Pro Scooter Buying Guide
As with bikes, in-line skates or skateboards, there’s a lot of variation when it comes to scooters. You’ll see ladies and gents commuting to work on electric scooters, kids bubbling their way to school on kick scooters, and kids and adults of all ages attempting tricks in skate parks. Though they may look the same to the uninformed, there’s a huge difference between the three types.
First, electric scooters are, um electrically powered, meaning a beefy battery that can reach decent speeds. This makes them heavier than a basic kick scooter, and a lot more expensive. If you need to get places fast, then an electric scooter will be what you need. If you want to enjoy the journey, while also working on your fitness, then a kick scooter should be up your alley. Both types are made for riding on smoother tarmac or pavements, so don’t need too much in the way of any strengthened parts. This is where park or pro scooters come in.
Pro scooters come in all skill levels and sizes, and you’ll also find scooters for toddlers, teens and adults. Most of them are sold as ‘completes’, meaning they’re fully assembled and ready to ride. If you’ve been riding for a while, you can custom build your own pro scooter, using parts that best suit you and your riding style. Here I’ll guide you through the different scooter parts, like a pro scooters deck, bars, forks, and wheels and how they change as you go from basic beginner models to ones with which you’ll do the biggest and best tricks.
Pro Scooter Bars
Having the right set of bars will determine how comfortable you are on the scooter and how easy it is to learn new tricks. Here look for the right height and width of the bar. Bars should be around waist height as you’re standing on the deck. Some riders will go for taller bars for better comfort, others want shorter bars in executing tighter stunts. Width is also important here, with bars being roughly the width of your shoulders, meaning hands and elbows are only slightly bent. Wider bars give more leeway in jumps. In complete scooters, heights are between 530 and 600mm, and widths are between 460 and 560mm. You can always swap these out for something taller, and wider.
Prices start to climb as materials get lighter and stiffer. Entry-level bars are steel alloys or aluminium, while higher-end bars have much lighter but even tougher titanium. Welds are also better and seamless the more you spend. There’s also the choice of the type of bar; popular ones are straight T bars or you can go for swooped bars angled towards you.
Pro Scooter Forks
The fork fits into the headset of the pro scooters deck and connects the deck, the bars and the front wheel. As with bars, the lighter the fork the better. Most are aluminium, with more expensive forks in a lighter, higher grade. Different forks will fit wheels from 100 to 120mm. Prices vary in the way forks connect to the headset. Cheaper forks have a threaded compression system and feature in cheaper completes. More expensive models have threadless compression either in the ‘Standard Compression System (SCS), the Inverted Compression System (ICS) or the Hidden Internal Compression System (HCS), which are more durable, can be adjusted and upgraded and offer better maneuverability. These are preferred by pro riders. Connecting the fork and bars is the clamp. Bigger clamps, with more bolts, are more stable and improve overall handling.
Pro Scooter Decks
A pro scooters deck is the main part of the scooter, connecting all the things together. It needs to be tough enough to handle your weight when doing high jumps and tricks, but also comfortable enough for everyday riding. Pro decks are made of a single piece of thick but light, high-grade 7005 aluminium, the stuff used in aeroplanes. Stemming from the front of the deck is the welded headtube. Most pro decks are non-integrated meaning the headtubes take better headsets and forks. Cheaper integrated headsets are found in entry-level scooters. At the back of the deck, the brake fits above the wheel and is fitted with screws or bolts. Most pro scooters have single-piece flex brakes. The deck tapers towards the end to accommodate the rear wheel.
Choosing the right size of the deck, both in width and length, determines riding style. If you’re into tricks go for shorter decks, and if you want more comfort go for a longer deck. Lengths range from 490mm to 570mm measured from the front to the end of the flat section. Widths are measured in inches, and range from 4.75” to 6”, with decks in completes usually at 5”. Wider decks give you more space for feet in different stunts. Of course, the size of the decks also depends on the size of your feet. Before buying a separate deck, or a complete scooter makes sure you’re comfortable with the fit. As a rule, shorter but wider decks are also lighter and better for higher tricks, while longer heavier decks will be more durable.
Wheels come in different sizes. Pro scooters usually have bigger wheels for more speed. Most are 120mm, but larger 125mm are also found. High-quality wheels are made of an alloy core and urethane outer layers that are durable and handle your weight at landings.
Buying Pro Scooters
You can find high-end complete scooters with all of the best features listed above. You can also swap out any damaged parts or go for an upgrade if you think that part is a limiting factor in getting better stunts. Or you can use the guide and build a scooter with any part you like. Scooter shops sell complete scooters and separate parts from renowned brands like Ethic, Apex, Envy, Fuzion and Nitro Circus among many others. And to stand out in the skate park, get the scooter in the colours and designs you like.