Apple. BMW. Rolex. Woom.
There are certain brands whose names alone stand for quality, performance, and of course, luxury. These names exist in the bike industry, too, with adult brands like Ibis, Evil, and Yeti developing rabid followings based on their boutique status and unflinching focus on quality, performance, and, yes, luxury.
Until recently, we would have trouble ascribing those attributes to children’s bikes, but with Woom, we can confidently say, “this is a company that gets it!”
Built exclusively for children, Woom focuses on building high quality, lightweight bikes that are designed from the ground up to make learning to ride a bike fun and easy. Rather than shoehorning adult parts on to a smaller (often heavy) frame, Woom hangs kid-sized components on their colorful, lightweight aluminum frames. This provides kids with a superior experience straight out of the box.
Today, we take a look at the 16 inch Woom 3, a bike our Kindergarten tester absolutely LOVES.
Is it right for your family? Read on to find out!
Review in a Nutshell
- Well-designed, child-specific geometry
- High quality
- Dual hand brakes (no coaster brake)
- Optional Automagic internally geared hub
- Woom trade-in program OR high resale value
- High price
Price and Where To Buy:
- $399 (singlespeed) / $449 (Automagic) at Woom.com*
Woom 3 Video Review
Lightweight And Built For Kids
Let’s face it – kids are built differently than adults. They weigh less, they’re smaller, and they’re not as far along developmentally.
Woom builds all their bikes with this in mind, using lightweight aluminum frames and kid-specific components. This provides a safe, comfortable, and fun ride each and every time a child throws a leg over their bike.
We are HUGE proponents of lightweight bikes for kids, and it’s such an important factor in choosing a bike for your child. I weigh 170 pounds, and ride bikes that weigh between 19 – 35 pounds, or roughly 10% – 20% of my bodyweight.
Contrast that with our five year old tester, who weighs in at 42 pounds. A 20 pound bike (not uncommon) is now nearly 50% of his bodyweight! Heavy bikes are harder to pedal uphill, harder to corner, and generally harder to ride, whether we’re talking about kids or adults.
Woom has understood this from day one, and with that in mind, the Woom 3 comes in at just a hair over 13 pounds. That’s a more manageable 30% of our tester’s bodyweight, and that difference showed itself when it came time to ride the Woom 3 up some hills in our neighborhood!
If you opt for the Automagic version of the bike, you will add about a pound to the overall weight. This is still really light compared to other bikes but perhaps something to think about if your child is particularly petite. We’ll talk more about the Automagic hub in a moment.
All of the Woom bikes have been well-designed to work for children rather than against them. The Woom 3 offers an upright seating position with tall handlebars, which gives kids a comfortable and confidence-inspiring ride.
The 68 degree head tube, coupled with a removable steering limiter and BMX-style riser handlebars means the Woom 3 steers in a stable, predictable manner. This lets kids that are new to pedaling focus on their balance without worrying about twitchy or “darty” feeling steering.
The bike also has a long wheelbase, low center of gravity, short 95mm crank arms, and narrow q-factor (the distance between pedals). All of these things make for a bike that is stable and comfortable to pedal.
And for kids that have experience pedaling, it gives them the chance to immediately feel comfortable riding the bike. The short chainstays, combined with the lightweight of the bike overall, make for a bike that climbs hills with ease.
The best judge of how well a bike is designed is how motivated kids are to ride it. We consistently have neighbor kids abandon their bikes in our yard to grab a Woom bike.
As someone who cares about the environment and who tries to minimize my consumption in general, I try to buy higher quality items that will last a long time. The Woom 3 has that sort of quality.
Unlike a Walmart bike, a Woom bike isn’t going to end up in a trash pile. It will last one child’s use and abuse, and still be ready for the next child in line.
Woom sources parts from some of the biggest names in the bicycle industry, which we love. The quality is top notch.
Gearing: Singlespeed OR Automagic Internally Geared Hub
One of the biggest differentiators on the Woom 3 is the option to get it with the “Automagic” internally geared hub. While there are a few 20 inch bike with an internally geared hub, this is the only 16 inch bike that I’m aware of with this option. The hub is made by Sturmey Archer which is the industry leader in internally geared hubs.
