WOOM2

WOOM2

Watching kids ride has taught me a lot about bikes, but learning which bike they prefer, has taught me more.  In the beginning, they often choose their favorite color (or cartoon character), but once the initial excitement of the bike fades, performance almost always trumps looks. Kids want a bike that is fun to ride, not merely fun to look at. But what makes a bike fun to ride?

**If you are interested in the WOOM3 16″ bike, please read our new WOOM3 review.**

Over the last two months, essentially all of our testers have singled out WOOM bikes as their favorite amongst other high-end bikes.  When given the option between the Cleary, Islabikes and Early Rider, one-by-one they individually chose WOOM. When asked why, their answered ranged from “fun” to “fast”, but they were certain that the WOOM was their top pick. Upon first glance, the WOOM doesn’t appear to be that different that the others, yet according to the kids, it was.  So what was so different about the WOOMs? After additional observations and several emails exchanges with WOOM, we found WOOM’s success to be based in their unique combination of bike geometry, frame design and brake configuration.  When working in unison, these attributes create a natural riding environment for kids, which makes not only easier, but a lot more fun as well.

WOOM award

Bike Geometry

A child’s body position on a bike plays a huge role in how comfortable they are on the bike.  During research and development, WOOM found that kids naturally want to center their body weight on the seat of bike. Like when walking or standing, they are comfortable and familiar with an upright body position. This is especially true with younger kids, who are learning how to balance on a bike.  As a result, the WOOM’s balance bike, 14″ and 16″ pedal bikes, all place a child’s center of gravity over the seat. When compared to other bikes of the same tire size, the difference in body position in quite clear.

WOOM3 compare2

An upright position helps kids to naturally balance the bike and also prevents them from straining their neck to look forward.  As our 5-year-old tester in 4T clothes demonstrates below, both the 14″ WOOM2 and the 16″ WOOM3 have more upright body positions than their competitors.  In order to help maintain their natural body position, the WOOM’s also have a narrow q-factor, which prevents kids from having to splay their legs out in order to pedal (further examples of q-factor shown here).

WOOM vs. Isla, ER

The Frame

While an upright geometry is more comfortable for kids, it also produces an overall higher center of gravity for the rider. Previously, we found that a higher center of gravity makes a bike more difficult to balance and therefore, should be avoided (as explained here).  To counteract the high center of gravity of the rider, WOOM made some clever changes to their frame.  First, they built the bike on an extended wheelbase. As demonstrated by essentially all big-box store bikes, a bike with a short wheelbase and an upright rider are challenging and uncomfortable to ride. In addition to cramping the rider into a small space, the narrow base of the bike leads to a twitchy and unstable ride.WOOM3 vs. next riders 2

Secondly, they lowered the seat tube of the bike, which places the rider lower on the frame of the bike.  The is particularly noticeable in the 5-year-old tester’s pictures above.  By comparing the position of the seat to the rear tire, you can see how much higher he sits on the Next 16″ vs. the WOOM3.  Lowering the seat tube also allows for a lower minimum seat height.  The minimum seat height of the WOOM3 is 18.8″, but is 22.9″ on the Next 16″.  Lower minimum seat heights also allow younger kids to ride a larger wheel size, which additionally helps to increase the overall stability of the bike.

WOOM2 vs.3 updated

**The current WOOM2 weighs 11.7 lb. and the WOOM3 weighs 13 lb.**

Lastly, they lowered the top tube of the bike.  In addition to providing more space for kids to get on and off the bike, it also lowers the overall center of gravity of the bike itself.

Brakes

Wanting to provide the best for kids, WOOM bikes include dual, easy-reach, V-pull hand brakes. Essential to stopping quickly and efficiently, dual hand brakes gave our testers confidence to ride faster as they knew they could stop faster.  As a word of caution, be sure to teach kids to only use their right hand (which is attached to the rear brake) when braking really hard. Braking with their left hand, or front tire brake, can cause them to fly over the handlebars.  As required by the CPSC, the WOOM2 comes with a coaster brake (back pedal brake). The updated WOOM3 does not come with a coaster brake. A nuisance to all riders, coaster brakes are not only inefficient, they often delay a child’s mastering a pedal bike.  When learning to pedal, kids (and adults!) naturally pedal backwards at times.  With a coaster brake, however, the backward pedaling motion quickly activates the brakes, creating an unexpected stop. In addition to loosing all the momentum they gained, kids are often not prepared to stop and often fall as a result.  Luckily, WOOM sells a $19 Free Wheeling Kit that allow you to “deactivate” the coaster brake.  The Freewheeling Kit is actually an entirely separate rear tire and that is fitted with a freewheeling hub, which allows kids to pedal backwards without stopping.

Other Features

In addition to its unique low center-of-gravity design, WOOM frames are made of 6061 aluminum tubes are are lighter than many bikes their size. While not as light as their high-end competitors, their low center-of-gravity made them easier to handle and maneuver.

WOOM2 and 3 weight

**The current WOOM2 weighs 11.7 lb. and the WOOM3 weighs 13 lb.**

A rare find on pedal bikes, the WOOM’s also have an elastic, removable steering limiter. While not necessary for confident riders, the gentle correction they provide is a great help to beginning riders. The quick-release seat post clamp is also a huge plus, while the seat height windows easily prevent over extension of the seat post.

WOOM features 2The lightweight “WOOM-SOOPA-DOOPA-HOOPS” alloy rims are connected to industrial bearing hubs by stainless steel spokes. The tires are also wider than most (50 mm) to provide extra cushioning and also have a reflective safety strip for added visibility. The stem and handlebars are positioned at the appropriate reach and height to maintain the proper body position while still being adjustable to allow for fine tuning.

 

WOOM vs. Islabikes

One of their biggest competitors, there are several noticeable differences between the Islabikes and the WOOM.  While their frames have a similar wheelbase, the WOOM2’s top tube is an inch shorter, which allows for a minimum seat height of 16.7″ vs. CNOC’s 18.5″.  The handlebars of the CNOC are also much lower than those on the WOOM, which leads to a more aggressive riding position.  The Islabikes CNOC 14″ is also 1.5 lbs. lighter than the WOOM2, but does not have a rear hand-pull brake. The coaster brake on the CNOCs are not removable.  Kickstands are also available for $15 on the WOOM2 and 3, but are not available on the CNOCs.  The last major difference between the two is their gear-ratios.  The Islabikes have a higher gear ratio which makes it easier to get pedaling the bike, but doesn’t allow kids to gain as much speed.  The WOOM has a lower gear-ratio, which makes it slightly harder to start pedaling, but allows the rider to gain more speed once moving.

WOOM2 vs. Islabikes2

The Upcycle Program

Upcycle_grande_grande

Another rare, and impressive feature of the WOOM bikes is their Upcycle Program.  By purchasing a one time $59 membership fee, you will be entitled to trade in your outgrown WOOM for a refund of 40% off your original purchase or the a credit of your original purchase price towards the purchase of a new WOOM bike.  All trade in’s must occur within 24 months of the purchase date of the bike. The program allows has no limits to the number of bikes you can trade in, but the bikes need to be in “good” condition upon return.  More information on the Upcycle program can be found on WOOM US website.

 

Bottom Line:  Well loved by all of our testers, the WOOM2 and 3 are our top picks for 14″ and 16″ bikes.  Especially beneficial for hesitant riders, the WOOM make riding more natural, more fun and a lot easier.

Where to Purchase: The WOOM 2 and 3 are available at us.woombikes.com (with free shipping) as well as on Amazon.

      • Melissa

        We are set on 16″ bikes (with our Cleary Hedgehog), but for the benefit of other readers, would you say the Woom 3 is worth the price premium of $100 above the cost of Hedgehog (once you add the cost of a freewheeling kit)? I do think the gear ratio on the Hedgehog (which I think is similar to the CNOC 16) is low for anyone who lives in a predominately flat area. My son hits maximum velocity pretty quickly. My son has never complained about the riding position. Ironically my husband, who rides a road bike with drop bars, is the one who says it looks uncomfortable. We considered the Woom 3 last summer, but the anticipated delivery date was in October and we wanted to get our son on a 16″ as soon as possible.

        Also, based on what you’ve seen so far of the Woom bikes, do you have any thoughts on the Woom 5 vs a Beinn 24?

        • First, sorry for my delay in getting back to you. It’s finally warm around here, so we’ve spent a lot more time outside and I’ve gotten behind on responding to comments. As for the WOOM3 vs. the Cleary Hedgehog, they are both great bikes, but I’ve found all riders more comfortable on the WOOM3 than the Hedgehog, BUT more aggressive riders do just fine on the Hedgehog. So for more hesitant riders, I would say the WOOM3 is worth the extra money, but probably not for more adventurous riders. The lower gearing and more aggressive body position of the Hedgehog also makes it better for single track vs. the upright position and higher gearing of the WOOM.

          For the WOOM5 vs. the Beinn 24, I should be able to let you know in a week or two. We already have a Beinn 24 that we bought for my daughter and are receiving WOOM5 Supra and a WOOM4 this week to test out. Seeing how much the WOOM’s were loved, I assume they should perform equally as well as the Beinn, if not better, but we will see!

          • sahara

            I’m excited to hear your upcoming reviews for the woom5 Supra and woom4. Also, have you tested the Trek superfly 20? I’m curious about that bike and would love to see a review on it. What are your thoughts on the Trek bikes?

            • We are as well. We actually just unpacked the WOOM5 Supra and WOOM4 today as so far they look great, but we’ve been having a lot of rain, so I won’t be able to have an real feedback for a while. As for Trek bikes, I really don’t prefer their younger kids bike (12″ to 16″), but the Specs on the Superfly 20″ look really good. I have yet to see the bike in person, but after I get more comfortable with the WOOM5, I will certainly make a point to try and track one down to see in person.

        • Dani

          Hi Melissa,
          I just wanted to weigh in on your question. We own a Cleary Hedgehog and my daughter is pictured above on the WOOMs (in the pink stripes). We love our Cleary, and when I bought it the WOOMs were not available yet. That said, we had the WOOMs for testing for over two weeks, and in that time the Cleary gathered dust while my daughter and her friends rode the WOOMs almost exclusively. She never complained about the Cleary’s position until after riding the WOOMs — she was clearly more comfortable on them. Now that we don’t have the WOOMs any more, she’s back on her Cleary and hasn’t complained, but if it’s in the budget, I would buy a WOOM. It’s more comfortable and like you mentioned, kids don’t max out their pedal stroke nearly as quickly with the WOOM’s larger chain ring. I think it would be particularly preferable for smaller or more timid children.

          • Thanks, Dani! Love your input, as always.

      • Thomas Jey

        Dear Natalie,

        Firstly – thank you for this great website! It’s been an invaluable resource. I got a Ridgeback Scoot balance bike for my 3yo daughter based on your reviews, and my daughter has become a big bike fan now. And, the bike always turns heads on the streets!

        I’m thinking of moving to a 14″ pedal bike now, and wanted to know what you would suggest I consider when comparing the Ridgeback vs the Woom2. My daughter’s inseam is 17.5 and she’s around 41-42 inches tall. Both look great, and their reviews have been good, though I’m attracted to the nice seating posture possible with the Woom2.

        Thanks again! – Thomas

        • If it is in your budget, I would go with the WOOM2 over the Ridgeback as, although they are both great bikes, the WOOM2’s is slightly lighter, has a minimum seat height of 17.5: (perfect for your daughter) and was much preferred by our testers. Both have upright body positions, but the WOOM has a much lower center of gravity than the WOOM and will therefore, be easier to balance,

          • Thomas Jey

            Thanks Natalie!

      • JRE

        What are your thoughts on the old Schwinn Pixie bikes? I was searching Craigslist and came across a couple of them. The size and geometry seems similar to the newer generation of kids bikes. Could this be a cheap alternative?

        • You’re right, they bike does look like it has a longer wheelbase than today’s bikes. Perhaps it could be a cheap alternative! Could you possible post a picture of the bike in the ad? Based on other pictures I have seen online, my only concern would be handlebars, as kids are generally much more comfortable when the grips are pointing to the side of the bike (so that they can keep their elbows up), versus pointed inwards (which requires them to have them down).

