Woom has earned a reputation in the kid’s biking world for pedaling some top notch bicycles (pun intended). Some critics have called the Woom 1 the BEST balance bike for your toddler—even perfect. So… is it? As an outdoors/dad stuff enthusiast, I couldn’t resist finding out.
In this Woom 1 balance bike review, I’ll dive into whether spending a bit more money on my toddler’s bike truly made a difference. Did she enjoy it more? Did she learn to ride faster (or better)? I’ll also address some commonly asked questions and give my ultimate verdict: Is the Woom 1 truly the best balance bike on the market?
Come along for the whole ride or skip to what matters most to you:
- What is a balance bike?
- Choosing a balance bike
- Woom 1 vs. competitors
- The verdict: the awesome and the wish-it-were-different
- Pricing and where to buy
- Technical bike stuff and other FAQs
- Wrapping up
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What is a balance bike and why should I get one?
I’m Tim, by the way—friend of Fathercraft, dad to the best toddler around, and Chattanoogan who spends as much time as possible outside. As a family, we make it a big priority to make the outdoors fun, engaging, and exciting for our toddler, Fia. So, we’ve had our eyes on a balance bike since she started wobbling across the living room for just that reason.
If you’ve never heard of a balance bike, you’re not alone. When my wife and I were talking about getting our daughter her first bike, the iconic image of pushing her down the driveway (feet on the pedals and training wheels flanking the side) popped straight into my head. But as we looked more into it, it was clear that a balance bike, which doesn’t have peddles or training wheels, was the way to go.
Why? As it turns out, learning to pedal is the easiest part of riding a bike. So, a balance bike focuses on the challenging part first, which is (you guessed it) balance. By mastering balance first, your child builds confidence in their ability to ride while feeling unstable. Then, once your child has mastered the fundamentals of two wheels, add in the pedals!
So, that’s it. No pedals. No training wheels. Just two normal-bicycle-sized wheels, a pair of tennies, and the open road (editor’s note: and a helmet, because we’re all about making safety cool here at Fathercraft).
Choosing a balance bike
After deciding that a balance bike was the way to go, it was time to figure out which bike was best. It had to score well in a few categories:
- Safety: I’m a firm believer in the let-them-do-it-themselves approach. But I also want to make sure they-do-it-themselves safely. As bike accidents are sure to happen, we needed our bike to have safety features resulting in less booboos and more woohoos!
- Size: Fia is on the smaller side for her age but also has less risk aversion than your average toddler. We wanted a bike that would fit her size and energy now but could also grow with her. We also needed the bike to be light enough to carry. Toddlers have a lot of strengths, but endurance isn’t one of them.
- Easy assembly: We are a family of movers. My wife and I both work and parent full time so there is not a lot of time for us to figure out how to assemble a dinner much less a 20-piece bike. I like to think I’m handy, but mechanical engineering was never my strong suit. The easier the assembly, the better.
- Toddler enjoyment: Maybe one of the most important factors… Our kid needed to actually enjoy the bike.
- Versatility: There is rarely a weekend where we aren’t going on a hike, playing at a park, camping, or visiting friends and family. We wanted a bike that could handle all our activities with ease. We’ve gotta be able to go from asphalt to gravel to dirt road to grass to gravel again and back to asphalt one last time.
So, how did the Woom balance bike perform in these areas? Let’s find out.
Woom safety features
It’s tough to beat a Woom bike’s safety features. Their bikes designed for children under 6 all come standard with a turn limiter designed to reduce crashes caused by overturning. Each bike also comes with rear brakes designed to fit into a child’s small hands.
Falling into the lowest size and age categories, we were deciding between the Woom 1 (weighing in at 6.6 lbs, 12″ and made for children ages 1.5-3.5 years old and 31-40’’ tall) and the Woom 1 PLUS (weighing in at 9.5 lbs, 14’’ and designed for children 3-4.5 years old measured 37-43’’ tall). Fia comes in at 2.5 years old and approximately 36’’ (measuring toddlers is difficult), so we opted for the smaller and lighter Woom 1. Out of the 7 color options (two of which are gradient) we settled on purple haze.
Woom also has options. The company carries a variety of bikes in a plethora of sizes from which to choose—the Woom 1 all the way up to the Woom 6—and four different lines (ORIGINAL, OFF & OFF AIR, UP, and NOW). Whatever your wants and needs, Woom has you covered with bikes for kids aged 1.5 to 14!
Right from delivery, we loved the Woom 1. It came in reasonably sized packaging which was easy to hide so our daughter wouldn’t see it when she got home from preschool.
The bike itself came mostly preassembled except for the handlebars made to attach by using a 4mm hex key (the small wrench they always provide) to tighten onto the stem. I wanted to go get my bike tool, but decided the tiny tool was good enough for this job. The seat was easily adjustable, and I was able to make my best estimation at where it would land before measuring. When my estimation was wrong, adjusting the seat was a cinch.
Fia’s face lit up when she saw her new bike! Armed with her excitement and a mantra given to her by this morning’s Daniel Tiger episode, Fia gave three Grrs, fastened her Elsa helmet, swung her leg over the easy clearance, step-through, lightweight frame, mounted the easy-adjustable seat, and pushed her 12” pneumatic tires into action. After a couple of false starts, a handful of seat adjustments, one solid test of the turn limiter, and dad’s personal check of the braking system, Fia was off on an adventure in the front yard.