The Automagic hub gives your child gears without the challenge of cassette and derailleur. (Kids this age are not yet capable of dealing with shifting gears).
The hub has two gears. The bike will start out in the easier gear so little one’s can get started easily, but shifts up automatically once they start going fast enough–around 7 mph. This helps address one of the biggest issues with singlespeed bikes–getting spun out at higher speeds–and is particularly helpful for fast, athletic kiddos.
If you don’t feel like your child needs the Automagic hub (or you just don’t want to dish out the extra cash), the Woom 3 is also offered in a traditional singlespeed model.
With the singlespeed, because there is only one gear, it’s particularly important that it’s the right one, and Woom has done a good job of this. The Woom 3 has 18 teeth in the front and 10 teeth in the back. For the bike geeks out there, this equates to a gear ratio of 1.8 and a gain ratio of 3.8.
Not sure what the heck that means? It means that the gearing is well suited to most riding. Kids won’t be struggling to get started pedaling, nor will they be spun out on flat roads.
For comparison, the Automagic hub has a lower and a higher gear than the singlespeed version. The first gear has a gear ratio of 1.5, and the second gear has a gear ratio of 2.06. This gives the child a little more range on either end.
On both the singlespeed and Automagic bikes, in particularly hilly areas, the gearing may be a bit much. In this case, grab a tow rope to help your child out.
Safety Is Important
Woom seems to think of the little things at every turn, and it’s no different when it comes to safety. If you’re a safety-conscious parent (who isn’t) you can rest easy knowing your child is on a Woom bike.
Safety features include rounded bolts, color-coded handbrakes, a removable steering-limiter, reflective strips on the tires, wide bar ends, and an unobtrusive chainguard. We’ll go into all of these features in more detail in a moment, but know that they have been designed to keep your child safe.
Color Coded Dual Handbrakes
One of my favorite things on the Woom 3 that is totally unique is the color-coded brake levers. The right (rear) brake lever is green.
This gives kids a great, easy-to-remember reminder to use more rear brake than front. (A big handful of front brake can cause an over-the-bars crash).
The dual brake levers are easy to reach and easy to pull. In fact, after testing lots of bikes over the years, we truly believe these are the easiest brake levers for kids to operate.
The v-brakes are cable actuated, and use high quality, brand name Jagwire cables.
Best of all, the Woom 3 does NOT have a coaster brake. There are lots of reasons we prefer a bike without a coaster brake–they are lighter, easier to learn to pedal, and in our opinion, safer. For more information on this topic, read our article on coaster brakes.
Tires & Wheels
The Woom 3 has Schwalbe Little Joe tires with a built-in reflective strip (how smart is that?!). The 16” x 1.4” knobby tires are well suited for both paved and gravel or dirt surfaces, rolling fast on hard surfaces and providing excellent grip on loose paths or roads.
Woom’s own SOOPA DOOPA HOOPS are high quality wheels. The rim and hubs are aluminum, while the spokes are stainless steel. The bearings are sealed, and the wheels run fast and true.
Finally, we appreciate the rounded bolts which secure the front and rear wheels. This means kid’s (and parents!) don’t have to worry about scrapes or cuts from sharp, exposed bolts.
Removable Steering Limiter
A removable steering limiter is ideal for kids just learning to ride, as it keeps the handlebars from over-rotating. For my son, who already has developed good bike handling skills, we took the steering limiter off.
Unobtrusive Chain Guard
Unlike the chain guards on most kids bikes, which are heavy and bulky, the Woom 3 has a sleek, unbotrusive guard. It doesn’t add much weight but keeps kids clothing grease-free and eliminates the potential to snag a pant-leg.
Comfortable Touch Points
The Woom saddle is comfortable, as are the lock-on grips that flare out at the base of the child’s palms for extra support and comfort. These ergonomic grips are heads and shoulders above anything else we’ve seen stocked on a kids bike.
The grips lock on and have extra wide bar ends to protect your child. (Exposed handlebars are super dangerous).
Quick Release Seatpost Collar
Thank god for quick release seatpost collars! They make seat height adjustments quick, painless and tool free.
The quick release seatpost collar on the Woom 3 is extra large providing extra leverage. You don’t have to be strong to open and close the lever which we love.
