Are you looking for the BEST balance bike for your toddler? The Woom 1 is that bike.
Woom’s stated goal is for “as many children as possible to love to ride their bike,” and in our opinion, they deliver in a big way! Woom makes some of the highest quality, nicest looking bikes in the kid’s market today. Their smallest model, the Woom 1, is no exception.
The step-through, lightweight aluminum frame design makes the bike easy and fun to learn on. Features like the the grips are as high-quality as anything on our adult bikes, the seat is cushy and easily adjustable, and the 12” pneumatic tires mounted on spoked wheels look great and provide a smooth (and safe) ride.
Woom also smartly specs their bikes in bright, vibrant colors that kids absolutely love. Make no mistake – this is a good looking bike!
And we’re just getting started. Read on to learn more about why we recommend the Woom 1 so highly.
(Please note that we are a Woom affiliate and that we received a bike for testing in order to write this review. We did not receive any monetary compensation for the review, and all opinions are our own).
April 2023: Updated price and frequently asked questions.
Review In A Nutshell
- Extremely lightweight (6.6 pounds)
- High quality construction
- Pneumatic tires provide a smooth ride
- Rear (hand) brake is a welcome safety feature
- Removable steering limiter
- Brake lever may be too big for the smallest riders
Price and Where To Buy:
- $249 List
- Check price at Woom.com*
Woom 1 Video Review
Why A Balance Bike?!
Do you remember your first time riding a bicycle? If you’re old enough to have your own children, your first experience on a bike probably involved more than two wheels, either as a tricycle or a two-wheeler with training wheels.
As with many other aspects of life, however, a better way has emerged, one which gets very young kids balancing and ultimately pedaling a two-wheeler just like Mom and Dad much, much faster. Enter the balance bike.
While balance bikes have been around in some form for decades, they really became popular in the United States in the mid-2000s, when the Strider company began in founder Ryan McFarland’s garage. A Dad with a passion for bikes and motorcycles, he was frustrated watching his two-year old son try to figure out how to ride the too big, too heavy, and too complicated bikes available at the time.
So McFarland stripped everything off his child’s bike that wasn’t needed for balance or safety, and voila! His son was scooting with his feet and balancing within a very short period of time. The modern balance bike was born!
Balance bikes work on the principle that pedaling a bike and balancing a bike are two separate skills that can be learned at different periods in a rider’s skill progression. By providing children as young as 18 months a small, lightweight bike without pedals, a drivetrain, or even brakes, they learn to scoot with their feet, steer the front wheel, and ultimately balance, all in a very natural, and often quick manner.
They have been an absolute game changer for our family, and we enthusiastically recommend them to anyone who asks. And the bike we most highly recommend is the Woom 1.
Light Weight Makes The Bike Easy To Ride
Woom understands the importance of weight when it comes to children’s bikes. The average American adult weighs 181 pounds, while an adult bike weighs between 20-35 pounds. That makes for a bike to body weight ratio of around 20%.
Our two year old tester, on the other hand, weighs a mere 26 pounds! A 13 pound balance bike (not unusual) would weigh a whopping 50% of her body weight.
At just 6.6 pounds without accessories, the Woom 1 is incredibly light. It’s not THE lightest balance bike, but it is the lightest balance bike we know of that offers pneumatic air tires and a brake.
The Woom 1 is light enough for small children to comfortably handle, and this makes a BIG difference in how quickly they learn to ride. It also makes it safer as they are less likely to crash.
This is why we always recommend buying the lightest balance bike in your price range!
Pneumatic Air Tires Offer Superior Traction
The Woom 1 has pneumatic (air-filled) tires like a proper grown up bike. We much prefer these to the foam or plastic tires found on other balance bikes including the popular Strider. Pneumatic tires offer better traction and additional comfort.
The brand-name Schwalbe tires on the Woom 1 are semi-knobby and provide excellent traction and a smooth ride on asphalt, dirt, or even packed gravel. The sidewalls include reflective accents to help provide additional visibility.
High Quality Wheels Are Durable
Unlike the plastic wheels found on budget balance bikes, the Woom 1 has high quality aluminum rims and stainless steel spokes. The hubs have sealed bearings. This means that the bike rolls smoothly and quickly, and also increases the long-term durability of the bike.
Additionally, Woom uses smooth, rounded bolts to secure the wheels. This is something we look for in a great balance bike, as the rounded bolts are less likely to cause scrapes or scratches if they contact little legs.
