woom Original 3 Automagic Review
The woom Original 3 Automagic is the latest edition to woom's brilliant children's bike range.
With no other 16" wheel bikes on the market that offer the option of changing gear (that we are aware of) we were excited to get our hands on the Automagic and see if its magic gear box really was as good as woom's advertising makes it look.
If you'd like more information about the specs of this bike then our first impressions review is a brilliant place to start.
And if your sprog isn't quite at the level of needing magic gears, you can check out 4-year old Jessica's woom 3 review.
Disclosure: Cycle Sprog were sent the woom 3 Original Automagic to review from The Little Bike Company. We were not paid to write this review, and all opinions are our own. We do use affiliate links so may get a small commission if you choose to buy through the links on this page. This funds the website, and we thank you for your support.
woom Original 3 Automatic review
woom Original 3 Automatic key data:
Price - £459.00
Weight - 6.1kg (without accessories)
Inside leg range - 47cm to 54cm (18.5" to 21”)
Age range - 4 to 6 years
Colours - Choice of 6 colours.
Pros - Automatic gear change, brilliant range of accessories and lots of colour options to suit all children.
Cons - Other than premium price tag and accessories come as an additional cost, the only negative our tester could find was that the chain rattle is a bit loud on the metal chain guard!
woom Original 3 Automatic scores
Quality - 5/5 - A high quality well thought through bike.
Weight - 4/5 - A little heavier than the non-geared option, but by no means heavy.
Value for money - 4/5 - A premium bike comes with a higher cost, but there really isn't anything else like it on the market and we love the automatic gears.
Customisability - 5/5 - woom offers a brilliant range of accessories, we added a stand and waterbottle and cage to this test bike and all were user-friendly and robust.
Resale value - 4/5 - There aren't many of these bikes out and about in the UK, so we think it will sell really well second-hand.
Final verdict - A premium bike, the automatic gears steal the limelight, but the bike boasts many brilliant features.
About our reviewer
Erin was 5 at the time of testing – she’s about 115 cm and a pretty competent little cyclist but isn’t quite ready for changing gears. She enjoys her wheels and has always been very keen to scoot and ride around since she was very small.
She has an older sister who has 7 gears - who she tries really hard to keep up with – so this bike was perfect for us to test. Will the automagic help here?
woom Original 3 Automagic first impressions
Erin took to the bike straight away, it looks great - bright red, has a gold bell “and my favourite part is that it has a stand!”.
Erin wanted to get on it straight away. It was light enough for her to carry down our eight steep steps and the quick release on the seat post meant we could set her off instantly.
Everything worked perfectly and she was immediately able to do some tight turns smoothly and use the brakes easily.
We (obviously) then took it for a test ride that same day and have been testing it fully for the last 5 months.
woom Original 3 Automagic in use
We’ve ridden the bike for about 4 months, ranging from gravelly forestry tracks, tarmac (mostly), some single track and grassy parks. These have varied from 1km rides to school to 10km rides. All of these have involved hills, some steep at ~15 -20%, and many short rides to school.
These were mostly during the summer, though as you’d expect in the Lake District, there was quite a bit in the rain. The bike seems to have stood up to all of it, while the tyres seem to get good grip both on tarmac and muddy trails.
When we go for rides and have to restart on the hill, Erin can often be the first person to get going, as she has a good enough low gearing to try, and doesn’t have to change gear before setting off, unlike her older sister or parent.
However, if the hill is too steep then she will still have to push, whereas her sister's Islabikes Beinn gear ratio means she can ride up.
So whilst the 2 gears on the Automagic are great, they are really only a medium term replacement for a full gear range.
Erin has loved showing her bike to her friends and they all seem to have been able to immediately ride it very comfortably, in control when cycling slowly.
The quick release on the saddle is a really good feature as well.
When I asked about how it felt to turn, Erin said it was really good: “I can do tight turns, watch” and showed me - she could!
We’ve had the odd spill and so far the paint work and handlebar grips have stood up to the job really well. All of these have been at low speed, so thankfully nothing serious (and all down to user error).
The only signs of damage are two very minor blemishes on the paintwork (a small scratch and a tiny fleck), and quite a few scratches to the stand from when the bike has fallen over.
It seems a tough bike, and these photos were taken at the end of our five-month testing period.
It mostly seems to be in the stem and handlebar, which along with the the comfy grips, seem to encourage her to stand up on her pedals to use her weight on the uphill. This is now something she seems to enjoy doing.
Automatic Gears- are they really magic?
The “automagic” gear hub is designed to automatically change gear at 7 mph / 11 kmph, which means that kids can have an easier gear ratio for slow speeds but then still have a way of maintaining speed as they get going before they top out.
