• Country

Kids’ Bike with an Automatic Gear Shifter: Does It Make Sense?

By Adam Marsal

Every time new bike products for kids are released, they come with the promise of making it easier for them to cycle. One of those is a bike equipped with an automatic gear shifter by woom bikes. Who is it good for? Could the price of almost 500 euros be justified?

According to the company’s website, children riding woom bikes stop focusing on handling the bike and switch their attention to what is going on around them. This way, they will be heading out on their first big rides long before parents would expect it. How is it possible?

The thing is woom bikes are equipped with a gearbox in the rear hub that shifts automatically into the second gear at the speed of approximately 11 km/h. The kids do not need to deal with any complicated gear shifts as the whole process happens entirely by itself. In the same vein, even the parents are freed from taking care of the gears since they are completely hidden in the hub. Protected from water or mud, the gearbox requires no maintenance.

The bicycle is made for kids starting at the age of four. The idea is that children who are too young would not understand the reason behind changing gears and they also would barely recognise the right moment to do it. That’s why woom engineers decided to give them a little help. Now, everything happens automatically. But to be honest who needs automatic gears?

The bike expects the kid to be a master of riding on two wheels. If there’s any special benefit to mention, it would be the speed that would allow every kid to keep up with adults, enabling whole families to arrange real bike tours from now on. Easier uphill climbs, faster on the flat – that’s the main advantage of a children’s bike enhanced with an automatic gear shift. According to the official website, the bike is suitable for children aged four to six with a recommended height of 105 to 120 cm.

A woom bike shifter
Children riding woom bikes stop focusing on handling the bike and switch their attention to what is going on around them. © woom

With the lower gear engaged, climbing hills is possible with less effort while sitting on the seat. On top of that, some kids could climb steeper trails for the first time. On the other hand, when automatic transmission jumps into second gear, kids get a sudden boost that lets them ride almost at adult speed without having to pedal at high frequency. The ease of keeping speed with parents encourages kids to join for longer trips, bringing joy to the whole family. Thanks to the child-friendly total weight of under 7 kg, even slopes do not slow down the fun.

At a price of almost 500 euros, the bike seems to be a considerable investment when intended only for ages 4 through 6, which the kids quickly outgrow. But – seeing further into the future – the investment doesn’t only go into the hardware. Bringing more fun to riding and enabling them to spend more time together on two wheels promises that the kids grow into avid cyclists who will likely keep the habit up well into adulthood. From this point, at least, spending a relatively large sum on a kid’s bike looks like a profitable deal.