biking goodness in a pint-size package, Cleary Bikes are the perfect single-speed bikes for aggressive young riders.  For the average rider, the geometry is not ideal.

MSRP: $315

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: January 3, 2017

FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. For many, but not all reviews, products are provided by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. The majority of, but not all, links provided are affiliate links. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is an affiliate of Amazon.com, Backcountry.com, Chain Reaction Cycles.com, Cruzee.com, REI.com, bikeshophub.com, prioritybicycles.com, guardianbikes.com and weebikeshop.com.

  • John

    Hi: Great information and I really enjoy the reviews. A question: the Cleary website sells a riser bar for the Hedgehog, and I wonder if anyone has tried it out. I know it won’t change the frame geometry, but I wonder if it creates a meaningful change in riding stance and allows for a more relaxed ride without creating awkwardness.

    • We haven’t tried it, but it would certainly help the bike to be less aggressive than the flat stick handlebars. Several other 16″ bike have mid-rise bars such as the one offered by the Cleary and they do help to create a comfortable position for the riders. Really timid riders are better off on an higher risers, like those found on the WOOM or the Islabikes, but for the average rider, the low rise bar offered by Cleary are just fine.

    • Bryan

      My 4.5yo wanted his Hedgehog to come with us to Vail this summer for vacation. He’d just learned to ride it after his Ridgeback Skoot. I still had to give him a gentle push to keep speed while his feet found the pedals at the time. I was leery, but he insisted. Well, to me he was obviously too far forward. I corrected by turning the seatpost around temporarily to get the saddle forward. Then, I ordered that riser bar to come with us, and installed it there (you can throw a rock from anywhere and hit 3 bike shops). He was noticeably much better with steering at slow speeds and keeping an erect posture for pedaling uphill. It was a really fast transition to competent after that. BTW, I do wish they had a bit lower gear ratio on that bike though. I don’t know how it compares since I haven’t gone and counted cog and ring teeth on every bike out there, but any really steep hill will challenge a kid that doesn’t know how to get out of the saddle. I just hopped off my ride to jog along and give him a little pressure on the long Colorado village bike trail hills. He adores this bike, and after another month or so I might take him back to the flat bars.

      • Having just watch my son on the Hedgehog, I agree, it is pretty aggressive, (I need to update this review as a result) I can certainly see the riser bar helping, especially when learning. As for gearing, we actually calculated the gain ratio of 12 mid-to-high range 16″ bikes this summer (http://www.twowheelingtots.com/ultimate-16-inch-kids-bikes-comparison/) and found that the Cleary was by far the lowest geared of the lot.

        • Bryan

          That’s great research. Thanks for the link. He’s put a couple dozen miles on the bike this month and he’s already trying to jump off curbs and ride the dirt trails. The bike is holding up to all of that really well. Now that he’s getting some good leg muscles for pedaling he’s not having trouble with hills any more. The gearing does seem to be pretty good on this bike.

  • Colleen H

    Hi there. After lots of research last year on your site I bought my 4yo son a Cleary Gecko and this year he’s 5 and ready to move to a bigger bike. He loves the Gecko and is comfortable with the more aggressive geometry. We mostly do our bike riding on long paved trails and I’m wondering about the low gain ratio being an issue? We also have a long hill back up from the trail to our house and I’m guessing a better gain ratio would also come in handy there. I’d love to know your thoughts.Thanks!

    • The low gain ratio is really going to keep him spinning on long flat rides, but will certainly help him when riding uphill. I think something a geared a little higher, like the CNOC 16 at 3.55 versus 3.02, would be a good compromise. The CNOC is more upright than the Gecko, but not as much as others. You an see my 4yo on both bikes here: https://www.twowheelingtots.com/ultimate-16-inch-bike-comparison/

  • Divya Singh

    Hi Natalie,
    I am researching for a first pedal bike for my son who is turning 5 in June. He is tall for his age( 44 inches) and his inseam is 20 inches. He is currently riding 12 inches tykes bykes balance bike that he loves. He is a cautious rider to begin with but having said that he is very comfortable on his current balance bike though (he can easily balance on it and ride on slopes etc). He himself asked for a pedal bike now. I am looking for a bike that he will not outgrow soon. We live in NE and during winters we will not be using the bike much. I am leaning towards stampede 16″ and Cleary Hedgehog (but not sure they are the right options for us). I do not want coaster brakes in the bike and want the bike to be easy to ride (I want to make his first experience with pedal bikes as enjoyable and easy as possible. My son is not very athletic and tends to get tired easily). My aim is to be below $300 (but willing to go above if you have strong suggestions for a bike that will be particularly suit his needs). He will mostly be riding on paved areas and on grass in parks around here. Are any of the highly rated bikes (on your website) available on local stores, we would love to see and try a bike before buying? Thanks in advance!

    • Divya, sorry for my delay, I’ve been swamped. I see that you have already tried out some bikes, so I’ll comment above.

  • Divya Singh

    Hi Natalie, I would also like to add that my son is only 17 pounds! So heavy bikes will not be good option for him.

  • Divya Singh

    Sorry… I meant 17 Kilograms (37 pounds).

  • Divya

    Hi Natalie , yesterday we went to one of the local stores and tried out hedgehog. We found that 16″ bikes are bit small for him. He will grow out within 1 year. The cleary guys and the store as well both suggested 20″ for him. He tried cleary owl in the store too. That seemed a bit heavy and my son could only touch the ground on his tippytoes. Also, the space between seat and handle was huge and put him in a very aggressive position. I like that if we go with owl it will last him long but I am not sure how easy will it be him to ride considering it’s his first pedal bike. I am very confused. Any bike that fits him for his height is heavy for his weight. Islabike cnoc 20 is out of my budget. What is my next best option? Pello Reddi?

    • Divya, At 37 lbs. I agree that the Owl is probably going to be a big step up for him, plus as you noticed, it was a very aggressive position, which can be intimidating a child transitioning from a 12 balance bike. With a 20″ inseam and for under $300 (or close to it), the Pello Reddi would be a great first bike for him. If he could touch the ground with his tippy toes on the Owl, the ByK 450 would fit him as well as it’s minimum seat height is an inch less than the Owl. It is not as good as quality as the Pello, but it is cheaper. The Pello is also a more universal bike for dirt and trail, while the ByK has a skinnier tire that isn’t suitable for regular use on dirt trails.

      • Divya

        Thanks for the reply Natalie. Pello reddi is not available untill sept this year. Which woom bike will fit him?Any idea?

        • The WOOM3’s minimum seat height is 3″ less than the Cleary Owl, so it should fit him just fine 🙂