      • Yasmin

        Hi there! Thank you so much for your wonderful reviews and insight on kids biking. We have an (almost) 4 year old who has been biking on a (second hand, about 8kg) Scott 12″ since he turned 3. Before that he started on a KOKUA balance bike at age 2.
        As you have mentioned, a 12″ doesn’t have much longevity, so for his upcoming birthday we will be purchasing another bike, probably 16″, since we hope to get more use out of that.
        We live in Germany, so my first thought was to buy the KOKUA 16″ (LikeToBike), but after reading your reviews I’m contemplating buying a Woom 2. Do you have any thoughts? Which bike would you purchase? (Price being a lesser factor, since we have younger kids who will inherit the bike and good quality/longevity of the bike is paramount) And also…14″ or 16″? (my kids are all average height and build)
        If I do go for a Woom…any discounts you know of?

        • Based on what I can see online, the KOKUA 16″ has a lot of similarities to the WOOM3. They essentially weight the same (the WOOM is slightly more), have a drop down frame, a dual hand brakes and a larger gear ratio. Without the wheelbase measurement of the KOKUA, it’s hard to compare the geometry of the two, but from what I can tell, the KOKUA looks like a great bike as well. Since both have a minimum inseam of 19″, it’s hard to say which would be better, but since I have seen the WOOM3 in action and have heard kids rave about it, I would probably go with it.

          • Yasmin

            Hi Natalie, thanks for your response. Upon recommendation from a friend, we drove out to a store that carries KANIA bikes. Our son test rod the “sixteen” and a huge grin spread across his face. When we left without purchasing, he kept asking why we weren’t taking “his” bike.
            Now we have two really good options and are still no closer to making a decision. Woom3 or KANIA sixteen… One thing is for sure, we won’t be able to wait until his birthday in September to give him the bike!

      • Catherine

        I have a very small 9 year old with very short inseam – she is 48″ tall and has a 21.5″ inseam(she is in 7/8 clothes with pants anywhere from a 5T to an occasional 6x). She is currently riding a 16″ specialized hotrock which has never fit her well but now is definitely too small but I have gone to bike shops and big box stores and no one seems to want to discuss the fact that she has a very small inseam. She has looked uncomfortable on every bike she has tried. She learned to ride initially on a balance bike and would like to be able to put her feet down flat on the ground because the seat has to be so high to allow her to pedal. All this makes her unsure of herself something she did not experience on the balance bike(and because of that she would love to go back to a balance bike). The woom bike looks like it might work for her but looking at the specs on the website, she seems to be between a 3 and 4. I hate the idea of ordering things like bikes online because it costs to ship them and then they difficult to return. Any thoughts or ideas on what would be the best bike and or size for her.

        • Melissa

          My daughter has been on a 20″ bike since she was 45″ tall. She had a 19″ inseam when we bought her Islabike Beinn 20 Small. She still likes to ride with the seat farther down than is optimal but she gets good leg extension and speed thanks to the lower bottom bracket height. She’s 51″ tall now and has a 23″ inseam and the bike still fits. If I were you, I’d look at the 20″ Beinn Large or the Woom 4.

          • Melissa, thanks so much for adding to the discussion and sharing your experience, I really appreciate it!

        • Melissa

          Also, have you looked at Electra Bikes? I wouldn’t recommend them because of the weight (the 20″ bikes are steel frame) and the fact that they don’t have gears, but if flat foot is of paramount importance, they might at least be worth looking at.

        • You’re right, she is right in between sizes, plus, there is a big difference between the 3 and the 4 as the 4 has gears, while the 3 does not. If she is really hesitant, I would go with the 3, but if she is willing to be a little more adventurous, I would go with the 4. Due to WOOM’s unique design and low-center of gravity on the bike, I assume she will be more comfortable on the WOOM, and with time, not as hesitant, even is she can’t touch the ground. Another option would be to purchase the Upcycle program when purchasing a WOOM3 as once she masters that bike, you could send it back for 40% off the WOOM4.

      • Mark

        Thanks for the great website and resources. I am a cyclist but would not even had considered some of the bikes I am now looking at if it was not for your website. My son is 4.5 and has outgrown his strider as he has no trouble balancing and was quite good with balance on skis this year as well. He is 41″ tall with a 17″ inseam. After doing all the reading on your website, I was really leaning towards a Cleary Hedgehog because it had no coaster brake, I like the forward aggressive position because it supports the theory of an athletic stance and leaning forward for skiing as well and I liked that we could use it on the street and also go to a pump track as well. Having now read more about the Woom I am really torn and in looking at the Woom sizing, I am wondering whether he could be on a Woom 3 now and would then have more time on the bike as well. What are your thoughts on his sizing on a Woom 3 and choosing between the Woom and Cleary?

        • They are both great bikes, but I must say that all of our testers preferred the WOOM2 over the Cleary. In case you missed it below, the mom of the girl standing on all the bikes (who owns the Cleary Hedgehog) wrote this comment about comparing the two,
          “Hi Melissa,I just wanted to weigh in on your question. We own a Cleary Hedgehog and my daughter is pictured above on the WOOMs (in the pink stripes). We love our Cleary, and when I bought it the WOOMs were not available yet. That said, we had the WOOMs for testing for over two weeks, and in that time the Cleary gathered dust while my daughter and her friends rode the WOOMs almost exclusively. She never complained about the Cleary’s position until after riding the WOOMs — she was clearly more comfortable on them. Now that we don’t have the WOOMs any more, she’s back on her Cleary and hasn’t complained, but if it’s in the budget, I would buy a WOOM. It’s more comfortable and like you mentioned, kids don’t max out their pedal stroke nearly as quickly with the WOOM’s larger chain ring. I think it would be particularly preferable for smaller or more timid children.”

          So considering you can purchase a free wheeling kit from WOOM to disable the coaster brake, I would go with the WOOM over the Cleary. BUT, I must add that if you are planning on doing riding mainly on a pump track, the Clearly aggressive stance of the Cleary would be better, but if he is mainly doing street and trail riding (mainly flat stuff), I would go with the WOOM.

          • Mark

            Natalie, thanks for the response and Melissa’s comment is actually what made me wonder about the Cleary vs. Woom. Do you think the Woom3 with the seat dropped all the way is still too big for him and Woom 2 is the better bike size wise?

            • With the seat all the way down, the WOOM3 is still going to be slightly too big and while he will be able to reach the pedals, he won’t be able to touch the ground with his full foot. For most kids, this is a scary feeling as they are used to stopping with their feet, which makes them much more hesitant to ride. For some really outgoing kids, it doesn’t bother them too much, but they have trouble stopping, which can be a safety issue. Considering the Strider does not have a hand brake, your son may have trouble stopping the WOOM3 since he can’t touch the ground with his feet. So, unless he is really adventurous and you think he can pickup on the use of a handbrake quickly, I would go for the WOOM2 over the 3.

              • Mark

                Wow. Thanks for the response and the detail. Very helpful and really love your website and appreciate your insights.

      • Marissa Haynie

        Hello,
        I’m trying to figure out whether the 2 or the 3 would fit my son better. He’s 43.5″ tall, and wears a 5t (17.5 inseam, I think). The woom website says the 2 is for kids up to 43″ tall, but you said the 3 was for kids with a 19.5″ inseam… Help?

        Also, is there a better bike to look at? I want the hand brakes as he’s been riding a firstbike.
        Thanks!

        • Peter

          Just following this thread. We are in a similar situation. My son is only just turning 3 next week but is already 41″ tall with a 16.5″ inseam. Looking at the Woom website, it looks like his height pretty much qualifies him for the Woom3, even though he is 2 years younger than they expect. I want to buy him a bike that is going to last as long as possible but I don’t want to overstretch him and hold back his progress (the Upcycle program is a nice idea, but after 40% rebate and $59 membership, you are only getting around $75 back on a $340 bike). He has been riding a balance bike for over a year and he is an animal on it already! His older sister has a Specialized Hotrock 16 that he can pedal with the training wheels on (I know you hate training wheels but I just wanted to see if he had the strength/coordination to pedal!). Thanks for any input!

      • Andrew K

        Many thanks for this fantastic website!! it helped us decide on our first balance bike and now we are ready for more =)

        Our son is a little over 4yrs old. He only has used the balance bike for 3-4mo (we got the bike at 2yo, but he had no interest until recently!); we think ready to move to a pedal bike since he is manoeuvring up and down hills, bumps, and turns with ease now? Not sure whether to go for the WOOM 2 or 3… he seems to qualify for both based on height (105cm)? His inside leg measurement (based on the Islabike sizing page) is 40cm. Both measurements are without shoes.

        We want him to get the most out of the bike, but are worried about a harsh transition from his FirstBike. Also to consider, he has a younger brother (1yo) who will eventually inherit the WOOM (and FirstBike). Your recommendation? Thank you!

        • With a 40cm inseam (about 15.7″), the WOOM2, which has a minimum seat height of 17.5″, will be a much better fit than the WOOM3 with a minimum inseam of 18.9″. Right now, the WOOM2 will be a little too tall for him, but if he is used to using a hand brake and is on the adventurous side, then he should be able to start on the WOOM2. He won’t be able to touch the ground with both feet (which is recommended for beginning riders), but if he can touch with one foot and is willing to give it a go, then it is worth a shot now.

      • Teresa

        Would you still suggest a WOOM for a 4yo, 40 inches, 15.5 inseam that likes to ride on a pump track, dirt trails and features at the skate park? He currently rides a hotrock 12 (purchased before I found your website) and we are looking for something a little bigger and lighter.

        • The WOOM3 and 4’s are really designed for kids who are learning to ride. Due to their geometry, they are easy and fun to ride, but they certainly have a more upright geometry which isn’t ideal for an experienced rider on pump track or a skate park. With a 15.5″ inseam, I would probably stick to the Hotrock for a while or if he is really pushing the limits, I would look at the Spawn Furi, http://spawncycles.com/bikes/spawn-cycles-furi.

          • Teresa

            Thank you very much!

      • Liz

        Natalie–thanks so much for all the great information. I just had the pleasure of watching my 4.5 year old (43″, 18″ inseam) pedal away solo on his WOOM 3 over our uneven, cracked sidewalk literally 10 minutes after getting on it for the first time.

        The price was a little daunting but we figured that his younger brother will also use it eventually, and we really wanted his first pedal bike experience to be as easy and fun as possible, since he has a tendency to get frustrated with himself. Apparently we succeeded! He is so thrilled and is currently on his fourth ride of the day.

        We had one setback when there was a problem with the threads on the left pedal crank of the bike we ordered, making it impossible to screw on the pedal, but Mathias at WOOMbikes USA was super helpful and sent a complete new crank set by express mail as soon as I called about it (he offered to send a completely new bike, but I didn’t think that was necessary).

        We got the freewheel kit and I expect that will improve the experience even more as soon as we get to the bike shop to have it installed, since my son is used to a handbrake from his Ridgeback Scoot (also purchased on the basis of this site’s recommendation and which was the ideal first balance bike for my tall then-3-year old).

        • Awesome! Glad he loved the bike. I agree that the price point of the WOOM’s is daunting, but after watching his delight, you can hopefully understand why they cost more. 🙂 Thanks for reporting back.

      • Melissa

        Natalie, when do you anticipate having the review of the Woom 5 Supra vs the Beinn 24? We will be needing to make a birthday buying decision soon.

        • Hopefully next week. We have a ride planned for Wednesday to compare the two. So far, I can say that the WOOM5 Supra is generally better for mountain biking, while the Islabikes 24″ is better for road. Both are great and actually have the same tires, but the lower center of gravity of the WOOM so far, seems to perform better on obstacles than the Beinn 24. The WOOM also comes with a Trigger shift, while the Islabikes a Grip shift. For kids under 8, we’ve found the grip shift to be easier, but it really depends on the child.