Low Step Over Fits Small Kids And Makes It Easy To Get On And Off The Bike
The Woom 1 fits small toddlers well thanks to the extremely low stepover. Even for bigger toddlers, the step thru frame makes it easy to maneuver the bike and get on and off. We far prefer this design to the traditional frame design found on the Belsize balance bike, for example.
The minimum seatpost height on the bike is 10″. This makes the Woom 1 a good fit for most toddlers around 18 months old. It’s one of the smaller balance bikes around.
Slightly older or taller preschoolers may fit better on the Woom 1 Plus. This is the same bike but with 14″ wheels and a larger frame.
Woom’s website has tons of information on sizing, so parents can easily determine the right bike for their child.
Quick Release Seatpost Collar
Speaking of sizing, we LOVE the quick release seatpost collar on the Woom 1. This means you can easily and quickly raise or lower the height of the seat without the need for any tools.
This is particularly important since toddlers tend to grow literally overnight. It can also be helpful if the bike is being shared amongst multiple children.
Hand Brake Helps Kids Get The Hang Of Braking Early On
The Woom 1 smartly features a Tektro Junior v-brake on the rear wheel. We love this feature as it allows kids to start getting the hang of a hand brake early on before introducing them to their first pedal bike. This also makes it easier to skip a coaster brake and go straight to a freewheel and handbrakes.
For faster, more aggressive riders, the rear v-brake also adds an extra layer of safety, allowing kids to bring the bike to a stop using either their feet or the brake. It can also save a lot of pairs of shoes, as more aggressive riders tend to drag their feet to stop a balance bike without a brake.
That said, most toddlers aren’t really able to use a handbrake until 2.5 to 3 years old. While the lever on the Woom 1 is “designed for little hands,” our two year-old still can’t quite squeeze it effectively enough to stop. It will become more useful once she’s grown a bit more.
Removable Steering Limiter Prevents Over Rotation Of The Bars
Woom includes a removable rubber steering limiter on the bike. This feature prevents inexperienced little riders from steering too sharply, which can cause a crash.
We particularly appreciate that the steering limiter is removable rather than built in. This means once you’re kiddo has the hang of riding, you can remove it to give them additional range of motion.
Built-In Safety Features
Woom knows Mom and Dad want their children to enjoy riding a bike in the safest manner possible, and they’ve built in a variety of safety features to ensure a great experience. We’ve already touched on many of these: the rear brake, the pneumatic tires, the steering limiter, rounded bolts, reflective sidewalls, etc. What’s important to understand is that each of these components individually have been considered for the safety and wellbeing of your child.
Comfortable Touch Points
Woom doesn’t skimp on comfort with their bikes, either, and it shows on the Woom with the touchpoints. The flared rubber lock-on grips support the base of the palm, giving the child a more secure connection to the bike. Additionally, the ergonomic, padded seat will keep kids comfortable for hours on end.
Direct To Consumer Purchase
Woom sells their bikes exclusively via their website. Bikes arrive at your doorstep partially assembled.
In the case of the Woom 1, assembly involves attaching the handlebar/stem to the steerer tube, and inserting the seat post into the seat tube. Our assembly required a single Allen wrench, and took less than five minutes
UpCYCLING Program Versus Selling Used
Woom provides a bike recycling program known as upCYCLING! This allows you to easily and affordably size up when it’s time, at a discount of 40% off the purchase price of the next model.
The upCYCLING! program costs a one-time fee of $59, and is well worth it in our opinion – once your child has experienced a Woom, they’re not going to want to ride any other bike!
Alternatively, keep in mind that Woom bikes can also fetch a pretty penny used. There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling Woom bikes. This can be a great option especially if you live in a bike-centric community like Seattle or Portland where there is lots of demand for Woom bikes.
The Bike LOOKS Good
Let’s be honest: one of the big draws to the Woom 1 is that it just LOOKS good! The aesthetic is sleek and seriously FUN, with aluminum frames painted in shiny, bright primary colors. Months after it arrived, our daughter still requests to ride her “purple bike” by color only.
In addition to building great bikes, Woom also offers a host of fun, high quality accessories that kids and parents will love. One of our favorites has been the beautiful VIENNA Bell, which is made from instrument-grade brass and has a beautiful ring. Our daughter kept pretending she was the ice cream man whenever she rang the bell!