Bright, Beautiful Colors
Did we mention Woom bikes look GREAT? The bright, rich primary color schemes that Woom uses delight children, and provide a range of options to ensure your child can ride a bike in their favorite color!
The Woom 3 is advertised for kids 4 to 6 years old. It’s generally a best fit for kids on the lower end of that age spectrum with some room to grow.
Our tester stands 45” tall with a 20” inseam and fit comfortably on the bike with the seat slightly extended. In the photo below, you can also see Rascal Rides founder Kristen’s son, on the Woom 3. He was 4.5 at the time and in a 4T pant. He has the Woom 3 with the seat in its lowest position.
Of course, the best way to determine which size bike your child needs is to measure their inseam. The Woom 3 has a minimum seat height of 19.29” and a maximum seat height of 25”.
You can also judge which size bike they need pretty well off of your child’s height; Woom recommends the Woom 3 for kids that are between 41” and 47” tall. Woom’s website has tons of information on sizing, so parents can easily determine the right bike for their child.
They’ve included helpful information on buying a bike that’s slightly too big versus slightly too small, with their advice being it’s generally better to go with a smaller bike – but read the full page on their site to understand the issue better.
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 have been the beautiful VIENNA Bell, which is made from instrument-grade brass and has a beautiful ring. Our daughter pretends she’s the ice cream man whenever she rings the bell!
We also really love the short kickstand that mounts to a pair of dedicated threaded holes on the bike’s chainstay. It’s significantly more stable and sturdy than the kickstands found on most kids bikes. It allowed our tester to park his bike next to the rest of the family’s with ease.
The company also sells a variety of clothing, from jerseys to gloves made for little hands.
No Training Wheels
Woom has the true best interest of kids in mind. Unlike other brands that have cowed to parental pressure when it comes to coaster brakes and training wheels, the Woom 3 offers neither. This is because coaster brakes and training wheels are NOT in the best interest of the young rider.
The Woom 3 sells for $389, which is definitely on the pricier side of 16” bikes. That said, the resale value of these bikes is extremely high.
With the supply chain issues the industry is currently experiencing in 2021, we’ve seen used Woom 3 bikes going for as much as $350 on swap sites. Woom bikes hold their value!
Woom also provides a bike recycling program known as upCYCLING! that 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!
Woom 3 Versus The Competition
The Woom 3 is our top pick when it comes to 16 inch bikes. The attention to detail, quality of the ride, and superior customer service knocks the competition out of the water.
Compared to our other top picks–the Prevelo Alpha Two and the Cleary Hedgehog–is priced competitively. In fact, while it’s our top pick, it’s actually cheaper than bikes like the the Frog 44 and Early Rider Belter which are both well over $400.
Is it worth the money? We say, if you’re into riding bikes as a family activity, or if you’d like to get your family into riding bikes as a family activity, the Woom is ABSOLUTELY worth the price of entry!
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 3, assembly involves attaching the handlebar/stem to the steerer tube, inserting the seat post into the seat tube, and attaching the front wheel. Our assembly required a single Allen wrench, and took less than five minutes.
Woom offers a 30-Day return policy, as well as a five year warranty on the frame and fork and 24 months on all components. As a company that offers excellent customer service, if anything breaks or a part gets stolen from your bike, you can buy all components from Woom at cost on a case-by-case basis.
When other parents ask me to recommend a bike for their child, I nearly always recommend Woom. The only time I don’t is if they have a real budget constraint, and even then I might suggest that they try to find a used Woom bike from someone in the community.
For 4 to 6 year old kids, the Woom 3 offers a comfortable, lightweight, and fun ride. If you want a high-quality, top-of-the-line bike for your child, get them the Woom 3.
Before you make a big purchase, do your research! To learn more about kids bikes and Woom bikes, check out these articles as well.
- 5 Reasons To Love Woom Bikes
- 5 Best 16 Inch Kids Bikes
- Best Kids Bikes: How To Choose, Reviews, & More!
Note: Woom Bikes USA provided us with a Woom 3 to facilitate this review. Rascal Rides is also an affiliate of Woom, meaning if you click thru and buy a bike after reading this review, we get a percentage of the purchase.
About The Reviewer
Chris Del Sole has been an avid cyclist for over 20 years, and 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 bikes, working on bikes, looking at bikes, talking about bikes, 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.