Even though scooters have been around for quite some time now, they’ve only just recently risen in popularity. Whether you’re looking for one that you’ll commute with, ride around the neighbourhood for fun, or perform tricks in the park, there are many models to pick from. You might wonder: “What are the differences between regular (kick) scooters and trick (freestyle) scooter models?” Even though they might appear the same to the unfamiliar rider, there are quite a few differences between them in their construction.
Trick or Freestyle Scooters
As their name implies, trick scooter models are meant for performing tricks in the skate park, hence they’re designed to be more durable than traditional scooters. This is achieved by using higher-grade materials in their construction, which also makes them more expensive. However, there’s much more to their construction than the materials used to make them.
For starters, they always come with a one-piece T-bar as the handlebar needs to be strong enough to withstand the extra abuse from performing tricks and jumps. That being said, if the scooter has a folding handlebar, it’s definitely not a freestyle scooter. The folding mechanism of the scooter will be a weak link and it’s going to be more likely to break when subjected to impact. The handlebar of a freestyle scooter is fixed, without a height adjustment mechanism to ensure there isn’t any weakness from the handlebar.
Furthermore, most trick scooter feature metal cores in their wheels instead of plastic ones that are the norm on traditional scooters. Again, this is simply due to the fact that metal cores are much stronger and capable of withstanding the extra abuse riders put them through at the park.
In terms of weight, it’s best to go with a light, yet strong trick scooter. This is so that you can maneuver and control the scooter easily, without the scooter breaking when performing tricks. However, most low-end freestyle scooters are going to be heavier than most traditional scooters, simply because their frames are constructed of stronger and heavier metal.
There are many different freestyle scooter models available, which explains the large differences in price. Top-end models have features such as compression systems and threadless forks that add to the price. Additionally, such pro trick scooters are usually made of lightweight, yet strong titanium, which because of its properties is an ideal material for the purpose. However, you don’t need a titanium scooter if you’re just starting out.
Traditional or Kick Scooters
Traditional, or kick scooters are designed for people who just want a scooter to cruise along the streets, commute with, or just ride around the neighbourhood. The materials used for manufacturing these scooters aren’t durable enough to withstand the abuse that comes with performing continuous tricks and jumps. Most kick scooters are designed with a folding mechanism, and some handlebars can be folded as well. This is useful for carrying and storing the scooter away in your car’s trunk, or school locker, for instance. However, this also means that the scooter will feature weak points, making it unable to take the strain at the skate park.
But since these scooters don’t need to be as strong as trick scooters, they’re also lighter, which again, makes them more portable. This is especially beneficial for kids, or parents who have to carry around multiple scooters at a time. As a result of all of this, kick scooters are more affordable, as the parts that comprise them aren’t as expensive. For instance, the wheel cores are plastic or rubber instead of metal. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t top-end kick scooters that are constructed of expensive materials, making them cost more than entry-level trick scooters even.
There’s even more variation in price when buying kick scooters, as there are far more brands that manufacture them. Regardless, you want to buy one from a reputable manufacturer that offers warranty and easily accessible replacement parts.
Complete vs Custom Scooters
Both kick and freestyle scooters, no matter what manufacturer they’re made from, come as complete models that are ready to ride right out the box. They don’t require any modification, making them ideal for beginners and casual riders who just want to ride. Custom scooters, however, require some knowledge to build. However, they provide you the freedom to choose your own parts and make a scooter that suits your exact needs and expectations. You’ll need a deck, solid wheels, brakes, forks, grip tape and a few other components. This also gives you some wiggle room when it comes to deciding on a budget, as you can mix and match the quality of parts you choose. Depending on the parts you choose, a custom made scooter may end up costing you more than a complete model of similar quality, so do your due diligence before you take on such a project.