Perfection from top to bottom, the woom 1 is the cream-of-the-crop balance bike for young toddlers. Read the review below for more details on why it’s our favorite balance bike in all of our years of testing.
woom 1 Review
BEST FOR: Young toddlers in 18 months clothes through transitioning to 3T
WEIGHT: 6.6 lb.
BRAKES: Hand Brake
- Exceptionally built with attention to fine detail
- Easy-reach, responsive hand brake
- Air tires for extra traction and cushioning
- Removable turning limiter
- Low-step-through frame allows kids to easily get on and off the bike
- Available in 5 fun colors
- No extended seat post available
woom 1 Review – Results of our Test Rides
The woom 1 is “Best Overall” on our Top 10 Balance Bikes list!
Over the past nine years, we’ve tested pretty much every balance bike out there. And after testing over 30 balance bikes, the woom 1 is our clear winner.
Balance bikes are simple in theory. Two wheels, a handlebar, a seat and maybe a brake, what else could there be? If you’re looking for a toy, not much. But if you’re looking for a bicycle, balance bikes can be surprisingly complex. All balance bikes are not created equal.
So how does a child learn to balance? And what features of a balance bike make that process easier? Instead of rushing a bike to market, woom spent years researching how a child learns to balance and then designed and built a bike out of components fine-tuned for a child’s body. The result – the woom 1 – is a perfectly balanced bike that makes the process of learning to balance easier than any other bike we’ve seen.
And woom bikes just never stops innovating. When we first reviewed the woom 1 in 2015, we thought it was the best balance bike we’d seen. But each year they continue to tweak features and components in their ceaseless effort to make riding a joy for kids. For the 2019 update, they were able to alter some components to shave almost 2 pounds off the weight of the bike!
From handlebar grips to tires, the woom 1 was built to work specifically with the unique needs of toddlers. Not too big, not too small, the woom 1 is a delight to watch in action, as are the smiles on its riders’ face. Like a well-trained horse, the woom 1 obediently follows the child’s lead up and down hills, over jumps and around obstacles.
Unlike other bikes we’ve tested, our testers rarely looked down at the woom 1 while riding – as if they almost forget it’s there. They just simply hop on and enjoy the ride. The woom 1 was so easy to balance and maintain high speeds that our 3-year-old tester put his feet up to glide or took really long strides whenever he got a chance. Whether cruising on the bike trail or flying through the pump track, his feet were up and he was gliding.
Check out this video to see a toddler’s natural progression as she learns to ride the woom 1 from 17.5 months to just a little over 2 years old. This video represents a 10 month time span.
The woom 1 is one of the smallest balance bikes on the market, allowing kids as young as 18 months to start riding. With a seat height range of 10.1″ to 14.37″, it’s generally a good fit for kids in 18 month to 3T pants. If you’re familiar with previous models of the woom 1, the 2019 version actually has a lower minimum and maximum seat height than before. Taller and older kids would be a great fit for the newer and larger woom 1 plus balance bike.
Remember that the seat of a balance bike should be set 1″ to 1.5″ below your child’s inseam to allow them to sit with knees bent. This means the woom 1 is ideal for kids with inseams ranging from about 11.5″ to 16″.
A note about developmental readiness: Our 16-month-old tester in size 24 mo pants (91% for height) fits perfectly on the woom 1 at its lowest seat height setting, but is not yet developmentally ready to begin riding. In our experience, 18 months is usually the earliest age a child is ready and interested in starting the process.
UPDATE: 13 months later, our 16-month-old tester (now almost 2.5) is very tall and still going strong on her woom 1. She’s not quite maxed out on the woom 1’s seat height and has just a bit of time for growth left. (See below)
Geometry and a Natural Riding Position
While every single feature on the woom 1 is impressive, its overall frame design in relation to the proportions of a child’s body is what really knocks this bike out of the park. The biggest factor in a child’s ability to learn to ride and then love to ride a balance bike is the bike’s geometry and the child’s body position. Have you ever seen a 2 or 3-year-old on a tiny bike with training wheels? They look perched on top of the bike – bad bike geometry, bad body position.
woom, on the other hand, built the woom 1 with a long wheelbase that gives children plenty of room to maneuver and also sits a child upright where they feel most natural and at ease. woom’s research found that by keeping the rider’s body upright and their weight centered over the seat of the bike, a more natural environment is created and kids are more intuitively able to find and maintain their balance.
While most budget bikes also keep a child upright, their flawed designs perch a child on top of the bike, raising the overall center of gravity, and making it much more difficult to balance and maneuver. The woom 1’s long wheelbase, coupled with a drop down frame that lowers the overall center of gravity of the bike (as well as makes it easier for kids to get on and off the the bike!), allow a child to sit upright while keeping them low to the ground for easiest balancing.
Training Wheels vs. woom 1 Balance Bike
Handlebars and Grips
The slightly higher handlebars of the woom 1 also help keep a child upright by preventing the need to lean over to grab onto the bars. Its handlebars are set wider than most balance bikes for better control.
The grips on the woom 1 are new for 2019 and improved upon 2018’s already great design. These new grips are wider towards the outer palm to accommodate the natural contour of a child’s hand as they grip the handlebar – this also prevents hand fatigue. At 19 mm diameter, these soft, grippy holds are comfortable for even the tiniest hands.