          • Amanda

            Hope your ride went well! I’m so in love with bikes having grown up on them, despite not being a parent, I love seeing kids riding appropriate bikes. My Daddy remains dejected that I’m a mountain bike nut, but oh well. I’m getting to try a Beinn 24″ this weekend, as in buying my new baby, the owner mentioned his kid has one. I’ll gladly share my review if you’d like. I do love my LBS who doesn’t snicker at the tiny one wanting a fat bike, and who offer to let me try small bikes. So YAY to test riding a Beinn and getting a Surly Ice Cream Truck. Why did I not get one before, they have an XS!

            • Yes, please share! I would love to hear how you like is as compared to the WOOM5. As I mentioned above, we’ve found it to be more of a city bike than a mountain bike, but every kids who gets on it, loves it.

              • Amanda

                My review from a short adult – this was a pretty heavily modified version, tires looked more aggressive than stock, rebuilt to a trigger shifter and to disc brakes. Overall, I liked the Isla bike better. It handled better overall, it’s not a hyper aggressive bike, but it rode like it wanted to behave. It’s a nice city/paved trail bike. Only thing I noticed is it felt a bit small for a 24″ bike. Not outrageously small, but noticeably to me.

                A difference might very well be the Isla is a bike owned by a serious mechanic and the WOOM was a store bike. The mechanic mentioned looking at a WOOM but felt they needed a lot of facing so he went Isla. He said he had some metal facing, particularly in the bottom bracket, but mostly was just excess paint. Plus, obviously, a store tester is going to feel very different than an owned and modified well loved bike.

                However – kid borrowed my Rockhopper. She loved it hard core. For a kid who is experienced and wants to go more than cruiser type rides – go with Specialized. Yes, it’s just a shrunk down adult bike. But the expanded kids learning bikes aren’t going to handle what the Rockhopper can either. I do like the Isla over the Trek 24″ I have tried.

                My order for a more aggressive rider – Rockhopper, modified Isla, Trek.

                For a more timid rider or more cruiser – stock Isla, Electra Townie, possibly a modified WOOM if you can knock it’s mountain bike leanings down.

          • Melissa

            I’m inferring from your response above to Amanda that your six year old is able to ride the 5 Supra. Can I ask how tall he is? I was looking at the specs. and geometry again and despite the fact that my daughter meets the overall height requirement of 130 cm, I’m doubtful that she will be comfortable riding it in the near future. Last time I measured her inseam a few months ago, she was at 23″ and it looks like the minimum standover for the Woom 5 is 24″ and the minimum seat height is 27″ so she would be on tippy toes trying to touch the ground while on the seat. I’m also a little perplexed by the inclusion of 165 mm cranks on the Woom 5. That’s an adult length crank. None of the other 24″ bikes I’ve looked at (that list the crank size) have a crank that long–Isla is 155, Felt F24 is 155, Fuji Ace is 152.

            • My son is quite tall for his age, so I doubt many other 6yo’s would fit on the WOOM5. I will try to measure him tomorrow morning, but he does were size 7 pants and medium shirts if that helps. As for the crank arms, I went out and measured our Islabikes Beinn 24″ and the WOOM5 Supra, and I believe they are both 140mm cranks, so I am assume that the 165mm is a mistake on their website (Isla is listed as 140mm on their site, http://www.islabikes.com/us/bike_pages/pdfs/product_specs/Beinn24-USA.pdf). On WOOM’s European website the WOOM5 is listed as 140mm as well, http://www.woombikes.com/collections/startseite/products/5. You can also see in these comparison shots with my 6yo on both bikes, that the cranks are very similar is size.

            • I was able to measure him this morning. He is 50″/127cm tall with a 24″ inseam. As a comparison, here he is on the WOOM4.

              • Melissa

                Thanks for the information and especially the pictures. I’m glad to hear the crank length is a mistake on the website–that seemed so inconsistent with the emphasis on child-sized components. And you’re correct that the Beinn 24 has 140mm cranks–somehow I was looking g at the Beinn 26 spec when I got that information. I measured my daughter again yesterday and in stocking feet she is 50″ tall and has a 23.5 inseam, so your son is a pretty good comparison. She’ll be 7 in September. I’ll be interested to read your full review/comparison,

              • I contacted WOOM and is was a mistake on their site and they have since corrected it.

            • Amanda

              The 5 crank arm did feel shorter than my usual 26″ bikes. On their website, I’m wondering if something got screwed up in translation. I didn’t measure the length, but I’d guess it was 140-145mm. That’s a very, very rough guess!

      • Amanda

        My trial with a WOOM was not positive. Granted, I am a short adult who can ride a 24″ comfortably. But I’m used to very aggressive bikes. The WOOM 5was extremely hard to balance, and I routinely am on a 27″ bike without problems. Even if I adjust a crappy 24″ bike to a more upright position, those are easier to balance. Probably because I expect to be fighting the crap vs a WOOM. But no 24″ bike should be harder to balance than my possibly idiotic riding of a friend’s big freaking Surly Pugsley beast. Haven’t tried the Beinn, but do ride a Specialized Rockhopper 24″ most days.

        • Thanks for your feedback! I am in process of reviewing the WOOM4 and 5 and their geometry is certainly one of the aspects I was going to focus on. Their upright positioning of their smaller models was certainly a favorite for beginning riders, but I agree that a more experienced rider would be more comfortable on an aggressive frame. I find it very interesting that you found it harder to balance regardless of the geometry. Do you recall anything else about the bike that may have made it more difficult? Shorter crank arms, higher-gear ratio, narrower handlebars etc. Any additional feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks!

          • Amanda

            I actually liked the shorter crank arms and narrow handle bars – I’m really between sizes on bikes, but other than my Rockhopper, I can’t find many (any) decent enough 24″ bikes, so I have my 26″ & 27″ pack instead. Part is my tendency towards various potentially stupid things like racing on gravel where the bigger diameter helps. But the geometry on the 5 was just off. I’ve ridden crap bikes before – I have a very sad BMX 20″ who gets to suffer much abuse on the playa yearly. My big issue I think is riding, it felt more like my lazy smooth paved trail cruiser in geometry, but it wanted to handle like my big 27″ gravel eating mountain bike. While both bikes have their place, they don’t work together well. However, I am an adult who grew up on a modified pedal bike, then had a dad who removed the coaster brakes early and I got my first shop bike 30 years ago and I’ve never looked back. So my expectations on how much I can throw at a bike is radically different than a kid who is just starting. But to me, an Electra Townie would be a better option for a timid rider. Yes, they’re heavier, but it’s a cruiser who acts like a cruiser, and it’s easy to drop your feet down flat on the group in them.

            I did think the WOOM had sloppy brakes, but it would be an easy enough fix for me.

            • Good call on the Electra, for adults, but not so much for kids. I actually had my two older kids out testing the WOOM5 Supra and the Beinn 24″ today and while they are both great bikes, there were some noticeable differences. One being the brakes like you mentioned. The both seamed to prefer the brakes on the Islabikes. The geometry between the two, however, where that much different, but they were certainly more upright than some of their friends Hotrock and Cannondales. Then again, the WOOM and the Islabikes are designed for more neighborhood riding, while the higher-end big name bikes are generally geared towards trail riding, so they will have a more aggressive geometry. All in all, I would agree that the WOOM5 appear to ride more like a cruiser than a mountain bike.

          • Amanda

            Plus – erm. The green 5. It has a dinosaur with an eye shooting a star shaped laser. Trust me, I wanted to love that bike. Sigh. Dinosaur. With laser eye. Sigh. Why can’t adult bikes get the fun details also?

            • This might just be my favorite comment ever. That dinosaur is pretty awesome and is my 6yo’s pride and joy, as a result, the WOOM5 Supra can do no wrong in his eyes.

              • Amanda

                I’m very jealous! The dinosaur was almost enough for me to buy it, then yank it apart to fix everything. And I know better than buying a bike because the decals look awesome. Yes, I am a big dork, and I like it.

              • Amanda

                The dinosaur just won. Because I do think the 5 Supra is a good bike, but I’m going to need to modify the bike from stock. It will learn to be a cruiser which means my too big for me cruiser can find a new home, where she’ll been ridden enough. Or I just bought a high end bike for a Walmart bike reason – the sticker is that awesome.

              • Luckily, that awesome sticker comes with some pretty cool features :). I’d love to hear how you are modifying the Supra. Keep me posted!

              • Amanda

                Starting with assembly, facing the frame. I believe my LBS and suspect part of the poor handling related to a lack of facing. Yanking the SRAM bits for Shimano because I’m far more used to Shimano. Wheels depend on how they look and how brakes fit. I’m between just swapping out rubber if the wheels set up nicely to yanking the whole wheel to put different ones on, including disc brakes. I’m admittedly particular about my brakes, so they may set up fine for normal riders, but I’ll hate them because I’m fussy. Plus I think cruiser rubber will help fix it’s aggressive gripping.

              • Good call. I much prefer the Shimano shifters to the SRAM, can’t live without shifting with my index finger. Totally understand the brake preference as well, but am really curious to see if facing the frame will make a difference, it certainly won’t hurt though, so it is worth a try.

              • Amanda

                Yeah, it’s an aluminum frame. I’ve yet to meet one that didn’t need to be chased and faced. How the tester rode, I don’t think the BB sat squarely and thus was a monster. I know the SRAM are excellent parts, and I get why kids who are new to trigger gears would do better with them. But I’ve used Shimano for so long, I don’t get how to shift without my index finger. The brakes were so bad, but I’m not going to say what part is the problem until I get everything rebuilt to my standard. Because if the frame wasn’t chased and faced, I don’t figure anything was built to my standard.

                Granted, I doubt most kids will ride a city friendly bike to the point of worrying about the BB. Especially in a bike most kids out grow in a few years. Since I think 5’1 or so is the start of clearance for most 26″ bikes. Or I can just tippy toe touch in a 26″ bike. 24″ goes to 5’3 or so. So thus, I’m in the gap between them. Thusly, abuse a 24″ bike beyond most normal wear. Even if I don’t throw em on the ground.

              • Gotcha. I can see where you are coming from now. When my husband assembled the Supra, he also mentioned that the bike needed a good amount of work tuning up (especially compared to Islabikes). The brakes where especially bad and the shifters where placed way to low on the handlebars. Since I didn’t see the bike before he tuned it, I didn’t notice the issues with the brakes (yep, I test out the brakes these bikes as well), but since the bike is way to small for me (I’m 5’10”), it’s hard to get a good feel for the bike since it just feels too small to begin with. Regardless, I’d also love to hear what you and your mechanic think about the bike once he’s finished up with his work.

      • Melissa

        Natalie, thank you a million times for this site! I bought the WOOM 2 for my son who is turning 3 next week, and I watched in amazement tonight as he rode it on the first try! He’s still a bit wobbly and can’t start the bike on his own, but he improves every time he gets on it. We had a FirstBIKE for him that I bought thanks to your review, and I bought the WOOM thanks to your review. Without you I would have had him on the normal tricycle and bike with training wheels regiment because I wouldn’t have known any better!

        The WOOM 2 is a truly an amazing bike. My son is 39.5″ tall with a 15.5″ inseam and he can just barely flat-foot it on the lowest seat setting. I almost bought the WOOM 3 because I know he’s going to grow this summer and I wanted to be able to use it longer, but I’m so glad I didn’t. It is giving him so much confidence to be able to pedal his own bike, and he loves the hand brakes. We had the coaster brake removed before we gave it to him, and I’m already convinced that was a great decision.

        It was tough to justify the price of these two bikes in the span of a year, but it was absolutely worth it. Riding is something the entire family can enjoy together and it’s great exercise. Plus it’s incredible to see a child so young riding without training wheels.

        Our WOOM did not come with the seat post window. Not sure if ours is an older model or what, but I was a bit surprised. I still love though. I noticed that Amazon carries these bikes now, which was a shocker. We got ours direct from the company and the service was excellent.

        • Yeah! Thanks so much for reporting back. I LOVE hearing stories such as yours, plus knowing that he would have missed out of the golden balance bikes years, makes it even better!

