Choosing A Kick Scooter for Kids
In our previous blog, we looked at the benefits of kick scooters for kids. For those who are ready to invest in getting one, the myriad brands, types and features of kick scooters in the market can be mind-boggling. So, what kick scooter should you buy for your child? Here’s a check list and shopping guide.
Two-wheels or three-wheels?
Generally, there are 2 main types of kick scooters – 3 wheels and 2 wheels. Most 3-wheel kick scooters have 2 wheels in front and 1 wheel behind, providing more stability than the 2 wheelers.
Three-wheel scooters are recommended for the youngest first time riders who may not have the motor skills or balance yet to handle a 2-wheel scooter. With a 3-wheel kick scooter, young riders will find it easier to learn how to scoot.
There may be exceptions to this. If your child has excellent motor skills and good balance, he may be able to handle a 2-wheel scooter. If so, go ahead and start him off on a 2-wheel scooter like the Madd Gear Carve Alloy Kick for age 3 to 5 years. It is important to choose the right size scooter as a big scooter will be too heavy for a young rider to manage and may put him off scooting. Look for information on age range, height and maximum carry weight to determine if the scooter is the right size for your child.
In terms of 2-wheelers, there are kids scooters and commuter kick scooters which typically have features like foldability for portability, height adjustable bar or a kick stand, to name a few. On the other hand, there are freestyle scooters, known as trick scooters or stunt scooters, which are used very differently.
Freestyle scootering is an action sports and specialised scooters made of high quality components are needed to ensure the scooters can withstand the high impact from tricks like jumping ramps and rails. To minimise moving parts that will break easily from high impact, freestyle scooters are neither foldable nor height adjustable.
How will your child use the kick scooter?
Is it just for cruising along the corridor, playground and parks? If so, most 3-wheels or 2-wheels kids kick scooters would be suitable. For older kids, is the kick scooter going to be used as a means of transport to school or other places which require a longer commute? If so, consider a kick scooter with larger wheels and suspension system for comfort. If your child enjoys bunny hops, jumping curbs and ramps, a freestyle scooter is what he needs.
Small Wheels or Big Wheels?
Most scooter wheels have similar design, construction and materials. The basic scooters for light use around playground and parks usually comes with 100mm to 110mm wheels. Commuter scooters usually comes with larger wheel sizes, from 200mm to 230mm, to enable riders to cover greater distances with every push. Check the wheel size to ensure it suits the rider and how he will use it.
A word on bearings
You sometimes see ABEC 3, ABEC 5 or ABEC 7 in some scooter description. This basically describes the precision and efficiency of the bearings in the wheels and its speed capabilities based on the industry accepted ABEC scale standard.
Basic kids scooter comes with ABEC 3 or ABEC 5 bearings whilst commuter scooters and freestyle scooters have ABEC 7 or higher bearings. Good quality bearings will allow your scooter to roll faster.
Pivot Steering or Wheel Steering?
Pivot steering has a tilt-to-turn steer whilst wheel steering turns 360 degree like a bicycle. Pivot steering is safer for new riders as it has a maximum radius, making it easier for riders to recover when they lean off centre. Most 3-wheels scooters like the Zycom Zing scooter and Zycom Zinger foldable scooter comes with pivot steering to help new riders maintain their balance while steering and turning.
Wheel steering is found in most 2-wheels scooters for older kids and adults. This is suitable for riders who have been scooting for a while and would have no issue managing their balance.
To Fold or Not To Fold?
If space is a premium in your house, look for foldable or bar detachable scooters which makes for easy storage and transport. Foldable scooters are great for travelling if you want to take the kick scooter with you in the car or on public transport.
Height adjustable handlebar
If you want to future proof your child’s new scooter, choose one with a height adjustable handle bar that will grow with your child. Freestyle scooters are, however, not height adjustable. It may be worth noting that freestyle scooters do not follow the conventional comfortable distance from shoulder-to-handlebar. Some freestyle riders prefer a smaller size scooters as they are easier to control for tricks like bar spins and tail whip.
What about brakes?
Scooters with brakes are definitely safer compared to those that do not have any brakes. Most kids scooters have brakes at the rear wheel whilst some commuter scooters have brakes at the handle bar, much like a bicycle. Do look for a brake when you buy that scooter, whether it’s for your kids or for yourself.