While many (if not most) balance bikes don’t have handbrakes, it’s a feature we prefer every time. Balance bikes are designed so that kids stop the bike with their feet. This is fine and safe in most situations. However, as kids get older, faster, and more aggressive, stopping with their feet can really take a toll on their shoes! Additionally, once a child masters a balance bike, they can do some pretty cool stuff and ride faster that you’d think. For these kids, a handbrake adds another level of safety to the bike.
The woom 1 comes standard with a very short-reach (and adjustable!) hand lever that is light to the touch and easy for small hands to activate the mini V-brake. Be aware that most kids aren’t developmentally coordinated enough to use a handbrake until around their 3rd birthday. This is also around the time a child would start riding aggressively enough to need one.
Lightweight Aluminum Frame
Starting with a top-quality 6061 aluminum frame (rust-free!) and aluminum fork, the woom 1 is strong yet lightweight, durable, and responsive. While the 2018 version of the bike weighed in at just 8.5 pounds, the 2019 upgrade shaved almost 2 pounds off the weight of the bike! Now just 6.6 pounds, the woom 1 is even easier for kids to maneuver and handle than it was before.
This speaks to woom’s dedication to the details. The Strider balance bike weighs 6.7 pounds and has always been one of the lightest balance bikes on the market. It has foam tires and does not have a handbrake. The woom 1, which has air tires and a handbrake, now weighs essentially the same as the Strider!
One more thing about details: Mozart, not Kangaroos… we are dyyyyyying laughing. (See collage below.)
Wheels and Tires
woom 1’s proprietary SOOPA-DOOPA-HOOPS alloy rims are ultralight to help keep down weight, while also being durable and rigid to keep the wheel true. Aluminum rims are preferable to plastic (like you’ll see on most budget bikes) because they are far more durable and much less likely to warp.
Rust free spokes on the rims lead to a smooth rolling sealed hub where bearings are shielded from the dust and dirt that could slow down the tire with time.
And what about air tires? Those 12″ x 1.35″ Schwalbe G-One Speed air tires are just one more thing that keeps the woom 1 rolling smoothly! Most balance bikes on the market feature foam tires with a puncture-proof promise that they’ll never go flat. That’s true, but they also don’t offer any cushioning and much less traction.
Air tires are heavier than foam and also more expensive, but the comfort of the rider makes it easily worth it in our book. When put under stress (ex: when going down a curb or over bumpy terrain), an air tire will compress and absorb some of the impact, while foam tires will not.
woom 1 Air Tire vs. Strider Foam Tire
And while sure, flats and punctures can happen, in all our testing that’s been a very rare occurrence, even with kids’ pedal bikes. If you’re concerned, spend $10 and 15 minutes and apply tire slime sealant to prevent needing to repair and patch flats. Your child’s experience with air tires over foam will be worth it – we promise.
Headset and Turning Limiter
The stem and headset are also made out of alloy, to help reduce the weight of the bike without sacrificing maneuverability. The angled stem helps to provide the proper height while the spacers on the top tube allow for some height adjustment for younger kids (changed in the new model, see pics below).
To prevent sharp turns, the woom 1 has an elastic, removable turning limiter. Poorly designed limiters can greatly reduce the maneuverability of a bike or overcorrect, causing crashes. Elastic limiters provide gentle correction, do not limit maneuverability, and are easily removable for older kids who don’t need them anymore. In the event of a crash, woom 1’s limiter allows the handlebars to lay flat, protecting kids from additional injury. It also prevents the brake cable from being wrapped around the frame.
Saddle and Bolts
A padded u-shaped saddle, which dips down in the center of the seat, keeps little bums comfortable and also helps prevent them from sliding off the seat.
Rounded, flat bolts are an upgraded feature that ensures that little legs won’t get scratched on exposed metal.
woom 1 vs. woom 1 Plus
Larger than the woom 1, the woom 1 Plus was added to the woom line for preschoolers or tall toddlers new to balance bikes, as well as for those young riders who have outgrown their woom 1 and aren’t quite ready to transition to a pedal bike. With a seat height ranging from 15″ to 19″, the Plus is a great fit for kids in size 3T to 5 clothes. The 3-year-old shown below just moved into size 4T pants and has a 16″ inseam.
|Features||woom 1 plus||woom 1|
|Bike||WOOM 1 Plus||WOOM 1|
|Weight||9.5 lb.||6.6 lb.|
|Seat Height||14.8" - 18.7"||10.1" - 14.37"|
In addition to amazing bikes (woom also sells kids pedal bikes up 26″), they also offer some great accessories. Our favorite is their compact, foldable, wood bike stand. Small and simple, the rack can easily be used by toddlers or hung when and out of the way when not needed.
Bike Carrier Strap
woom also now offers an amazing bike strap! As any parent knows, toddlers and preschoolers can decide at a moment’s notice that they are done riding. Whether across the street or across the neighborhood, carrying a child and a bike home is less than ideal. woom’s strap allows you to throw the bike over your shoulder leaving both hands to carry your child (if needs be). Small enough to fit in your pocket during rides and comfortable to use, the strap sells for $15 at us.woombikes.com.
woom US offers the UpCycle program, a membership program that allows you to trade in your outgrown woom bike in exchange for 40% off the purchase of your next woom bike (they offer a 14″ through 24″ bikes). Enrollment in the program requires a one time $59 fee.
Since our first test ride with the woom 1 in 2015, it’s been our Best Overall balance bike pick. 4 years of innovation, tweaking, and perfecting later, woom has proven it’s the standard by which all kids’ bikes should be measured. That little woom 1 still reigns king in the world of balance bikes.