woom Original 3 Automagic kids bike first impressions review
The woom Original 3 Automagic is a lightweight 16 inch wheel bike for kids aged around 4-6 years old. It's a geared version of the reputable single-speed woom 3 Original.
Disclosure: This article is being sponsored by The Little Bike Company, and they provided us with the bike featured.
Bike Model: woom Original 3 Automagic
Child age: 4 - 6 years
Height: 105 - 120 cm
Inside leg: 44.5 cm
Weight: 6.1 kg (13.4 lbs)
Colours: 6 to choose from
Warranty: woom offers a 10-year manufacturer's guarantee on aluminium frames, rigid forks, handlebars and stem (needs activation)
We like: Innovative gears added to an already impressive bike
What is the woom 3 Automagic?
Auto what? Yep, you read it correctly, it's 'Automagic'!
The woom Original 3 Automagic is essentially the woom Original 3 bike, which is their 16-inch single-speed (no gears) bike, with some additional magic added to help kids get up hills.
We’ve already reviewed the original woom 3, so know it’s a fantastic bike that withstood being ridden to school every day during a Cumbrian winter.
But woom are a company that like to innovate.
The magical bit is in the rear hub, which allows the bike to have 2 gears which shift, you guessed it, automatically!
The idea is that your little rider just rides around as normal, and the gearing will just work. We will come back to the magical bits later.
The woom Original 3 is one of 6 bikes in their Original range. The naming convention makes it simple to know what size is next: woom 1 is the smallest, woom 6 is the largest.
The woom 3 is suitable for those aged 4-6 or around 105 to 120cm tall.
woom describes it as a do-it-all bike, which is good as at this size your child is hopefully going to want to ride everywhere and anywhere.
It has a relatively upright riding position, narrow but knobbly tyres and a clean, stylish paint job.
The woom Original 3 Automagic bike oozes quality.
It's certainly not heavy but has a solidity about it, all the parts are high-spec, and are just what you would find on a full-sized bike.
woom (yep, no capital letter) is an Austrian brand started in 2013 in a garage in Vienna by Marcus Ihlenfeld and Christian Bezdeka. They responded to a gap in the market and children's bikes needing to be better and fit better.
Fast forward to now and they are a global brand committed to making great kids' bikes.
woom makes a few series of bikes. The woom Originals are the classic kids bikes, whilst the woom Now is their urban bike for older kids. The woom Off and Off Plus are designed for getting off-road, and the woom Up adds electric motor assistance.
woom have developed a strong following across Europe, and have a growing fan base here in the UK thanks to the Little Bike Company bringing the brand to our shores.
Specification of the woom 3 Automagic
Let's dive into the detail and see what's on board the woom Original 3 Automagic.
The frame is 6061 aluminium, which is a high-quality alloy commonly used in bike frames.
The fork is also aluminium and this all helps to keep the weight down to a very impressive 6.1kg.
This is 0.7kg more than the non-Automagic version, which is certainly a substantial increase, especially for smaller riders.
However with the base bike being so lightweight, we’ll reserve judgement on whether this will make much difference (especially as the gearing will make going uphill easier).
Starting at the handlebars woom have thought about this long and hard, and it's great to see a neatly colour-coded brake system.
The rear brake lever is green, as are the rear brake pads, which will no doubt help riders get used to which one does what.
It also allows parents to tell kids to 'pull the green one' rather than rely on left and right!
Grips are also child-friendly, ergonomically shaped and lock-on, so no spinning.
Under the fork, you find a steering damper, a rubber attachment which helps prevent any slow-speed oversteer, which is where a child turns too much and the bike folds over and no one is happy!
Wheels are specifically designed and built for woom and have stainless steel spokes and good quality bearings.
These are shod with narrow but knobbly tyres which will do well on a huge variety of terrain and surfaces.
The chain guard keeps legs and clothing away from the chain and the pedals are a good shape and small sized for a child's feet.
The frame is ready to take extras like adding a rack (£37) or adding mudguards (£32), or a kickstand (£14) which are all available separately.
Auto gears? A closer look at the Automagic
Right, so this hub gear thing. Those of us who are wise and mature enough (ok, old) to remember hub gears will know the name Sturmey Archer.
This was the brand that did gears first!
I could do a whole history lesson on gears, but for now, rest assured, this is tried and tested technology that has been around for a long time.
Inside the hub is some magic, so when the bike gets up to 11km/h, the hub changes gear and shifts into the next gear.
When the bike slows again, for example, on a hill, the hub goes back to the easier gear.
I think the automagic feature has great potential in giving your smaller riders the best chance of getting up hills and/or keeping up with older riders without the complexities of gear shifters.
This is a neat solution to the problem of children this age wanting to ride further and faster, getting frustrated on hills but not having the cognitive and physical ability to deal with using gears.
It also skips the other problem of lack of space for rear derailleurs on 16” wheel bikes.
Sturmey Archer hubs generally require little to no maintenance which is good news for busy parents too.
I'm pretty excited to see how our testers respond to this feature, as we live in a very hilly part of the UK where the riding distance for this age rider can be frustratingly short.
Geometry and fit
woom have considered every aspect of the bike and its sizing system through the Original range is easy to understand.
The woom Original 3 Automagic fits riders who are 4-6 years old or between 105 - 120 cm tall and is the only size woom bike with automagic gearing.
The saddle can easily be raised as they grow and the tall handlebars allow for some adjustment by rotating them to move the hand position further away.
For the pedals and cranks, they've made sure the pedals are small and narrower than standard.
They've also kept the Q-factor narrow (horizontal distance between pedals) which is good for narrow hips.
The bike frame has a low standover, meaning a child can stand in front of the seat with feet on the ground and not be sitting on the crossbar.
Who is the woom 3 Automagic for?
The woom Original 3 has long been a popular option at the premium end of the 16” wheel kids bike market.
The addition of the gears could be a game changer, allowing young riders to tackle inclines more easily.
So we think this bike is going to appeal to families who live in undulating and hilly areas, and often think “wouldn’t it be nice if they could change gear now”.
If you live in an area as flat as a pancake then the original version woom 3 will probably suffice.
So what do we think?
The woom 3 Automagic is an exceptionally well thought out bike, that can compete happily with the best out there.
It's not cheap, especially with the Automagic addition, but if you’re wanting a 16” wheel bike with gearing then the price tag could well be worth it.
If you are looking for a no-compromise kids bike that will deliver high performance and longevity, this is worth a look - either with or without the Automagic functionality.
What's next for the woom 3 Automagic
We’ve now given the bike to one of our young reviewers to put through its paces in the Cumbrian countryside.
Sign up to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when we have their final verdict on the bike.
Before you go.... the automagic gearing isn't the only way woom have been pushing the boundaries of kids bike design recently.
They've also launched a new range of kids city bikes with some very useful features.
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