Unique in its purpose and exceptional in execution, the woom NOW is the ultimate bike for the young commuter. From hauling a heavy backpack to school to loading up your soccer gear for practice, the NOW makes carrying heavy and large loads a no-brainer. Simply strap on and go!
Far more than just a bike with a rack, true to woom’s nature, the NOW wasn’t just thrown together, but rather built from the ground up – specifically focused on making it easier for kids to carry larger loads. While seemingly simple in concept, woom put years of research behind their design – and it clearly shows. From their unique rack design to two different sized wheels, we’ll breakdown all the unique features of the NOW, and how well they performed when put to the test.
woom NOW Overview
BEST FOR: Young commuters who need a safe, easy, and reliable way to carry heavy and/or larger loads such as backpacks or sporting equipment.
woom NOW Sizes Breakdown
|4 NOW||$849||22.3″ – 28.3″||23.6 lb|
|5 NOW||$899||26.4″ – 34.3″||26.5 lb.|
|6 NOW||$949||29.9″ – 38″||28.3 lb.|
SPECIFICATIONS (ALL SIZES):
GEARS: 8 speed
SHIFTER: Microshift Grip
FRAME: Aluminum Alloy
BRAKES: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
What we love about the woom NOW:
- Design and concept works amazingly well. Unique features of the rack and the bike make it significantly easier and safer for kids to carry cargo as compared to using a standard rear bike rack or backpack.
- Smaller and lower front wheel helps keep bike stable when carrying heavy loads
- Bike comes fully equipped with rack, fenders, lights, frame bag, and kickstand
- Unique rack design is easy to load, easy to fold up, and doesn’t significantly affect the handling of the bike like a rear rack can.
- The design of the rack limits the size of items that can be loaded on the rack to prevent potential interference with the bike’s handlebars when riding
- Full coverage fenders prevent tire spray
- Dynamo hub powered front and rear lights greatly help to increase the NOW’s visibility
- Lights are very easy to use! They never need to be charged, automatically turn on when a child starts pedaling, and even have a standby mode to remain on when kids are stopped at a street light or simply coasting
- Mesh frame bag with magnetic closure makes it super easy to carry items too small to load onto the rack
What you need to know before you buy a NOW:
- Different wheel sizes means you’ll have to keep two tube sizes on hand in case of irreparable flats (the NOW comes with puncture resistant tires, but we highly recommend applying tire sealant to prevent flats)
- Microshift grip shifter on the bike isn’t the easiest to use compared to other high-end grip shifters, but could easily be swapped out if need be
- Front rack does block the rider’s view of the front tire. It took time for our testers to adjust to it, but with time it didn’t affect their riding
- Rack is removable, but there really isn’t a reason to remove it (it easily folds up when not in use)
- The rack is designed to carry a bag full of items (large or small). It is not designed to carry a pile of loose items (small items will fit in the included mesh frame bag)
- NOW models are slightly taller than the original woom line, and are several pounds heavier (due to rack, fenders, dynamo hub, etc.)
woom NOW Bike Review – Results of our Test Rides
Straight out of the box, our testers were intrigued by the NOW. Why does it have two different tires? Look at that rack! What can I put in the rack? Can I ride it to school? There is no question that the NOW certainly has a lot of curb appeal, but how does it perform?
While this woom bike isn’t the fastest or the most nimble, that’s not what it was designed for. The NOW was designed to help young riders haul heavy loads – and it does so phenomenally well.
With the NOW, you no longer need to hesitate or be concerned about your child hauling a heavy or bulky load (think fully loaded backpack, thick winter coat, or athletic bag) on their bike. The unique design of the NOW makes doing so easier, safer, and significantly more fun.
But even if you aren’t hauling gear, the NOW is still a phenomenal commuter bike. The NOW’s included full-coverage fenders help keep kids and their clothes dry while the dynamo hub keep the front and rear lights well lit to ensure visibility.
What We Tested
woom provided a woom NOW 5 as well as a woom NOW 6 to facilitate this review. Our main tester on the woom NOW 5 was a 10-year-old 4’6″ tall boy. The woom NOW 6 was ridden by an 11-year-old 4’11 tall boy and a 13-year-old 5’4 girl.
For this review, we also drew upon our experience testing out the discontinued woom 5 City commuter bike. The City model had the same frame as the woom 5 original, but came with woom’s rack, fenders and a dynamo hub.
