Kick scooter

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Two-wheeled, three-wheeled and four-wheeled scooters which appeared around 2000.

A kick scooter, push scooter or scooter is a human-powered street vehicle with a handlebar, deck and wheels propelled by a rider pushing off the ground. The most common scooters today are made of aluminum, titanium and steel. Some kick scooters that are made for younger children have 3 to 4 wheels and are made of plastic or don't fold. High-performance racing scooters made for adults resemble the old "penny-farthing".[1]

Motorized scooters, historically powered by gas engines, and more recently electric motors, are self-propelled kick scooters capable of speeds of around 30 km/h (19 mph).

Models and history[edit]

Early scooters[edit]

Wooden scooter with a pair of roller skates

Kick scooters have been handmade in industrial urban areas in Europe and the U.S. for at least 100 years, often as play items made for children to roam the streets.[2] One common home-made version is made by attaching roller skate wheelsets to a board with some kind of handle, usually an old box.[3][unreliable source?] One can lean to turn, or by a second board connected by a crude pivot. The construction was all wood, with 3–4 inch (75–100 mm) wheels with steel ball bearings. An additional advantage of this construction was a loud noise, just like from a "real" vehicle. An alternative construction consists of one steel clamp'm'dash on roller skate divided into front and rear parts and attached to a wood beam.

A search of the German Bundesarchiv for "roller" reveals both homemade and manufactured children's scooters used and even raced in Paris, Berlin and Leipzig in 1930, 1948 and 1951. They are similar to modern designs.

Honda Kick 'n Go & Space Scooter[edit]

In 1974, the Honda company made the Kick 'n Go, a scooter is driven by a pedal on a lever.[4] While it seemed to be as much effort to "kick" as a regular scooter, the novelty of it caught on and it became popular nevertheless. Another example of a pedal driven scooter is the Space Scooter, this scooter (on the market since 2011) uses a board in the middle which you can pump 2 ways to move forward. The technique is from previous train maintenance cars but gives the user more comfort than a traditional kick scooter where one leg is always getting tired.

Pneumatic tires[edit]

Before bicycles became popular among children, steel scooters with two small bicycle wheels had been the most useful vehicles for them. Around 1987, many BMX manufacturers produced BMX-like scooters as Scoot.[5] Those manufacturers discontinued their scooters, but some scooter manufacturers were established after years, and still develop similar scooters today; Some are used in dense urban areas for utility purposes, being faster than a folding scooter and more convenient than a utility bicycle. Some are made for off-road use and are described as Mountain Scooters. Besides commuting, sports competition and off-road use, large wheel scooters are a favorite for dog scootering where single or team dogs such as huskies pull a scooter and rider in the same way that a sled is pulled across snow. Some Amish are not allowed to ride bicycles, so they ride scooters instead.[6] Today variations on the kicksled with scooter design features are also available, such as the Kickspark.


Modern kickbike
A similar vehicle had been produced by Denis Johnson in 1819

The development of the kickbike in Finland in 1994 changed the way scooters are viewed.[citation needed] The Kickbike has a large standard size bicycle front wheel and a much smaller rear wheel, allowing a much faster ride. The Footbike Eurocup has been held since 2001. Kickbike America is bringing the sport of dryland mushing to America. The Kickbike is regarded as the leading dog-scooter in the world.[7]

Folding scooters[edit]

Children on scooters

In 1996, a foldable aluminium scooter with inline skates wheels was created by Wim Ouboter of Micro Mobility Systems in Switzerland.[8][9][better source needed] The scooter was sold as "Micro Skate Scooter", "Razor" and "JDBUG/JDRAZOR MS-130A".[10] After the Razor was introduced to Japan in 1999, many young people in Tokyo began to use it as a portable transporter then it became a fad around the world, and such small scooters also became popular toys for children.[11]

Pro scooters[edit]

Children on stunt scooters

Kick scooters used for extreme sport stunts and tricks, and made to withstand these kinds of stresses and frustrations, are called pro scooters. Numerous brands specialize in stunt scooters and accessories such as helmets, pegs, grind wax, griptape clamps, and clothing.[citation needed]

Large folding scooters[edit]

Folding kick scooters optimized for adults generally have more durable parts and are designed with wider decks, hand brake, and larger wheels,[12][unreliable source?] for smoother transportation instead of less weight and portability. The Xootr Street, which incorporates 180 mm (7.1 in) wheels with a maximum load of 300 lbs (136 kg).[better source needed][13] Go-Ped Know-Ped scooters have 6 inch wheels with solid-rubber tires with a maximum load of 400 lbs (181 kg).[better source needed][14] and its variant KickPed from NYCeWheels which is stripped of all sensitive[clarification needed] parts, such as a handbrake which is replaced with a rear spoon brake in order to make the kick scooter long-lasting and durable.[15][better source needed]

Three wheels[edit]

A three-wheeled K2 Kickboard

Three-wheeled scooters like tricycles have been produced for little children.

