Commencal Ramones 16″

Pedal Bike Review

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The Ramones packs a lot of punch in its price tag, but its wide frame makes for a tough ride for smaller riders. Best for kids who want to be comfortable and confident on trail rides.

View on Chain Reaction Cycles

Product Specifications

MSRP: $289

Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Seat Height: 20.5" - 24"

Weight: 17.8 lb.

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Tire Size: 16"

Brakes: Dual Hand

Handlebar: Low

Gain Ratio: 3.56

Q Factor: 7.25"

Wheelbase: 700

Available Online: Yes

Review

Norco Samurai 16 vs. Commencal Ramones 16

Kelly from Haven Outdoors authored this review for Two Wheeling Tots. Kelly is an avid mountain biker and a father of four and certainly knows his way around bikes and kids.

As a certified grown-up old guy with four kids of my own, I thought it would be pretty easy to write up a simple review on a couple of bikes for 4 to 6-year old kids. However getting feedback on how a bike rides from your 5-year-old can be like asking your great grandma to explain how to restart her computer or getting a cat to learn how to sit, stay or beg. As I’ve watched my 5-year-old son ride these two bikes I’ve figured out how to pick out certain things just by watching him ride. Fairly quickly I have seen him start to play favorites of the two bikes. I’m not sure if some of that has to do with the fact that his cousin, uncle, brother and I all own Commencal bikes, if he actually feels better on it, or maybe he just likes the neon red color?
CommencalRamones-Pump-Track

From looking at the numbers, I think I am beginning to see why he is more comfortable on the Commencal over the Norco. First off the Commencal is a bit lighter, at a weighed 17.3 lbs. vs. the Norco’s weight of 17.8 according to my scale at home.  Also, the chain stays are shorter, the stand over height is lower, the reach is a bit longer, the bottom bracket sits lower and it has a wider stance (q-Factor). These are all ingredients that are being put into a lot of the modern trail bikes these days. Having ridden bikes with these features I can say for myself that all of these things add up to a bike that is very confidence inspiring, stable, snappy and overall easier to ride. Cruising the streets around the neighborhood this is not as apparent, but once he hits the single track this all becomes more apparent. The dirt trails he is riding are beginner to very intermediate level with rollers, small berms, and small rocks and roots. The shorter chain stays keep the bike snappy and aid in cornering and keeping the little 16-inch bike quite maneuverable. With a lower standover, low bottom bracket and wider stance he has more confidence keeping his center of gravity lower. I have noticed him open up with more speed on the downhill sections on the Commencal.

NorcoCommencal-Frame_edited-1

 

I have been able to get some feedback directly from my son as he has spent a bit more time on the bikes. I asked him why he likes the Commencal the best, and he said, “The seat is more comfortafuller” on the Commencal and “the brakes stop too good on the Norco.”  This may be true as it looks like the saddle on the Norco is a bit longer. And as for the brakes on the Norco, they do feel like they have a bit more stopping power and the levers pull in a bit smoother. For tiny little hands, this is a plus. My opinion of the brakes on the Norco was that they had a better overall feel to them over the Commencal, but perhaps when you are five you don’t want to stop “too good.”

CommencalNorco Saddle Brakes

Another small detail I like about the Norco is that they have a quick release on the seat post where the Commencal does not. Commencal opted to put a quick release on the front tire instead. I would like a quick release on the wheel and the seat post, but if you are going only to have one, I think the seat post is the better choice.

Another difference between these bikes are the tires. The Commencal has a wider tire with a bit more volume. If your kid is going to be taking to the dirt at all, I think this is going to give them an advantage over the Norco. Lower the tire pressure a bit and the Commencal will have some added grip and a slight feel of suspension coming from the squish of the tires. (Commencal – 16 x 2.125, Norco – 16 x 1.95) I have noticed the bigger tires help him keep better traction out on the trails.

CommencalRamones-All-terrain2

Both bikes are one-speed ponies, however the gear ratios are slightly different. The Commencal has a 32t sprocket up front and 16t in the rear. The Norco is set up with a 36t in the front and 16t in the rear. This means the Norco will have a faster top speed, but the Commencal will be easier to get started from a stop and allow your little one to climb a bit steeper hills. I see this being a plus for the Commencal again if you plan on taking your kid to the dirt. On the Norco he has had to get off and push his bike uphill several times, where he was able just to stand up out of the saddle and pedal up on the Commencal.

Commencal Ramones vs. Norco Samuari/Mirage
Bike MSRP Weight (lb) Seat Height Brakes Q Factor Gain Ratio Handlebar Wheelbase Purchase? Notes
Commencal Ramones 14 $249 15.6 17.5 – 21.5″ Dual Hand  7.25″ 3.5 Low Online
Commencal Ramones 16 $289 17.8 20.5 – 24″ Dual Hand  7.25″ 3.56 Low 700 Online
Norco Samuari/ Mirage $259 17.8 20.25 – 22″ Dual Hand 6.25″ 3.9 Low 710 Bike Shop

Commencal-Gain-Ratio

Bottom Line: Both bikes are going to give your child a much better experience than buying a bike from a department store. They are going to last through multiple children and will have a better resale value when your kids grow out of them. If it came down to picking one over the other I would go with the Commencal because of the geometry, gearing and tires. This is because we do a lot our riding in the dirt. If your child is going to be doing most of their riding on pavement and flatter areas I think the Norco could be the winner due to the higher gear ratio and narrower tires. However, note the Norco will still outperform a department store bike on the street or out on the trail.

MSRP: $289

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.

  • aguilhon

    do you know how tall was the girl at the time ?

