What size is right?
- Where to start
- Tips for using woom’s bike finder
- woom’s inseam chart & tips for measuring
- Balance bike vs. pedal bike
- Size overlap: if a child might fit two sizes, should you go bigger or smaller?
- Sizing up: how long will it be before a rider “outgrows” a bike?
- Skipping a size
Where do I start?
If Goldilocks would have tried out the three bears’ bikes instead of their porridge and furniture, the experience would have been much the same. For every child, there’s a bike that’s a perfect fit: not too big, not too small...but just right. An inch or two can make the difference between frustration and fun, so it’s important to fit the bike to your child’s current size. Use woom’s bike finder to input your child’s size and skill level for a size recommendation, and also consider the tips below as you make your decision.
Don’t buy a bike that’s too big. Sizing up can seem like a money-saver since children grow quickly, but a bike that’s too big is more difficult for the rider to maneuver and can make a significant impact on a child’s enjoyment of riding. This is especially true when it comes to a child’s first pedal bike.
What to look for. As a general rule of thumb, your rider should be able to easily reach the ground with both feet flat on the ground and legs straight when the saddle is at its lowest height. Particularly for beginners and inexperienced riders, this contact with the ground improves comfort and safety.
Double-check with inseam measurement. Start with woom’s bike finder to find your child’s recommended size, but you can also confirm you’ve got the right fit by taking an inseam measurement and comparing it to the ideal ranges on woom’s inseam chart.
woom’s return policy. Still too big or too small? No problem! If you buy a product directly from woom, you can return the product within 30 days. We’ll even pay for the return shipping!
Tips for using woom’s bike finder
woom’s bike finder is on our main page under the heading “Find the perfect bike.” This tool may look simple at first glance but is backed by our exhaustively developed sizing system, which is derived from a large body of statistical data on child anatomy (data which is also the basis for the design of all woom bikes). The two most crucial factors are a child’s height and skill level.
Height: Once you’ve entered your child’s age, you’ll have a choice between “Small,” “Average,” and “Tall” when entering your child’s height. When making your selection, you should consider how your child’s height compares to children of the same age:
- Small: less than 45th percentile
- Average: 45th-75th percentile
- Tall: 75th+ percentile
You can also view woom’s inseam chart to check the ideal height ranges for each woom bike. This additional tool is especially useful if a child’s measurements fall closely between two sizes
Skill level: For skill level, you’ll have a choice between “Beginner” and “Advanced.”
- Beginner - A “Beginner” has less experience in riding and may be somewhat hesitant, cautious, or insecure. This rider may be unable to set off without help, for instance, and have difficulty turning. (woom recommends that all balance-bike riders, regardless of their comfort and skill on a balance bike, should be rated “Beginner” if making the transition to a pedal bike for the first time.)
- Advanced - An “Advanced” rider is one who already pedals with confidence and is very comfortable with mounting, dismounting, setting off, making turns, and braking.
woom’s inseam chart & tips for measuring
After using woom’s bike finder, you may want to consult woom’s inseam chart to confirm the recommended size, especially if a rider’s measurements fall closely between two sizes.
The inseam length is the distance from the inner thigh to the floor. Here’s how to measure your child’s inseam as accurately as possible:
- Have your child stand up straight against a wall wearing the shoes and pants likely to be worn while riding a bike.
- Take a hardback book and place the spine of the book, facing upward, at your child’s crotch with the same slight pressure applied by a bike saddle while riding.
- Mark the edge of the book’s spine on the wall in pencil.
- Now measure the distance from the floor to the marking as vertically as possible with a measuring stick. This measurement in inches is your child’s inseam.
- Now compare the measurement with the minimum inseam lengths in the table below.
Balance bike vs. pedal bike
On a balance bike, a child learns the crucial skill of balancing as well as the skills of steering and braking. When they’re ready for their first pedal bike, the transition is typically quick and easy because they’ve already learned the most important and difficult aspects of riding a bike and can just add the final piece of the puzzle: pedaling. (The best part? No training wheels needed!)
Children can start riding a balance bike roughly as soon as they begin walking (and have a minimum 10.1" inseam). The woom 1, with 12-inch wheels, often fits this youngest age group through 2 or 2.5 years old. The woom 1 PLUS is a larger size, with 14-inch wheels and a SURFBOARD footrest to provide a little bit of extra fun when coasting.
Older children who are too tall for the woom 1 or woom 1 PLUS can still learn to pedal using the same techniques. Any size woom bike can be used as a “balance bike” when the pedals are removed!
Size overlap: if a child might fit two sizes, should you go bigger or smaller?
The most common question about bike size that the woom customer service team receives is about the right size for a child’s first pedal bike: a woom 2 or a woom 3?
The answer is that we’ve often found it’s better to buy the smaller bike rather than the size that’s a little too large. Even if a child can confidently whiz around the neighborhood on a balance bike, the transition to pedals involves learning how to pedal while simultaneously maintaining balance, steering, braking, and making turns. At first, this will be a challenge that a child needs a sense of security to master.
Pros & Cons:
A larger bike will be harder to stop and start and will often require its rider to stand on their tiptoes. The child may feel less confident and comfortable, which could discourage the child from learning to ride or enjoying the bike. A larger bike is also less well-suited for off-road riding. If a rider is truly on the cusp of needing that larger size, however, the upsides are that the child will have a better position for efficient pedaling and will be able to use the bike longer before moving up to the next size.
A smaller bike will be more easy to maneuver and less intimidating, especially for beginning riders. The rider will learn to pedal sooner and with more confidence. The disadvantage is that the child will not be able to use the smaller size for as long.
Sizing up: how long will it be before a rider “outgrows” a bike?
Kids grow fast. Many customers wonder how much use they will get out of their woom bike before they’ll need to purchase the next size.
We’ve found, on average, that children will fall within the ideal height range for a bike (see our inseam chart) for about two years if the bike is purchased when the child is at the lower end of the height range.
A woom bike is an investment for the long term even when purchased for the short term, however. Made of durable, high-quality materials, woom bikes are often handed down to other riders, such as younger siblings. Demand for used woom bikes is also very high: a slightly used woom bike can sell for up to 80 percent of its purchase price. woom also offers the upCYCLING program — a bike can be traded in for the next size up within a two-year period with 40 percent of the original purchase price applied to the new model.
Skipping a size
If your child is already confidently riding a woom 2, woom 3, or woom 4, you might be wondering whether you should skip a size when you buy the next bike... A test ride or use of our bike finder will help you answer this question.
In general, however, woom advises against skipping a size. Even if your child is very confident riding a bike and can reach the ground on tiptoes with the next larger size, you should also keep in mind that skipping a bike size not only means riding on a bigger frame but also safely managing more weight; handling the smaller-sized bike will likely be easier for your child overall. This is especially true in riding situations that might require a quick reaction. Also consider that when moving up to the woom 4 and later sizes, gearing is added as a component, which will require additional attention and learning for the rider.
woom’s progressive sizing system is developed to ensure that at every age a child is riding a bike that fits just right. Also, with the Vario stem (on the woom 4 and up), the handlebars can be adjusted not only in height but in length, meaning that the bike “grows” with your child while offering an optimal riding position at all times.
We want to instill a love of cycling in as many children as possible. That is our mission. A love of cycling can only arise when a child feels safe and secure on a bike and has full control over it. This key condition will not usually be met on a bike that a child has to grow into.Go to our bike finder