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An Introduction to the Pro Scooter World
New to the scootering world? Wondering what this is all about? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Here are the answers to the questions that are probably on your mind.
What’s a pro scooter?
Most people are familiar with Razor scooters (and those made by Razor’s competitors), which became the number one outdoor ride-on toy for kids back in 2002. What a lot of parents don’t know is that scooters have come a long way in the decade plus since every kid in the neighborhood could be seen whizzing up and down the street on their scooter.
What happened is that as the scooter market evolved, kids started using their scooters to do increasingly challenging tricks. Eventually scooters were made with fixed welded heads, and pro scooters were born.
Pro scooters – also called kick scooters or freestyle scooters – are basically scooters on steroids. And scootering, as it is called, is now a popular lifestyle and urban sport, complete with competitions, pros and sponsorships.
Why are pro scooters so expensive?
“Expensive” is a relative term. Like the equipment for any sport, pro scooters are available in a wide variety of price ranges and quality levels. A big difference with pro scooters as compared to, say, bicycles, is that most riders do not start by buying a complete scooter. Instead they buy all of the individual parts, and create a fully customized scooter that is a reflection of their personal tastes and preferences.
Where do you ride them?
There are three styles of scootering, and each is named after the location where it is done:
- Park – This refers to scootering that is done in skate parks. The types of tricks done in park riding tend to mimic BMX-style tricks. Riders do flairs, back flips, coming up and down, bar whips, tail whips, bar spins, and more.
- Street – This is scootering on the streets. The types of tricks done in street riding tend to mimic skate board tricks, making use of whatever is available to the rider. Street riders grind hand rails, jump off of things, do big jumps or ledges, flips, tail whips, bar spins, and more.
- Dirt – This is scootering on dirt trails. Think of it like downhill biking on a scooter – you can take the same jumps and you can go off roading.
Can all scooters be used for all three types of scootering?
No. First, dirt scooters are a completely different category. Dirt scooters are designed to take a different type of impact, so everything tends to be bigger and beefier for dirt scooters. The hubs are large, the decks are usually bigger. Plus, a major difference is that dirt scooters have tires instead of wheels. Dirt scooters have a completely different feel to them than scooters meant for park or street riding.
Second, although most scooters can be used for either park or street, it’s usually best to have a scooter that’s built for the terrain and tricks for which it will be used. For example, park scooters usually have steeper head tube angles, shorter decks, and shorter handles than dirt scooters.
What is the “scooter vs. skate board” controversy?
While freestyle scootering is a huge and growing sport, it has faced a negative reputation from skateboarders. Skate boarders have always looked down on scooter riders. Scooter riders have had to fight to be allowed in skate parks, as many skate park have (or at least used to) ban them. Today, in the skate parks that do allow pro scooter riders, it’s not uncommon for 50% or more of the riders to be on scooters rather than skate boards.
What’s with all the pink?
There are no color boundaries here in the pro scooter world. So if you associate pink with “feminine,” get over it. To scooterers, pink is just another bright color in the palette.
Can you show me a diagram of all the parts?
Sure! Here you go:
What is “compression”?
Although compression sounds like a manufacturing method, the compressant is actually a physical thing that you purchase when you’re buying all of the parts to build a scooter. Compression is what holds the fork and bars to the deck, and how your headset stays on.
There are four types of compression: SCS, HIC, ICS and IHC. Different types of compression work with different types of parts. Talk to our sales people to be sure that whatever you purchase will all work together as a system.
What’s it mean to “get dialed?”
To have a scooter dialed means to get everything tightened and tuned up so that there’s no noise or rattling. When you shake a scooter there should be no rattling or movement whatsoever. When you stand on the scooter there shouldn’t be any movement between the handlebars and the deck. If there is, it needs to be dialed.
We just got the scooter dialed. Why do we have to do it again?
Just like a musical instrument, pro scooters quickly get “out of tune.” You would never say to a guitarist, “gee whiz, you just tuned your guitar last month. Why are you doing it again now?” It’s the same with pro scooters.
If you ride a scooter heavily, it needs to be dialed up every few days. Most riders get their scooters dialed at least once a week. If you bring or ship the scooter in to the shop, our experts will get it dialed up starting at just $5.00. You can do it yourself at home, but be sure you learn how to do it right so you don’t strip out the bolts.
But what happens if you don’t keep the scooter dialed? Besides the fact that it won’t ride as well and the parts will wear out more quickly, if you don’t keep it dialed a scooter can become a safety hazard. The axles (which hold the wheels on) or compression bolts (which hold the handle bars on) can all come lose, and parts can fall off.
What safety issues should we be aware of?
Just like with skate boarding and pretty much any other sport, there’s always a risk of injury. To reduce the risk, keep the following in mind:
- Helmets – Are a must. Always. No exceptions.
- Protective Pads – Knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards are an extremely good idea, too.
- Maintenance – Must be done regularly. As discussed above, the scooter needs to be dialed up at least once a week, and possibly more frequently depending on how heavily it is used.
- Parts – Wear out or break and need to be replaced. Keep an eye on them, and replace them before they become unsafe. See our parts page for a discussion of how to tell when it’s time to replace each of the parts on your pro scooter.
Does The Vault sponsor a pro scooter team?
Yes! Our team consists of Black Smith, Arthur Plascencia, Arami Bryant and Luka Bryant. We recently competed in one of the biggest scooter competitions in the country: the SD7 Freestyle Scooter Competition in San Diego.
What else should I know about The Vault?
The Vault is a full service pro scooter shop. We offer sales (both online to customers across the country and in-person at our Los Angeles retail store), service and repair.
Our Repair Department has the ability to repair any fixable part or scooter. And we’re happy to repair scooters that are shipped to us from anywhere in the continental U.S. So if you’re not one of the lucky few who live within driving distance of a pro scooter shop, don’t worry. The Vault can be your “local” shop! Our knowledgeable team members are just a phone call away, and our repair experts can help you keep your scooter in top shape.