We’ll talk about this a bit more in the final verdict, but she learned quickly, too. We were a bit surprised by how often she fell at first, but after a few days, she was cruising. Stay tuned for a video of her terrifying her grandfather by flying down the driveway.
Our Woom 1 balance bike has carved out its own personal spot in our trunk on all family outings. A local Oktoberfest, a trip to the park, and even a camping trip. No matter the surface, be it bike path, gravel, or dirt, the Woom handled the terrain with ease. And even when she decided she was done riding halfway across a bridge, we didn’t mind carrying the bike since it was so lightweight.
Woom 1 vs. competitors
How does our Woom 1 review stack up against other bikes and trikes? Fathercraft has tried two less expensive alternatives. My wife and I have first-hand experience with the Besrey Elfintrike—a grow-with-you bike we got off Amazon. And, fellow friend of Fathercraft, Matt, tried and reviewed the Strider Bike. We’ll briefly cover each below.
Woom 1 vs. Elfintrike ($69)
The Woom 1 wasn’t our first bike. Before Fia was ready to take on two wheels, we bought a small tricycle, which could be converted into a balance bike. While nifty, she outgrew it quicker than we had anticipated, and we never actually got to try out the balance bike phase. When we went to replace it, the Woom 1 had all the comforts it didn’t. A comfier seat, ergonomic handlebars, air-inflated wheels, and hand brakes. And while it was more expensive, we thought it was worth the investment. It’s also worth noting that Fia consistently asks for the Woom instead of the Elfintrike and has seemed to get more enjoyment out of the former.
Woom 1 vs. Strider Bike ($109)
Fathercraft also tested and reviewed the Strider bike, a quality balance bike sold at a lower price point. Matt only had good things to say about this bike: it’s lightweight without feeling cheap, easy for his toddler to use, and he admitted it looks “really cool.”
The Strider bike is ultimately a solid option, but it’s missing some of the safety features boasted by Woom, like the turn limiter and hand brake. And, although both bikes were easy to assemble, Woom has two pieces and Strider had four.
Which one should you choose? It might depend on how seriously you take biking. The Woom definitely has an extra touch that competitors don’t have. If that’s worth the extra money, the Woom might be for you.
The Verdict: Is the Woom 1 balance bike truly the best?
So far… yes. What was most impressive was the speed at which Fia was able to develop skill at riding! Her first time on the Woom 1 was a little shaky. Although it wasn’t her first time on wheels, it was her first time trying to balance. Yet, within the first week of having the bike, she was picking up both feet and gliding with ease across our driveway! It was so exciting seeing her be so proud of riding her very own bike.
- Looking for more toddler toys that foster independence? Check out our Lovevery play kit review.
The safety features are a nice touch: Does she know how to use the hand brake? Truthfully, no. But we like that we can introduce it to her. Plus, we believe the turn limiter helps her when she’s barreling down small hills.
Assembly is a breeze: You can’t even really call it assembly. It’s more “stick the handlebars on and go.”
It’s easy to carry or pack in the car: Because it’s so lightweight, we don’t have to worry about her running out of steam. And, it takes up permanent residence in our car, so that she can ride during any and all of our adventures.
Our toddler is crushing it: See video above. No further explanation required.
Just kidding, we’ll provide a bit more information. It actually did take her some time to get the hang of it. She fell a lot at first, but she kept going, and now she’s, well… terrifying her grandparents (and her mom). But we’re all psyched to see how this translates as she gets older and starts using pedals.
Lifespan: We love the Woom 1—and we wish we could love it longer. Because our daughter is on the smaller side for a 2-year-old, we went with the smallest bike. In a year or so, she’ll likely need something closer to the Woom 1 Plus.
Price: We would indeed be remiss if we did not mention the price point. Ringing up at $249, the Woom 1 skews to the more expensive side of the budget. Some might be wondering if the bang is worth the buck—and for good reason. In our opinion, if you want to see your child enjoy learning and riding a bike with a sense of independence, the Woom 1 is absolutely worth the price. If you think the idea of bike riding is interesting but don’t have a heavy investment into it at the moment, the Woom 1 might not be for you.
Pricing and where to buy
It’s easiest to purchase the Woom 1 directly from their website. That’s the quickest way to see the different color and size options—plus, they offer a no-questions-asked, 30-day return guarantee for a full refund if something doesn’t work for you (but only if you purchase from their site).
As far as we can tell, you can’t purchase a Woom on Amazon. But, you can find it at different outdoor retailers, like REI.
Woom 1 “technical bike stuff” and more FAQs
What is the Woom 1 bike’s geometry?
The Woom 1 has:
- 12″ tires
- 18.7″ handlebar height
- 68-degree steering angle
- 10.4″ minimum seat height
- 14.4″ maximum seat height
I’ll offer that my daughter fits onto the bike quite well (better than she fits on the Elfintrike). It simply seams as if it was designed for her.
How do I teach my child how to ride a balance bike?
You don’t. Your job is to provide the right tools (a helmet and a bike), the right environment (a flat surface to start), and some encouragement. You might find that your child is a bit clumsy on the bike at first, but with practice, they start intuitively figuring out how to balance.
How much does the Woom 1 weigh?
The Woom 1 weighs 6.6 pounds. That’s less than my daughter weighed when she was born.
Is Woom an American company?
Woom was founded in a garage in Vienna, Austria. It now has a corporate office and several dealers in the United States, but most of its production occurs at partner facilities around the world.
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