Freestyle scootering

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Freestyle scootering (also known as freestyle scootering, scootering, scooter riding, or simply riding) is an extreme sport which involves using kick scooters to perform freestyle tricks, in a manner similar to a mix of BMXing and skateboarding.

Origins[edit]

Mass-produced metal-framed scooters with pneumatic tyres were mass-produced by companies such as Radio Flyer and BMX and in widespread use by children until being eclipsed by the rise of the affordable higher status push bike and skateboard through the 1970s and early 1980s. The heavy and inflexible design and construction of such earlier scooters generally precluded the performance of tricks. In the 1990s, Gino Tsai with the Micro Mobility Systems and the JD Corporation manufactured the first modern scooter. It was first distributed by The Sharper Image in 1999 and became popular in 2000. Razor USA was then founded in California,and quickly began to distribute Razor scooters as their own products. The company took off, quickly producing a lot of stylish and higher quality products. The first sponsored team was created in the same year, and released their first video titled "Razor Evolution." the scooter revolution began to get popular but then there was a noticeable decline in popularity of scootering in late 2001. Some riders continued and the sport began to grow again with a different image. One first major scooter competitions, SD1, was held in San Diego in 2006 and continues to one of the biggest scooter related events and competitions to date. After 2006, the most notable change was the physical evolution of the scooter. TSI Scooters was known to be the first company to produce the "One Piece Deck." This meant that the folding mechanism was replaced with a solid metal headtube which is usually welded directly to the deck of the scooter. From then until now, scooter companies continue to innovate with new techniques that make scooter parts lighter, stronger and better suited for the rider. The level at which professional scooter riders ride at is also constantly being raised in both skatepark and street riding. A "Maturation of Scootering" is currently taking place with more innovative parts and riding, as well a bigger and stronger community to back it up.

Terrain[edit]

Park[edit]

Kick scooters, due to their construction, can use most structures, or any structure that bikes or skateboards use,including rails, boxes and even vertical ramps that one would usually find in a skate park. Many riders enjoy riding 'flyout' to learn new tricks. Riders then take these tricks to different obstacles throughout the skatepark such as quarters, flyboxes, spines, rails, stairsets, ledges, hubbas, A-frames, banks and eurogaps. Some scooterers are notable for having more of a park style. Dakota "Kota" Schuetz is the current, unbeaten, three Time World Champion and the winningest rider in the sport. Some of the most talented park riders are Ryan Williams, Max Peters, Brendon Smith, and Vincent Kudrna. Many advanced tricks usually performed in a park setting include briflips, kickless rewinds, and flips. Anyone who scooters doesn't strictly ride street or park, but some riders find park riding more enjoyable than street riding.

Street[edit]

Inner city riders use structures such as stairs, ledges, hubbas, handrails, speedbumps, and gaps. Some street riders tend to get technical with tricks while others focus on sliding down large stair sets and handrails. Some of the most notable professionals who ride street currently are James Wood,Matt McKeen, Jordan Jasa, Dylan Kasson, Erik Feenstra, Robert Mcmoran, Collin Snoek, Josh Young, Tom Kvilhaug, Jon Archer, Greg Cohen, Logan Fuller, Chema Cardenas, Issac Miller, Zig Short, Zack Martin, Elliott Arnold and many others. Streets are a versatile location to ride because they give the riders interesting obstacles to perform tricks on such as gap jumps, rail slides, combinations and lines that they would not normally do in a vertically styled skatepark. Whilst street riding, most scooter riders focus on cleanliness of tricks, or how easy it looks for a rider to do them. Street scooterers also focus on their style or original way of doing tricks. From late 2013 to present, there has a been a notable push for more people to ride ‘street’, much like skateboarding in the 90's. People still love riding skateparks for fun with their friends, but many scooterers ride street when they want to film a video part.

