Woom has long been our favorite bike brand for young kids, but until now they were missing an option for one critical demographic: preschoolers who aren’t yet ready for a pedal bike. The Woom 1 balance bike is great for young toddlers and the Woom 2 is great for preschoolers who’ve already mastered the balance bike, but the truth is most 3 and 4-year-olds aren’t ready for a pedal bike sans training wheels. Enter the Woom 1 Plus.
The Woom 1 Plus is a larger version of the popular Woom 1 balance bike and is designed for kids in the 3 to 5-year-old age group. It has everything that a balance bike for kids in this age group should have: easy-to-operate hand brakes, pneumatic air tires, high-quality parts, and the ability to withstand that particular kind of abuse that preschoolers are known to dish out.
In fact, if you can stomach the price tag, the Woom 1 Plus is our favorite balance bike for 3 to 5-year-old crew.
Review in a Nutshell
- Dual handbrakes
- Pneumatic (air) tires
- Removable “surfboard”
- Removable steering limiter
Price & Where to Buy:
- $299 at Woom.com*
Sizing and Weight
The Woom 1 Plus has 14″ wheels and is well-suited for most kids ages 3 and older. Make sure to measure your child’s inseam before ordering.
It should be AT LEAST 14.5″. If not, then stick with the smaller Woom 1.
Woom advertises the bike for kids ages 3 to 4.5, although my 5-year-old fits quite comfortably on the bike still and I think most kids in 5T pants will as well. The suggested height range is between 37 and 43 inches.
That said, there is no room for growth at this age. If you are buying a bike for an already-turned 5-year-old, go for the larger Scoot XL balance bike instead.
We also had a just-turned 4-year-old try out the bike for us, and he was the ideal size with room yet to grow. That said, he was cruising easily on this bike and will soon be ready to transition to a pedal bike — a testament to the teaching power of balance bikes.
The Woom 1 Plus fit both our 4-year-old tester (left) and 5-year-old tester (right)
As far as weight goes, the Woom 1 Plus is exceptionally light for a 14″ balance bike. It tips the scales at UNDER 10 pounds, which means it is appropriate even for petite preschoolers. While weight isn’t quite as much of a concern for preschoolers as it is for toddlers, a lightweight bike will always result in a better overall experience for your child.
Easy-to-pull Dual Handbrakes
Little toddlers tend to do well stopping with only their feet. By 3, however, most kids have the eye-hand coordination required to operate a handbrake and are riding fast enough to make a brake helpful.
It is also helpful to have kids practice using handbrakes now, so they are prepared when it is time to switch to a pedal bike. The brakes on the Woom 1 Plus are easy-to-pull and easy-to-operate even for the smallest little hands.
The right/rear handbrake is color-coded green to help coach kids to grab more rear brake than front brake. (To prevent an over-the-bars situation).
Easy to operate color-coded hand brakes
Pneumatic air tires
Far too many balance bikes come with foam or plastic tires. While these tires are actually pretty great for riding around inside the house (ha!), they aren’t so great for older pre-schoolers.
Kids in the 3 to 5-year-old age range tend to be hard-charging and adventurous. When compared to foam/plastic tires, air tires offer superior traction an capability.
Thanks to the decent amount of tread on the high-quality Schwalbe-brand tires, the Woom 1 Plus can handle being ridden on dirt, grass, mud, pavement, gravel, and whatever else your kiddo can find to ride it on. (Note that the tires in our photos are Kenda tires. They’ve since been replaced with Schwable which are equally high quality).
Balance bikes are designed to help kids learn how to coast. This sense of balance while in motion is what allows kids to easily transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike without the use of training wheels.
Coasting also happens to be a lot of fun, and kids love to lift their legs and do silly acrobatics. Many balance bikes have pegs for kids to rest their feet on and to encourage coasting.
Woom’s answer to footpegs is a cute wooden “surfboard” that kids can rest their feet on. My acrobatic 5-year-old has also realized he can stand and coast on the surfboard, in true surfing fashion.
Surfboard allows a place for kids to rest feet while coasting
The only reasons we can see to not like the surfboard are if (a) you are taking your child to the bike park, the surfboard creates slightly less clearance which could be an issue riding over obstacles, and (b) if your child is still just learning to “scoot” it may interfere with their stride. If for whatever reason, you don’t like the surfboard, it is easily removable.
Removable steering limiter
Speaking of things that are removable, we love Woom’s steering limiter. It is a simple rubber ring that keeps the handlebars from over-rotating.
This is a safety feature for kids who are just learning to ride as they tend to twist the bars too far and crash. Many bikes with a steering limiter have it built in, meaning that there is no way to remove the limit once kids have outgrown its usefulness. On the Woom 1 Plus, however, you can simply remove the rubber ring (no tools required) when your child is ready.
Other items worth noting are the quick-release seat post collar that allows you to quickly and easily adjust seat height without tools, the recessed bolts that keep your child from getting scraped by bolts ends in the event of a crash, the comfortable seat, and a bell. All of these kinds of items reflect the thoughtful detail and attention that have been put into making a great bike.
Thoughtful touches: comfortable saddle, quick release seat post, recessed bolts
Durability and Resale Value
The Woom 1 Plus is a real bike NOT a toy. This means that it can be ridden even on trails and off jumps and not fall apart.
In fact, it is durable enough to be handed-down to several children. If you don’t have a sibling to hand it down to, consider the Woom Upcycle Program (see below), or know that it will fetch a good price when you try to resell it.
Woom Upcycle Program
Considering that most 3 and 4-year-olds won’t spend a lot of time on a balance bike before they’re ready to transition to a pedal bike, using the Woom Upcycle Program might be a good choice. Memberships are $60, and allow you to receive 40% off the cost of your old Woom bike when you upgrade for a larger Woom bike. You can do this over and over again–going from the Woom 1 plus to the Woom 2 to the Woom 3 and so on.
Another Option: Take The Pedals Off The Woom 2
Another option we often recommend is buying the Woom 2 and removing the pedals for a while. This is a good choice if your child has already mastered the Woom 1 and is just getting too big for it. They will likely be pedaling very soon!
If, on the other hand, your child hasn’t mastered the balance bike and will likely be using it for a while, then we’d still recommend going with the Woom 1 Plus.
Bottom-Line: A Fantastic Balance Bike For Preschoolers
The Woom 1 Plus isn’t cheap, but that’s the point: it isn’t cheaply made. This balance bike is ideal for preschoolers who aren’t yet ready for a pedal bike without training wheels, and for parents who want the best for their children.