What is it
With the primary goal of helping kids discover the joy of riding bikes, Woom offers some of (if not the) lightest little people bikes on the market. They also have an UpCycle program where they will buy back your used Woom bike at 40% of cost within 2 years of purchase and apply that credit towards purchase of the next size up. They have six models in all, ranging from a straddle bike all the way up to the Woom 6 with 26-inch wheels. The returned pre-owned bikes are used for non-profit riding clinics around the U.S.
Mtbr (well, actually our neighbor’s kid, Eno) tested the Woom 3 with 16-inch wheels that features kid friendly geometry, short reach color-coded hand brakes, a front wheel steering limiter, bell and kickstand, and the two-speed SRAM Automatix rear hub, which as the name implies, automatically shifts gears as speed increases or decreases. Note, though, that the SRAM hub, while popular with Woom customers, has been discontinued by SRAM and is no longer available on the Woom 3.
Our test bike weighed 15.6 pounds with the kickstand and pedals, but no reflectors. Pulling off the kickstand dropped weight to 15.3 pounds. And Woom 3 bikes without the Automatix hub have a claimed weight of 12.3 pounds.
Woom bikes are shipped direct to your door and take about 10 minutes to assemble using an Allen and pedal wrench, which are included with purchase. The bike comes in red, blue, green, or purple, and is designed for riders 4-6 years old between 41”-47” tall. Our test rider is currently 5.5 years old and 44” inches tall.
- Low weight
- 2-speed automatic hub
- QR seatpost collar for easy saddle height adjustment
- Color coded brake levers
- Front wheel steering limiter
- Easy to assemble
- Assembly tools included with purchase
- Kid friendly upright geometry great for beginners
- Adjustable handlebar position
- Narrow Q factor
- Hybrid Kenda 1.5” tires work well on and off pavement
- Low BB = low center of gravity
- No coaster brake
- Pedals, bell, reflectors, and kickstand included
- Comparatively expensive
- 2-speed hub no longer available
- No pink frame color for my princess-loving daughter
My neighbor’s driveway isn’t overly long or steep. But with roughly a 6-percent grade for about 30 feet it was too much for Eno, our 5.5-year-old tester who’s been riding a pedal bike for about 18 months. That quickly changed when he hopped aboard the Woom 3 for the first time. Indeed, the E-man succeeded on his first attempt up Alpe d’Driveway, flashing a mile-wide grin at the top.
That early success speaks volumes about the Woom 3, which at 15.3 pounds, weighed 7.1 pounds less than the 16” sled of a bike he had been grinding around on. Imagine shedding the equivalent amount weight from your current mountain or road bike. It’d be life changing.
The Woom story goes beyond low weight, though. The Austrian-based company with its U.S. headquarters in Austin, Texas, has nailed nearly all the important details when it comes to designing a kid (and beginner) friendly bike. Pedaling position is upright and stable, center of gravity is low, and the two-speed hub (which was Eno’s favorite feature) helps lay the foundation for understanding the concept of shifting gears without the burden of complexity. Pedal faster and it drops into a harder gear. Slow up and pedaling becomes easier. It’s a bummer SRAM stopped making it, though the upside is that losing the hub shaves another couple pounds off total bike weight.
The color-coded brake levers are another stroke of genius. By ditching the coaster brake, you’re again laying the foundation for more advanced skills down the road. Making the rear brake lever green helps your kid remember to not grab a handful of front brake. And both brake levers are ergonomically designed for small hands and have no-tools-required reach adjustment. Woom even uses a softer compound rear brake pad (colored green of course) that helps enhance braking performance.
There is also a front wheel steering limiter, which is essentially a small rubber ring connecting fork and frame. The contraption helps stabilize steering, making it easier to ride in a straight line. When they get the whole steering thing dialed and start railing, you can remove the limiter.
Fit is another strong point of the Woom 3. There’s ample up-down saddle adjustment and an easy-to-use quick release seat collar. The upright bars can also be moved fore and aft, so you can get reach adjusted just right. The idea is that getting your kid’s weight centered over their hips makes it easier to balance and learn to pedal, whereas a more aggressive forward position is great down the road as skills progress, but not so great when your grom is still mastering the basics.
Other features or note include a bell as standard equipment and the stock 1.5” Kenda Small Block tires, which have enough tread and traction to confidently roll around on mellow singletrack, but don’t bog down on paved bike paths, sidewalks, or roads.
But most important of all was how it made Eno feel. “It really boosted his enthusiasm for riding bikes,” said his dad Kevin. “He was more confident and was having more fun.” And that’s what it’s all about.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $429 as tested / $369 without two-speed hub
More Info: woombikes.com