Flatland[edit]

The ‘flatland’ genre of freestyle scooter riding takes place on flat surfaces such as parking lots, driveways, or tennis/basketball courts. Flatland riders prefer to link smaller tricks up in "combos", or combinations, such as barspins, tailwhips, manuals, hang fives, fakies, scooter fakies, sliders, and more. The best example of a flatland rider is Phoenix Pro Rider, Jon Reyes.

Example of "Flatland" Scooter Riding.

Dirt[edit]

Dirt Scootering is becoming increasingly popular. Many companies are releasing a model of scooter equipped for use on dirt jumps. These dirt scooters feature inflatable tires and intertubes much like BMX bikes.

Example of "Dirt" Scooter Riding.

Media[edit]

Scooter Blogs[edit]

Inside Scooters

Viral Scoot

Scooter Resource

Fidelity Mag

Impact Scooter News

Print Magazines[edit]

Scoot Mag

Dialed Magazine

French Toast

Scoot Nation

Brands[edit]

Some of the most well-known brands that manufacture complete scooters and scooter parts are: Razor, Madd Gear, Lucky Scooters, Apex, District, Envy, Flavor, Grit, Crisp, Havoc, AO, Urban Artt, Proto, Addict, Ethic, Tilt, Phoenix, Fasen, Root Industries, TSI and Eagle.

Retailers[edit]

There are many independent freestyle scooter part retailers including ScooterHut, Freestyle Depot, Sky High Scooters, The Scooter Farm, and The Vault Pro Scooters

Freestyle Scooter Parts[edit]

Depiction of a fully assembled Freestyle Scooter

Decks[edit]

Decks of freestyle scooters have come a long way since the very first Razor 'A' style decks. Nowadays, freestyle scooter decks are usually constructed without a folding mechanism like early model scooters. Most modern decks consist of two or three pieces of metal that are welded or bolted together.

Bars[edit]

Handlebars are usually made out of 4130 chromoly or 6061 aluminum. The original folding Razor Bars have been out of use for years now and are replaced with welded and often gusseted bars for extra strength. There are several different designs for bars including standard RAD "OG" or "T" Bars, and many other variations with different styles and angles. Bars can be custom cut to the preference of the rider and are generally between 18" and 30" Tall and 14" to 30" Wide.

Forks[edit]

Scooter Forks have developed a lot since the original Razor forks which often bent due to stresses and impacts that scootering causes to the components. Andrew Broussard, the owner of Proto Scooters and Freestyle Depot, following RADs footsteps in the DIY approach to aftermarket scooter parts, created the Proto Senior Fork in the mid-2000s. Nowadays, many companies make forks, each with their own advantages and innovations. Most forks are threadless, meaning that a compression system is used to hold the scooter bars to the fork (discussed below), however, threaded forks are still available. The downside to these are that they cause the rider's scooter to become wobbly and not as strong as if a threadless system was used.

Wheels[edit]

Early Scooter Wheels were composed of a plastic core and a urethane outside. However, these often cracked and broke. This led to the development of metal-core wheels that are generally used by today's riders. Newer metal-core wheels are manufactured with a machined aluminum core and a durable urethane tyre. Notable companies who produce metal-core wheels are Eagle Sports, Proto, Root Industries, Havoc, Madd Gear and River Wheel Co. These companies are known for having some of the fastest wheels, because they have the advanced formulas to produce high-rebound urethane.

Brakes[edit]

There are many brakes available for the freestyle scooter rider, with flex fenders being the most popular. Older style spring brakes use a spring to allow the solid metal brake to press against the wheel and pop back up again. These brakes often rattle, which led the invention of the flex-fender type brake system. This is essentially just a flat or curved piece of metal that is bolted to the deck, and the rider depresses it against the rear wheel which slows the scooter down. The downside of this system is that the flex steel used to construct the brake often gets fatigued and snaps.

