WOOM4

Pedal Bike Review

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What We Would Ride

The best all-around 20" bike we've tested. Rugged and nimble for moderate single-track riding, yet comfortable enough for street riding.

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Product Specifications

MSRP: $450

Recommendation: Exceptional

Seat Height: 19.7" - 27.6"

Weight: 17.5 lb.

Frame Material: Aluminum Alloy

Tire Size: 20" - geared

Brake Type: Mini V

Speed/Shifters: 8/Grip

Suspension: No

Handlebar:

Geared Bike Type: Street/Light Trail

Gain Ratio: 2.3/6.7

Wheelbase: 835

Available Online: Yes

Review

WOOM4 seal - updated

**The current WOOM4 weighs 17.5 lb.**

Buying your child’s first 20″ bike is akin to buying them their first car.  Somewhere between reading about shifters, geometry and gear-ratios you think, how did they get this old?  With gentle rides in the park gone for good, speed, power, and performance are now top on your list. The best 20″ bike really depends on where and how your child rides (street, mountain, city or BMX), but we found WOOM’s lightweight, quick and nimble 20″ to the best all-around bike we’ve tested.  With a lower-center of gravity, bottom bracket and handlebar height, the WOOM4 is well equipped to comfortable take your child from sidewalks to basic trails.

Frame

Built with lightweight AA-6061 aluminum, WOOM’s frames are lightweights and rigid.  Backed by a solid 5 year, hassle-free warranty, every frame is built to last.  Made of ChroMoly steel, the fork is responsive and offers some dampening.  But wait, it doesn’t have a shock!? While shocks can be extremely helpful for kids hitting the single-track or the pump track, for the majority of kids, it is more advantageous to skip the shock to help save on weight.  In addition, most shocks on kids bikes are pretty worthless and act as merely eye candy. For those high-adventure kids looking for a front suspension bike, many big names bike brands have released light-weight 20″ with front suspension.

Geometry

The optimal geometry of a 20″ kids bikes is also quite different than on a 16″, 14″ or 12″ bike. Kids tall enough to advance to a 20″ have generally already mastered balancing, stopping and starting a bike and are ready to progress to a more aggressive, lower center-of gravity, body position.  In addition, on a properly sized bike, they shouldn’t be able to put both of their heels on the ground, as they will likely out-grow the bike too soon. Instead, as long as they can touch the ground with one foot while seated on the saddle, the bike is a good fit.  As a result, kids can properly fit on a bike with a minimum seat height 2″ to 2.5″ greater than their inseam.

In addition to the body position of the rider, the position of the child on the frame makes a great impact on the handling and performance of the bike.  By lowering their bottom bracket, handlebars and shortening the crank arms (the bars that attach the pedal to the frame), a child is able to sit lower on a WOOM bike, thereby decreases the overall center-of-gravity of the rider.  When compared to the standard bottom bracket height found on the mid-range Novara Pixie, the difference is significant.

WOOM4 vs. Novara

Crank Arms

A lower bottom bracket also requires a shorter crank arm (to keep the pedals from hitting the ground when turning the bike), which has additionally benefits to the rider.  A shorter crank arm for kids (for adults there is certainly more science to this), provides a lower up-stroke height (shown below), which allow for a more efficient knee bend angle.  In other words, the less cramped a child’s legs are when riding, the easier and more efficient their pedaling will be.  Even when their saddles are set to the same height, the Novara requires a much tighter knee bend than the WOOM4, making the Novara more difficult to pedal.

WOOM4 angles

WOOM4 crank length

Q-Factor

In addition to knee bend angles, the amount of splay a bike requires of a child’s legs is significant.  The greater the splay, the less efficient and more uncomfortable a bike will be to ride.  In order to save money, most kid’s bikes use components designed for the wider hips on an adult. When riding these bikes, kids have to splay their legs to pedal to compensate for their naturally narrower hips.  To provide for a more comfortable ride, WOOM uses components specifically designed for kids bikes, which allows for a narrower Q-factor.  By looking over the top of a bike, the Q-factor, or the distance between the pedals, can be seen.

WOOM4 q factor

Shifters

The newly updated version of the WOOM4 comes with grip shifters versus trigger shifters.  Trigger shifters are slightly easier for kids to activate, but for most kids, their fingers aren’t long enough to reach the triggers.  Grip shifters take more effort to activate, but are generally easier for kids to use.  The twisting motion can be challenging for kids as they can twist too hard, causing them to tweak their handlebars and crash.  In the end, there isn’t a perfect shifting solution currently on the market for kids, both trigger and grip have their drawbacks.

Gearing (Performance)

Aggressive riders will also enjoy the higher gear-ratio on the WOOM4.  With a larger front cassette, the WOOM4 allowed kids to easily power up and down mild elevation changes.

