Early Rider Belter, the best first pedal bike?

Early Rider

If you take your bikes seriously then, like me, you probably take your kids bikes seriously too.  You bought a balance bike to get them started on the right path and now they’re ready to take the next step and ride their first pedal bike.  From personal experience I know that there isn’t much choice when it comes to quality kids bikes.  In fact the only company I can think of that offers a well designed and well made first pedal bike is Isla bikes……     until now!  After a number of years in development Early Rider have introduced a new first pedal bike to their range, the Belter!

For the purposes of this article I’m going to make a direct comparison between the new Early Rider Belter and the Isla bikes Cnoc 16.  If you know of any other first pedal bikes at a similar price point that offer any competition to these two then please let me know and I’ll include it in the comparison, but as things stand these are the best bikes around. Both are specifically designed for kids with custom made parts, both are lightweight at under 6kg, both have 16″ wheels and both are similarly priced, the Belter is £229.99 and Cnoc 16 is £199.99.

Early Rider Belter

  • Price £229.99
  • Weight 5.6Kg
  • Wheels 16″
  • Aluminium frame, mini V brakes, aluminium hubs and rims
  • custom belt drive, single speed
  • carbon seapost

Cnoc 16 Isla Bike

  • Price £199.99
  • Weight 5.98Kg
  • Wheels 16″
  • Aluminium frame, mini V brakes, steel hubs and aluminium rims
  • traditional chain drive single speed
  • aluminium seatpost

The Early Rider Belter wins on weight by nearly 400 grams. In terms of function there are two major differences 1) the Early Rider Belter uses a belt drive, efficient, no need to oil and virtually maintenance free, a definite advantage! 2) The Isla bike Cnoc 16 has both a front and rear brake whereas the Belter has just a rear brake.  Having just one brake accounts for some of the weight difference between the two bikes, I think that just a rear brake is more than adequate for a first pedal bike but some parents may prefer to have both brakes.

However. . . . the thing that really separates these two bikes is looks.  The Early Rider Belter is a thing of beauty, the brushed aluminium frame, the leather style saddle and handlebar grips, the carbon fibre seatpost, even the belt drive just looks cool.  Sorry Isla but the Cnoc 16 doesn’t even come close.  Early Rider have achieved both function and form whereas the Cnoc 16 only succeeds at one.  Early Rider is the new kid on the bloc and with looks like this plenty of heads will turn!  In comparison the Cnoc just seems bland.

Belter beautiful

Value for money.  Kids grow FAST!  So they grow out of their bikes pretty fast too, expect to get 2-3 years out each bike in my experience so £200 or £230 sounds like a lot of money.  Our family has now owned 4 Isla bikes, 2 of which have been sold for approx 85% of their original value, that makes them cheaper to own than one of those cheap supermarket bikes, no brainer! Isla bikes hold their value and there’s no reason that the Early Rider shouldn’t be the same in that respect.   Yes they’re quite expensive, but if you look after them and sell them on or pass them down to the next in line they’re definitely worth it in my opinion.  Nothing else on the market even comes close.

In conclusion.  Both the Early Rider Belter and the Isla Bikes Cnoc 16 are superb first pedal bikes both from British companies.  Both bikes are lightweight and fit for purpose, many kids bikes on the market weigh twice as much as these which can make learning to ride and struggle and any slight incline impossible.  The Belter is slightly lighter with some beautiful styling and wonderful attention to detail while the Cnoc 16 has both front and rear brakes and is £30 cheaper.

I know which one I’d choose…..

The complete range of Early Rider bikes is available online at Babi Pur including the new Belter the new Spherovelo Juno and the Early Rider Classic

Isla bikes are only available to buy direct from the Isla bikes website 

Peter Barton


I'm Pete. Co-founder of Babipur, the ethical retailer of goods for all the family established 2007. When I'm not talking about wooden toys, inequality in supply chains and reusable lifestyle products you'll find me riding my bike, paddling my board or lost in the mountains of Snowdonia.

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5 Responses

  1. Theresa says:

    How about this one? 4 year old had the balance bike version since last Chrismtas and deliberating what next? Expensive, butt looks cool ( ESP green or red) and can be handed down


  2. Theresa says:

    Does come out quite a bit heavier mind you, does a couple of kg make a big difference?

  3. Theresa says:

    (Last one)I love how the belter looks, but a 4 year doesn’t appreciate retro and woukd likely prefer a bright colour?

  4. peter says:

    Hi Theresa

    Thanks for pointing out the Kokua, I must admit I’d not seen them before. At around £70 more and an extra 1.5-2Kg in weight I’m not convinced it offers any real competition to the Early Rider or the Isla bike.

    If you added 2Kg to my bike I wouldn’t be best pleased but for a small child who is only learning to ride 2Kg is an enormous amount. The styling may appeal to some and it looks to have some good quality parts but the extra weight and high price . . . .

  5. Ryan says:

    I have nothing but great things to say for the Belter. personally I narrowed down my choices to these two unfortunately in the US the cnoc 16 only comes with a rear coaster break. In the end I am so happy I chose the Belter. This bike is nothing but class it is so well put together and so beautiful. As far as colors go do not worry you can dress it up with a flashy color basket, pedals and even LED lights. Trust me your kid will be all smiles!!! I ordered mine from tykes bikes and had a great experience with speedy shipping.

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