          I’m also glad to hear that you are loving the WOOM2. It is certainly a favorite around here, especially since they are so fast! Although he may outgrow the WOOM2 sooner than you would have liked, from there he can just up to a 20″, so in the end, considering how much he loves the bike, you know you made the right choice.

          Thanks again for your feedback!

      • Sandra

        Love your site! It helped us choose a stride bike for our daughter 2 years ago. She is a little on the hesitant side so we knew that we would need to put in time with her learning to bike. However, my husband is an avid mountain biker and he was more than willing to spend the time with her, teaching her what he loves. Her kinderbike mini has been amazing. We got her on it young, started in the hallway of our house, and now (almost 4) she flies around the park. My husband had loosened the hand brake until she had gotten more confident and now she can use it no problem (saving her shoes, thankfully!). She has been asking for pedals lately, and since she’s looking a little big on her strider we thought it might be time. We did a quick trip to a local bike store, but that didn’t go well. The bikes were exactly how you describe them on your site. She could touch on a 12″ frame but the pedals seemed hard for her to push down because of how they aligned on her body. It just looked awkward and she didn’t enjoy it at all. A bit of a let down after she was so confident on her strider. That event sent me right back to your site hoping you had as much info on “first pedals” as you did on striders….and YOU DID!

        So here is my question. I’m looking at the WOOM Bikes. Her inseam is 15.5″ and she is 39.5″ tall. We are about to turn 4. I want to get one that she will get the most life out of. From WOOM’s sizing chart she falls at the end of the Woom2 and not quite at the Woom3. But reading all the various personal stories about the bike I’m getting mixed ideas. What would you suggest? It’s alot of money and I’d be frustrated if we only got a year out of the bike (she is the oldest so we would hand it down when it comes time but still I’d like her to have it for a few years). We think it won’t be a quick transition and want to let her have her strider still as she switches over. Should I wait a year and get the woom3? Or am I wrong to think we are on the way out of the woom2? Or would you suggest a different bike for us? Thanks in advance.

        • Thanks for coming back! Having transitioned my two older kids from balance bikes, I knew how challenging it was to find a good bike, so we’ve moved up to reviewing pedal bikes as well. With a 15.5″ inseam, you have some options. You could wait until she was taller and was able to fit on the WOOM2 or 3. For most kids, if they are simply cruising around the park, running is more efficient than pedals, but if she is eager for pedals, I would try to move her up sooner. Since your daughter is already proficient with a pedal brake, she technically could ride on a pedal bike in which the minimum seat height is greater than her inseam. Coming from a balance bike, kids are used to stopping with their feet, so putting them a bike in which they can’t touch the ground can be dangerous as they may not be able to stop on their own. Being confident with a hand brake, she would be able to stop if she couldn’t touch the ground, so the WOOM2 would be a possibility. If she is on the hesitant side, however, then only being able to touch the ground with her tippy toes could make her nervous and not want to ride. The WOOM3, however, with a 18.9″ minimum seat height is going to be too big. Plus, she should be fine on the WOOM2 for two years and then can probably move up to a 20″.

          Another bike to consider is the ByK E-250, which we are currently reviewing. It is cheaper than the WOOM2, at $229 and has a lot the same features of the WOOM’s, longer wheelbase, lower-set frame. The one downside of the ByK is that it does not have a freewheel option (you can’t uninstall the coaster brake). As a result, your daughter could have trouble getting started as kids often pedal backwards when they are learning how to pedal, which makes them stop suddenly when a bike has a coaster brake. As a reference, here is picture of my son in 3T clothes on the ByK. He is not riding yet, but can easily walk it and can easily touch the ground, even though it is a 14″ bike.

          Hope that helps!

        • Melissa

          I went through the EXACT same dilemma with my newly 3-year-old and I’m so glad we went with the WOOM 2. He is the exact height with the same inseam and we have to put the seat down all the way. Go with the 2, you won’t be sorry!

        • Amanda

          It’s easier to deal with a smaller bike that’s not much too small than a too big bike as an adult. I’d vote 2 and get their swap package to get the break on going up next year or so. Or two years and go with a 20″ bike.

          As an adult who rides bikes that are too big – they’re aggressive, fast beasts. Because I’m running on gravel and climbing hills and other such stupidity, plus far more experienced than a recent balance bike grad, I can handle the aggression and fights that I sometimes take up with my bikes.

          Granted, that’s if you must jump to a pedal bike. Coaster brakes are evil if you ask me..

      • Stephanie Ragucci

        Thanks for the great info. I’ve read through all the other posts, but I’m still not exactly sure which direction to head in. My son is a little older – 6. He’s had a balance bike for the past two years and has only been interested in that and his scooter. But he’s finally ready to move on to pedals. He is on the small side and is more like the size of a 5 year old – he’s 44″ tall with a 17″ inseam. Yesterday we went to a local bike shop and he tried out a Trek Jet 16. I was unimpressed (as I think you are as well). He had a hard time pedaling, but did start to get it after a few tries. I think the coaster brake may have confused him a bit, but he could adjust to that I’m sure.

        So I’m looking for what you would recommend for him. It seems like the two most popular are the WOOM (2 or 3) and the Islabike Cnoc (14 or 16). I’ve also seen good things about the ByK. What would you suggest (and what size)? Thanks so much!

        • I agree, Trek’s kids bikes are not my favorite. The are heavy, awkward and are designed more for looks than performance. With a 17″ inseam, he is probably going to be better off on a 14″ than a 16″. If he had troubles pedaling with the coaster bike on the Trek, then I would go with the WOOM2 with the freewheel option. The ByK bikes and Islabikes are also great bike, but they don’t have that option. If he determined to ride a pedal bike however, the coaster brake will only be a temporary issue, so I would also consider the Islabikes CNOC 14. If you are on a budget, then I would go with the ByK. The WOOM and the Islabikes are better quality than the ByK, but the ByK’s are great bikes for their price point.

          • Stephanie Ragucci

            Thanks so much for your help. I had some shipping questions so I called both companies today, and out of curiosity asked them what bike they would recommend. One said definitely the CNOC 16 and the other said definitely the WOOM3. I asked if his feet would be able to touch the ground or only the pedals and they both said the balls of both his feet would touch. So I guess it’s a difference of his whole foot firmly on the ground vs. only the balls of his feet? Sigh….back to reading all of your great reviews here for some more insight. I guess I’m really just overthinking this whose thing, but I tend to do that on big purchases. Part of me really would like to get him the Tykesbike. At $109.99 on Amazon, that’s a great deal. But I’m guessing that 20″ seat height might be a killer. Anyway, thanks again!

      • Tony

        Hi, thanks again for great site.
        My daughter is 4 going on 5, and is 42.5″ tall with a 19 or 19.5″ inseam.
        I was considering the woom given all the positive reviews (replacing the coaster brake is a big deal for me and the kickstand is nice too).

        Would the Woom3 fit her? Also the lower COG seems appealing as she’s not been much on a balance bike but now she’s seeing older kids in the neighborhood and she wants to ride with them (she’s a little timid). Any other suggestions? (It’s pricy but I figure spreading across 3 kids won’t be so bad – plus there might be some resell value).

        I may order via Amazon since we’re prime members however, they don’t seem to carry the coaster brake replacement kit nor the kickstand – so may have to get those from the manufacturer directly.

        BTW – we posted on your weehoo thread as well. I think she’s used to pedaling being on he weehoo for so long however she has to pick up balance and braking – I think Woom may be a good bet. Thoughts?

        Thanks, keep up the great work

        • Just read your comments over on the Weehoo page, thanks again for sharing!

          For the WOOM3, with a 19″ inseam, the WOOM3 will be a great fit for her. Unlike a balance bike, for a child first pedal bike you want the minimum seat height to be as close a possible to a child inseam. For subsequent bikes, the minimum seat height can be an inch or two taller than their inseam since they no longer need to be able to touch the ground with both feet in order to stop. Then again, I just re-read your comments and say that she hasn’t been on a balance bike much. Even though she knows how to pedal, she most likely will be hesitant on a pedal bike since she doesn’t know how to pedal. The seat is low enough, however, to allow her to sit on run on the bike. So to compensate, when the bike arrives, I wouldn’t install the pedals at first and have her ride it around like a balance bike. Once she gets the hang of that, I would then add the pedals.

          For the freewheel kit and the kickstand, I’m quite certain that WOOM US would be able to get those to you.

          Hope that helps!

      • Wendy

        Hi!

        Thank you so much for providing such an informative site for kids’ bikes. It is so helpful!!!

        I have a 4 year old (44″ tall, 18.5” inseam) who’s been riding since he was 2. He was on a Strider and caught on really quick so he’s on his second pedal bike. He was on a 12” Huffy Rock It pedal bike (which was horrible) and now he’s currently on a 16” hand me down from a neighbor. It’s really heavy – 20+lbs. He can never ride past 3 miles because he says he’s tired. I’d like to get him a lightweight bike so he can bike with me for longer distances and start doing some trail riding. I’m debating between
        the Islabike CNOC 16, Woom 3, and Cleary Hedgehog. He’s really comfortable on the bike, loves speed, and seems to want to do more off road/trail riding. I was initially sold on the Islabike because it’s so lightweight but then I read your Woom3 review and thought it was interesting that all the testers picked the Woom as their favorite. Then I thought if I’m opened to a 16.7lb bike, maybe I should consider the Cleary because it’s a little lighter and $100 less. Not sure what to do. Which would you recommend?

        Thanks in advance your insight!!!

        Wendy

        • Tony

          Hi Wendy.
          (Don’t mean to take over your thread but thought I’d share with you our experience so far. I’m sure Natalie will respond provide her wonderful insights and experience with Woom and all the other bikes).

          So I kinda probably messed up the inseam measurements prior on my post below – but my daughter is about the same height and inseam. So I just went ahead and ordered and talked to the US operator/co-owner (?) Mathias (I think the story is that his brother is in Germany and he is the US importer. He recommended a 3 (prior to Natalie posting, so I was a little apprehensive but I figured it was going to be ok.

          We got the bike in today – the bike is kinda long but not in a bad way – I think she’ll have plenty more time to use this bike versus the Voom2 (which may have been perfect for her now but probably grow out of quickly. She wasn’t a fan of push bikes or any bikes until recently – though in my previous post she was a big weehoo trailer bike. Funny – I had the same Huffy Rock It bike – same here – not a big fan but it was free 🙂 Main thing – I pushed the seat all the way down – ripped some of the seatpost sticker which just told you how much to torque down the bolts but lowest position was 19.5 inches to stand flatfooted.

          Natalie – I had the same thought as you – I took the pedals off to make it just like a push bike and I also pulled in the handlebars back towards her to shorten the arm distance and screwed in the screws on the brakes to shorten the pull distance from the handlebars. However, just note that’ll mean you may have to loosen the break cable bolt to give it slack.

          I have no other experience with the other bikes but I can say that I’m very impressed with the quality of the Woom bike. This bike line goes all the way up to adult size and now I’m curious to how they compare to own bikes (road, hybrid, mountain). I do some bike maintenance and I can say it feels like a real bike, real parts, and servicing seems easy to maintain. I did purchase the flywheel replacement which to me is critical – the coaster brake is not a good idea IMHO. Also got the kickstand and bell and the knobby tires.

          Best of luck on your choice and happy/safe riding. Be curious what you end up and what your experiences will be.

          • Thanks for helping out and reporting back. I’m glad to hear that WOOM3 is working out. I admit that I am surprised that you were only able to get the seat down to 19.5″ when it should go down to 18.9″. Often times it depends on which portion of the seat you measure from, but still a 0.5″ is a lot. If I still had mine around (it had to go back to WOOM), I would certainly double check that as it can be a huge difference for some kids.

            For the balance bike adaptation, you’re right about the brake cable. You could tilt the handlebars back, but it would depend on how tight the brake cable is, meaning you could lose your brake. Hopefully, this would be a temporary until the move up, but it is still worth noting.

            Lastly, did you get those knobbys from WOOM or a 3rd party? If it was WOOM, I didn’t know they offer them.

