Easy and intuitive – the woom 2 is the perfect first pedal bike for balance bike graduates. In our review, we put the woom 2 to the test with 3 and 4 year-olds to see how it compares with other top brands.
woom 2 Review
BEST FOR: Any young rider advancing from a balance bike, and especially those who are hesitant or timid.
SEAT HEIGHT: 16″ – 19″
WEIGHT: 11.2 lb.
BRAKES: Coaster with Dual Hand Brake
FRAME: Aluminum Alloy
GAIN RATION: 3.7
Pros & Cons
- Super lightweight with high-end components
- Natural upright body position for comfortable riding
- Low center of gravity design makes it easy to balance
- Low minimum seat height allows young kids to start on a pedal bike sooner
- Green right-hand lever to promote safe braking
- Variety of colors available
woom 2 Review – Results of our Test Rides
Why a woom?
Watching kids ride has taught us a lot about bikes, but learning which bike they prefer has taught us 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’s fun to ride, not merely fun to look at. But what makes a bike fun to ride?
Over the years, essentially all of our testers have singled out woom bikes as their favorite amongst other high-end bikes. When given the option between the woom and others, one-by-one we’ve seen our testers chose woom. When asked why, their answers range 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 than the other high-end bikes, yet according to the kids, it is.
So what’s so different about woom bikes? After years of observations and detailed conversations with woom, we’ve 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 not only makes it easier to ride, but a lot more fun as well.
The woom 2 is a small bike and is great choice for young riders ready to graduate from the woom 1 or woom 1 Plus balance bikes. Kids graduating from the woom 1 plus (or any 14-inch balance bike) are more likely a better fit on the larger 16-inch woom 3.
Conversations with kids about bikes range from confusing to enlightening. Our conversation with our 4-year-old woom 2 tester (who normally rides a BikeStar) went like this: “So do you like this bike better than your other bike?”… “Yes!,” she exclaimed emphatically. “Why?”… “Because it’s blue!” Okay, well that’s not very helpful. But when asked specifically if riding was easier, harder, or the same on the woom, she immediately said easier. And in the simple, yet profound words of a 4-year-old, she explained, “It’s tiny! It’s just my size!”
So many kids’ bikes are just too much for little kids to handle. The frames are huge and heavy, and it’s basically a struggle for a child to ride. woom bikes, on the other hand, are tiny bikes for your tiny little person! Scaled to fit a child’s small frame, the woom 2 is designed for balance bike graduates who are ready to take on a pedal bike.
With a seat height range of 16″ to 19″, the woom 2 fits kids approximately 37″ to 43″ tall. As a first pedal bike, it’s important that both feet are able to be flat on the ground while a child sits on the bike. This allows them to stop the bike with their feet as they are accustomed to on a balance bike.
As a result, the woom 2 is a best fit for kids with an inseam of 16″ to 18″ who can continue to grow with the bike. Kids with inseams of 19″ will fit on the woom 2, but the woom 3 would be a better purchase choice if your child already has at least a 19″ inseam. Our 4-year-old tester below is maxed out at the 19″ seat height, while our 3-year-old tester still has plenty of room to grow.
3 Year Old (16.5″ Inseam) and 4-Year-Old (18.25″ inseam) on woom 2
With a high-quality, lightweight frame made of 6061 aluminum tubes, the woom 2 comes in at just 11.2 pounds. The woom 2 is the lightest 12″/14″ kid’s bike on the market – our 4-year-old tester easily lifted it up to try to put in in her mom’s car to take it home with her!
The lightweight “WOOM-SOOPA-DOOPA-HOOPS” alloy rims are connected to industrial bearing hubs by stainless steel spokes. The Kenda tires are wider than most (1.5″) to provide extra cushioning and also have a reflective safety strip for added visibility. With a slightly knobby, grippy tread, the woom 2 excels both on pavement and packed dirt trails.
Knobby 14″ Tires on Alloy Rims
A child’s body position on a bike plays a huge role in how comfortable they are when riding. During research and development, woom found that kids naturally want to center their body weight on the seat of the 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 ride a pedal bike for the first time.