Why a woom NOW? What’s the point?
If you have never witnessed a child loading up a traditional rear bike rack with a bungee cord (or have been that child yourself!), it might be hard to see the purpose of the NOW. From snapping bungee cords, to uneven loads sliding off the rack, and tipsy bike rides home (especially over bumps!), for a child, hauling cargo around on a bike is MUCH harder than many people realize.
Can kids do it? Of course. Have they been doing it for years? Absolutely. Do all kids need a woom NOW? No. But the woom NOW is a game-charger for those kids who regularly haul backpacks, gear, or other items with their bike on paved surfaces.
If you happen to be a biker, think of the woom NOW’s unique rack design like clipless pedals on a road bike or a dropper post on a mountain bike. Do you need them? No. Can you ride the same routes without them? Yes. But do they make riding more efficient and a heck of a lot easier? Absolutely.
Why not just use a larger backpack?
For the average child riding to school, a backpack usually works just fine. But for kids riding longer distances or carrying additional items, backpacks can quickly become problematic.
During the warmer months, kids often want to bring soccer balls or extra water bottles to school in addition to their lunch and necessary books. In the winter, sports balls turn to winter coats, gloves, and hats all fighting for a space in their backpack.
As a child’s backpack grows, so does its tendency to shift around on their backs while riding, which can lead to strained (and sweaty!) backs as well as unstable riding.
As a child myself, I remember attempting to ride home from school with a large backpack as well as my trumpet case. Let’s just say it did not go well, even when I used a rear rack. I can honesty say the NOW which have my life A LOT easier and my commute much safer.
What type of rider is the woom NOW best for?
Essentially any family who regularly rides their bikes around the city can benefit from the NOW.
Kids who would benefit from the NOW most:
- Commuting to school with a backpack, a smaller musical instrument, or other bulky items
- Getting to sports practices with necessary equipment (enclosed in a bag)
- Commuting to school in northern areas where it can be dark on the way to school or even the way home during the winter months
- Areas in which kids need to wear a heavy coat on the way to school, but not on the way home (bulky coats typically don’t fit in backpacks and aren’t safe for kids to tie around their waist)
What type of rider is the woom NOW NOT best for?
While the NOW is phenomenal, it certainly isn’t for everyone. For some kids, the original woom bikes along with a rear rack may be a better option (see comparison below).
Kids for whom the NOW may not be the best choice:
- Kids who need one multi-use bike that can be used on basic dirt trails as well as on paved surfaces
- City riders who never need to carry any cargo on their bike or ride in low light situations
woom NOW vs. woom Original + woom Rack
Why not just get an original woom bike along with woom’s rack and fenders? Having tested out the woom original with a rack and fenders as well, there are several major differences worth noting.
The main differences really come down to the ease at which a load can be attached to the bike, and the dynamo, self-powered lights (no need to ever recharge).
|woom NOW||woom OG + Rack + Fenders + Frame Bag|
|Total MSRP (woom 5)||$899||$786|
|Rack for hauling heavy or bulky items||✔||✔|
|Full coverage fenders||✔||✔|
|Frame bag for small items||✔||✔|
|Minimal shifting on rack||✔|
|Easy to use rack straps (no bungee cords!)||✔|
|Load has minimal affect on handling||✔|
|Dynamo hub to power lights||✔|
Looking at the MSRP comparisons, essentially with the woom NOW you are paying an extra $115 dollars for the ease of attaching and carrying loads on the bike, as well as the dynamo hub powering the front and rear lights.
Why can’t I just add lights to the woom Original?
You can! Adding a battery operated light isn’t hard, but it does require your child to remember to charge the light as well as turn it on and off. As a comparison, the dynamo hub on the NOW powers the lights via the spinning of the front wheel, and they automatically turn on and off on their own. They also never need recharging.
Adding a dynamo hub and corresponding light to a standard woom bike (or any other bike), will absolutely cost you more than $100 when parts and installation are taken into consideration.
The placement of the rear light on the woom NOW is also worth noting as it is located on the rear fender and is not obstructed by a rear rack. Installing a rear dynamo powered light onto a woom original that isn’t obstructed by a rear rack will be a challenge as well.
How much easier is it to load the NOW versus a the regular woom rear rack?