            • Wendy

              Natalie & Tony,

              Thanks for your replies! They were so helpful. I’m leaning toward the Woom3 now given both of your feedback. I can’t wait to see him ride it!

              Natalie – Thank you again for creating such a great environment to learn about and discuss children’s bikes!!!

              Wendy

        • Glad to help! First, I must say that between the three, the Cleary was only preferred by more aggressive riders when they were given the choice between the three. In fact, Dani, another reviewer here (who owns the Hedgehog), has mentioned that all the neighborhood kids ask to borrow the Hedgehog when they go over jumps and ramps as they simply can’t do it on their WalMart bikes. So unless you plan on doing some aggressive riding, I would skip the Cleary.

          Between the Cleary and the Islabike, they are both great, but there are some noticeable differences. The CNOC is lighter and also has a lower gear-ratio, which means it is easily to start pedaling, but you can’t pedal as fast. The WOOM is heavier and has a larger gear-ratio, making it harder to start to pedal, but allows you to go faster. So which is best? It really depends on the kid. For longer distances, the CNOC tends to be the favorite as it has narrower tires and is lighter. For dirt and/or more aggressive riders who like the go fast, the WOOM is preferred. The up right positioning of the WOOM is also favored by more timid kids (who aren’t really lightweight). So in the end, you can’t go wrong with either, but it really depends on how much trail riding (better with WOOM) you do versus paved riding (CNOC).

      • Rohit Rajan

        Hi – Blog is very informative. Thanks for putting it all together!

        My son is 4.5 year old son. He can now pedal the bike, but I feel that I got him a very heavy bike and it’s not good for him. He has not used balance bike earlier but now he has learned to pedal and he only uses hand breaks. I measured him few minutes ago. His inseam comes 18-18.25 inch. I placed a book and measured it without shoes. His height is 43 inch and he weight is 40 LB. After reading reviews by you, I was thinking to get him woom2 and use it without pedal as balance bike for some time and then put pedal back. Do you think woom2 will be too small for him? I was not sure about woom3 due to higher seat height. I can hand it down to his younger brother in few years so I won’t mind if he gets a good use for only one year. I didn’t know about balance bike earlier otherwise I would have given it to him. REI guys told me to simply take off the pedal and make sure that he can put both foot down to use any bike as a balance bike. Any help here will be appreciated.

        • Since you plan on handing down the WOOM2 to his younger brother, then yes, you could use the WOOM2 as a balance bike now and then upgrade to the 3 later. Considering he doesn’t yet know how to balance, the main issue there is that he could outgrow the WOOM2 before he is ready to use it as a balance bike. Plus, at 16lb. the WOOM is a light pedal bike, but a heavy balance bike! If he is hesitant at all, I would probably go with a balance bike as a 10 lb. balance bike as it is going to be a lot easier to balance on than a 16 lb. bike. Since you have a younger son, I would consider getting a balance bike for your older son now, that you younger son could use later, such as the Scoot. Then instead of getting the WOOM2, you could purchase the WOOM3 and have more time for him to grow.

          • Rohit Rajan

            I am assuming that you are recommending Scoot and not the XL version of Scoot. Scoot seat height goes to higher than my older son’s inseam so it should work out and younger one can use it later. Thanks for your input.

            • Yes, sorry, the regular Scoot as it will fit your older son now and be short enough for your younger son when he is ready.

      • Juliette

        Hi I have a 4.5 year old son. He is about 41 inches tall with an inseam of 17. I am struggling choosing between the woom2 and woom3. He is proficient and very confident with riding a balance bike (been able to coast down a ramp and make turns) and has been asking for a pedal bike. If I get the woom 2, I know that he will be able to sit with his feet flat on the ground, but he probably only get one summer usage. If I get the woom 3, I wonder if it’ll be too tall for him? Thanks.

        • Juliette

          *Update: I just had my kid sit on his balance bike with the seat at its maximum height of 18inch (with shoes on) and he feels comfortable. Given that the minimum seat height is 18.9, do you think this will make a difference?

          • You’re right, he is right in between. With only a 0.9″ difference, he will be able to touch the ground with his tippy toes, but not his full feet. For kids who are adventurous, they don’t tend to mind starting and stopping on their tippy toes and do just fine on larger bikes, but for timid kids, it can be intimidating and a turn off. Another factor to consider is the climate you live in. If you have cold winters and he won’t ride much until the Spring, then I would go with the 16″, if you live in a warmer climate and he will ride now, then I would consider the 14″.

      • Melinda

        Hi! My son is 4.5 years old, 43 inches tall and inseam of 17.5 in stocking feet. He’s not had much experience with bikes, just a little bit of balance bike. Which bike should be good for him? woom 2 or 3? There aren’t any younger kids to hand this down to, so I want it to last for a while. However, it needs to fit him for him to use it. 🙂 Thank you!

        • He is right on the edge, so I see your concern. Technically, the WOOM3 would be the best fit for him, but since he won’t be able to touch the ground with both of his feet, he will probably be more comfortable on a WOOM2. When first learning how to pedal a bike, having their whole foot touch the ground is essential to helping kids feel comfortable and being able to stop. For experienced or eager kids, they do just fine on their tippy toes IF they are experienced on a balance bike. In your case, it sounds like you son isn’t as experienced, so he would be better off on the 2. Another option would be to have him use a balance bike until he masters balancing and them go for the 3.

      • Jenny

        Hi, can a Woom 2 with the pedals removed substitute as a balance bike for our 3 year old daughter who’s new to biking, and has not spent time on a more traditional balance bike? Or should we plan on getting her a Ridgeback Scoot balance bike first?

        • I wouldn’t recommend that path for younger kids as the WOOM2 is about 4 lb. heavier than the Scoot, which will certainly make it harder to balance. For older kids (age 5/6 and up), the extra pounds doesn’t affect them as much, so that route is usually a good choice, but not for toddlers/preschoolers who don’t weigh very much themselves. If she was experienced on a balance bike, then it might be worth considering, but I think it probably going to be too much for a 3-year-old.

        • T

          Of course they are going to tell you it’s not a good decision. They make less money if you don’t buy a bike every step of the way. They say the WOOM2 is 4 lbs heavier than the scoot. Once the pedals, crank and bearings are removed (which is easy to do) the weight difference won’t be much. Save your hard earned cash.

          • You are right in that once the crank, pedals and bearing are removed, the bike is going to be lighter, but for the average parents, that is easier said than done. For people who are familiar with bikes, sure it isn’t a problem, but most parents who spend $300 on a bike, don’t want to risk damaging anything, and end up paying a shop to take the crank set on and off. Plus, once their child masters balancing on the WOOM2, it will likely be too small for them and they will quickly outgrow it as a pedal bike. As a result, in addition to the weight, it is actually more cost effective to buy a balance bike and then a pedal bike as the balance bike is going to be cheaper than a pedal bike (used as a balance bike at first) which will have to quickly be replaced with a larger bike anyway.

      • May

        Awesome page – I found this incredibly helpful and it kept me from throwing good money at a bad bike.

      • Tonia

        My son is 4 years old, average in size (wears size 4 clothes) and has been using the Velo balance bike at the highest seat with confidence for a couple of months now. I would not say he is a dare devil, but has really enjoyed it and is confident on it. We are looking for the next bike to accommodate his size, skills and one that can last for a good while. We live in warm weather so he would use it most of the year and it would be used on paved roads. After looking around your wonderful site my initial thought of getting him his first pedal bike has been reconsidered. I wondered if a balance bike with hand break or his first pedal bike would be better? And which brands would you recommend.

        • If he is confident on his balance bike, then I would go for a pedal bike. Even though he is not used to using a hand brake, he can quickly learn on his pedal bike. Which bike is best really depends on his inseam. In size four clothes he is most likely better off on a 14″ bike, but may fit some lower geometry 16″ bikes like the WOOM, Islabikes or ByK. With his confidence, he should do fine on any of those. Starting out, it is best that he be able to touch the ground with his full foot, or almost his full foot so that he can stop without hesitation. As a result, look for a bike where the minimum seat height is as close to his inseam as possible.

      • Juliette

        How does the woom air travel? There’s a good chance we will need to fly internationally with it if we purchase it here. Is there a way to break it down so the packaging does not require all the extra handling fees?

        • Bikes are notoriously hard to travel with, but possible. I would highly recommend putting the bike in the box it came in to travel with it. Be sure to pay extra attention as to how it was packed with you receive the bike, including where all the padding goes. Take pictures! As long as the bike is packaged well, then you shouldn’t have a problem. If the bike is in a box, then they shouldn’t charge you additional fees. Larger bikes with larger tires often have issues with the tires getting out of true, but smaller tires are less likely to be affected.

          • Juliette

            Thank yo for the tips!

      • stschu

        Thank you so much for your site! In case anyone is wavering between a Woom 2 and 3, I wanted to reassure them that if their kid has a 17″ inseam, he/she should be good with the Woom3. I spent a lot of time choosing a pedal bike for my petite 5.5 year old with a 17″ inseam, and eventually chose the 3. I am so glad I did because it is perfect for her! At first we left the actual pedals off (the bike comes with the pedal shafts on, but not the foot pedal part) so she could get a feel for it. Right away, she wanted the pedals on, so we did that and she was off and riding on the first try. She can easily reach the ground with balls of both feet, or one foot flat without too much reach. I thought the bike would look big on her, but it actually looks perfect, and she loves it, and now riding is the only thing she wants to do!

        • Awesome, thanks for the feedback! Many readers struggle as to which to buy, so your comments will surely help. Glad you found a great bike for her. Happy riding 🙂

        • Juliette

          Thank you, this is helpful!

      • simmonsbz

        Would the free wheeling rear wheel from the Woom 2 fit on Cnoc 14? Islabike in OR is now shipping Cnoc 14 with front and rear hand brakes, but they also have the pedal brake as well. Unfortunately, Islabike does not have a replacement rear wheel for the new Cnoc 14, hence my question. This is a great site, thank you for considering my query.

        • Glad to hear they are shipping out the bikes with dual hand brakes! Sadly, no, WOOM’s kit is a complete new back wheel, which won’t fit on the Islabikes.

      • Kate

        Hi, Thanks so much for your reviews. I have a question for you. I’m looking for a bike for my 6 yr old daughter, 41″ tall. I think it’s come down to the WOOM 3 or the Islabikes CNOC. I’m leaning towards the WOOM 3 but I am concerned about the gear ratio. (From above: “The Islabikes have a higher gear ratio which makes it easier to get pedaling the bike, but doesn’t allow kids to gain as much speed.”) We live in a very hilly neighborhood. Is the difference in the gear ratio noticeable enough that we should lean toward the CNOC to give her an easier time pedaling up the hills? Thanks!!!

        • Glad to help. If she is a beginning rider, then the gear ratio might be an issue with hills and I would go with the CNOC. If she is a more experienced rider and won’t have a problem pushing up a hill, then I think she would be fine with the WOOM.

          • Vesa Kurtti

            “Smaller gain ratios are easier to get started, but require a child to pedal faster to gain speed. A lower gain ratio is best when riding hills or for really timid riders. A larger gain ratio make the bike slightly more difificult to get started on, but requires less pedaling to go faster.”

            When I look at the comparison chart, Woom 3 has 3.34 gain ratio and Cnoc 16 3.55 gain ratio. I am confused. Which one is the easier to start Woom 3 or Cnoc 16? And which one gives more speed? Here you say Cnoc is easier to start and Woom gives more speed, but comparison chart tells other.

            • You are right, I need to update this review. The WOOM3 I used to write this review has since been updated, so the gain ratios have changed. The number listed in the comparison charts are for the current model, so the current WOOM3 is actually slightly easier to get started pedaling than the current CNOC.

