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Ask ScooterDad - Volume 3

It’s time for another round of Ask ScooterDad! If you missed the first two installments, you can find them here: Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Is there a rule of thumb for determining the height and width of your bars in relation to a rider’s height?

Every kid has a different preference for bar height and width based on their size and skill level, but here are some general guidelines. The height of the bars should be about at your child’s waist when standing on the scooter. Some kids like them slightly taller or slightly shorter, but anything more than 2 inches taller or shorter than waist height is probably going to be uncomfortable or not effective for many tricks.

As for width, a good guideline is approximately the width of the child’s shoulders or slightly narrower. Unfortunately, you also have to take into account the style of bars. Standard T-bars like you’d find on a Razor Ultra Pro can be cut pretty narrow, but the V-style bars (usually with a narrower crossbar welded in) will prevent you from cutting them too narrow. Consider how the grips will fit. We run ODI Longnecks or Animal Edwin grips with the flanges cut off. I’ll take a kid’s preferred bar width into consideration, but ultimately it comes down to how narrow I can get the bars before the grips start dipping down at the bend. A slight bending of the grips as they follow the contour of the bar bend is okay, but you don’t want to cut the bars too narrow and then realize that your grips won’t fit properly.

For example, my 10 year old likes his bars 19.5” tall by 16” wide, but some of his scooters have slightly taller or wider bars. He’s lucky in that he can adapt pretty easily to different scooter setups, but some kids are more sensitive to changes in the ergonomics.

When I’m working with a kid who doesn’t have a known preferred height and width, I tell him this: while it’s a pain in the butt to keep cutting the bars, I can always go shorter and narrower, but once we go too short or too narrow, you’re stuck and you have to buy new bars.

Would a Phoenix SCS clamp word for HIC compression?

Nope. By definition, an SCS clamp differs from HIC clamps in the way that they grip the bars and the fork. Check out our articles on Proto SCS Installation and Lucky HIC Installation for more information.

Do Madd Gear scooters have adjustable handlebars?

MGP scooters all come with fixed (non-adjustable) bars, but this is a good thing. For freestyle scootering, you want solid, fixed bars. You can always cut your bars down to the desired height and width.

Do the Razor A3 handlebars lock? Do Razor Pro models have adjustable handlebars?

All of the Razor A models (A1, A2, A3) and the Razor Pro model (not Razor Ultra Pro) have adjustable handlebars and this is typically one of the first things riders will replace on the Pro model. It’s not cost-effective to try to upgrade an A1/2/3 model scooter. Save your money and buy an Ultra Pro. In fact, you should do that if you have a Razor Pro model as well. The Razor Ultra Pro is one of the best entry-level scooters and you can find them for $80-90 on sale.

What bars does the Phoenix Reventon deck need?

Like most pro-level scooters, the Phoenix Reventon uses a threadless headset, which means that you need to run a threadless fork. With that, you have options of running an SCS, HIC, or ICS clamp/compression system. The system you choose will affect what types of bars you can use. For SCS, you can use standard bars (or oversized bars in some applications, like the Proto SCS). For HIC, you will need oversized bars wit ha slit. Check out our articles on Proto SCS Installation and Lucky HIC Installation for more information.

Does a scooter need a compression system?

If you are going to use a threadless headset, you will need some kind of compression system to hold your bars, clamp, and fork together. You have the choices of SCS, HIC, or ICS. If you are serious about scootering, then you should be investing in quality components, including a threadless headset and compression system as well as the parts that are required for that system to work (bars, fork).

How can I stop a Razor scooter brake from rattling?

As I mentioned above, it’s not cost-effective to do a lot to try to upgrade a folding Razor model, but the Razor Ultra Pro is a great platform and they still have issues with rattling brakes. The best thing you can do to remedy this issue, in my opinion, is to ditch the spring brake all together and replace it with a Phoenix Switchblade brake. This will require that you drill 2 holes into your deck, but it’s easy to do. Look for a future article demonstrating this technique.

What type of fork do I need for use with an integrated deck?

Since integrated decks have threadless headsets (the bearing cups are “integrated” into the downtube), you’ll need a threadless fork. Just about any threadless fork should do, although MGP scooters have shorter downtubes, so you may have to cut your forktube.

Can I use a threadless headset on threaded forks on a Madd Gear scooter?

While you can make a threaded fork work with a threadless headset, it doesn’t work very well at all. I do not recommend this application, so I’m not going to explain how you can make it work as it may damage your headset and you will likely not be happy with the way it feels. You’re much better off to spend some more money and upgrade your fork and compression system.

What is the difference between scooter clamps and compression?

Great question. All scooters use some kind of clamp to hold the bars on to the forks. However, not all scooters use compression. Generally, if you have a threaded fork and threaded headset, then you have a clamp that holds your bars to your fork without compression. The large nuts that thread over the top of the fork and on to the headset act as a form of compression. In SCS, HIC, and ICS, the internal compression bolt holds the fork in place with the headset and a clamp then locks the bars to the forks.

What is the best entry-level scooter between a Razor A and A2?

Neither. If you’re on this website, you’re probably looking for freestyle scooter information. You should save up the extra money and buy a Razor Ultra Pro or Madd Gear Pro model. Both are less than $100 and are a much better platform for any kid starting out as a beginner in freestyle scootering.

Can I modify my Razor scooter?

Yes, absolutely! But should you? Well, if you have anything less than a Razor Ultra Pro, just save your money toward an Ultra Pro. If you have an Ultra Pro, however, you can do a lot to upgrade it. There are plenty of advanced freestyle scooter riders who compete on the Ultra Pro platform and Razor is even introducing a new line of freestyle scooters and parts this year.

Why do you need a pro scooter instead of a foldable scooter?

If you intend on doing any tricks on your scooter, then you will very quickly discover how foldable scooters are not meant for freestyle. The folding mechanism and adjustable bars will begin to show signs of wear or they will fail within a short period of time. That’s not to say that you need to spend $600 on a top of the line pro scooter, but spending a little more on a scooter intended for freestyle is a good investment. You can go through the process of buying, breaking, replacing your folding scooter several times a year or you can just spend a little more the first time and buy a decent scooter that can stand up to the impact of freestyle. That said, if you just want to puttz around to and from school, then a folding scooter will suit you just fine.

Can I run pegs on my scooter?

Probably, but if you don’t have at least 6 months of freestyle scootering under your belt, I wouldn’t recommend it. Pegs can get in the way by rubbing against transitions and walls. When I first put pegs on my scooter kid’s scooter, he had them on for 10 minutes before he begged me to take them off. Since then, he’s learned to ride with them, but it does take some getting used to.

I’m buying a threadless headset. Should I buy a sealed or unsealed headset?

You should definitely buy a sealed headset. While they are a little more expensive, they do not require as much maintenance as unsealed headsets require. You don’t have to pack the bearings with grease or worry about your headset coming apart as you change bars and forks. For the $10-20 difference in price, it’s worth it in the long run.