WOOM5 Supra

WOOM5 Supra

 

WOOM5 Award2

*The current WOOM5 Supra weighs 17.8 lb.*

When shopping for a 24″ bike, a good majority of parents (and kids!) look for one thing, a shock. If a bike has a shock on it it must be better right?  “Dang! You got shocks, pegs… lucky! You ever take it off any sweet jumps?” But like Napoleon learned, shocks aren’t always what they appear to be. The vast majority of shocks used on kids bikes are simply dead weight. Providing very little dampening, negatively affect the handling of a bike (the bad ones) and adding up to 10 lb. to a bike, shocks often do more harm then good.  Yet they are found on almost every 24″ bike on the market. In fact, Cannondale, Specialized and many more high-end brakes don’t even offer a rigid 24″ bike (that’s not a road bike). Why? Shocks greatly increase the perceived value of a bike. Parents and kids want a shock, so companies slap one on (more than often a cheap one), over charge for it and watch them fly out the door.

The WOOM5 Supra, is a different breed of bike. Designed for peak performance, it comes complete with everything a young pre-mountain bike rider needs and nothing it doesn’t. Lightweight, low center-of-gravity geometry, 8-speed with SRAM trigger shifters, pinned pedals, knobby 24″x1.75″ Kenda Small Block 8 tires, and for an added bonus, a carbon fiber seat post. Coming in at a mere 20.25 lb. (on our scale which is often on the heavier side, 18.4 lb. listed), the WOOM5’s light and nimble construction make it one of the best mountain bikes for kids learning to shred.
WOOM5 featuresAs a comparison, Specialized top 24″ mountain bike*, the Hotrock 24 XC Boys Disc (MSRP $660), weighs 28 lb., and while it does have a front shock and disc brakes, for most kids riding a 24″ frame, the extra 10 lb. they add are simply not worth the added weight (*the weight for the new $1,550 Hotrock XC Pro is not yet available). Easier to balance at lower-speeds (which younger riders often prefer when tackling rocky terrain and tricky switchbacks), light weight bikes help kids learn the basics while building their confidence. While they certainly have their place, shocks are best left for more advanced riders, whose basic skills set won’t be as affected by the increase weight.  This was evident in our testers beginning mountain biking class. As the only kids in the class not to have a shock on their bikes, their bikes were not only 10 lb. lighter than many of the name-brand bikes in the class, they were also easier to maneuver.

WOOM bike class

Like the Hotrock 24 XC, the WOOM5 Supra also has a SRAM X4 trigger shifters with a 11-32 cassette and a 36t chain ring.  Throughout our tests, the gear ratios were the perfect blend for street and trail riding. SRAM’s trigger shifters, however, did take some getting used.  Used to grip shifters, which require a simple twist up or down, SRAM triggers require kids to push one of two buttons with their thumbs to shift (shifting with your index finger only works for Shimano shifters). Not having to loosen their grip on the handlebars to change gears, the trigger shifters are certainly better for aggressive riding, but the learning curve was much greater than that of grip shifters.

woom supra 1

Comparisons

For those not as interested in the technical aspects of the bike, a simple comparison to Walmart’s $100 NEXT full-suspension clearly shows why the WOOM is easier to ride.  Side-by-side, the NEXT has a much higher bottom bracket (where the crank arm attach to the frame) then the WOOM. This increases the center of gravity of the bike, making it significantly more top heavy and harder to gain and maintain your balance.  The narrower wheelbase and upright handlebars of the NEXT also force the rider to sit upright.  Lastly, the NEXT weigh 15 pounds more than the WOOM.  For a 70 pound child, the NEXT is 51% of his body weight, while the WOOM is 29%.  For a 180 lb. adult, this is equivalent to riding a 91.8 pound bike vs. a 52 pound bike.

 

WOOM vs. Trek MT 200

Compared to Trek’s only rigid 24″ mountain bike frame bike, the Precaliber (MSRP $299, previously the MT 200), the WOOM also once again has a lower bottom bracket, has flat, lower center-of-gravity handlebars, and is 10 pounds lighter.  To be fair, newer models of the MT 200 are slightly lighter, but not much.  Designed for the everyday neighborhood bike rider, the Precaliber is a big step up compared to the NEXT, but for those looking for an entry level mountain bike, the rigid Precaliber shouldn’t be on your list.

WOOM5 vs. Trek MT200

WOOM vs. Islabikes

Two great bikes from two amazing companies, but which one is best?  Similar in geometry and weight, the BEINN 24″ is the closest bike on the market to the WOOM5 Supra, but they do have some distinct differences.  While the WOOM is slightly lighter, the BEINN 24″ frame allows for a shorter minimum seat height. Since older, experienced riders simply need to be able to put their toes on the ground to get on the bike, a rider with a 22.5″ inseam can fit on a BEINN 24″, but would be a stretch for the WOOM.