      • Hi! I think we’ve decided on a Woom bike for our soon to be 4 year old but I’m torn between the 2 and the 3. She will turn 4 end of June and is currently 42″ tall with an inseam just shy of 18″. Since we are in the midwest she will ride June-Oct. and then not get back on it until the following March. I realize they have the trade in value to upgrade but I’d hate to spend so much to just turn around and spend more the following year if she’s grown too tall. At what point would she outgrow the WOOM2? It’s about a break even price wise as we would buy the freewheel upgrade for the 2 right away. Also I should note that for the past two years she’s been riding her strider and is quite proficient on that. Thank you!

        • I would for sure go with the WOOM3. We just the newest model this week to update our review and our 4yo who is also 42″ tall, can ride it without any problems. Then again, he didn’t learn to ride on the WOOM3, so not being about to touch the ground with his full foot wasn’t an issue for him. Here is a picture of him on the bike. The seat is in it’s lowest position. For reference, he is in 4T pants with a 19″ inseam.

          • Thank you so much for all your help. After a LOT of thought, probably too much, we decided to do the cleary gecko because she has a younger and much smaller sister who can inherit it. Since she won’t have tons of time on the bike I feel it may be a good transition for this year until next fall and then next spring we can relook at our options given her new height. I want her to get the hang of pedals easily and learn the handbrakes without being overwhelmed and the gecko seems like a good option that’s in-between without being super spendy!

            • Sounds good! The Cleary is a small bike, so you are right in that it will get use from both your daughters. Plus, being smaller, it may be easier for her to get started on :). After some use, I’d love to hear any feedback you may have on the Gecko.

      • Aaron Sylvia

        got a woom2 for my daughter’s 4th bday. she used it as a balance bike for a month and i’m proud to say that last night she has entered the world of pedal bikes. no training wheels involved.

        • Awesome! Isn’t it amazing watching them just pedal away :). It’s easy to see just how poorly designed many bikes are once you see your child ride away on a well made one.

      • Suzanne

        I am so confused. My son will turn 4 on May 31. He is currently 41.5″ tall and has a 17.25″ inseam. He has a TykesBikes balance bike and is extemely confident, can corner, coast with feet off ground and ride down little hills with his feet up. He has started using th hand brake too. We want to get him a pedal bike. Should we get the Woom2 or Woom3? Also, his little sister just turned 2. She has a 12.5″ inseam but still seems too small to ride the TykesBikes since her feet can’t go flat. Should we consider a smaller one for her and then she could use the woom2? Ah! Help! Haha

        • Glad to help! In the end, it really comes down to your budget. Right now, the WOOM2 would fit him perfectly, but only for about a year. Knowing that it would get more use in the future would help soften the price tag. If you were to take this route, then I would consider joining their Upcycle program, so you could get 40% off the WOOM3 when he is ready to upgrade. For your daughter, the TykesBykes does sound too big for her. Since this time of year is prime biking season, I would probably bike up a Strider Classic for her to use (even a used Strider) until she is tall enough for the TykesBykes and then eventually the WOOM2.

      • sophia

        Hi. If I was getting a really good deal on a used woom 2 should I go for it with a first time pedal bike rider with an 18 inch inseam or would he be more comfortable on a bigger bike? he is good on a balance bike and has a tiny younger sibling to pass bikes on to.

        • If it’s a great deal I would go for it, especially since you have a younger sibling to pass it onto. With a 18″ inseam, he will only get a year of use out of the bike though. If you would prefer to buy one bike that he could use for at least 2 years, then I would look for a 16″ bike.

      • Tom

        Hi. I bought my son a ROTHAN for his 3rd birthday, but he really isn’t interested in riding it. He loves his scooter and rides a tricycle at his daycare (argh!). He wants a pedal bike – asked for a tricycle actually, which I can’t do – and his 4th birthday is coming up. What do you think about jumping to a pedal bike (thinking woom2) without having much experience with a balance bike? He is very athletic (funny to say about an almost 4 year old) and picks things up quickly. Thanks!

        • Ugh, sorry about the balance bike. Over the years I have found that the more options a child had when it comes to riding, the longer it will take for them to pick up a balance bike. Regardless, I think you are right in that if he is adventurous, go for the bike. I would start with a WOOM2 without the pedals and have him ride it as a balance bike at first. The downside of this method is that if he takes a long time to master balancing, he won’t have a lot of room for growth on the WOOM2 once the pedals are on and he will outgrow it quickly. If you expect him to catch on quickly, then you shouldn’t have a problem.

        • Kelsey Leonardsmith

          FWIW, my daughter was hesitant about the balance bike but really wanted a pedal bike. We made learning to balance well a condition before she could have a pedal bike.

      • John

        This is an great website with great information! My 4 yo is 39″ tall with a 15″ inseam. She has her balance bike down so we went to the local bike shops to look for a pedal bike she has been requesting. She picks things up quickly, but is initially very cautious by nature. Bike shops have suggested a 16″ bike based on age, but they seem too tall for her and the geometry is bad, which messed with her confidence on this size bike. She loved the 12″ bikes, but they looked too small for her. Also, the coaster breaks confused her pedaling confidence. I have been looking at the WOOM2, CNOC14, or the ByK E250. I like the ByK’s price better, but the coaster break and larger hand break concern me. Your site mentions the WOOM2 might be best for hesitant riders, which sparked my interest. I am struggling to make a decision on these three bikes based on bike size vs. child size and initial rider confidence. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

        • Glad to help. We are currently doing a comparison of 15 different 16″ bikes purchased from local bike shops as well as those online and those online are significantly better than those in bike shops. Here is a brief explanation why: http://www.twowheelingtots.com/bike-shop-bikes-vs-online-bikes/. I believe she will feel much more comfortable on any of those bikes you listed, but with a 15″ inseam, I would rule out the CNOC as it will be too tall. Being on the adventurous side, I would go with the WOOM2 as she will still be able to touch the ground with her tippy toes. Flat foot is best when transitioning for really timid riders, but more athletic kids tend to do fine learning to start on stop on their tippy toes. If you think she would be better off starting with a flat foot, the ByK would work, but she will likely outgrow it very quickly.

          If she knows how to use a hand brake, then I would go with the freewheel kit as well, if not, then I would either stick with the coaster brake or make sure to teach her to use the hand brake before getting on the bike. To do this, simply have her walk next to the bike and activate the brake. Once feature about the new WOOM’s is that the right brake lever is green, which teaches kids to use that one versus the left (to prevent endos). When braking, kids can either use both brakes or just the right hand (rear brake).

          Hope that helps!

      • Tom

        Thank you for the god information Natalie.
        Does the kids still prefers the Woom over the other bikes? Could you please elaborate on this because it is very interesting and useful. Is it the more “cruzer” like riding position of the Woom?
        I am split between Cnoc 14 and Woom 2 for my son. Is there any difference in quality between the two bikes? E.g. I noticed the Woom is using a fixed plastic seat instead of an adjustable metal one for Cnoc. Btw Cnoc comes in two different sizes in Europe, one small and one large.

        • The geometry on the WOOM is slightly more upright than that on the Islabikes. As a result, it is more comfortable for kids who are timid or nervous about pedals. The green handbrake on the new models (not shown in this review) are also amazing as they help kids remember to brake with their right hand (which is connected to the rear tires) versus the left, which could cause a potential endo. The WOOM3 also comes without a coaster and the WOOM2 is available without ones. In Europe, however, I believe the CNOC are available without a coaster as well, so that may not be an issue for you. All in all, they are both great, but I would go for the WOOM2 if your son is timid or hesitant and the CNOC if he you expect him to want to try to want to go over curbs, jumps etc, as the CNOC geometry would be slightly better. Plus, thanks for the headsup on the new CNOC sizes.

      • LA

        Hi Natalie,
        First, thank you for your work on this site! I am the official Ambassador of Bikes to my nephew (it’s a self-appointed position!) and based on your recommendations, I got him the Kinderfeets Tiny Tot and then the Too Too, which has been fantastic. For his first pedal bike, I’m down to the Cnoc 14 and the Woom 2 and I’ll add the Woom 2 freewheel to either. He’s 2 (3 in 2 months), 37″ tall, and his inseam is 14.75.” I’m not sure what you mean by “adventurous” or “athletic,” so I’ll just tell you about him. He tries unfamiliar things slowly first before going full speed. He can ride the mile home from daycare, zooms down sloped driveways, goes off steps and curbs, and is undeterred by falls. He hasn’t yet figured out how to use the hand brake effectively (we’re working on it). He rides mostly pavement, but likes to go on dirt, grass, and gravel.

        Current info on the bikes:
        Bike – Min Saddle – Weight – Price with shipping
        Cnoc 14 small — 14.5-15″ — 12 lbs 6 oz — $410
        Woom 2 — 17″ — 11 lbs 11 oz — $340

        My questions:
        (1) I’m leaning toward the Woom 2 because of price, but it seems like the Cnoc 14 small would fit him better. Would he be ok on the Woom 2? I assume the Cnoc 14 large is too big.
        (2) Looking ahead, generally, how long can kids ride a certain bike? Additionally, would he go, e.g. Woom 2 to 3 to 4, or could he go Woom 2 straight to 4? Or Cnoc 14 to the Beinn 20?

        • If only all kids had an Ambassador like you, I am honored to work with you :). With a 14.75″ inseam, I would go with the CNOC 14 Small (yes, I would say the large is too big). If he has yet to master a hand brake, he will need to use his feet to stop the bike, so it is vital that he is able to touch with almost his full foot from the get go. On the WOOM2 he will only be able to touch with his tippy toes (maybe!), so he won’t be able to stop the bike! Even if the bikes have a coaster, he won’t be able to use the coaster properly until he learns how to pedal. So for now, I would go with the CNOC 14 Small, from there, you might be able to jump to a 20″, but it’s hard to say. Once he has mastered a pedal bike, I assume he will be less hesitant from the beginning on a new bike, so he could probably go from the small 14 to a small 20, but probably not a larger 20.

          • Kate

            Thanks so much, Natalie. As I mentioned above, I’m going to wait till he grows into a Cnoc 14 large and hopefully it’ll last him longer than the small! I’ve noticed that his hands aren’t quite bit enough to comfortably operate the Too Too’s hand brake, so maybe the extra time will help that too.

          • Kate

            Hi Natalie, just wanted to give you an update. After 3 long months, he finally grew tall enough to meet the minimum height and inseam measurements to fit a CNOC 14 large – 38″/15″. He can sit on the seat with the balls of his feet on the ground. We gave it to him without the pedals at first and he was balancing immediately. We put the pedals on after a few minutes and he was pedaling himself around without any help within 30 min. He needs help getting started but learned how to brake and put his feet down. He is ecstatic and so are we. 🙂 The benefit of his time on a balance bike is obvious (and he has some pedaling experience from the trikes at preschool and playing on other kids’ training wheel bikes). I’ve never taught a kid to ride a bike, so I’m amazed!

            Some details about the Woom freewheel: I purchased it from the Woom website and after realizing I didn’t have the right tools, took it to my local bike shop to install (they charged me $6). Apparently the chain doesn’t have a master link, but loosening the bolts give just enough slack to be able to remove the chain. The Woom wheel is also 5 mm larger so while it still fits and the brake pads are positioned adequately, you can’t swap the tire. No big deal. The chain guard fits.

            This kid just turned 3 and he’s on his third bike, thanks to your website! 😉

            • Awesome, thanks for reporting back and for the details about the WOOM freewheel. I had no idea the chain doesn’t have a master link, I wonder why they did that? To be clear though, you couldn’t swap the tires, but you could swap out the wheel, right. Meaning, you used the WOOM’s rim and hub with the Islabike tire? I just want to to clear so that I don’t tell other readers the wrong information. I’m glad a local shop was able to help you out and for only $6!

              • Kate

                I put the entire Woom freewheel onto the Cnoc without altering it at all – the rim, hub, tube, and tire are all Woom. If you’d like, I can post a pic of the bike and the specs of the tires.

        • Kris

          Hi Kate,

          what did you decide? how was the bike you choose?
          I am in a similar situation.

          • Kate

            Hi Kris, based on the info that Natalie provided, I decided to hold off until he grew tall enough for a CNOC 14 large. I talked to Islabikes about the small and they said that while he fits the small now, he only has another 1/4″ to grow until he could sit on the large and reach the ground with the balls of his feet.

