Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC Review
If you were to walk around our garage it would be quickly apparent what bike brand we love most in the kid category. Woom bikes are the clear winner. We have 4 of them.
It’s not that we haven’t tried other kids’ bikes. It’s that we always come to back to what my kids know, love, and enjoy riding the most.
Even with the various personalities of my 5 kids, Woom has stayed the consistent favorite in the bike category.
What Makes Woom Special
So what makes WOOM bikes special? These bikes have been designed with kids in mind. Instead of thinking as kids as mini adults, Woom is a “kids only” bike brand. Everything about their philosophy and design is built around what makes kids most successful at riding bikes.
And that’s why kids love their bikes. They were designed specifically for them. The bikes are light weight, place kids in an upright body position and have a narrow Q-factor (the distance between pedals).
These are some of the key ingredients for Woom’s success with creating happy riders.
Beyond these key ingredients there are so many “little” details Woom has given thoughtful attention to (e.g. color coordinated brakes) and a steering limiter. These little things aren’t necessities but they help give young riders the best experience possible.
The result is that riders love their zippy bikes.
Release of Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC
If you’re already convinced that Woom is a great brand for kids’ bikes then you might specifically wonder why you would consider the Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC. Especially since Woom already has a great 16″ bike for kids, the Woom 3 ORIGINAL.
While both bikes look and ride similarly, the Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC is a bike that caters to a specific need and type of rider within the biking community; the rider needing an extra gear.
The result of a greater number of kids starting out on balance bikes is an increase in young riders that are confident and capable on pedal bikes. That’s where the Woom 3 Automagic comes to the rescue.
2 Speed vs. Single Speed. Woom 3
The Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC is a 16″ bike designed to give eager young cyclists a second speed option when riding.
Confused? It all comes down to the rear hub. At around 7mph the internal gear automatically shifts from a lower to a higher gear.
Internal gear shifting isn’t a new concept but is not widely used since the derailleur offers way more shifting options.
Why does this rear gear shifting hub matter? Eager riders can go further and faster in the higher gear without spinning their legs in out of control whirlwind circles trying to keep up. The result is a smoother and safer ride for the ambitious rider.
If you’re curious to read more about this shifter Woom has an entire article explaining the technical aspect of how this auto-shifter works. You can read about it here.
The Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC has many of the same features (including a few extras) that we love in our other Woom bikes.
Some of these standout specs include:
- Lightweight aluminum frame with a low entry position for easy balance and steering
- Steering limiter (this is a detachable rubber ring that helps kids from overturning)
- 50cm wide handle bars with a 19mm diameter grip
- Ergonomic comfortable grips
- Two independent easy V-brakes (*color coordinated to help kids learn which lever engages which brake)
- Kickstand (light-weight and easy for kids to use)
- Quick release seatpost clamp that is easy to lower and raise (my 5yo daughter can lower and raise the seat by herself)
- Easy maintenance drive-train with automatic two-speed hub gearing
- Partially enclosed chain guard (makes lubing the chain easy but prevents grease on legs/pants)
- Gear Ratio: 3.2 in low gear, 4.4 in high gear
- Q-factor: 6 inches
- Freewheel (no coaster break)
What is Gain Ratio?
Gain ratio is the ratio comparing the distance of pedal travel to distance of bike travel. Bikes with a high gain ratio are harder to start but maintain speed better once you’re biking and bikes with low gain ratios are easier to initially pedal but not able to maintain high speeds.
For more info on gain ratios, check out this post.
High gain ratios (3.7+) are great for going fast on flat terrain. Low gain ratios (<3.3) are better for cycling up hills and easier to initially start riding. Since you have two gears on the Woom AUTOMAGIC you have two different gain rations. This gives you the best of both gears.
What is Q-factor?
Q-factor is the distance between the pedals. The distance is measured from the outside of the left crank arm to the outside of the right crank arm. A lower Q factor is generally considered advantageous because the lower the Q-factor the more efficient a kids’ pedal stroke will be.
What this looks like when a kid is biking is that the legs will be less splayed out. 8″ is typical of most 16″ bikes. So the Q-factor design on Woom is superior for maximizing pedal stroke efficiency.
What We Loved About the Woom 3 Automagic
Before completing this review we tested this bike on a wide variety of surfaces. We know that parents trust KRB to be honest and accurate and this bike was put through the wringer by my rider for the purpose of doing a thorough evaluation.
This bike was tested in various weather conditions and on various trail surfaces.
My daughter rode the Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC on asphalt, pavement, gravel, dirt, and at lots of pump tracks. She also used it on hills (mostly small roller style hills and pump track hills) and flats. She even used this bike at a week long mountain bike camp.