The starting gear ratio is lower than other bikes we’ve ridden, so starting off (particularly on mellow gradients) and going up hills became easier.
Then as Erin got going, it was quite hard to tell that the gears had changed, though they had, as we discovered she could pedal faster than normal on the flat when trying to keep up with her sister.
We spent quite a bit of time discussing and testing the gear change. It took a while for Erin to notice that it had happened, which we think is a great sign, as they get the benefit without any of the extra mental effort of thinking about gears.
Now that we’ve talked about it she says “it makes a noise when it changes” and she can tell me when it has changed.
The real benefits of this are that Erin was able to get up some hills, restart on inclines and get further up some of the steeper gradients we have before she had to get off and push.
As Erin got more used to the bike, she was also able to stand up pedal while climbing.
This was a new skill for her to develop and something I think the higher handlebar and geometry has really helped.
Being able to do this combined with the lower gear ratio meant she was able to get up short, steep hills that she previously hadn’t been able to climb.
Components on woom Original 3 Automagic
The bike’s components are impeccable. The brakes are great, Erin has no problem reaching the brake levers and has really become confident descending on some of the steep hills we have in Kendal. The colour co-ordination on the levers is great as well, I think both of us found that useful.
The bell is also a winner, and easily won for purity of note compared to our random selection of Isla and Halfords bells when we were racing down the canal path.
The lightweight nature of the bike (this one came in at 6.5kg) also means that it’s very easy for Erin to manoeuvre over obstacles and light enough for an adult to carry.
It's been great to see Erin confidently try to get her bike through tight obstacles or up the steps to our house.
One very minor issue we found when riding the bike on rough ground is that the chain rattles against the chain guard, which as this is made of metal (nice bit of quality) does make a little bit more noise than the usual plastic cover. The chain tension bolts do allow you to minimise this, so it is worth keeping an eye on, especially after removing the wheel.
We added a little bag to the top tube (which fitted easily) so that Erin can carry her own things. We also received a woom bottle and cage to test which Erin is very pleased to have. Her other 16” bike doesn’t have space (and when we tried a handlebar one, it broke the first time the bike fell down).
The bottle cage was easy to fit, holds the bottle tightly and is still easy for Erin to get the bottle in and out. Erin does have to get off the bike to get the bottle out, though since she uses the stand whenever she does this, she doesn’t mind.
The bottle itself is really good and has quickly become her favourite. The mud cover lid is easy to undo for Erin. This is an issue we’ve had with insulated steel bottles. It also seals really well, far better than a normal bike bottle would. So it’s not a problem to put the bottle in a bag.
The bottle also seems to be very robust, already surviving table height falls to stone floors with only small dents.
We’ve tested putting normal bottles into the bottle cage: short 500ml bottles do fit, while 750ml ones catch the front wheel. However they do get covered in mud due to the positioning.
The woom Original 3 Automagic is a great bike, so the main question we’ve been asking ourselves around this review is how big a benefit is the automatic gearbox?
In our opinion the Automagic gear does make a great difference to the usefulness of a 16” bike, mainly as it helps on the restarts, gives them more of a chance at the hills, and means they can go a little faster on the flat.
This I think really comes into its own as the child gets confident at cycling, but won’t yet be able to use gears. So while you're spending more upfront, you may then get the benefit as the child grows. However, how big a benefit this is will depend on your usage. For us, living in the steep English Lake District, we would definitely look to buy one and will be looking closely at the rest of the woom range as the children grow.
We will certainly be sorry to see it go when we have to give it back.
We would also choose the bottle and bottle cage again, as while £17 does seem a lot, it is a very good bottle and it should last a long time.
“definitely would buy it.”
Where to buy the woom Original 3 Automagic
In the UK you can buy woom bikes trough The Little Bike Company, who stock the full range of colours (and other woom bikes) as well as lots of woom accessories. We fitted the bike with a stand and a woom bottle cage and bottle in this review.
You have a lot of colours to choose from for the woom Original 3 Automagic: blue, green, purple, red, yellow and anniversary red- which is the colour we have reviewed here.
Alternatives to the woom Original 3 Automagic
There aren't many bikes like it. We don't know of another 16" wheeled bike with gears, let alone magic ones!
The closest competitor is the Black Mountain KAPĒL 18" bike, which has a 7-speed drivetrain, and covers a similar size range to the woom Original 3 Automagic. It has has a clever design that enables the bike to grow with your child.
The Hornit HERO 20" is a slightly larger bike with a simple hub gear system with just 3 gears.
However both these bikes would only be suitable if your child is able to operate the gears themselves.
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