**Stampede Bikes has gone out of business and the Sprinter 16 is no longer available.**
Tough enough to take a beating from kids, yet nimble enough to cruise through dirt trails, the Stampede Bikes Sprinter 16 is a great bike for the price. With dual handbrakes, no coaster brake, and wider handlebars for a wider base, the Sprinter is built like a small mountain bike ready for adventure.
The 2017 Sprinter has some very minor cosmetic differences, including new paint colors – light blue, yellow and purple – and a white quick-release seat post collar versus a black one. All three colors of the Sprinter 16 can be seen in this review as we had a chance to test out three different bikes. The 2017 Sprinter also now comes in a 14″ model.
Performance and Weight
The Sprinter 16 is built and designed as a mini mountain bike for young riders. Compared to many 16″ bikes, it has wider handlebars and a wider stance (q-factor) to allows a child to better distribute their weight on the bike during turns and over jumps. The Sprinter 16 is still perfectly suitable for neighborhood riding but compared to other bikes, has the advantage of being more versatile over a wider range of terrains and adventurous rides. From driveway stunts to bike jumps, to riding around the neighborhood, the Sprinter shines. Out at the pump track, the Sprinter didn’t skip a beat. While knobby tires would be best on a dedicated all-terrain bike, the Sprinter’s medium tread had no problems gripping packed dirt.
Sprinter Excels on Varied Terrains
The Sprinter weighs 17.9 lbs., which is very similar to other mountain-bike-style bikes in its price range. Heavier than higher-end bikes designed for mainly street riding, the additional weight was not of concern for our testers as the wide handlebars, long wheelbase, and wide stance evenly distributed the weight of the bike.
Across the board, the Sprinter’s overall stability was an unexpected surprise. Last year, our four-year-old tester, who barely fit on the bike, heard the beckon of a lonely puddle and quickly put the Sprinter to work. Within minutes, he was turning sharply and leaning in and out of turns – skills he was previously resistant to try. Sprinter’s flat and wide handlebars provided the stable base he needed. His more upright woom 3 made it easier and more comfortable for him to learn to pedal but made learning to lean more challenging. The Stampede is the perfect bike to tackle that challenge.
Sprinter 16’s Stability Makes it Easy to Learn to Lean into Turns
Handlebars and Brakes
The Sprinter is coaster-brake free and comes with dual hand brakes. The lack of coaster brake allows kids to naturally pedal backwards when losing their balance, which is common in street and trail riding. The dual hand brakes provide excellent stopping power and were easy to use and reach for our 5 and 6-year-old testers.
Getting down to the details, the Sprinter has a mid-range gain ratio (measures overall gearing of the bike) of 3.56, making it great for everyday riding, including moderate short inclines. The mid-range gain ratio allows the pedals to start moving with minimal effort, while still allowing the rider to gain desirable speeds without excessive pedal spinning.
Size and Seat Height
With a minimum seat height of 21″, the Sprinter 16 is best for kids in size 5 or 6 pants or experienced riders in 4T pants. For new riders in 4T pants, the Sprinter 14″ is a much better fit.
4-year-old on Sprinter 14″ and 16″
Although seemingly slight, one inch of seat height can make a big difference in how a bike fits a child. Last year, our 42″ tall experienced four-year-old tester with an 18″ inseam (4T pants), had no problem riding the Sprinter with a 21″ minimum seat height, but it did take more effort to get started. Once standing over the bike, he had just enough height to stand on his toes with one foot while positioning the pedal with the other. A year later, in size 5 pants with a 19″ inseam, has no problem standing over the bike to get started and still has plenty of room for growth. For a size comparison, as a 5yo he fits on both the Sprinter 14 and the 16, but the 16 provide MUCH more room for growth.
5-year-old on Sprinter 14″ and 16″
Sprinter vs other Neighborhood 16″ Bikes: Compared to similarly priced non “mountain-bike-style” bikes, the Sprinter is taller and heavier, but is better suited for more adventurous riders. Its lower gain ratio makes it easier to climb hills than the ByK (which also has a coaster brake) and its wider handlebars make it more suitable for going down jumps and over obstacles than the Priority Start.
Sprinter vs other Mountain Style 16″ Bikes: The Norco Samurai and the Commencal Ramones 16 are both mountain-style 16″ bikes that are similar in price and size to the Sprinter 16. They all have dual handbrakes with no coaster, all-terrain geometry, and weigh essentially the same, but the others cost slightly more. Some noteworthy difference between the three bikes are their q-factors (widths) and wheelbase length. The Commencal Ramones is an inch wider (measure by q-factor: the distance between the pedals) and as a result, is not well suited for petite riders. The Sprinter’s wheelbase is close to 2″ inches (49mm) longer than the other two bikes. For the average rider, the difference isn’t significant, but for kids with longer torsos, the Sprinter will provide more room for arm extension.
The Sprinter 16 is a workhorse for both paved and all-terrain riding. With a 21″ minimum seat height, it’s best for beginning riders in size 5 pants, or more experienced riders in 4T.