WOOM4 off road

WOOM4 vs. Isalbikes BEINN 20″ Small

Islabikes and WOOM both make amazing bikes, which utilize the proven long and low geometry (long wheelbase, lower bottom bracket), but which is best? While their bikes are similar, there are several significant differences, which lead our testers to prefer one over the other depending on their skill level and riding conditions.  In general, higher gear-ratio and trigger shifters of the WOOM4 were much preferred by more experienced or aggressive riders, especially on non-paved trails.  The lower gear-ratio and narrower tires were preferred by more timid riders as well as those who ride on mainly paved surfaces, especially for longer distances.

WOOM4 vs. IslaIsla vs. WOOM 2

Additional differences include crank size and rims.  The WOOM4 has slightly longer cranks than the BEINN small with 120mm vs. 114mm.  The BEINN 20″ large, however, has 127mm cranks.  Both bikes also have lightweight rims, but the Islabikes saves a slight amount of weight with 20 spokes, versus WOOM’s 34 (performance is the same). Islabikes rims, however, only take Presta valves, which are MUCH harder to find replacement tubes for than the Schrader valves on the WOOM.  We have yet to find a 20″ or 24″ Presta locally, so ordering backups ahead of time online is essential.

Isla vs. WOOM 20

*The WOOM4’s seat height range is 19.68″ – 27.56″

Weight

Lastly, the Islabikes is a pound lighter than the WOOM.  For more riders, the difference in weight was a non-issue.  In fact, when one of 8-year-old testers, who typically rides a big-box store bike, had the chance to ride the WOOM4, he promptly got off of it, held it up above his head and yelled, “THIS BIKE IS SO LIGHT!”.  Like the other features previously mentioned, those testers who often road longer distances on paved surfaces, did prefer the lighter-weight Islabikes.

Isla vs. WOOM 4

Bottom Line

The WOOM4 is the best all-around 20″ bike we have tested.  Rugged and nimble enough for moderate single-track riding, yet comfortable enough for street riding, the WOOM4 is the perfect bike to take your all-terrain rider.

MSRP: $450

By: Natalie Martins

Last Updated: January 30, 2017

FTC Disclosure: No monetary compensation was provided for this review. For many, but not all reviews, products are provided by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate the review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC and should not be used or replicated in any way. The majority of, but not all, links provided are affiliate links. Two Wheeling Tots LLC is an affiliate of Amazon.com and WOOM US.

  • Anna

    I need help choosing between Woom 4 and Islabike Benin 20 large. My 6 year old daughter is 48 inches tall and has a 21 inch inseam. She has been riding a balance bike and but this will be her first pedal bike, although she can pedal on a tricycle. She is a very hesitant rider and takes a while to learn new skills. I was leaning towards the Benin large because it would last longer but I am worried she could not touch the ground with her feet to stop and have trouble balancing while starting and stopping. At the same time I am worried she may grow out of the Woom 4 a lot sooner. What would you advise would be the best choice for a beginner?

    • As her first pedal bike, I would go for the single-speed 20″ which will be much easier for her to use. The Islabikes CNOC 20″ or the Pello Reddi would both be great options that will provide her plenty of room for growth. If you prefer gears and considering she is a very hesitant rider, I would go for a the WOOM4 as it is will allow her to put more of her foot on the ground than the BEINN 20″ large.

      • Anna

        We got a Woom 4 and it’s a perfect fit for putting her foot on the ground. She learned to balance on her own fairly quickly, and the low seat design makes it so stable that it’s easy to learn to push off without falling. Thank you for your help!

        • Yeah! Glad to hear. They are great bikes aren’t they 🙂

  • Kasia Karapuda

    I too need help deciding on a bike for my almost six year old. She rode Cnoc 14 for the last two years and is very competent on it. Her inseam is 19″ and height is 42.5 inches. We tried her on Norco Mirage 20in since it is a bike our local bike shop carries and the geometry was just wrong, her thigh was all the way up her armpit. The bike shop could order an early rider belter urban for us, or I could buy something online, but am hesitant about the fit. I would like to get off the paved surfaces and try her on some easy trails and hills, so it crossed my mind to invest in a geared bike as well. And there are so many great options out there. Ideally I would spend around $300 and have something she wouldn’t grow out of next year already. Which bikes will have a comparable geometry to Cnoc 14 that I could order online?

    • The geometry of a 20″ bike is different from a 14″ as 20″ bikes aren’t designed for beginners, but some are better than others. Your best bet is probably the Pello Eover 20″, http://www.pellobikes.com/bike-shop/rover-20, but it costs $429. The ByK 450 would also have similiar geometry, but it isn’t geared and costs $289, http://amzn.to/2pQtVvT. If you preferred a geared bike, the Commencal Ramones 20″ is going to be your best bet in your price range but is going have a more aggressive geometry than the CNOC, you can find it here: http://shrsl.com/?g904.