The other accessory we LOVE is the incredibly functional and smartly designed “SURFBOARD” footrest, which is a wooden footrest covered in non-slip skateboard style grip tape. Our testers loved having a place to put their feet, which allowed them to really lean the bike into the turns. We love that Woom added threaded holes on the frame to easily install this accessory.
Finally, our daughter also loves Woom’s DOCK Bikestand, which gives her a place to “park” her bike next to the rest of the family’s rides in the garage.
Woom 1 Versus the Competition
We continue to be impressed with Woom’s dedication to building lightweight bikes. The fact that the Woom 1 comes in around the same weight as the Strider while including pneumatic tires, metal-spoked wheels, a rear v-brake, and a padded seat is seriously amazing!
One area where Woom may not shine for everyone is their pricing. At $249, the Woom 1 costs $100+ more than the foam-tire equipped Strider 12 Classic or the pneumatic-tire equipped Co-Op Cycles REV 12.
While the argument can be made that a 12” bike will be outgrown quickly, the re-sale value on Woom bikes are particularly high thanks to their quality and reputation, often getting 75% or more of the as-new price on the secondary market.
We should also mention that the Woom 1 is on par pricewise with all of our top picks on our list of the best toddler balance bikes. It’s also our favorite. You get what you pay for.
Woom 1 Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions we’ve been asked about the Woom 1.
How Do I Find a Woom 1 Used?
Woom bikes are the absolute best in terms of holding their value and lasting thru multiple kids. The best place to look for a used Woom 1, in our experience, is in the Woom Bikes Buy, Sell, and Trade Facebook Group.
Where Can I Buy a Woom 1 balance bike?
Woom sells the Woom 1 directly to consumers thru their website. There are also a VERY limited number of retailers but your best bet is online.
Prevelo Alpha Zero vs Woom 1: How Do The Two Compare?
Of the two bikes, the Woom 1 is our favorite, largely because of it’s lower weight. The Woom 1 weighs in around a pound less than the Prevelo Alpha Zero. That might not sound like a lot but it makes a big difference for kids this young.
In terms of geometry, the two bikes are very similar with a very low stepover, which we appreciate. The minimum seatpost height is about an inch lower on the Woom 1, so that could be a deciding factor depending on your child’s inseam.
Where features are concerned, the two are very similar. They both have pneumatic air tires, a rear brake, rounded bolts, and quick release seatpost collars.
In terms of price, the Woom 1 is slightly more expensive. Both brands offer trade up programs.
Frankly, both are great bikes. We give the slight edge to the Woom 1, but you won’t be disappointed with either.
Woom 1 Seat Height?
The minimum seat height on the Woom 1 is 10.4″. The maximum seat height is 14.4″.
Woom 1 Weight?
The Woom 1 is 6.6 pounds.
What’s the difference between with Woom 1 and the Woom 1 Plus?
The Woom 1 has 12″ wheels while the Woom 1 Plus has 14″ wheels. This makes the Woom 1 better suited to younger toddlers (18 months) while the Woom 1 Plus is better suited for older toddlers or preschoolers (3 years and up).
Bottom-Line: The BEST Balance Bike Around
If you’re a family with multiple children, the hand-me-down possibilities should easily outweigh the premium price Woom charges, and even if there are no plans to keep the bike for multiple children, the resale values of these bikes remains some of the best in the industry.
The Woom 1 is our FAVORITE 12 inch balance bike for sale today! If you value quality, light weight, and ease of assembly, you can confidently purchase this bike.
We have seen tons of children learn to ride on these bikes, and it’s for this reason we LOVE balance bikes. Do your child and yourself a favor, and give the Woom 1 a good, hard look as your balance bike of choice!
More Reading To Help You Pick A Great Balance Bike
- 10 Best Balance Bikes For Your Toddler
- Everything You Need To Know About Balance Bikes
- Ultimate Guide To Kids Bike Sizes (And Bike Size Chart!)
About The Reviewer
Chris Del Sole has been an avid cyclist for over 20 years. He is now sharing his love of the sport with his wife and three children. A Marketing Director by day, in his free time he can be found riding, working on, looking at, talking about, and generally geeking out over bikes. In the winter, he spends his weekends teaching skiing and encouraging his kids to “send it” off every jump in sight.
Since the writing of this article Chris has left his track down the trail and passed on. He will be forever missed and thought of often. Chris, thank you for the indelible mark you left on this world.