            Cnoc 14 large
            17″ min saddle height
            15″ min inseam (balls of feet on ground)
            38″ height

            Like Natalie said, he wouldn’t really be able to transition to any 20″ bike from the Cnoc 14 small. The Cnoc 14 large would last him longer and he could go to a 20″ from there. Also, he’s still having fun on his balance bike and while he’s interested, he’s not begging for pedals yet, so I figure it doesn’t hurt to wait a bit longer.

            • Kris

              Thank you for your answer Kate.
              I actually decided on the same thing, but I just went ahead and ordered the bike so its ready when he is. He did fine riding his balance bike with 16.5” saddle heigh, so it should not be too long.

      • Justin

        Hi Natalie,

        You have an excellent website! I’m glad to see some of the other 14″ & 16″ bike reviews like Spawn and Pello. I used your site quite a bit in deciding what bike to get my 4.5 year old son. I ordered the Byk e250 and waited and waited and waited for it to ship but when it was pushed back to August I could not wait anymore so I went with the Woom 2 which shipped instantly. The bike is as advertised. Great quality, light weight, well built and easy to ride. I also ordered the freewheel kit and am very glad I did. My son is a balance bike graduate. If not for the seasons in the northeast I probably would have put him on a pedal bike last year. When he saw the Woom 2 he immediately asked where the pedals were. I put them on and he was riding almost instantly. He’s still learning to use the hand brakes but that will come soon enough.

        One glaring thing that I’ve noticed is that the pedals regularly touch the pavement when he takes turns. He’s riding in circles a lot in a cul de sac and he’s going pretty fast and taking sharp turns (thank God for the steering delimiter) that the pedals almost always scrape the ground which causes him to stop or wipe out. I’m wondering if you or others think that this is a symptom of inexperience or if he should be on the Woom 3. He’s 41″ tall and has a 17″ inseam. I thought since he is on the small side for 4.5 year old he could get at least a year out of this and then pass it on to his younger sister. But given how well he is after less than 60 minutes of riding and his aggressive style possibly causing the pedals to touch the ground do you think he should he be on a bigger bike? Would that even help or does he just need to learn how to take wider turns and stay more upright? Everything else is a good fit. Any thoughts are appreciated!

        Best
        Justin

        • Thanks for reporting back about the WOOM2 and glad to hear that you like it. If the pedaling are touching the ground, that means he is a pretty aggressive rider (which is awesome) and he is certainly ready to move up to a larger bike. My son is also 4.5 and rides both the WOOM3 and Pello 16″ without a problem, but he has a 19″ inseam and is in 4T pants. As long as your son is also in 4T pants, he should certainly be ready to move up to a larger bike. The distance between the pedals and the ground is regulated by the CPSC, so getting another 14″ bike won’t solve the issue, he will need a larger bike, which will have more clearance. If he is a more aggressive rider who likes to lean into turns, I would also consider looking at 16″ bike with a more aggressive positioning such as the Stampede Bikes Sprinter or the Norco Samuari. Both of these bikes are heavier than the WOOM though, so if your son is on the lighter end, then I would probably stick with the WOOM3. Hope that helps!

      • Bonnie Shine

        Hi, I was thinking of getting a bigger bike for my son. He is almost 4.5, 40 inches with a 16.7 inch inseem. He has been riding a 12 inch hotrock for over 1.5 years so I was thinking of moving him to a 16 inch bike though he is on the small side. I raised his seat on his bike to 18.5 inches and he was fine riding. We live out of the country and are only in once a year. Woom 3s are out of stock till after we leave, thinking of a Cnoc 14 large or 16, belter, or any others that one might recommended. We live in a very hilly area and we travel by bike to school and around town so I need something he can ride up the hills. He does pretty well with his Hotrock.
        Options are to keep on the Hotrock another year and hope he fits a geared bike next year or try a Cnoc, Belter or something else. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks

        • You son is similarly sized to mine, who is 4.5yo with a 17.5″ inseam. The Specialized Hotrock 12 is certainly too small for my guy, even though he can ride it. This summer my son has ridden a lot of different bikes, including all of those you have mentioned. The WOOM3 would be my first choice, but since it is sold out I would go with the CNOC 16. My son easily rides it with room to grow. Since you live in a very hilly area, I would also consider the Belter. When going uphill, my son (like most kids) naturally pedals backward to help him stay balanced. The coaster on the CNOC prevents this and forces him to a quick stop, while the freewheel (no coaster) on the Belter allows him to keep going. Since he is used to a coaster brake on the Hotrock, he is probably used to not pedaling backwards, so the coaster may not be a problem. I would take him to a hill on his Hotrock and see how he does, if he attempts to pedal backwards when losing his balance, I would go with the Belter, if not, I would go with the CNOC. Hope that helps!

          • Bonnie Shine

            Thanks for your reply. Also started looking more seriously at the Spawn Banshee though it is a little heavier. Now I need to convince DH that he can’t wait until next year. Kind of bummed the Wooms are on back order. Will report back. Got his big Sis an Beinn 24 anxiously awaiting its arrival.

            • Ha, yes, I know what it is like to convinced the other half :). I told my husband that I would by my kids a Huffy is he agreed to ride one as well, after all, he is a more experienced biker then them, so he should have no problem riding it ;).

              • Bonnie Shine

                Didn’t even try to bring up new bike for my 6 year old. She will have to do with her hotrock 16 or her sisters 20 for another year. She won’t ride up hills she throws the bike down and goes on strike. Don’t know if it is bc of the bike or the kid (ASD and no talking her into things she doesn’t want to do).

              • I hear you! My youngest is also on the spectrum and as a result, I’ve had to use other kids to test out products because he doesn’t want to put on a helmet (a bike or whatever) he isn’t going to do it.

              • Bonnie Shine

                Just an update the Beinn 24 came and my daughter did almost 6 miles on her first ride and rode uphill without a problem something she couldn’t do before. 🙂
                Spoke with wee bike shop about the Belter they seemed to push to the Dimensions said there has been a problem with the Belter wheels latley.
                What do you think of the Pello 16 inch bike?

              • The Dimensions is a great bike, especially if you are riding longer paved trails. It has a higher gear ratio which allows it to go farther with every pedal, which is not ideal for riding uphills, but is great for long, flat rides.

                As for the Pello 16, it is a great bike. The quality is really top notch, up there with Islabikes and WOOM. We found the Pello to be best for more timid riders, who will eventually ride on various terrains. It has knobby tires, which do great on any surface, but really excel on off-road. The rear only hand brake is also great as it relieves any concern about kids going over the handlebars, but is also has a coaster brake. Once a child is used to a coaster brake, it no longer becomes a problem, but is can cause kids to delay mastering pedaling as kids naturally pedal backwards as they are learning to pedal.

              • Bonnie Shine

                Thanks for all the help.
                Sadly the time limit to order the bike is up. DH wanted to try to wait till next year to see if we can get away with a small 20 inch geared bike. I am still torn about it. Might try to convince grandma to bring one in the winter when she visits. 🙂

              • I know how that goes! Kids grow so fast, so it’s so hard to know what size to get.

      • nero maxximus

        Hi, we live in Bucharest – Romania and have neither ISLA or WOOM dealers. I finally ordered a blue WOOM2 (they had it on stock in Austria) and will report later how it all goes. My son is 2y5m old but very active and good on his balance bike (PUKY) and scooter. So far the experience (via email) with WOOM was more positive but so was the Isla bikes (UK). I liked the more upright position of WOOM and my boy prefers blue over red colours…

        • Yeah, glad to hear that you found a retailer that had a WOOM in stock! They are great bikes, available in many fun colors, and sounds like the perfect combination for your son. Happy riding 🙂

      • BC

        I have twin boys who love riding their FirstBIKES but are begging me for pedal bikes! They are 4yrs and 8months old. About 42″ tall and 18″ inseam if I measured correctly. They are daredevils on their balance bikes (use the handle breaks with ease, turn fast) but actually kind of timid about the height- just recently moved the seat up- I think it can still go a little higher- they like to ride low I guess! Which is best? Isla 14 large? Woom 2 or 3? I think they would be comfortable on a smaller bike but I would like them to use it next summer too!

        • My 4.5yo old son is similar to size to our boys and my first choice would be the WOOM3, but I believe they are currently on back order. The Islabikes 16 would be my next choice as the CNOC 14 Large will fit them now, but they will quickly outgrow them. My son, who is in 4T pants, does great on the CNOC 16 and has plenty of room for growth without the bike feeling too big. We have several other 16″ bikes that are slightly too big for him, but the Islabikes works just fine. Here he is coasting the bike down a hill. The seat is about an inch higher than its lowest position.

      • James Goodin

        Hi there! I just learned about this wonderful site today. There is so much great information here. My wife and I have been researching bikes for our 5 and 3 year old sons. Our 5 year old will be 6 in January and our 3 year old will turn 4 in mid October. At this point we have been leaning towards going with Woom bikes. It’s just trying to determine which ones to get that will be most cost effective. We will most likely opt in to their Upcycling program. Our 5 year old is 45.5 inches tall, 49 pound, with a 20.5 inseem. 5T clothing is starting to be a little snug on him now but doesn’t look tight. He has been riding a size 12 Strider balance bike for the last year and mastered that. He tried a friend’s size 16 bike and rode comfortably his first try. Our 3 year old is 38.5 inches, 35.5 pounds, and has an inseem of 17. He wears 4T clothing comfortably. He has also been on a size 12 Strider. For our 5 year old we have been leaning towards the Woom 4 but are concerned that it may be too much bike for him. We feel that a Woom 3 would be better as a starter bike, but he is very close to outgrowing it if he hasn’t already. Finally, we are debating that if we were to give our oldest the Woom 3, then should we just wait and pass it onto our youngest or just start our oldest on the Woom 4 and our youngest on the Woom 2? The Woom 4 is currently in stock on Woom’s website, but as you know the Woom 2 and 3 aren’t and will not be until mid September. Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. We are open to other bike brands as well. Thanks in advance!

        • Glad to help and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The beginning of the school year is always crazy for us. For your 5yo, I agree that the WOOM4 would likely be too much bike at first, but I can see him outgrowing the WOOM3 too quickly. My son who is in 4T clothes, fits just fine on the WOOM3, so I image your son would only fit on it for about a year. Instead, I would go for the Islabikes CNOC 20 for him as it has a lower minimum seat height at 20″, it is lighter at 15 lb. and is doesn’t have any gears, making it easier for a younger rider. It is very much a bike for a beginner, but sized for an older child. The downside, of course, is that you won’t be able to utilize WOOM’s Upcycle program for him, but you could trade in your younger son’s WOOM for a 24″ and keep the Islabikes 20 for your younger son.

          For you 3yo, with a 17″ inseam the WOOM2 would be a great choice as he would be able to put his whole foot on the ground to help him start and stop. If, however, he is more on the adventurous side and if you suspect he would be able to competently brake with a hand brake, then I would consider the WOOM3. On the WOOM3 he won’t be able to touch the ground at first, so he won’t be able to rely on his feet to stop and you don’t want him riding a bike he can’t stop on his own. My son is in 4T pants and fit the WOOM3 just fine, but is able to stop with the hand brake. The WOOM3 is also a really easy bike to learn on (both to pedal and brake) so assuming he would be able to pickup braking quick, I would lean towards the WOOM3, but if you wanted to be safe and use the Upcycle to trade for the WOOM3 later I would take that route. Hope that helps!

          • James Goodin

            No worries Natalie! My first thought was you were probably busy preparing for the new school year. I appreciate you taking the time to respond with your busy schedule. You made some great points. I became anxious and ended up pulling the trigger on the Woom 4 and Woom 2 with the coaster break removal kit as I was worried my preorder would get pushed back even more. However, after hearing your advice, I think I’ll contact Mathias and adjust my orders now. I just need to decide if I will stick with the Woom 2 for our 3 year old or get him the Woom 3. I’ll definitely be getting the Islabikes CNOC 20 for our 5 year old. I figure that with the change in weather, our boys will have a limited time to ride in the fall and probably won’t start riding again until the spring, at which point our 3 year old could effectively manage the Woom 3. Thanks again for your help!

