Saturday, June 06, 2015

Learning about Push Scooters

So Why Scooter
A scooter is an ideal few Km per day self powered transportation device that can be used (by adults) primarily to assist with the commute to work.

+ Low cost outlay  (< 200GBP or 300 CHF)

+ Portable   (<5Kg weight normally)
+ No batteries
+ Improves health since requires exercise
- Not useful in the wet
- Not useful in hilly conditions

Why Might We Scooter?

In a future mobile lifestyle we won't use a car.  We plan to have race bicycles for rides exceeding 10Km but they are delicate and not to be left /outside/ in case of theft.

So we are considering scooters as a 1-10Km daily form of ad hoc transport which we can use in combination with public transport.

We found our Old Scooters!

We found our old scooters.  We think that we used them about once per year in the last few years.  Disgraceful.

Now they are back into service with a vengeance.

A few days ago we took time out from our busy schedules.  Agata went for a massage and Marcus scooted about 13Km towards home in 29 degrees C plus heat on a variety of smooth, rough, and potholed surfaces.

It was a good catchup, understanding the limitations of my current scooter and realising what sort of distances are comfortable  (answer: about 5Km tops per session!)

Marcus disassembles a Scooter

He learns some stuff.
(And researches on the Internet)

I took my scooter apart.  It was interesting

I notice that in daily use you normally just fold down the vertical stem.  You don't bother to collapse the handle.  So if you could buy a non race scooter with a fixed design  (you can't) then this would be both sturdier, stronger, more elegant and maybe lighter.  But you can't

Marcus's current micro is an astonishingly light 3Kg. It also has a solid Aluminium deck with a T section underneath meaning it's almost indestructible.

My scooter has solid 120mm wheels.   200mm wheels are recommended for best ride on rougher surfaces. Also you can get 200mm air tyres as a retrofit for an existing 200mm device.

Scooter bearings are 22mm diameter, the same size as skates

 I took out the Abec 3 bearings and replaced them with some old Abec 7 bearings.  How Old?  I think these are > 10 years old from my skating days, when Abec 7 was top of the line

The front wheel is wobbly because the vertical silver metal supports are bent!  They are not vertical but come out at an angle. Hmmm.

Also, the headset bearings are damaged and even though I have slightly overtightened the bearing races there is still a lot of play.    Hmmm#2

I put everything back together but I can see

- I can see the structural advantages of a solid non collapsible handlebar and stem design.
- I can see that even this quality Micro scooter had some pretty mediocre design points.  The strength of the front wheel supports, the deck height (>6cm), the slow mechanism to open and close, the quality of the headset bearings.

Swiss Costs Quote:

Although having a fixed scooter might be structurally sound. Could I live with it.  What if I rarely if ever put it in the car or an aeroplane.   Well but there is bad news for Swiss transportation:

Only a foldable scooter and folded free travel. An unfolded scooter is considered a bicycle and, therefore, subject to the use of title of adequate transportation.

In other words I can only consider a foldable scooter as my next ideal scooter.

Learning Points So Far

- Individuals make possibly the worst YouTube scooter description videos around.  Short on documentation, but long on mumbling, unboxing, and shaking out of focus video recording.

- Some common scooter wheel sizes 100mm, 120mm, 200mm
- Larger wheels e.g. 200mm are more suitable for longer distances
- Weights of large wheel scooters seem to be between 4 - 6Kg
- One critical dimension is base (deck) height above ground. Decks with straight mounted wheels of 200mm have by definition a 100mm distance (+deck thickness) to the ground.  This is arguable too much meaning you have to raise and lower your body a lot to reach the ground. That could give rise to back aches and extra energy expended
- A low deck height above ground is 6cm, a High one is 8cm
- Bearings supplied on scooters tend to be ABEC 5 precision at best
- Best bearings today are Ceramic and the size is 22mm diameter
- Curved decks at rear mean no space for the second foot
- Race scooters have fixed handlebars (non collapsible), much better headset bearings, but small wheels.  They don't ride well on rough roads/ surfaced. Also they don't fold, meaning can't be carried without extra cost in Switzerland and are awkward/ impractical/ impossible to transport for work or on a place or in a car.

What should I buy then?

Three scooters that have meet our requirements so far are

- Razor A5 Lux

- Micro White / Black

- Micro Orange for Agata

We have not bought anything yet, but we feel an upgrade to the current products should be made for reasons of safety and ease of use.