Pegs[edit]

There are a few brands who specialize in making pegs out of both alloy and chromoly. Notable companies include Ethic, Havoc, District, Tilt and 81 Customs. Scooter pegs are used for stalling on ledges and other obstacles. Their appearance resembles a vastly smaller version of BMX pegs.

Headset[edit]

Threaded headset

Headsets on freestyle scooters have no difference to those on BMX bikes. These scooters are designed to fit a 1 1/8" sized headset. A threaded headset is used for a threaded fork only. Their main use is for riders running threaded forks on their scooter. Threadless headsets are used with a compression system on threadless forks. These systems include SCS (Standard compression system), HIC (Hidden internal compression system, which requires oversized bars), IHC (Integrated Headset Compression), and ICS (Inverted compression system). The compression used on threaded forks consists of a locknut that can be taken off a stock fork. Threadless headsets are used to accommodate threadless forks, which were created because threads compromise the strength of the fork tube.

Compression[edit]

SCS
Standard Compression System (SCS)
- scs clamp, compression bolt, starnut, headset cap, shim (use with thin bar)

The SCS system resembles an oversized clamp but internally works much like a bicycle stem. There are two slots to fit the bars and fork, the smaller of which is located on the bottom and is for the fork. A starnut is installed into the fork and the SCS clamp is placed over the fork tube. The compression bolt is screwed into the headset cap and then into the starnut. The cap is caught on the lip that is located internally in the SCS. The bars are placed into the top slot and bolts externally located on the SCS are tightened to act as a clamp.

Main manufacturers include: Proto, Tilt, Phoenix, Apex, Lucky, Unfair, District, Dominator scooters
ICS
Inverted Compression System (ICS)
- compression bolt, starnut, headset cap

ICS Compression consists of a starnut which is installed into the bars. A compression bolt is screwed into the headset cap and is placed into the fork tube from below. It is then screwed into the starnut located in the bars. The headset cap is larger than the inner diameter of the fork tube so it catches and compresses the system to create a rattle-free scooter.

Main manufacturers include: District, French ID, Dominator scooters, Addict scootering
HIC
Hidden Internal Compression system (HIC)
- compression bolt, headset cap, starnut, compression shim

A starnut is installed into the fork tube. A compression shim is placed over/around the fork tube and the compression bolt is screwed into the top of the fork tube through the headset cap and into the starnut. The shim is the component that causes the compression. As the headset cap is pushing down on the shim, the shim pushes down on the headset. Using HIC requires oversized bars and a larger diameter (34.9mm) clamp.

Main manufacturers include: Grit, French ID, Razor, 81 Customs, Lucky, District, Dominator scooters and perhaps most notably, Madd Gear.
Thread Lock Compression (TLC)

A HIC-like compression system/fork made by Phoenix Pro Scooters, which involves the fork and compression shim to screw on together.

Integrated Headset Compression (IHC)

A HIC-like compression system and specially designed fork that was developed by Envy Scooters. The fork tube is more narrow than usual so that standard sized bars fit on the compression shim.

Main manufacturers include: District.

Possible Decline[edit]

Many people think that scooters could be phased out much like roller blading. They think that it could just be a fad and people will be over it in a few years. Whilst nobody really knows what is going to happen to scootering in the future, many people think that a decline in popularity is unforeseeable. Blading had a decline in popularity because people (mainly skateboarders) began making fun of rollerblading calling roller bladers names, amongst many other forms of derision, both physical and mental.[citation needed] This caused people to stop inlining which contributed to the decline of the industry.[citation needed] People (mainly skateboarders and BMXers) have had contempt for people who ride scooters since the sport began and the sport has been growing since. The other possible problem is companies could go bankrupt due to a lack of support from the riders. This is fairly unforeseeable as well, because, unlike rollerblading in the 90's, the scooter industry has been experiencing slow but continuous growth.[citation needed] The scooter industry has a stable group of rider owned companies along with companies run by people who have respect for the sport but also know how to properly run a business. Riders hope that a decline in scootering is unlikely.

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