In 1999, Micro Mobility Systems and K2 Sports produced a reverse-three-wheeled scooter as "Kickboard". Micro also produced the Kickboard-like children's scooters as "Mini Micro" and "Maxi Micro". The reverse design inherently provides greater stability than the standard: a standing person will tend to stand at the front of a scooter rather than at the back. However, the steering geometry is inherently weak and requires design adaptation to improve its response. An example is the Mini Micro, which uses a spring-loaded system to translate lateral force on the handbars (child leaning) into turning motion on the wheels, referred by its makers as "lean and steer".

Four wheels[edit]

A Fuzion-like scooter

The early scooters, which were made with roller skates, were four-wheeled like skateboards.

Around 2000, A Swiss company produced a four-wheeled scooter as "Wetzer Stickboard". The Stickboard was a narrow skateboard with a foldable pole on the nose.[16]

In 2006, a company called Nextsport started producing a line of four-wheeled scooters, known as Fuzions. Fuzion scooters are typically bigger and heavier than Razor and Micro models. The early Fuzion models come with large, wide wheels, and an oversized deck for carving stability. Later scooters, such as the Fuzion NX, include smaller, harder wheels, and 360 degree handlebar spinning capabilities, unlike its predecessors.

Electric kick scooters[edit]

Riding an electric kick scooter in Berlin (2014)

Electric models surpassed gas-powered scooters about 2000.[17] They are often manufactured for fleet rentals, such as Lime e-scooters.

Difference from bicycles[edit]

A folding scooter and a utility bicycle

Unlike a kick scooter, a bicycle has a seat and drive train, which add speed, cost, weight and bulk. A folding scooter can be more easily carried than a folding bicycle or even a portable bicycle. Even a non-folding scooter is easier to manoeuvre between obstacles, as there are no protruding pedals. Thus a cyclist has advantages in longer journeys and open spaces, and a kick scooter in shorter and more crowded ones. Kick scooters seldom have a luggage rack, so the rider usually carries any cargo on their back.

At low speeds a bicycle is difficult to control while pedalling, which is why cyclists occasionally kick their way through dense traffic or in other conditions where they cannot take advantage of the speed of their machine. Thanks to the superior low-speed stability of a kick scooter, it is allowed on many footpaths where riding a bicycle is forbidden.

Since the feet are nearer the ground on a scooter, it is easier to step on and off than even a step-through frame bicycle, hence the rider can alternate walking and pushing as energy and route dictate. Large wheel scooters afford a more effective cross training workout than standard bicycles as the whole body is engaged in the effort of kicking. Although the bicycle is a much more effective and efficient long distance machine, in 2001 Jim Delzer propelled a kick scooter across the United States.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kick dictionary definition - kick defined".
  2. ^ There is a scene of this in Fritz Lang's 1931 classic M.
  3. ^ "Skateboarding - Skateboarding Games".
  4. ^ "Honda Kick-n-Go Scooter". Honda Kick-n-Go Scooter.
  5. ^ GT Zoot Scoot, Mongoose Pro Miniscoot, SE Racing Rad Scoot, and more.
  6. ^ "How do Amish travel?".
  7. ^ Eurocup race results, IKSA world, 2001, archived from the original on 2011-07-13.
  8. ^ "The Micro Scooter History". YouTube. 15 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Inventor of the micro scooter". The Guardian. 2002-03-31..
  10. ^ JDRAZOR MS-130A, JD Japan, archived from the original on 2010-08-31.
  11. ^ "culture.bicycle.birdybike.general - Folding Scooter Story - msg#00015 - Recent Discussion". Archived from the original on 2012-03-20.
  12. ^ "Xootr bicycle for ultra minimalists". Using Bicycles.
  13. ^ Kick-Scooter street, Xootr.
  14. ^ Know-Ped, Go-Ped, archived from the original on 2011-03-06.
  15. ^ "KickPed - Our toughest kick scooter".
  16. ^ "WGD /WGD Awards /red dot award".
  17. ^ "The History of The Motorized Electric Scooter". February 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  18. ^ "Delzer first to cross US on a kickbike".

External links[edit]

Media related to Kick scooters at Wikimedia Commons