WOOM5 vs. Beinn 24-2

*The current WOOM5 Supra weighs 17.8 lb.*

Supra vs. Beinn

The gearing, shifters and tires of the bikes, however, are the main distinguishing factors between the two.  The Islabikes has a SRAM grip shifter, while the WOOM has a trigger shifter.  Grip shifts are easier to learn, but can be problematic for aggressive riders.  The Islabikes also has narrower 24″ x 1.5″ Kenda Small Block 8 tires, which are better suited for paved surfaces as compared to the Supra’s wider 24″ x 1.75″ Small Block 8.

WOOM5 vs. Islabikes

The BEINN and the Supra also have different gear ratios.  While the both have a 11-32 cassette (the number of teeth on the rear chain rings), the Islabikes has a 33T chain ring while the has a 36T (front). While slight, the smaller chain ring makes it easier to get started to pedal, but doesn’t allow riders to ride as fast.  In the end, both bikes were loved by our testers, but the Islabikes is better equip for kids who ride mainly on pavement while the WOOM is better for kids who ride all-terrain.

WOOM5 dirt

Bottom Line

Designed for peak performance, the WOOM5 Supra comes complete with everything a young pre-mountain bike rider needs and nothing it doesn’t. Light weight, easy to balance and even more fun to ride, the Supra is perfect bike for helping young shredders learn the basics and build their confidence on and off the trails.  For those everyday, neighborhood riders, the 22 lb. WOOM5 (MSRP $449), is also great pick.

Where to Purchase

The WOOM5 Supra and WOOM5 are available directly from us.woombikes.com where all bikes are currently shipped free of charge!

      • Gary

        Thanks for the great review and comparison. I almost bought the Giant 24 disc before finding this. Now I’m going to go with the Supra for my 7.5 yo son. It was a hard choice between this and the Beinn but we mostly do trails. This is an upgrade for my son from a Hotrock 20″ with no gears. I wish I would have found your review a couple of days ago, it would have saved me hours of internet and phone time.

        • Glad to help! I’d love to know how he likes it once we gets it. It has been a game changer for my son as it truly helped him fall in love with mountain biking. I’m sure the Giant is a great bike, but for kids who just getting started, we found that they really don’t need disc brakes and shocks, which add a lot of weight. We are hoping to add a shock to the bike once in a year or so, but no plans yet.

      • Andre

        It’s time to get bikes with gears for my kids (5 and 8) so that they can actually make it off our incredibly hilly street. After considering the trek kid’s dual sport and some of the specialized mountain bike options, I’ve been basically toggling back and forth between this bike and the Islabikes Beinn. In looking at the specs for this bike, I was struck by how short the cranks are: 140mm (same as the Beinn 24 as it turns out). That’s the same length as the cranks on my younger son’s 16″ bike. I guess short cranks are something I notice because I often see some of the other neighborhood kids spinning like crazy on their 16″ bikes for very little reward. Anyway, I was wondering if this was something you picked up on – have you ever thought, “this bike could use longer cranks”?

        Thanks for these reviews by the way. They’re an awesome reference for the rest of us.

        • You are right, the cranks on the Islabikes are much shorter, but for a good reason. The cranks on most kids bike, especially big-box store bikes are simply too long, especially for the gear ratios of the bikes. Most kids bikes on the market actually use adult cranks because they are cheap and are mass produced. With a longer crank, the bottom bracket of the bike has to be as tall as an adult bike to prevent the pedals from hitting the ground (especially while turning). As a result, most kids bike have terrible geometry for kids. The bikes are tall and short, which is why many kids have a hard time learning how to ride a bike from the get go (more on this here, http://www.twowheelingtots.com/specialized-hotrock-12-review/).

          Islabikes set out to create a bike, from scratch, just for kids. One of the first thing they noticed is how high kids sit on the frame, especially compared to the tires. For kids, a lower center-of-gravity bike makes learning to ride and balance a bike MUCH easier. Sitting lower in the frame also allows for increased control and manuverability of the bike. In order to create the ideal body position for kids on a bike, a short crank was required. When paired with a properly geared bike and a lower-set frame, the efficiently of kids pedaling greatly increased, even with a shorter crank. My older two kids have both been mountain biking on their BEINN bikes and have done amazing on them. In fact, when in a mountain biking class last year, their bikes performed much better than many higher-end Specialized and Trek’s other kids had. Not only were the bikes much lighter, they had a narrower Q-factor, so they were easier to pedal and an overall better fit for their smaller frames.

          Hopefully that helps to answer your question!

