If your woom bike has been hibernating in the garage – or if it just arrived – it is time for a quick check-up. Kids grow fast, and all bikes require maintenance to work properly. To ensure things go smoothly for your Rider, we’ve compiled a list of tips to set up, adjust, and maintain your woom bike.
Bike Setup and Maintenance 101
Dialing in the Fit
First off, you’ll want to adjust the “fit” of your child’s bike for their safety, comfort, and performance. While many adjustments can be made on woom bikes, there are three main steps to dialing in your kiddo’s bike. Before we dive in on adjusting the fit, feel free to refer to our blog on “Bike Buzzwords” for a refresher on bike part names, diagrams, and simple definitions of woom bike components.
1. Adjust the saddle
The seat height is adjusted by opening the quick-release clamp or loosening the seat clamp screw on the seat post and sliding the saddle (a.k.a. seat) up or down. New Riders, such as kids on balance bikes or who are trying out a pedal bike for the first time, should be able to place their feet flat on the ground while seated. More experienced riders should have their leg roughly 85 percent extended at the bottom of the pedal stroke—this means they’ll be on their tiptoes when seated.
Note the minimum insertion point marked by a horizontal line on the seat post when adjusting the seat height. Do not extend the seat post past this mark, as this poses a safety risk. As your child grows and approaches the maximum seat height, this indicates they are likely due for their next size woom bike.
2. Adjust the stem
Reach, which is the horizontal distance from the bottom bracket to the head tube (or in easier-to-understand terms, roughly how far away the handlebars are from the pedals), is adjusted on most adult bikes by changing the stem length. The current woom 4, woom 5, and woom 6 have a Vario stem, which adjusts to allow the bike to “grow” with your child (check out our video here!). On woom 2 and woom 3, parents can adjust the reach by tilting the handlebars forwards or backward. This adjustment can be made by loosening the bolt on the front of your stem. Ideally, when seated, a Rider should be leaning forward slightly with their arms coming down at a 40-60 degree angle.
3. Adjust the brake levers
Brake levers can be adjusted for smaller hand sizes by tightening or loosening the reach adjustment screw. Tightening it will bring the brake lever closer to the handlebars. However, be aware that overtightening this screw could require an additional brake adjustment. The brake levers also can be rotated up or down so that the Rider’s hands can comfortably reach them from a neutral position.
Are you looking for more information on adjusting your woom bike to accommodate your growing Rider? Check out our blog, “Watch your woom grow with your Rider.”
All bikes require routine maintenance. Before every ride, give your child’s bike (and your own bike) a quick “ABCD” check—AIR, BRAKES, CHAIN, DROP TEST.
Check tire pressure and inflate the tires to the recommended pressure noted on the tire’s sidewall in “PSI.” PSI stands for “pound-force per square inch” and measures air pressure. Check out our FAQ page for a PSI reference guide for our ORIGINAL bikes. Note that you can run slightly lower pressure for off-road riding.
Make sure the brakes are working correctly. An easy way to do this is by picking up each wheel, spinning the tire, and then pressing the brake lever, noting whether the brake pads are worn down or loose. Check out our “Gimme a Brake” blog for a deep dive into troubleshooting brake issues.
Like inflating your tires to the correct pressure, lubricating the bike’s chain should be part of your regular maintenance routine. A dirty or dry chain will likely make some extra (unusually unpleasant) noise when in motion, as well as slow down the Rider.
The often-forgotten first step is to wipe down the chain before applying any lubricant. An old funky toothbrush can assist in removing road debris from the gaps in between the chainlinks. After cleaning the chain, apply a high-quality chain lubricant onto each chainlink (rotate the pedal with one hand and apply the lubricant onto each chainlink with the other) and wipe down the excess lubricant with a clean rag. Depending on the season, the climate in your area, and the type of riding being done, you may choose to use a wet or a dry lubricant.
Okay, we know this one might sound crazy, but hear us out: Lift your bike by the seat and handlebars about 6 inches off the ground, then drop it (carefully - plan on catching it before it falls!). If you heard any rattles or loose parts, it’s time for a more in-depth look—some key things to look for are a loose stem, headset, wheels (either wheel bolts or quick-release skewer), and chain. If you have a bike with a derailleur (woom 4, woom 5, woom 6, OFF, OFF AIR, or UP models), you’ll also want to periodically “run through the gears” of the bike, making sure that it’s shifting well.
Tires - What to Do About Flats
Getting a flat tire is inevitable somewhere down the road, but with an ounce of prevention, it will be a rare event. The good news is the vast majority of “flat tires” don’t require a new tire – just a new tube. Before we cover how to replace a flat tube, here are a few pointers on how to avoid flats in the first place.
Preventing Flats Before They Occur:
Periodically check that your child’s tires aren’t worn out (a good sign is that there’s ample tread) and also check that there’s no debris stuck in the tire, like small pieces of gravel or glass. Be sure to keep a bike pump handy and inflate tires to the proper pressure before riding. And, of course, if you spot broken glass or other debris, instruct your child to avoid riding in that area.
If your tire is flat at the start of a ride, the tube may have fallen victim to a slow leak and need replacement. However, if it’s been a long time since you used the bike, you might just need to reinflate the tires (an easy way to check is to inflate the tire and leave it overnight—if it doesn’t feel any softer in the morning, roll on!).
Occasionally you’ll have the bad luck of running over a nail or sharp object that pokes far enough through the tire to make a hole in the tube inside. A puncture can cause a tire to very slowly go flat (even long after your bike is back in the garage), or it can deflate the tire immediately with a loud “whooooosh.” Other times there’s no sudden noise or dramatic result, just the “thwap thwap thwap” of a flat and floppy tire on the pavement. In most cases, you’ll simply need to patch or replace the damaged tube rather than replace the tire itself.
Determine the Cause of the Flat:
When you have a puncture, you’ll want to start by determining what caused the hole if you can. If there’s a small piece of glass still stuck in the tire, for example, replacing the tube without removing it will mean you’re likely going to have another flat quickly. Also, check the condition of the tire—if the puncture has caused significant damage or if the tire's surface is old and worn, replace the tire and the tube. For an in-depth examination of causes, solutions, and preventative measures, check out our blog, “Tires, Tubes, Flats: Everything You Need to Know!”.
Replacing the Tube:
To replace a tube, first remove the wheel from the bike and then remove the tire from the wheel using tire levers or your hands. Next, remove the old tube, determine where the puncture occurred if possible, and remove any remaining debris. Replace with a new tube of the appropriate size (tubes sizes are by wheel diameter), and inflate the tube slightly. Putting a little bit of air into it with a pump makes fitting it into the tire easier. Lay the tube inside the tire, work the tire back onto the rim using the tire levers or your hands, and inflate the tire. For video tutorials on fixing flats and links to replacement products, check out our FAQ page on fixing flats.
*PRO TIP: Many cyclists carry a “flat kit” on their rides. A saddlebag that attaches to the bike’s seat post usually includes a spare tube, tire levers, and a frame pump (or inflator and CO2 cartridge). Having this dedicated bag “live” on your bike allows you to easily change a flat tire wherever it occurs to avoid getting stranded.
Cleaning Your Bike
After your child is set up and riding, we recommend regularly washing your bike. It will help keep it in good working order and make its components last much longer. Check out our “How to Clean Your Bike” article, where we have outlined a simple process that can be used for washing almost any bike.