An upright position helps kids to naturally balance the bike and also prevents them from straining their neck to look forward. As demonstrated by our tester below, the 14″ woom 2 has higher handlebars and a slightly more upright body position than competitors like the Prevelo Alpha One, which is better for more aggressive riders. The Prevelo‘s lower handlebars allow aggressive kids the option of leaning into hills, turns, or tricks.
woom 2’s Higher Handlebars Help Create Natural, Upright Body Position
While upright geometry is more comfortable for most kids, it also produces a higher center of gravity for the rider. Generally, a higher center of gravity makes a bike more difficult to balance and therefore, should be avoided. But to counteract this higher center of gravity, woom made some clever changes to their frame.
There are other high-end bike companies that have followed in woom’s footsteps, but the woom 2 is still the most upright of any bike its size, and based on our experience, they are the best at creating an easy-to-use pedal bike for the youngest riders.
Extended Wheelbase: First, they built the woom 2 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.
woom’s Extended Wheelbase vs. Budget Bike
Lower Seat Tube: Second, they lowered the seat tube of the bike, which places the rider lower on the frame of the bike. As you can see in the image above, the woom 2 rider looks like she’s sitting “in” the bike, while the rider of the Next budget bike looks like he’s perched on top of it.
Lowering the seat tube also allows for a lower minimum seat height. The minimum seat height of the woom 2 is 16.14″, while on the very popular Raleigh MXR 12, it’s 18″. Lower minimum seat heights allow younger kids to ride a larger wheel size, which helps to increase the overall stability of the bike.
Lower Top Tube: The last frame change woom made was lowering 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.
Q-Factor: In order to help maintain a natural body position, woom bikes have a narrow q-factor (or distance between the pedals), which prevents kids from having to splay their legs out in order to pedal. While several higher-end bike companies now feature narrow q-factors, woom was one of the first to do so, which was in stark contrast to the awkwardly wide-set pedals of many cheap bikes found in big-box stores.
woom 2’s Narrow Q-Factor vs. Wide-Set Pedals of Cheap Bikes
woom not only makes kids bikes, but they also take it upon themselves to help kids learn to ride those bikes. woom bikes include dual, easy-reach, color-coded hand brakes. Dual-handbrakes provide the best stopping power, but can be problematic for kids if they brake with the front brake by itself and not in conjunction with the back brake.
To prevent potential accidents, the right-handed brake lever (which is connected to the rear brake on the bike) is green to remind kids to brake with their right hand first. Additionally, the brake levers are perfectly proportioned for tiny hands. Easy to reach and easy to activate, they surely simplify the process of a child learning to use handbrakes.
woom’s Easy-Reach, Color-coded Right Brake Lever and Locking Hand Grips
As required by the CPSC, the woom 2 comes with a coaster brake (back pedal brake). We’re not fans of coaster brakes because they often delay a child’s mastering of 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 losing all the momentum they gained, kids may not be prepared to stop and often fall as a result.
Luckily, woom is on board with us and sells a $19 Free Wheeling Kit that allows you to “deactivate” the coaster brake. The Freewheeling Kit is actually an entirely separate rear tire that is fitted with a freewheeling hub, which allows kids to pedal backwards without stopping.
You’ll also notice in the images above that the hand grips have been re-designed from previous models. With an ergo-grip surface for extra comfort, they also lock into place so they won’t slide off over time (this does happen quite frequently with other bikes and is really annoying).
With a gain ratio of 3.7, the woom is easy enough to get started and is also able to maintain high speeds. A bike is easier to balance at higher speeds, and this higher gain ratio will allow young riders to gain more speed with every pedal stroke. As a result, it will be easier for them to balance the bike. The higher gain ratio also allows them to pedal slower (less “spinning legs”) to gain and maintain speed, which makes it much easier for kids to make a full pedal rotation around the crank.
While the Prevelo Alpha One also has a 3.7 gain ratio, the Specialized Hotrock has an even higher gain ratio of 4.0. The higher a gain ratio gets means it’s harder for the rider to get the bike started initially.
This may not sound like a big deal, but if you’ve ever seen a child ride their first pedal bike, they tend to stop and start a lot! So if every time they stop, it’s difficult for them to get started again, it’s hard for a child to build confidence and a love for riding. Our testers, who stopped and started frequently, had no trouble getting back into the swing of things with the woom 2.
