BUYERS GUIDES


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How To Buy A Scooter

The scooter is the hottest innovation in self-propelled transportation since inline skates. Anyone can learn to use them in minutes, making scooters great recreation for kids or adults. And since they're lightweight and usually fold up, they're a practical means of transportation as well. Scooters come in several styles, each adapted to different riding styles. So how you plan to use your scooter is the most critical factor in deciding which model is right for you.

Types of Scooters

Whether you're just looking to get from point A to B or to do cool new tricks, there's a scooter type engineered for you.

Folding Scooters

Common Traits

  • The most popular style of scooter, the standard folding scooter can be used to glide around the neighborhood, go to work, or even do tricks
  • Folding scooters are designed to balance compact size and lightweight construction for a smooth ride
  • You can collapse these models in just a few seconds, making them small enough to carry easily
  • These two-wheeled models typically feature polyurethane wheels like those on inline skates, but larger
  • Most folding scooters are made of lightweight aluminum or steel and have fender brakes where you simply step on the rear fender until it presses against the wheel and stops the scooter

Unique Features

  • A feature that provides the ability to do more freestyle riding is the kicktail - a portion of the deck that extends upward over the rear wheel. This provides the leverage you need to do tricks. Most freestyle scooters also have handbrakes since the kicktail prevents use of a fender brake
  • Three-wheeled scooters use 100 mm inline skate style wheels like a folding scooter, with two up front and one in the rear for extra stability

Electric Scooters

  • Bigger, heavier scooters designed to transport you short distances, such as around campus or your neighborhood
  • Battery-powered motors travel upwards of 10 to 20 miles per hour for up to 8 to 16 miles a trip before you need to recharge the battery
  • Most are made out of very durable aluminum
  • Rear hand brakes allow you to control your speed and stop easily
  • Be sure to check the size of the battery so you know how fast the scooter will go, and how far it can go between recharges to determine which electric scooter will suit your needs
  • Also make sure local authorities permit you to ride an electric scooter in public roadways before doing so

Gas-Powered Scooters

  • Usually faster and more powerful than other scooter types.
  • Runs on a gasoline engine.
  • Can have an extended range depending on the fuel tank size.
  • Also make sure local authorities permit you to ride a gas-powered scooter in public roadways before doing so.

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Scooter Components and Construction

There are many key components to consider when buying a scooter.

Folding Design

  • Most scooters are designed to collapse so you can carry them easily
  • Typically, scooters have a folding mechanism at the bottom of the handlebar assembly
  • You simply unlock the mechanism, fold the scooter and re-lock the mechanism to hold the scooter in its folded position
  • The handlebar assembly usually includes a quick-release lever allowing you to collapse the handlebars before you fold the scooter
  • A typical folded size for a scooter is: W 4 in; H 7 in; L 23 in
  • Most scooters weigh approximately 6 lbs making them very light to carry when folded
  • On average folding scooters can support up to 350 lbs

Wheels

  • Most scooters come with polyurethane wheels like those on in-line skates
  • Scooter wheels are usually larger than in-line skate wheels to make the ride smoother and faster
  • Like in-line skates, scooter wheels come with an ABEC rating for the bearings. The higher the ABEC rating, the smoother and faster your ride.
  • Standard wheels
    • Standard wheels (usually around 100 mm) are typically made of solid polyurethane with a small hub in the center
    • These wheels will go moderately fast speeds and provide a reasonably smooth ride
    • They are small enough that they won't be cumbersome if you want to do tricks
  • Large wheels
    • Large wheels (up to 180 mm) will clear cracks and bumps in pavement more easily, but are not well suited to doing tricks
    • These wheels are usually constructed of a spoked metal wheel covered by a thin polyurethane tire
  • Children's wheels
    • Some models of children's scooters come with large wheels with knobby tires for greater traction and safety
    • These are typically much slower than standard polyurethane wheels

Decks

  • The deck is the part of the scooter that you stand on
  • Decks usually range in length from 16 in up to 23 in
  • Most are made of lightweight aluminum or steel. However, some brands use wood laminate or wood and fiberglass laminate
  • Decks typically come with grip tape for better traction
  • Some scooters include a urethane cushion between the deck and the frame to absorb shocks and make your ride smoother

Handlebars

  • Handlebars typically adjust in length from as low as 22 inches up to 36 inches
  • Most scooters feature a quick-release clamp ring or push-pin adjustments on handlebars
  • Most scooters come with T-style handlebars that turn to let you steer the scooter. But a few models come with a ball-style grip where a rubber ball replaces the "T" at the top of the handlebar
  • T-style handlebars
    • T-style handlebars are like the standard handlebars on bicycles
    • These handlebars have two foam-covered grips extending from either side of the center stem
    • Most T-style bars turn to let you control the direction of your scooter
    • However, on some styles of scooters, the handlebars are fixed, simply helping you balance as you lean to turn the scooter
  • Ball-style handlebars
    • Ball-style handlebars replace the "T" at the top of the handlebar stem with a simple rubber ball-grip
    • These handlebars are always fixed
    • The bar helps you balance while you ride the scooter surfboard-style, leaning side-to-side to turn

Brakes

  • Most scooters have brakes to help you stop, especially from faster speeds
  • While the most common brake is a simple fender brake many scooters use handbrakes just like those on bicycles
  • Fender brakes
    • Fender brakes are very simple braking mechanisms
    • You just step on the rear fender, which is mounted on a hinged spring
    • The fender presses against the wheel using friction to stop
  • Handbrakes
    • Handbrakes use a caliper mounted on the wheel that you operate with a hand lever mounted on the handlebars
    • Just as on a bike, when you squeeze the lever the brake pads pinch the wheel and stop the scooter

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