Scooters are vehicles consisting typically of two wheels which are connected by a long foot board or platform (deck) with a handle on a long pole attached to the front. The user stands on the board with one foot and pushes the other against the ground to move forward.
Their modern, more lightweight and resistant design, has led to their popularisation in everyday life: from their use in child’s play to being used as a means of transport as well as in the freestyle sports discipline.
Before buying a scooter, the first thing to consider is the use, as well as the user’s age and weight.
There are a series of technical terms that must be understood to choose a scooter:
- ABEC rating This refers to the bearings, which are found in the wheels and through which a bolt is run, help to turn the wheels more quickly. They are categorized by the ABEC standard. The higher the ABEC number, the higher the speed and smoothness of the rotation, and the more fragile they are. For example, for a child just starting out and to aid motor development, the logical thing to do would be to start with an ABEC 1 bearing, which will spin less and allow the child to keep their balance more easily.
- The hardness and diameter of the wheels Wheels made of hard rubber polyurethane allow better contact with the ground. The rims can be solid or perforated, and nylon (plastic) or aluminium, the latter lighter and more resistant. The Aero Core wheels (from the Madd brand) are suitable for the most expert riders, since they reduce the risk of mistakes in their tricks and receptions, while gaining in lightness. The rubber that surrounds the rim is made of polyurethane (PU). Its hardness is indicated by the abbreviation A. For example, a 75A wheel, is soft. This will provide greater comfort in the use of the scooter and better grip. On the other hand, the duration will be shorter. While a wheel 85A will be harder and will therefore have less grip but a very slow wear. The diameter of the wheels corresponds to the size of the wheels. The larger the diameter the greater the comfort and speed. For example, a scooter with a 150 mm wheel will be more comfortable and faster than a scooter with 100 mm wheels.
How to choose a scooter
For children’s scooters, the model must be chosen taking into account factors such as the level of psychomotor development, age, height or weight.
Children can start riding a scooter from 2 years of age. For this first stage, 3-wheel scooters are ideal, since they provide greater stability, therefore, they will learn to control them more easily. With this type of scooter the main objective is achieved, which is the child’s psychomotor development.
2-wheel scooters are better suited to children from 5-7 years who are already used to riding a scooter, allowing them to achieve greater speed and sensations.
Once the child has mastered riding a scooter, they will have to orient themselves towards scooters more suitable for their level, to continue with his learning. For trips with family, friends or commuting to school, a more comfortable and practical scooter is preferable. 125 mm wheels and ABEC 5 bearings will be necessary for this type of use. A folding system and a fork with suspension will make this practice much easier. The front suspension scooters are especially effective to absorb bumps and ride on uneven ground with greater comfort, although they are not recommended for freestyle practice.
Often, children who ride a scooter have the need to evolve towards more extreme sports, such as freestyle. For starters, it is best to do it on scooters. Some models, have a folding system that facilitates the passage of the scooter from child to freestyle scooter. These are accessible in terms of price but are less robust and become loose more easily.
For more advanced riders or freestyle professionals, it is advisable to choose to specific scooters that are more resistant to the consequences of wear or even breakage. Therefore, stronger and lighter models with better quality wheels which are harder, with less grip but with a slower wear are recommended over starter scooters. These scooters are evolutionary meaning higher levels can be reached and parts can be changed to move to the next level. The key to this level is to get a scooter with a light and durable platform, very good quality Metal Core type wheels, solid handlebars, preferably monoblock, a direction adapted, and fast bearings between ABEC 7 and ABEC 9.
For adults, your choice of scooter will depend on the length of the trips it will be used for.
- By short distance we refer to daily commutes of between 1 and 2 km. In this case, you should choose a scooter with minimum diameter of 175 mm wheels and ABEC 5 bearings, to facilitate movement in an urban environment. PU Plastic wheels, make it easier to start when stopped with minimal effort. You should prioritise lightness and comfort, for theses distances it is not advisable to have suspension, due to the extra weight it implies, to ensure you can carry it easily.
- By medium or long distance we mean urban routes of between 2 and 5 km per day. In this case your scooter must be comfortable, robust and fast. For this reason, a scooter equipped with 200 mm wheels and ABEC 5 bearings is recommended. The larger wheel diameter is ideal for long distances maximising its use and comfort. The PU wheels facilitate starting from standstill. The front and / or rear suspension will help you to better withstand the possible discomfort caused by tarmac in poor conditions of urban land. If you intend to carry the scooter often, then you should prioritise above all lightness as well as a reliable and safe folding system.
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