            • Thanks for understanding! Matthias is amazing, so I’m sure he will adjust your order :). If you get a chance, please report back on how you like the bikes, I would love to hear.

      • Mike Oelrich

        Hi. My son just turned 4. He’s 42″ with a17″ inseam. Ben looking at the Woom 3 or the Spawn Banshee. The Spawn see a bit more like it would fit him now and allow him to grow into it especially with the shorter seat post) whereas the Woom 3 seems a bit large now. Any thoughts?

        • The WOOM3 and the Banshee and pretty different bikes. The WOOM3 is really designed for a beginning rider with a more upright position. The Banshee is really designed for a more adventurous rider, as it has knobby tires and a more aggressive position. The Banshee, however, is still a great choice for beginning riders, but a beginning rider who is more likely to become an aggressive rider (ie going off curbs, trail and pump track riding). In the end, they are both great bikes, but with different strengths. With a 17″ inseam and with only 0.5″ difference between their minimum seat height, I would go with the bike that best fits his anticipated riding style.

          • Mike Oelrich

            Thanks Natalie. I sent a note to Spawn and called Woom. The Banshee has a few attractive points, like the ability to swap out parts and the fact that it is a more “adventurous” choice. That being said, after reading the reviews and talking to Mathias at Woom, a theme emerged: your comment in the review that most kids, after trying several bikes out, ended up liking the Woom better, and Mathias’ assertion that “though it makes for better YouTube videos, most kids aren’t jumping off ramps and doing tricks on their first bike.” I am a mountain biker, but have a feeling that my son will be better off if I don’t project what I like onto him as he is sometimes slow to warm up to new things. It seems that it will be easer to start him out on a bike that is more comfortable and less aggressive, then move him over to something else should he get the urge to go crazy. That beats having him get scared off by an aggressive bike and not wanting to try out something else. It doesn’t hurt that the new batch of Woom3s is supposed to have a new alloy fork and come in under 13 pounds. My favorite bike of all of them is the Belter, but they are hard to come by around here (though REI could theoretically order one online) and it seems too big for him at the moment. So, Woom3 on preorder and we’ll take it from there. If, in a couple years he demands to go mountain biking a the ripe old age of 6, we can look into something else.

            • You can’t beat WOOM and Matthias on customer service, plus I completely agree not projecting onto kids too much. While some kids can hit the single track with no problems from day one, I agree that most do not. Starting off with a comfortable bike from day one is better than taking the risk of them having a less than ideal experience with an aggressive bike. Plus, our testers did all prefer the WOOM over the Belter. Another interesting point about the Belter although the metal pedals on it certainly seem like a bonus, we found that they are truly a downside for kids as kids easily slip off of them and scratch their legs on them. They could easily be swapped out, but as you said, sometimes what we as adults would consider to be “good” for our bikes (such as a more aggressive body position) isn’t necessarily good for kids.

              • Mike Oelrich

                Another thing that I thought about. What really makes a bike an off road bike or not? When I bought my current “comfort” or “endurance” road bike, and mentioned that I might want some larger tires to commute or ride on rough pavement, the guy at the shop said “the bike doesn’t care where you ride it”. I can get knobby tires to fit the Woom for something like $13 a piece. And, if you look at the Woom Facebook page, they have shots of the guys at the warehouse riding the bikes around. I think if my son really wants to go “off road” on a Woom3 it’ll be OK!

      • Kimberly Lemmon

        Hi. My daughter is 3.5, 40.5″ tall with a 15″ inseam. She is currently on a spawn 12″ tengu and I want to get her a pedal bike for Christmas. Would you suggest the woom2 or woom 3? And how do they compare to spawn fury and banshee? Thank you!

        • Both brand are amazing, but they are designed for different purposes. The Spawn’s are designed for kids ready to ride trails and hit the pump track. WOOM’s are designed to naturally fit a child’s body, making for a natural, more comfortable ride. If you plan on having her ride more aggressive trails (and if she is interested in doing so), then I would look into the Spawn line. If you are looking for a bike for her to comfortably ride around the neighborhood, at the park, on bike trails etc., then I would go for the the WOOM. With a 15″ inseam, the WOOM2 is going to be slightly big for her, but considering you have until Christmas, it should be a good fit. Come Christmas, if she can’t touch the ground with both of her feet (enough to quickly stop the bike), be sure knows how to use the hands brakes before she tries out the bike. The right brake lever on the WOOM2 is colored green to help kids remember which one to use 🙂

          • Kimberly Lemmon

            Fantastic. I really just want a bike she can ride comfortably around on paved trails and in our neighbourhood. She tends to get frustrated if she can’t do something perfectly the first time, too, so ease is key with her. I can see her becoming an aggressive rider in the future, but not likely at the age of 4. Maybe her second bike will be a spawn. 🙂

            Thank you!

      • Patty

        I love your site and my daughter Loves the firstBike we got after researching through your site. She’s 3y 3m with just over a 16 in inseam and going into 4T clothes. She’s “ready” for a pedal bike, but hasn’t outgrown her balance bike. I’m trying to decide if I should get a Woom 2 now, or wait a bit for her to fit a Woom 3. I do think she could go 2in over her inseam as she is good with a hand brake and can start on her toes, but I don’t want to frustrate her with a tough start. I think the Woom line would be best, because the coaster brake would bug her. I would say she’s more on the “aggressive side” then timid. Is there a better fit in a different brand without a coaster brake? I just don’t want her to outgrow it too fast (although there’s a younger brother who would ride it next). I realize that being patient might be the best answer. I appreciate your time and help.

        • Ahh, sorry I missed this, I’ll respond above.

      • Jocelyn

        Thank you so much for this site! I did extensive research to get my almost 4 year old son his first balance bike a little over a year ago (Ridgeback Scoot, which he LOVES). He’s totally ready to go up to a pedal bike now, but I’m really unsure what to pick. He’s got a 17″ inseam, fits comfortably into 4T clothes, and is a super aggressive rider. I think I definitely want to go without the coaster brake, which would leave us with the Woom, but I just don’t know whether to do the Woom2 or 3. He only uses the handbrake on his Scoot every once in a while, more often stopping with his feet, so I’m somewhat worried about putting him on the Woom 3 as a first go. But at the same time, I’m worried about getting the Woom 2 and having him grow out of it super quickly (although we have a one-year-old son who could eventually grow into the Woom 2, so it wouldn’t go to waste). Or I guess we could do the Upcycle program through Woom to move my oldest up to the 3 if he outgrows the 2 quickly? What would you suggest for an aggressive rider, 17″ inseam, but who doesn’t really use the balance bike handbrake often?

        • If you happen to live in an area where he won’t be able to ride through the winter, I would absolutely go with the WOOM3 as he will outgrow the WOOM2 pretty quickly. Starting off, the WOOM2 is going to be a better fit as he can put his feet flat to get going, but if he is in 4T pants, he will be able to touch with most of his feet on the WOOM3. For hesitant kids, this can be very unnerving, but for ambitious kids, it usually isn’t a problem. My 4yo in 4T is able to ride the WOOM3 without any problems, but he did learn to ride (while still in 4T clothes) on the 14″ Islabikes. Not having a coaster brake on the WOOM3 will also help him learn to pedal easier. Considering he has been riding the Scoot (which is larger than most 12″ balance bikes), I think he could probably handle the WOOM3 just fine.

      • Patty

        Hello again. I explained my daughter’s age and size below (3y3m with 16+ inseam) and am still unsure which bike to go with… I was just rereading the review of the Pello Romper and am now thinking that it might be best despite the coaster brakes. What are your thoughts? Woom 2/3, CNOC 14 large, Romper? I’m not sure. Thanks in advance. She’s adventurous but will generally be on roads or grassy hills

        • All three are great bikes, but it really depends on your daughter. If she is adventurous, then she may not be bothered by the coaster brake as much as other kids and she would do fine on the Romper or the Islabikes. The knobby tires on the Romper would be more ideal if she is going to ride on dirt and rocks also. In 4T clothes, I would also go with the WOOM 3 over the 2 as it should fit her now as well as provide more room for her to grow. Between the three, the WOOM3 is also going to be best for hills as it is geared the lowest, the Romper the best for dirt and the CNOC best for longer paved rode rides. Hope that helps!

      • Great to hear! Plus, good timing on the WOOM2 freewheel as I believe they are now sold out. Thanks for the link to the video as well, it is great! I am going to put it up on the site 🙂

      • Laura

        I’m considering taking the plunge for a pedal bike instead of upgrading my girl’s balance bike. She’s currently on a First Bike. She’s 42 inches tall and wearing 4 T clothes. She’s very petite though at 32 lbs. I’m looking at the WOOM 3 16 inch because it seems to fit 4-6 yo. Do you think this is a good choice?

        • Laura

          I just measured her inseam, and it’s just shy of 17.5. I figure this would make a difference in your advice. I’ve read extensively about the Cleary, too, and I still really like the Woom the best.

      • Laura

        I’m considering taking the plunge for a pedal bike instead of upgrading my girl’s balance bike. She’s currently on a First Bike. She’s 42 inches tall and wearing 4 T clothes. She’s very petite though at 32 lbs. I’m looking at the WOOM 3 16 inch because it seems to fit 4-6 yo. Do you think this is a good choice? I just measured her inseam, and it’s just shy of 17.5. I figure this would make a difference in your advice. I’ve read extensively about the Cleary, too, and I still really like the Woom the best.

        • Ahh, sorry, I’m not sure how you comments got lost in the mix. Sorry for the delay. For your daughter, the WOOM3 would be a great choice. My son is also in 4T pants and does great on the WOOM3. You will have to remove the reflector in order to get the seat low enough for her to get started, so don’t be alarmed if she can’t get over the seat at first. My son has ridden both the WOOM3 and the Cleary and loves the WOOM3. In fact, the other day, he ran out to the garage and gave it a hug :).

      • alan

        Is this a crazy idea, but can I try our 3 1/2 yr. old on a Woom 2 without installing pedals.
        If I go with a YeeToo, etc, I think he will outgrow it . It’s now lows 40/50’s fall, and then there will be winter and chilly spring. We get all 4 seasons

        • That is a tricky one. If he is solidly in 3T pants, almost 4T, then he would fit on the WOOM2 with the pedal removed, so that route is certainly an option. If you expect him to pick up balancing quickly, I may consider this route, but if he takes several months (especially due to weather) I wouldn’t recommend this method as he may outgrow the bike before he is able to use it with the pedals. My son is 4.5 and rides the WOOM3 without a problem, so within a year, your son would likely fit on a 16″ bike instead of a 14″ (depending on his height of course). As a result, I would go for a balance bike now, even a cheaper one if you are on a budget, and then once he masters it in the Spring or Summer, buy a regular bike that will provide him more room for growth than the WOOM2 would.

          • alan

            Hi Natalie –

            Once again, THANK you for this great site 1st off. Specs say one thing, but the pics of the seatpost mount on the Woom 2 / Woom 3 ended up with me ordering both a Woom 1 and Woom 2 just to see how it would play out. Little one loves the Woom 2 as he ~gets~ that he needs to practice in order to have the pedals installed.

            Pros/Cons
            Love the weight of the Woom 1 . Especially when you literally hold them side by side to the Woom 2.
            Fitment is obviously good.

            With the rear light removed off the Woom 2 (lil one is 40 months), and the seatpost bottomed out, he can get by tiptoes….and obviously a bit harder to get the balancing due to overall weight as well. He’s more interested in it because *he knows it has pedals*, kickstand engagement, etc.

            Ahh, decisions, decisions. Woom 1 seems like the right choice, but the lil one def prefers the Woom 2

            • It’s hard when they are right in between. You also realized why balance bike are so much easier for kids to ride, they are lighter and much easier to get on and off when starting off. Of course the downside is that the WOOM1 has a much shorter life span. Let me know what you decide!