The bike’s chain, chainring and rear cog are protected by a fully enclosed chain guard that serves a dual purpose. Chain guards, in general, keep your child’s pants from getting caught or from getting dirty from the chain’s grease. But a fully enclosed chain guard goes one step further by preventing dirt, dust, and debris from coming into contact with the chain – this means less maintenance and cleaning, and increased longevity of life.
woom 2’s Fully Enclosed Chain Guard
The woom 2’s seat height is easily adjusted with a quick release seat post. The saddle is ergonomically designed for the comfort of little bums and even features extra durable material on the sides so it’s protected when kids lean in against the wall or let’s be real, throw it on the ground.
Steering Limiter: A rare find on pedal bikes, the woom 2 features an elastic, removable steering limiter. While not necessary for confident riders, the gentle correction they provide is a great help to beginning riders.
Headset: An upgraded headset helps keep the handlebars and front fork aligned. It also allows the handlebars to tilt. A strong headset is essential for young riders because while learning to ride, they often fall. Poorly designed headsets easily become out alignment and adjusting a bike after every fall gets old really quickly!
Tiltable Handlebars: An extra little detail to help fine-tune the bike’s fit for your child, the tiltable handlebars can shorten the reach for kids with shorter torsos or arms as well as extend the reach for kids with longer torsos.
Kick Stand: On the woom 2, the kickstand is placed farther back than most kickstands so it doesn’t interfere with the pedal stroke.
woom 2’s Headset, Turning Limiter and Kickstand
Ease of Assembly
Honestly, I’m pretty sure my 7-year-old could assemble the woom 2 by himself. It’s that easy. It takes more time to remove the packaging that it does to actually put the bike together!
woom 2: With its upright body positioning, higher handlebars, and green brake lever for a natural riding environment and maximum comfort, the woom 2 is the perfect first pedal bike for most kids. It’s especially ideal for timid to average neighborhood riders who will quickly gain confidence with a bike that’s exceptionally light and easy to maneuver.
Prevelo Alpha One: Slightly heavier and with much lower handlebars than the woom 2, the Alpha One is a great fit for adventurous and aggressive riders that want to lean in to tackle hills, trails, and tricks. It’s also the smallest bike of the bunch, so if your child needs a pedal bike before they can fit on the woom 2, the Prevelo is a worthy option.
Specialized Riprock: With a gain ratio that’s higher than the woom or Prevelo, the Riprock will be harder to get started, which can be an issue for new riders, especially timid ones. The Riprock also doesn’t have handbrakes, is almost 3 pounds heavier than the woom, and its components and design aren’t nearly as high quality. It also has 12″ tires, vs. woom 2’s 14″ tires, which means less room for growth and a less stable ride. It does come with training wheels, which we don’t recommend, but if you’re dead set on them, the Riprock is a good option for you.
WOOM 2 Comparison
|Features||WOOM 2||Prevelo Alpha One||Specialized Riprock|
|Model||WOOM 2||Prevelo Alpha One||Specialized Riprock|
|Seat Height||15.9" - 19.1"||15.6" - 17.5"||17" - 19"|
|Weight||11.2 lb.||14.4 lb.||15 lb.|
|Brakes||Dual hand, coaster||Dual hand, coaster||Coaster only|
|Training Wheels||Not Compatible||Not Compatible||Included|
|Gain Ratio||3.7 - A little harder to get started, but easier to maintain high speeds||3.7 - A little harder to get started, but easier to maintain high speeds||4 - Most difficult to get started, but can maintain high speeds|
The Upcycle Program
Another rare, and impressive feature of woom bikes is their Upcycle Program. By purchasing a one time $59 membership fee, you’ll be entitled to trade in your outgrown woom for a refund of 40% off your original purchase or a credit of your original purchase price towards the purchase of a new woom bike. All trade-ins must occur within 24 months of the purchase date of the bike. The program 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 the woom US website.
With every detail fine-tuned and perfected, woom bikes are the gold medal standard in kids’ bikes. Especially in a size category that has traditionally been filled with awkward and difficult-to-ride bikes, the woom 2 14″ bike snubs the status quo and leads the way for all other bike brands to emulate. Well loved by all of our testers, the woom 2 is our top pick for young riders who are ready to advance from their balance bike to tackle a pedal bike.