It’s not often that a kids mountain bike sells out within hours of its release, but after testing the woom OFF AIR, we aren’t surprised. The AIR is simply a magnificent beast that “floats like a butterfly (and) sting(s) like a bee”. Lightweight and responsive, it’s a magnificent rig for the price.
woom OFF AIR
MSRP: $869, $879, $899
BEST FOR: Kids aged 8 to 12 ready to tackle true mountain trails, who want a super lightweight bike with a quick and snappy air fork
SIZES: 20″, 24″ and 26″
WEIGHT: 19.8 lb., 22.4 lb., 24.3 lb. (w/o pedals)
What we love about the woom OFF Air
- An amazing build for the price, comes standard with hydraulic Promax brakes and SRAM X5 shifters and derailleur
- Ridiculously lightweight and nimble
- Great geometry for a solid all-rounder bike
- Lightweight, fully functional fork with adjustable rebound and lockout
- Solid Rocket Ron tires on lightweight rims with Schrader valves for easier fill-ups
What you should know before you buy
- The woom OFF and the OFF Air are exactly the same, the OFF Air just has a suspension fork.
- Both OFF’s are hard to come by. Don’t hesitate to buy or order one the minute they come back in stock.
- There is no internal routing for a dropper post
woom OFF Air Full Review – Results of our Test Rides
After giving the rigid Woom OFF a solid testing last year, we were super stoked to get out on the heavily anticipated Woom OFF Air model which is basically the same bike but now comes with an Air suspension fork.
If you want to check out my complete review of the woom OFF, click through to the link, but as a Cliffs Notes version, it’s a killer build for any young grom. So how does the bike hold up with an added fork? While I was able to find a few small tweaks that I would make for my son, it’s simply genius.
Woom has stuck with the majority of the same components as the rigid Woom OFF, and that’s a good thing. Brakes are hydraulic Promax stoppers with a 160mm front rotor and 140mm rear. Drivetrain is a Sram X5 1 x 9 with a 28t front cog and Cassette is 11-34t.
Nice short 110 mm cranks with a narrow Q-factor keep a kid specific stance when pedaling. Kid-friendly contact points with ergonomic saddle and grips are high quality and well thought-out. It even comes with a decent pair of pedals with some non life threatening pins, while still providing plenty of grip especially when wearing a pair of 5-10’s or Ride Concept flat pedal mountain bike shoes.
Lightweight and Nimble
With the addition of a suspension fork the Woom OFF Air 5 still only weighs in at 22.3 lbs., which is quite feathery compared to a lot of other options there. One thing I noticed on the Woom compared to my son’s Prevelo Zulu Four (which weighs 25.6 lb.) was how much faster he was on the climbs.
The Woom seems like it just wants to accelerate uphill. It was almost like my son was riding an e-bike and I was actually having to work super hard to keep up with him on the climbs. He just kept wanting to ride farther and farther as if the bike were rewarding him with a prize for every mile he put in.
The bike gets through tight corners and switchbacks on climbs with ease and just seems to dance its way through tight technical spots. Its lightweight and short rear end make the bike easy to lift the front wheel up and over obstacles as well.
Obstacles are also made easy with the OFF’s 2.35″ Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires with the performance ADDIX SPEED upgrade. Offering additional grip and mileage, the tires are a perfect match for OFF. Just remember not to over inflate your kids’ tires!
This will help the bike feel much more planted and supple and take out quite a bit of sting from the trails. My son loves hitting drops and getting air and doing that on this bike was a joy to watch.
I was really hoping the fork woom used would still keep the weight down on the bike and keep that playful attitude of the original rigid woom OFF bike. It looks like the fork is being made by RST, and in talking with woom, it also sounds like they will be selling that fork as an upgrade. So if you have the rigid version of the woom OFF you can put this same fork on it.
The fork is light and really does not change the attitude of the bike much. The fork also works! I have seen a lot of kids bikes with suspension forks and they are usually pretty worthless and just add unnecessary weight. This one is an air fork so you can adjust the pressure to the weight of your little rider.
Other kids’ air forks I have seen seem to have issues after lowering the pressure down enough for them to work for a lightweight kid. What typically happens is the negative chamber doesn’t have much left to give and there is almost zero rebound.
The fork that comes on the woom OFF AIR seems to keep its rebound even when run at lower pressures. I don’t have any details on the fork other than it has 80 mm of travel (on the 24″ we tested) and features an adjustable rebound and compression setting that you can lockout.
The stanchions slide effortlessly through the lowers with super smooth feel and little to no stiction (essential friction) as well. Other forks I have had on my other kids bikes end up needing to be lubed generously almost every ride to keep stiction at bay.
Descending, this bike tackles terrain at speed and loves corners. The bike can be pumped and pushed through corners very quickly and can pick up a lot of speed by pushing into the downhill side of jumps. Over smoother terrain and flow trails this bike rolls quickly and loves to go fast.
It does show its limits when trying to be pushed through steeper rockier terrain. The fork does a good job at eating up stuff on the front end, but the lightweight stiff rear end gets tossed around quite a bit proving that it is still a hardtail.
There are some pretty rad full suspension 24” bikes out there if riding rowdier downhill trails is on your list, but for most kids this bike will do just fine through most green and blue rated trails.
