What to look for when buying a stunt scooter.
If your child has requested a scooter on which they would like to do tricks you are looking for a different type of scooter than just one to use for cruising. There are some important considerations to be aware of:
Avoid Folding Mechanisms
Decks are generally around 50cm in length and 10cm in width and most stunt scooters are aimed at kids from aged 8 plus. Younger children may benefit from a slightly smaller deck as it is easier to control with a smaller height and feet. When choosing a scooter and looking at the decks it will be worth considering the child in question. One scooter that has a smaller deck is the mgp vx mini pro.
There are many cases of younger children using the stunt scooters for over 8. How tall is the child? How big are there feet. My 8 year old has size 3 ½ feet so a standard size deck is fine for him which we bought at age 7. How long do you want the scooter to last for as obviously shorter decks will decrease the lifespan of the scooter for your child.
What are decks made of?
The deck tends to be made of aluminium which is strong but lightweight. Some aluminum decks have been heat treated to add extra strength and durability. In general, the more the scooter costs the better the quality of the deck. A more expensive scooter should generally have a strong deck with a lightweight design.
What size handlebars should I get on a stunt scooter?
Generally the handlebars should be around hip to waist height as this height offers better control. Sometimes its hard to know quite how high the handlebars will reach up on your child unless you see the scooter as it will depend on the handlebar height and how far the deck is from the ground. There are three types of measurement to look out for:
1.) Length of the handlebar
Generally handlebars range from range from 53cm to 60 cm (21"-23.5"). Some handlebars on smaller scooters for younger childen will be smaller and can range from 49cm (19.5")
2.) Ride Height
Some scooters will specify the ride height. This is the measurement between the deck and the handlebars.
3.) Full height of the scooter
Other scooters will specify the full height of the scooter. This is the measurement from the floor to the top of the handlebars.
Smaller children will want a handlebar which is narrower. Bar width tends to run between 46cm to 56cm (18" - 22"). So younger smaller children will be better with bars on the narrower side of this range. As kids/teens get older a good suggestion is to go by the shoulder width. So if they have 21" shoulder width, a bar of about 20"-21" shoulders will be a good size.
Rider Height and Size of Handlebars
The size of the person riding the scooter will have a huge bearing on the size of the bars to get. Smaller kids will want smaller bars than teenagers and adults.
For smaller and younger kids - There are some great scooters designed for smaller kids. These scooters have bars sized from around 18" to 20" high. Check out some option in this article on stunt scooters for 5, 6 and 7 years olds
From aged 8 - Age 8 plus is the recommended age for many first full sized pro stunt scooter. The bars on these scooters range from around 20" to 23". Smaller kids will want smaller height bars at around 20". As kids get older towards the teen years, they may pick bars anywhere between 20 to 24 inches. It will depend on how high they want the bars (if they prefer hip or waist height). Check out some first stunt scooters for kids.
Adult - A full grown adult will again be looking at 2o to 24 inch bars. The taller you are the bigger you want the bars. Adults over 6 foot will want 23 or 24" bars.
Most stunt scooters will have metal cores in their wheels and not plastic ones that you may find on a normal kick scooter. Again, this is because metal cores are stronger to withstand the extra punishment riders give their scooter at the skate park. You may also see metalized cores on stunt scooter wheels which are stronger than the plastic core wheels but not as good as alloy cores.
You will need a scooter with harder wheels (around ) again to withstand the impact of the tricks. You will see the hardness of wheels given as a durometer (followed by an A). With scooter wheels you tend to get durometers ranging from 74A to 88A. Stunt scooters tend to have wheels around the 84A to 88A mark. They are a little bit more hardwearing than wheels of other scooters.
Wheels will also tend to be on the standard side (around 98-100mm to 110mm). On higher end stunt scooters you will often see 120mm wheels. The bigger the wheel the smoother the ride as they absorb the impact from uneven bumps better.
As the construction of a stunt scooter has to be stronger, it will be heavier too. This means they are not great for carrying around if your child has had enough scooting. Most stunt scooters tend to weight between 3.4 and 4.5kg. Obviously lighter stunt scooters will be easier for younger kids to control and use. However, lighter but strong stunt scooters tend to be more expensive.
Higher End Scooters
As scooters get better specs (bigger wheels, stronger decks and bars), scooters can get heavier. A lot of what goes into designing higher end scooters is to provide stronger scooters but also keeping them lightweight to get the best performance when doing tricks. This is often what you are paying the higher prices for on the pro scooters. Very strong, bigger wheels but lightweight.
You will see two different types of brakes when buying a stunt scooter. A spring brake and a flex brake. A flex brake is superior as spring brakes may get rattly with lots of use (due to springs loosing their tension over time). Having said this, a spring brake may be find for a younger chlid who going to put let pressure on it when they use it.
Threaded vs Threadless Forks
Forks connect the wheels to the frame of the scooter. You will often see forks described as threaded forks or threadless forks. A threaded fork uses a thread cut into the top of the scooter fork to add compression to the headset and keep it all in place, which means they have a weaker point which can snap under lots of pressure. A threadless fork is stronger and tends to be found on more expensive scooters. Threadless forks are better and are what the professionals will use as they will last for longer but what you get will depend on the budget you have and how much you want to use the scooter.
The headset is the part that enables the fork tube to rotate within the head tube is the headset. The top pro scooters often come with a sealed headset which needs a threadless fork and a compression system. This helps the scooter run smoothly.
Many pro scooters have a compression system which is basically the way in which your bars, forks and deck are all mechanically attached together on your scooter. So, if the scooter has a threadless fork it will also have a compression system to hold the fork in place. There are three main types of compression systems HIC (hidden compression system), SCS (standard compression system) and ICS (internal compression system). They all have their advantages and disadvantages but if you are buying a scooter with a threadless headset you will need an compression system.
SCS compression - is the strongest compression system. It stays the tightest the longest, you don't really have to mess with it too often. It doesn't really wiggle loose as some of the other might. The downside to SCS compression is that it's the most expensive. It's als the heaviest. It doesn't add that much weight but younger, smaller riders might be better with one of other compression systems. But if you're a bigger rider and breaking parts - the durability of the SCS will probably be better for you.
HIC compression - if you prefer the look of double clamp, HIC compression is for you. It's one of the most inexpensive compression systems. You have to run oversized bars with HIC compression. It's weaker than SCS compression but should be fine for most riders but if you're snapping parts go for an HIC compression.
IHC compresssion - is the lightest compression system out there. You can run oversize and standard bars. It's easy to maintain and tighten the compression. It's very affordable too. It's the weakest compression out of all three. But if you're a smaller rider not throwing the biggest tricks it can be a good choice.
As stunt scooters tend to be built out of stronger material they tend to cost more too. However they also tend to last longer, so over time they may actually work out as a better investment. You should also be able to replace parts on many stunt scooters so that even when wheels and other parts have worn out you can still use the scooter for years to come if you replace just certain part.