Night and day different. Loading up the NOW took less than a minute for our testers – with no corrections or instructions needed by parents. Loading a rear rack was quite the opposite as it took specific instruction from parents as well as lots of practice for our testers to get the load stable.
Even with a lot of practice, loads would still slowly slide or lean off the rear rack and backpack straps would often slip out from under the rack and dangle uncomfortably close to the rear wheel.
Then, of course, there were the times when a tester would accidentally let the bungee cord slide out of their hands and ended up snapping themselves with the cord. Not pleasant.
The main issue with traditional rear racks really comes down to the bungee cords and learning how to properly secure the loads. Bungee cords are just hard to use for young kids. The woom NOW eliminates the need for a bungee by using an easy-to-use, adjustable-length nylon strap with a buckle.
What size child fits on the woom NOW?
The NOW comes in three different sizes – a 20″, 24″, and 26″. All bikes are sized according to the rear wheel. The front wheels on all three sizes are smaller than their rear wheels, but that doesn’t affect the overall sizing of the bikes.
Compared to the woom original line, the NOW’s seat ranges as slightly different and tend to be a tiny bit taller on either the minimum or maximum seat height. If you need help understanding which size is best for your child, check out our Kids Bike Sizes Guide.
|woom 4||22.1″ – 27.9″||17.9 lb.|
|woom NOW 4||22.3″ – 28.3″||23.6 lb|
|woom 5||26.4″ – 32.3″||20.3 lb.|
|woom NOW 5||26.4″ – 34.3″||26.5 lb.|
|woom 6||29.5″ – 37.4″||22.1 lb.|
|woom NOW 6||29.9″ – 38″||28.3 lb.|
Is the weight of the NOW an issue?
If your child is on the petite side, it’s also worth noting that the added features of the NOW make the bikes heavier than a standard woom (as shown on the chart above). The NOW certainly isn’t as quick and nimble as other woom models, but it certainly still is fun!
Our lightweight 66 lb. 10-year-old tester had no problem handling the 26.5 woom NOW 5 loaded up with a 10 lb. backpack. And he was still able to bunny hop the bike!
Unique Features of the woom NOW
Now that we’ve established the purpose of the NOW, we’ll now break down the individual details that truly make these bikes shine.
Two wheel sizes
The smaller front wheel of the NOW is essential to its purpose as it allows the heavy load to be positioned lower on the bike. The lower load helps to keep the bike and the load stabilized, thereby minimizing how the added weight affects the handling of the bike.
While not unique to cargo style bikes (cargo bikes with smaller front wheels are often known as “bakfiets”), the NOW is the only child-sized bicycle that we know of that utilizes a front wheel to help stabilize loads.
The rack on the NOW is unlike any other bike rack we have seen. The out-of-the-box thinking by woom is really evident in the small details of the rack.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE UNIQUE NOW RACK
EASY TIE DOWNS: With a built-in strapping system, kids simply need to drop their items in the rack, buckle the strap, and then cinch down on the strap. No need to pull bungee cords tight – easy peasy.
The bottom of the rack is solid plastic to prevent backpack or other straps from dropping straight down into the front wheel. However, if kids forget to tuck the straps under the load, they could spill over the sides of the tray rack.
We didn’t have any issues with the straps coming into contact with the tire, but this is something to be cautious of. For less hassle with backpack straps, woom recommends loading backpacks with the straps facing back towards the rider.
STURDY MOUNTING SYSTEM: The rack itself is mounted directly to the frame of the bike via thick tubing at four different points. As a result, the rack simply doesn’t budge. It stays firm and doesn’t bounce as much as traditional racks which are often mounted via thinner mounting bars. Although very sturdy, for the safety of the child rider, woom has placed a 22 lb. weight capacity on the rack.
MAX HEIGHT LIMITER: The top if the rack bows outward to prevent kids from loading really tall objects that could potentially interfere with the handlebars when turning.
As shown in the image below, items taller than the bowed portion of the rack (shown by the yellow line) cannot be loaded on the rack as they would interfere with the handlebars.
LOW RACK PLACEMENT: In addition to lowering the center of mass of the load to help stabilize the bike, the smaller front wheel allows the rack to be placed lower than if a standard size wheel was on the front of the bike. This also allows the rider to see the road ahead of them more clearly as compared to a higher-positioned front rack on top of a full size front tire.