He was able to jump quite a bit higher and further on the jumps we have made in our backyard. He ended up pushing one of the landings back by about a foot and a half on one of the gap jumps we built because he was overshooting the landing on the woom OFF Air 5.
Drops became a bit easier as well due to the light weight of the bike and the short chain stays. The fork never had any harsh bottom outs either but still used up about 90% of the 80 mm of travel.
One thing that I felt could be improved with the OFF is a wider bar. My son has been riding with the SDG Jr bar on his current 24” bike which is 650mm wide. The bar on the Woom OFF 5 is only 600mm wide. He was far less stable on the downhills with the shorter bar and I could tell it gave the bike a bit of a twitchy nervous feel.
The bar is always something you could upgrade if you wanted to and it wouldn’t be a very expensive one at that. But I feel out of the box a bike like this that is made for hitting the trails needs a proper bar with a more modern length to match it’s very otherwise capable geometry.
The other thing I would liked to have seen is the ability to run an internally routed dropper post. At this price point I would not expect the bike to come with a dropper but a lot of other 24” frames are offering the option to run a dropper post now. Plus if the bike does not come with a dropper or have the ability to run a dropper I would like to see a quick release as well.
|Features||woom OFF Air||Prevelo ZULU||Cleary Scout|
|woom OFF Air||Prevelo Zulu||Cleary Scout|
|Best For||A "do-it-all" bike, lightweight especially good for long climbs||Kids riding downhill and on steeper, rough stuff, slacker head angle helps||Taking and withstanding a beating with rough kids and rough terrain|
|Sizes||20", 24", 26"||14", 16", 20", 24"||24", 26"|
|24" Fork||Custom air suspension fork w/ 80 mm travel, adjustable rebound, lockout||SR Suntour XCR 24" Air Fork, 80 mm travel, adjustable rebound, lockout||Suntour XCR LO 24” Air fork, 80mm travel, adjustable rebound, lockout|
|Brakes||Promax hydraulic disc brakes, 160 mm front, 140mm rear||Tektro hydraulic with 160mm front, 140mm rear||Tektro HD-291 junior disc brakes with 160 front and rear rotors|
|Shifter||SRAM X5 trigger shifter||Shimano DEORE RAPIDFIRE Plus||Shimano Deore M6000 Trigger|
|Derailleur||SRAM X5 rear derailleur, 9-speed||Shimano Deore Shadow RD+ 10-speed with ON/OFF Clutch||Shimano Deore M6000 10-speed mid cage rear derailleur with clutch|
After putting in some time on the woom OFF AIR, it became the bike my son seems to gravitate toward every time we have gone out on a ride lately. I started to think about why he picks that bike over some of the others.
As far as components they are all spec’d pretty similarly and all priced within about $30 of each other. Two things that really stand out for the woom that I think are a big contributor for kids squeezing out the maximum amount of fun are
(1) it’s super light overall weight
(2) the smooth stiction- free and quick rebounding fork
The lighter weight keeps kiddos from getting tired quickly. It also allows them to climb hills more easily and when it comes to getting a bit of air time the bike is easy to pop off jumps, roots, and rocks or just send it off the curb in the local streets.
The fork being able to work smoothly and rebound quickly means it’s actually soaking up the bumps and taking the sting out of mini-sized hands and arms.
Comparing the woom, Prevelo, and the Cleary, the Prevelo Zulu has the most modern and aggressive geometry of the three. When trails get a bit steeper and a bit more rowdy, I think the Prevelo is going to win here. The slacker head angle on the ZULU is going to feel more stable through higher speed downhill sections of trails and will provide more confidence on steeper, rougher stuff.
The woom and the Cleary will feel similar as far as geometry goes, however because the woom OFF AIR is so much lighter, it’s going to feel more quick and snappy. Kids will have an easier time riding the woom on longer climbs and just riding in general.
My personal pick for a good “do it all” trail bike would be the woom OFF AIR. For some people it might honestly come down to looks between the Cleary Scout and the woom. I also feel like the Cleary Scout feels a bit more solid and could take a bit more punishment than the woom OFF Air.
As far as who the Prevelo is best for out of these three bikes? I would suggest the Prevelo Zulu to the kid who is jumping a little bit higher, going a little bit faster, and riding stuff that is a little bit steeper and rougher. If you were to buy any of these bikes though you really can’t make a bad choice.
Our verdict on the Woom OFF Air 5 is a good one. This mountain bike will allow your young one to tackle a lot of trails with confidence. It’s an outstanding climber and a joy to ride on the downhill as well. Unless your kid is going to be riding the bike park with lift served access, this is a great pick for a do-it-all kind of trail bike for kids.
Woom OFF or Woom OFF Air?
If I were to buy a Woom OFF for my kids I would definitely get the Woom OFF Air. Since we regularly ride some rocky terrain, the suspension fork is worth the added weight. The weight of the fork was kept down enough that it did not impact the bike’s handling characteristics negatively enough to make any sort of bad impact. It definitely works well enough to provide a lot of benefits to the rider, taking out a lot of trail chatter and hand and arm fatigue.
For those who don’t regularly hit up rocky terrain or plan on catching air every chance they get, then I would save a few bucks and go for the woom OFF (non-AIR). It’s an amazing (and lighter weight ride) ride for those just getting a taste of the trails as well as more experienced riders with a love for flowy trails.