          • Andre

            So in a strange series of serendipitous events, I noticed that Woom’s US distribution warehouse is in Austin TX, which happens to be were I live as well. I sent an email asking if I could come by to look at a 24″, they said sure, so I drove out that afternoon. Mathias (who run things here and was who was very friendly and helpful) told me to take one home at let my son try it out. It was raining that day and I didn’t want to put it on my rack, so I came back a couple of days later, they quickly set one up for me and I was on my way.

            I’ve attached some pictures for reference. My son was about 2 weeks away from 8 years old when the pictures were taken and his current height is just a hair under 50″ and his inseam is just a hair under 23″. The seat is at most 1″ about its lowest setting – the reflector bracket kept it from going lower and I was too lazy to remove it. As you can see, had could sit on the seat and still comfortably touch the ground. His riding position was quite comfortable. And he should have plenty of room to grow.

            Getting back to the cranks issue – my earlier comments were a little misguided. I did a little more research and I’m over my long crank snobbery now – which apparently has become very passé. I did notice that my son (who is used to riding a “mini” sized 20″ bmx bike with slightly longer cranks) experienced some awkwardness when he went to accelerate where would sometimes slip off the front of the pedal. I can’t say for sure what the cause of that was – it may have been the cranks, it may have been something else about the geometry, or it may just have been down to the fact that sometimes he’s not the most coordinated kid.

            General thoughts: it’s a great bike. He’d never ridden a bike with gears before, so there was a little bit of a learning curve there, but he was quite comfortable with it within an hour. He looked comfortable on the bike and the geometry seemed to fit him. I didn’t weigh it, but the bike was quite light – it was no hassle at all taking it on and off my bike rack. (My son’s other bike weighs less than 16 lbs – so it’s not like we were comparing it heavier steel bikes or something.)

            A little more on the shifters: I thought the trigger shifters were a little weird. The trigger to shift to a more difficult gear is behind the other trigger and underneath the handlebar, which seemed like quite a reach for your thumb. He said he was fine with it, but he didn’t have anything to compare it to either since he’s never tried any other shifters. Mathias said they now offer a choice between trigger shifters and grip shifters. Honestly, I’m not sure which we’ll choose when we order one, which we will definitely be doing.

            • John

              Thanks a bunch for these pictures! My 9.5 yr old daughter is about the same dimensions as your son in these pics. I wasn’t sure if the woom 5 would be too big, but it appears it’ll fit her. Thanks again!

      • Petra

        Thanks for the reviews. Your page was how we first heard of Woom. We are leaning toward the Woom5 Supra for our 7.5 yo who is riding trails. The light weight of the bikes is the biggest driving factor. I’m curious if anyone one knows if better to order directly through Woom vs amazon.

        • Glad to be of help, they are great bikes! As for ordering, all order goes directly through WOOM, so I don’t believe there is a difference as they will be processed and shipped directly through WOOM USA. If you purchase through Amazon, you do have some additional benefits in case there is a problem, but WOOM USA has top-notch customer service, so I wouldn’t anticipate any problems.

      • Andre Beskrowni

        We finally got our 2016 Woom 5 Supra. We had to wait a couple of months for the new model to start shipping, but they had it ready within a couple of days of their shipment being retrieved.

        There are a couple of changes for 2016, at least for this model. The most obvious is the new color scheme (see the reviews for the woom4 supra to see the new colors). I don’t love it, but my 8 year old son seems to think it’s pretty cool, and his 5 year old little brother (who has a blue woom4) is a little jealous of it, so it does seem to make the target audience happy enough. The other is that they’re now using a shimano shifter and derailleur. I have no idea if there is any quality improvement with the derailleur, the trigger shifter is a big improvement in terms of usability. On the previous SRAM trigger shifter, both triggers to shift up and down were to be operated with the thumb, and one of the triggers required quite a stretch, especially for small hands. The new trigger shifter uses a configuration most of us are more familiar with, with one trigger being operated by the thumb and the other with one’s index finger. (Note that you can also get grip shifters if you’d like).

        Other than that, it’s basically the same as the standard woom5 that mentioned in my comments below. Just lighter. My son’s very happy with it, and we already started doing some commuting rides on very hilly routes that he would not have been able to complete on his BMX bike.

        • Awesome, thanks for the feedback. WOOM had mentioned to me that they were changing their shifters, but I wasn’t sure when the new models would ship, so thanks for letting me know. I agree that the SRAM trigger shifters can be challenging. My son eventually got used to it, but still not great. My concern with the Shimano’s is that a child’s index finger wouldn’t be long enough to activate the trigger, but it sounds like it is actually easier than the SRAM? If so, that is great to hear! We have yet to find a shifter than is ideal for kids, but I hear that improvements are in the works, but no timelines yet.