The result of our putting lots of miles on this bike is that this bike lives up to the hype. We never had any mechanical issues with the shifting and all the thoughtful little details we’ve come to love in Woom bikes made all the difference in her riding experience.
I was nervous about the extra weight of the AUTOMAGIC versus the Original being a downside and this was not the case. The added benefit of being able to go further and faster for my daughter was a greater bonus than anticipated and the extra weight seemed negligible.
My daughter was also very comfortable on this bike. The upright seat position gave her an extra boost of confidence, especially at the bike park.
She kept up on long family bike rides and never complained about being “too tired. I’ve noticed when my kids are comfortable on their bikes there is far less complaining.
Having kid sized brake levers are a game changer as well. Color coded brake levers are handy too. Kids starting on a 16″ bike may not have their “rights” and “lefts” figured out but it’s easy to teach them to squeeze the green brake a little more etc.
Woom has set a very high bar and their careful attention to all the little details transform your child’s riding experience.
The Automagic is a great fit for a comfortable rider ready for some extra pep.
Comparison to Woom 3 ORIGINAL
If this seems like a great bike but you’re wondering how it compares to the Woom 3 Original check out the comparison chart below.
The bikes are quite similar overall. The main differences are in weight, price and the single speed vs. 2 speed option.
What We Would Improve on the Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC
Trying to find a “negative” on a Woom bike is like trying to tell someone what you don’t like about your favorite cookie. Perhaps it could be made with a few less chocolate chips (or not)?
Specific to the Woom 3 Automagic there are a few things to consider:
Most of what could be viewed as areas of improvement for their bikes come down to matters of preference and rider style. The Woom Automagic far exceeded my personal expectations. Initially, I was leery that the extra weight (1lb) for a 2 speed autoshifter might be unnecessary.
In the case of the bike freedom it provided my daughter I no longer think the autoshifter is an overrated feature.
What I’ve found is that it allows her to stay on a bike that fits her the best (16″) while being able to keep up on the bike the way she would if she was riding a 20″ bike with gears.
One down side to this bike is that you do pay a little more ($50) for the extra technology.
If you can’t stomach the extra expense for one more gear then don’t stress. Most features are the same between the Original and the Automagic.
In the event that you anticipate your child transitioning to a 20″ bike sooner than later that might be a reason to go with the Original vs the Automagic.
Our daughter’s experience with the Automagic shifting experience was that it transitioned pretty smooth and seamless. The times we noticed where it was less seamless was when she “attacked” a hill.
Sometimes a child’s natural instinct when approaching a hill is to turn on the gas. If this is your kid then they might find that the automagic shift to the higher gear cramps their riding style.
You’ve probably told your kids to “ease the squeeze” when they’re braking. When my daughter goes to charge up a hill I now use the phrase “ease the speed”.
This helps her to avoid shifting into the higher gear so she can save that for the downhill.
It seems there was a small learning curve for her in getting a feel for the bike on hills and having it be in the gear she wanted as she prepared to climb.
If she was in the high gear on a hill then sometimes she’d have to stop and push. Now that she’s ridden the bike longer she seems to have a natural feel for when the bike will shift and this is no longer an issue.
Option with Mountain Bike Tires
One other small improvement I would like to see is a bike like this in mountain bike form. We do a lot of riding on gravel paths and dirt pump tracks by our house.
The Woom OFF doesn’t have a mountain bike in their 16″ line up and I’d love to see a Woom OFF AUTOMAGIC bike. Is that too much to ask?
Woom 3 AUTOMAGIC: The Bottom Line
When friends have asked us why we love Woom bikes so much I often say that it’s easier to experience than describe.
A lot of joy comes from watching your little one take off on a bike and this bike is the perfect addition to your little one’s fleet. It serves an important need to meet the growing number of groms that are ready to take on “bigger” bike rides at younger ages.
This is the only 16″ bike I’m aware of that still gives your rider an “easy start” and the option to kick it in gear (literally).
This bike seems to be the perfect fit for our 5yo daughter. If your child is a similar kind of rider then I would expect that the Automagic would be a great fit for your child too.
Our daughter transitioned from a strider bike to a pedal bike when she was a new 3yo. She has always been an aggressive rider because she’s always trying to keep up with her two older sisters. At the same time she is petite for her age with super small hands.
We’ve tried her on a 20″ bike and we can make the fit work but she doesn’t even bother with the gears cause it adds another layer of complexity that she’s not quite ready to grasp yet.
That’s why the Woom 3 Automagic is the perfect fit for her right now. It gives her the ability to ride far and fast while keeping her confidence high since she’s on the best sized bike for her height.
Woom 3 Automagic Review
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