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The scooter is the hottest innovation in self-propelled transportation since
inline skates. Scooters are easy to use and anyone can learn to use them in
minutes. This makes scooters the recreation vehicle of choice for both kids
and 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. They way that you plan to use your
scooter is the most critical factor in deciding which model is right for you.
There are a number of types of scooters available. Each of these scooter
types is designed for a particular pattern of use. Some scooters may
actually fit into more than one of these scooter category descriptions.
The next several sections seek to provide an explanation and a brief
description along with the uses appropriate for each scooter type. The
following is a listing of scooter types:
Three-wheel folding scooter
Gas motorized scooter
Electric motorized scooter
Folding Scooters are the most popular style of scooter currently available.
The standard folding scooter can be used to move around the neighborhood,
commute to school or work, or even do some tricks. Folding scooters are
specially designed to couple compact size and lightweight construction with
a smooth and enjoyable ride. Once you are done riding, folding scooters can
be collapsed in just a few seconds, making them small enough to carry easily
on a bus, train, or car. Most of the two-wheeled models typically feature
polyurethane wheels (like those on in-line skates, but larger), commonly
about 100 mm. these types of wheels provide a smoother ride. Most folding
scooters are made of lightweight aluminum or steel and have a fender brake
that you simply step on near the rear fender until it presses against the
wheel and stops the scooter. This type of break is pretty effective.
Executive scooters are designed with efficient transportation in mind and
are ususally built for adults or older children. Correspondingly, these
scooters usually feature larger wheels--up to 180 mm--with thin polyurethane
tires designed to glide easily and handle cracks and bumps in pavement
smoothly. These large wheels make executive scooters faster. However, these
scooters are not ideally suited for doing tricks, but are better for smooth
rides. The decks on executive scooters are often a bit wider and longer to
accommodate adult feet and most executive scooters have a handbrake just
like those on bicycles. Although these models are larger, they usually fold
just like standard folding scooters.
Freestyle scooters are built almost exclusively for trick riding and stunts.
The most significant distinguishing feature on freestyle scooters is the
kicktail--a portion of the deck extends upward over the rear wheel. The
kicktail provides the leverage you need to do tricks and to stay on and
apply pressure to the deck with you feet. Also, most freestyle scooters
have handbrakes since the kicktail prevents use of a fender brake. The
handbreak still allows the user to stop.
Skateboard scooters are a hybrid combining a four-wheeled skateboard with
the handlebar feature from a scooter. Like freestyle scooters, skateboard
scooters with the classic skateboard deck are especially suited to trick
riding. Since skateboard scooters have smaller skateboard wheels, they are
typically slower than other scooters. Skateboard scooter riders can steer
by leaning to the left or to the right just like on a standard skateboard.
The handlebars are fixed to the board, unlike other scooters that can be
steered by turning the handlebars.
Three-wheel folding scooters
These scooters are a hybrid of the folding scooter and the skateboard scooter.
Instead of four or two wheels, these compromise at three. Three-wheeled
scooters use 100 mm in-line skate style wheels like a folding scooter, with
two up front and one in the rear. These scooters typically feature fender
brakes and fold up like a folding scooter. Like skateboard scooters, the
three-wheeled style lets the rider turn by leaning to one side. The handlebar
does not turn and may feature a ball-style grip instead of the typical T-bar
style. Most three-wheel scooters are made of lightweight aluminum or steel
and feature metal or wood laminate decks.
Gas-powered motorized scooters
The motor allows these types of scooters to achieve speeds of up to 15 m.p.h.,
though 10 m.p.h. is the norm. Because of their easy ride and increased speed,
motorized scooters are great for running quick errands in congested areas,
reducing pollution, and easily transitioning from on and off-road riding.
Check with local authorities for riding guidelines and restrictions. Most of
the models are not recommended for children under 12. Always wear a CPSC
approved helmet along with knee and elbow pads for protection.
Electric powered motorized scooters
Like gas powered scooters, the motor in these scooters allows electric
scooters to achieve speeds of up to 15 m.p.h., though 10 m.p.h. is the norm.
The good feature about electric scooters is the battery is easily rechargable
and often can be plugged into the wall. Most scooters can go between 8 and
12 miles on one electric battery. Check with local authorities for riding
guidelines and restrictions. Most of the models are not recommended for
children under 12. Always wear a CPSC approved helmet along with knee and
elbow pads for protection.
scooter components and construction
This next section is designed to provide information on various parts and
sections of a scooter to which you will want to exaimine carefully before
buying and electric scooter to determine if it will suit the needs of the
person that you are purchasing the scooter for. Here are a few sections /
parts of a scooter to look at carefully.
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. To fold, 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. Although the dimensions will
vary slightly depending on the type of scooter you are looking at. Most
scooters weigh approximately 6 lbs making them very light to carry when
folded. On average folding scooters can support up to 350 lbs.
Most scooters come with polyurethane wheels like those on in-line skates.
Although, scooter wheels are usually larger than in-line skate wheels in
order 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. The first type of wheel is the standard
wheel. 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 if they are clean and new.
They are small enough that they won't be cumbersome if you want to do tricks.
Large wheels, the second type of scooter wheel, on the other hand, (up to 180
mm) will clear cracks and bumps in pavement more easily, but are not well
suited to doing tricks. These large wheels are usually constructed of a
spoked metal wheel covered by a thin polyurethane tire. A third kind of
wheel is a children's wheel. Some models of children's scooters come with
large wheels with knobby tires for greater traction and safety. These
children's wheels are typically much slower than standard polyurethane wheels.
The deck is the part of the scooter that you stand on top of when you are
riding. Decks usually range in length from 16 in up to 23 in and most are
made of lightweight aluminum or steel. However, some brands use wood laminate
or a conbimation of wood and fiberglass laminate. Decks typically come with
grip tape for better traction. You can always add grip tape later as needed.
Some scooters include a urethane cushion between the deck and the frame to
absorb shocks and make your ride smoother.
There are two basic types of handlebards; B and T shaped. 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 and come with T-style handlebars that turn to let you steer the
scooter. However, 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 are
like the standard handlebars on bicycles and 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. On the other hand, Ball-style handlebars replace the
"T" at the top of the handlebar stem with a simple rubber ball-grip. These
handlebars are always fixed and he bar helps you balance while you ride the
scooter surfboard-style, leaning side-to-side to turn.
Brakes can be one of the most important features that a scooter has. 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 are very simple
braking mechanisms; you just step on the rear fender, which is mounted on a
hinged spring and the fender presses against the wheel using friction to stop.
On the other hand, 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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