While the rack does not allow you to see directly in front of the front wheel, it does allow you to see several feet in front of the wheel which gives the rider time to react to the road ahead of them.
EASY FOLD UP: When not is use, the rack folds up and is held upright by an integrated elastic loop.
DUAL ACCESSORY MOUNTS: Two accessory mounts are located on the back of the rack. This allows for a quick and easy way to store water bottles or a bike lock.
The dynamo hub on the NOW allows the front and rear lights to always be “charged” and ready to go. The hub works quickly and efficiently as the lights turn on after a single pedal stroke. This is true even if the bike hasn’t been ridden in quite some time.
Both the rear and front lights also have a standby function, which allows the lights to stay on when the child has stop pedaling. This feature is a huge win for the NOW as it allows the lights to shine even when a child is stopped at a traffic light. The standby feature does not need to be turned on, it’s built into the light.
With the lights positioned on the front and rear fenders, the lights are not in danger of being blocked by the rack or any cargo.
Lastly, if you really need to, the lights can be turned off via a small switch on the back of the front light. The switch isn’t very noticeable, so it’s extremely rare that a child would accidentally turn off the lights.
Unlike the bells on woom’s other bike models, the bell on the NOW is activated by twisting versus being thumb activated. This simple change ensures the bell is readily accessible as it requires very little hand movement to activate.
Not just for looks, the fenders on the NOW offer full coverage and are durable to withstand the rigors of child riders. Whether riding through a puddle or through rain, the fenders on the NOW do a great job of minimizing (and often completely eliminating) the spray from the tires.
For extended durability, the fenders are mounted via rust-proof stainless steel stays.
Considering the front rack doesn’t hold small objects like a phone, keys, or a small snack very well, the woom NOW comes standard with a frame bag. This small mesh bag easily opens via a pull tab and automatically self-seals with a magnetic closure.
For added customization, the outside of the bag has three elastic loops to hold and display young riders’ imaginative artwork or signs. Each NOW box contains several templates that can be colored or used to trace and cut out additional templates.
General Components on the woom NOW
Hydraulic Disc Brakes
The ability to stop on a dime within the city can certainly be life saving for all riders. As a result, woom didn’t skimp on brakes and equipped the NOW with hydraulic disc brakes.
While the brakes did provide superior stopping power, the brakes on the tester models did need some fine tuning to get them properly set up. Once tuned, the brakes worked great without any concerns.
The NOW comes standard with 8 speeds on a narrow-wide chainring (which helps prevent chain slipping, more info here). It’s paired with a Microshift grip shifter and derailleur. All three models have a gain ratio roughly between 2 and 6, which provides plenty of gearing for basic city riding.
Our only complaint in regards to the drivetrain was the Microshift Grip shifters. While we have used several Microshift shifters on other major bike brands (including Specialized and Prevelo), the shifter used on the NOW was a bit of a challenge to use.
Moving to a higher gear took a considerable amount of force for smaller hands. On the opposite end, when shifting down, the gears jumped too quickly and easily for our youngest riders to properly control. While certainly not a deal-breaker, with time, we may consider swapping out the shifter on the NOW.
For additional visibility, the woom NOW comes equipped with 2.15″ wide Schwalbe Big Apple “ballon” tires with reflective sidewalls and built-in puncture protection. Big Apple tires are often called “balloon” tires due to their oversized, rounded design. The larger Big Apple tires hold more air than standard street tires, which allows for extra squish and cushioning to help smooth out the bumps along the way.
To prevent fatigue, the NOW come with the same popular ergonomic grips found on the woom original models. In addition to being really comfortable, the grips also lock on to prevent them from sliding off. Large bumpers at the end of the grips also protect hands from being pinched or squished in the event of the handlebars accidentally hitting a wall or other solid object.
Every woom NOW is equipped with a kickstand. Unlike traditional kickstands, the kickstand on the NOW will automatically pop up if the child forgets to kick it up before they hop on the bike and start pedaling.
woom NOW Kids Commuter Bike Bottom Line
The woom NOW is simply the best kids city bike you can buy. With every detail meticulously thought out, the bike is a true functional piece of art from the ground up. From smooth rolling, cushioning tires to the dynamo hub and unique rack, miles of smiles are sure to be common place with the woom NOW.