    • Sorry, I don’t. I’ll send a message to her mom to see what I can find out.

    • Dani

      Hi! This is my daughter in these pictures. At the time she was a little less than 40″ tall with a 17″ inseam.

      • aguilhon

        Thank you! this is perfect, my son is about this size. I think I’ll go for this bike. Any other things I should know about it that came up since this article was posted?

        • Dani

          This is really a very nice bike and very well made. I love that it doesn’t have a coaster brake, and my daughter has gone on several very long rides on it. The only complaint I have after owning it for a while is that I think the crank is too small. My daughter quickly maxes out on it and wishes she could go a little faster, and it (the crank) is smaller than most other 16″ bikes we’ve tried. It’s also a more aggressive riding position than most other bikes this size, which makes it great for adventurous riders (our 7-yr-old neighbor frequently asks to borrow it to jump a little ramp he has) but may be a challenge for more timid types. Hope that helps!

          • aguilhon

            yeah, I noticed on the pictures that the crank looks short, but I guess it’s better for beginners. Maybe it can be replaced later at the local bike store …

  • Vierka B.

    Hi Natalie,

    thank you for all the wonderful information you provide on your site.

    I found the Cleary Hedgehog on a 40% sale at a toy store (Mastermind) here in Canada, and that kind of swayed our decision making in its favor (otherwise I was kind of set on the Woom 3 for our 5 year old) but now another wrench has been thrown into it all – I also found a very used bike called B’TWIN 16″ HYPER HERO which to me looks like it could work well.

    So, since I know that you have researched many bikes, I wanted to ask if you have across this one and what your opinion would be.

    This used bikefor $40 is an older version of this one: http://www.btwin.com/en/kids-bikes/6-kids-bikes-4-6-years/18654-kids-16-hyper-hero-bike-red.html, it does not have the chain guard but in other aspects it looks the same.

    Thank you!

    Viera

    • I love Mastermind toys (well their online store) and 40% off, that’s a great deal! Between the two bikes, the Cleary is going to be easier to ride as the rider it positioned much lower on the bike than on the B’Twin. If you notice on the B’Twin, the seat and handlebars are farther apart from the wheels than on the Cleary. This positions the rider higher on the bike, which increases the center-or-gravity of the rider, making it harder to balance and negatively effecting the handling of the bike.

      • Vierka B.

        Thank you, Natalie! I really appreciate you looking into it. We have already assembled and tested the Cleary. Since we have another rider in waiting (a two year old) that will inherit the bike, plus the discount, we thought it would be a safer bet.
        Our 5 year old was comfortably riding on it in no time (well, within 15 min I guess, lol).

        • Glad to help and that the Cleary worked out. Hard to beat that discount.

  • Stacy B

    Hi there! Thanks so much for these reviews. My daughter has a 21.5 inch inseam and I’m wondering if this might be the bike for her. She is a newer rider and learning to pedal. She also has a younger sister who will be receiving the bike when she is done with it, so buying something a bit smaller that truly fits her before it is time to upgrade is fine with us. Would this one be a good fit for her? Or is there something else we should be looking at?

    • The Hedgehog is a great bike for more experienced and/or aggressive riders. If she is new to riding and does not eager to take on the world with her bike, I would consider another bike with a more relaxed geometry. The WOOM and Islabikes line are amazing, but pricey. A more affordable option is the ByK series. Take a look at those, and let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Stacy B

        Thanks so much for your response. Since her inseam is 21.5 inches, would we be looking at the Islabikes CNOC and the WOOM 3? It looks like the WOOM would give her another inch of seat height, but the CNOC is lighter in weight. Just wanted to be sure I’m looking at the correct models. I think the Islabikes Beinn small is too much bike for her (gears etc).

        • Yes, those are the right models. Both are great bikes, but are different. The Islabikes is lighter, but has a coaster brake. The WOOM is slightly heavier, but does have an option to remove the coaster brake. The WOOM also has a larger gear ratio, which allow your daughter to ride faster. The Islabikes won’t go as fast as the WOOM, but is plenty fast for the average rider. Both companies have amazing customer service and are very helpful, so I would call them both to get a better feel for what bike they would recommend. Islabikes can be reached at 503-954-2410 and WOOM at 512-695-9780.

  • Jessika Napua Akana-Palmer

    After draining my brain researching all the bikes on here, we ended up going with the hedgehog. She has been on Kinderbike Laufrad for a year, and takes stairs with it and speeds down big ramps, so a daredevil to begin with. She was always leaning over her bikes handelbars. She loves the positioning of the hedgehog. It is slightly big for my daughter 3. 5 years old (39 inch tall 17 inch inseam) so we changed to a straight seatpost which lowered it enough for her to use balls of feet, will pUT original seat post back on. The kinderbike had a handbrake so she easily took to using both handbrakes together, then Lenin to keep the bike steady when stopped.
    Yesterday, her first day on it she wasn’t able to tippy toe it to get it going fast enough to pick up her feet and pedal, but we had to run to keep up with when she was going. Today, her second day, she gets moving with her feet and takes off, and can glide while skipping her feet along so I can catch up hahahahha cause I am not a runner and can’t keep up lol! She also went down the steeper angled beach boardwalk ramp at full speed. She is going to give me a heart attack, but this bike is perfect for her!
    Thank you for providing all the info on this website!

    • Awesome, I’m glad she loves it! You make some great points about the Hedgehog, the geometry is pretty aggressive, but for some kids, it works great. Plus, I totally hear you about trying to keep up with the bike, it is fast and I am certainly not a runner either!