Kids Gear

Your Little One’s First Ride—An Honest Review of the Woom vs. Strider Balance Bikes


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Graphics by: Aryana Johnson
Graphics by: Aryana Johnson

Like most kids of my generation, my first bike had training wheels. So when it came time to buy my toddler son his first bike, I was excited to see how far things have come. These days many kids start with a balance bike, which is essentially a bike without pedals that kids push along with their feet. The idea is that they eventually get up enough speed to pick up their feet and coast—and voilà, they’ve learned to balance on two wheels before they even start pedaling.

There are a lot of balance bikes on the market, but the brands I see most often at the playground are Strider and Woom. My oldest son learned to ride on a Strider Classic, while my youngest is currently riding the Woom 1. Both are designed for kids 18 months to 3.5 years and here’s an honest review of how the Woom vs. Strider bikes compare.


The difference in pricing for the two bikes is significant:

The marked price difference is a deciding factor for many people. We started our older child with the Strider for this reason. But another part of the cost consideration is how well the bike holds its value if you think you might resell it at some point.

Second-hand Striders tend to drop more sharply in value than Woom bikes. An eBay search revealed several Strider Classics for sale with prices ranging from $25-80. A used Woom 1, on the other hand, goes for $179-220 on eBay, and $199 on the pre-owned section of the Woom website. A note for current Woom owners or those in the market for buying a used Woom bike, the company announced a voluntary recall for the original Woom bike for bike models from 2018-2021. Woom offers a free repair kit if you have an affected bike. 

In terms of cost, Strider is the clear winner unless you’re certain you’ll resell the bike later on.

Source: @woombikes


Both bikes are extremely lightweight:

  • Strider Classic 6.6 pounds
  • Woom 1 6.7 pounds

This makes them two of the lightest balance bikes on the market, something that’s no small matter if you’ve ever lugged one the rest of the way home after your toddler decided they were done riding it.

Standard Features

The two bikes come with different standard features. For example, the Strider has a built-in footrest for when kids pick up their feet to coast, whereas the footrest is a $20 add-on for the Woom. While we definitely missed the footrest when we switched from the Strider to the Woom, it wasn’t a deal-breaker and we didn’t feel the need to purchase one as an add-on. 

A more important distinction is that the Woom 1 comes with a hand brake, while the Strider Classic doesn’t. You can add a brake on to the Striker for $20, but it’s a foot brake instead of a hand brake. 

I’d put Woom ahead in this category because of the hand brake, for reasons I unpack below.

Design Philosophy

For me the biggest difference between these two bikes is the inclusion of the hand brake on the Woom 1. This way kids become accustomed to braking early on instead of trying to stop themselves with their feet—which becomes harder the faster they learn how to go. And Woom uses a hand brake as opposed to a foot brake so kids learn to operate the brake from their handlebars, which is how bikes for bigger kids and grown-ups are designed. 

The downside of the hand brake is that it’s one more thing for kids to learn how to do. But it didn’t take my 2.5-year-old long to pick up the nuances of braking and learn that a gradual squeeze of the brake was more effective than depressing it fully and jerking to a halt. Having a brake also meant there wasn’t as much wear and tear on his shoes from dragging his toes on the ground as a stopping mechanism.

You can pay extra for a brake on the Strider but it’s a foot brake, meaning you reverse on your pedals to stop your bike. But, most older kids’ bikes have hand as opposed to foot brakes, so kids who’ve learned to depend on foot brakes could struggle as they transition to “big kid” bikes. 

The other design difference worth noting is the tires. The Strider comes with plastic wheels and never-flat foam core tires. This means they never need to be checked or inflated, which is super convenient. However, I did feel like they wore down more quickly. The Woom, on the other hand, comes with air tires that feel sturdier and absorb more impact when going over bumps or down curbs. And while I’ve never had one go flat, you do have to check the air pressure from time to time.

Despite needing to keep an eye on the tire pressure with the Woom, for me it comes out ahead of the Strider in terms of design. I appreciate the Woom’s sturdier tires and seamless integration of the hand brake.

strider vs woom
Source: @striderbikes


While I’ve tried to teach my kids the joys of a leisurely bike ride, they prefer to ride at full throttle. Given this, both bikes have held up extremely well even after being pushed to their limits of daily use and being packed in the car for multiple family road trips. The wear I’ve noticed on the Strider tires gives the Woom a slight edge here, but only by a hair.


The price point on the Strider makes its cost-value ratio hard to beat, and we loved ours. However, for parents who appreciate sturdier wheels and a seamless transition to a pedal bike with a hand brake, the Woom is the way to go. Plus the resale value of the Woom means you’ll likely get a large percentage of your purchase price back.

Shop Both Woom and Strider

If you’re still struggling to decide between the two, the good news is that you’ll probably be happy with either bike. And, more importantly, so will your little ones who’ll be excited to coast alongside you no matter which brand they’re riding.

Woom 1
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Strider 12″ Classic Bike
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