  • Kels

    I was noticing that Woom now lists the minimum seat height for the WOOM 4 as 19.68in, same as the Supra. Do you know if that’s correct?

    • anon

      i would assume the official website is correct. you could always contact woom customer service to confirm.

    • Yes, you’re right. Thanks for the correction.

  • Josh

    My 6.5 year old son just mastered riding his 16″ 2 wheel (Giant animator) a couple of weekends ago. I had read your site prior to purchasing a 16″ bike, but let myself get convinced to get the cheaper bike (regrettably). Anyway, he is a little on the smaller side for his age, so I am thinking about a 20″ bike for him next spring (when he is 7) when he will be more comfortable with his seat higher up, etc. My question is whether to go with gears or single speed. I don’t want to buy a single speed only to wish in a month that I had bought the gears, but I also don’t want the move to a 20″ to be too complicated a jump because of the gears also.

    A little background to help you with your advice – My son was very comfortable on his balance bike from 2.5 on, but when he transitioned to a 12″ bike (specialized hot rock from LBS) around 3.5 we weren’t able to have him do it as much due to weight and size making it complicated to carry back and forth to his nursery school, so even though he rode 2 wheels for short distances a few times at 3.5 he then ended up not biking for a while and then getting on a the Giant Animator with training wheels at 4.5 and refused to let us take off the training wheels, until recently when i took off pedals and let him use it as a balance bike for a week and then got him to try pedaling and he was able to do it right away. He is currently very confident on flat ground and even takes on some minor potholes. He is a little intimidated by any decent incline or decline still. He is currently 45″ tall

    Thanks

    Josh

    • Andrew

      Hi, Josh – my son is also small for his age (47″, just turned 8), and he’s 2 days into his new Woom 4. He as on his Strider bike until his 6th birthday, because we couldn’t find a decent pedal bike that would fit him. Two years ago on his 6th birthday we gave him the Cleary Hedgehog 16″, and that has been a great experience. The Hedgehog has great forward geometry, and our son has ridden very confidently on all terrain. As he outgrew the Hedgehog I had assumed that we would move up to Cleary’s 20″, the Owl. However, the Owl is single-speed just like the Hedgehog, and that was the only real drawback of the 16″ Hedgehog – he would spin out easily on the flats, and there plenty of hills that he wanted to climb but couldn’t in that one gear. After lots of research and discussions with Cherie at Ready, Set, Pedal we bought the Woom 4. Well, today we did an hour ride including a paved path, gravel and a little muddy & hilly stretch – and we’re big fans. His position’s not as aggressive on the new bike, but that will change as he grows and the seat comes up, but this is a very well-conceived and executed product. My son also has smallish hands and not a strong grip, and the shifting (gripshift) was easy and intuitive. Hope that helps. -Andrew

    • anon

      At seven years old gears would most likely be a fine introduction, though if he’s still a bit timid there’s no harm in waiting.

      I could help you narrow a choice down if you could give me an upper budget and his inseam – to measure his inseam have stand up straight against a wall, slide a book up to his crotch, and measure from the top of the book to the floor. (I’d prefer if you do this barefoot/in socks, but you can also do it in the shoes he will usually wear riding – just tell me that’s how you did it.)

  • I was wondering if you’ve heard of anyone wanting to give the WOOM4 higher gearing? My 6 year old is always on the 8th gear. We only do street/sidewalk/path riding on flat terrain and rarely need to use lower gears.

    I’m probably going to take the bike into a shop to see if they can fit on a different front chain ring to give the WOOM4 higher gearing. I can’t imagine us being the first people to want this. Thanks!

  • Paul Eaton

    I don’t yet see a review for the Early Rider Belter 20 (Urban 3, in particular). Any thoughts on that bike? You gave the 16″ high marks, and I’m pretty keen on the advantages of the belt drive. My girls ride Islabikes Cnoc 14 (4yo) and 16 (6yo) and love them. I assumed our six year old would move to the Beinn 20, but the Early Rider caught my eye as an interesting alternative. I would love any thoughts either way, if you have them.

    As a parting comment, I want you to know that your site has been invaluable in our journey to introduce the joy of bicycles to our children. Both my girls did pedal bikes before their fourth birthday because of the great advice and high quality recommendations from Two Wheeling Tots (Striders to Islabikes). My brother-in-law is a former Olympian, and his boys power through on box store bikes due to their athleticism. My girls keep up with practice and high quality equipment. Thank you!

    Cheers!

    • anon

      The availability of the larger Early Rider bikes in the US is more recent, so it’s not that surprising there isn’t a review. Now I’m not Natalie, and don’t have as much practical knowledge, but I’d say the 20 is very good bike and certainly a great choice to move up to. Do think about your daughter’s readiness for gears and how much gearing would be best around your area, of course. Also, you might ask your daughter which bike she would like – you could include the Woom 4 in the lineup, as well. Letting her pick the model and color she likes best will help make it more hers.