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Ask ScooterDad - Volume 4

It’s Ask ScooterDad time again! If you missed the other volumes, you can find them here: Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3.

Why do some scooter decks have different headtube angles?

The angle of the headtube on a scooter deck affects a few aspects of the way your scooter feels. First, and perhaps most significantly, the headtube angle affects the way that the scooter whips. The steeper the angle (larger number), the more the deck whips on a flat plane with less resistance. Second, the headtube angle affects the steering. The smaller the number, the larger the rake (angle of the fork), which makes steering easier. Third, the rake also affects the pullback on the bars. That is, the smaller the number for the headtube angle, the further back your bars will angle toward your body.

Older riders typically like steeper headtube angles (measurements closer to 90 degrees) and younger riders typically like flatter headtube angles (measurements further from 90 degrees). As riders start doing multiple whips, they need a flatter plane of deck rotation. Also, as bars get taller (with taller riders), the bars end up too far away from the headset with a flatter headtube angle.

How can I remove grip tape?

Try to peel back as much as you can with your hands. The more you can keep in one large piece, the easier it will be to remove. If it gets stuck or breaks, FIND AN ADULT FOR HELP and CAREFULLY use a razor blade to use it to peel back the grip tape. Once you get all of the grip tape removed, if there is any sticky residue remaining on your deck, you can remove it with a solvent like Goof Off or lighter fluid. Both of these fluids are flammable, so be very careful!

What height and width should my bars be?

This is very much a personal preference, but I most often see new, young scooter riders with bars that are too high. Use your own preference as a guideline, but here are some general rules to get you started: For height, stand on your scooter and set your bar height at approximately where your belt would be. For width, the width of your hips should be just a little more narrow than your shoulders, and that’s a good starting measurement.

Can I use threaded forks with an integrated deck?

Nope! Integrated decks are always threadless headsets. Trying to use a threaded fork with a threadless headset can damage your headtube and headset and you will have a very difficult (if not impossible) time trying to get your headset rotating smoothly and dialed.

Can oversized bars work with a threaded headset and forks?

Generally, no, but I’ve heard that the new Lucky HIC shims allow you to run oversized bars on threaded forks. I haven’t tried this, so be sure to check with Lucky or your retailer for specifics.

What are some easy sponsorships for freestyle scootering?

You know that saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, that applies to a lot of things in life. If a scootering sponsorship is easy to get, it’s probably not worth it. Sponsorship is like a job. You have to earn the experience to get the job and then you have to work hard to do your part of the job. Sponsorship is not the end game of scootering. Ride for fun, try your hardest, and let all the complicated stuff come naturally.

How much shorter do I need to cut my bars for SCS compression?

SCS compression clamps add some height to your setup because the bars do not slip over your fork. The additional height is typically 1.5”-2”. To determine how much height your SCS clamp adds, take your clamp and drop your compression cap in the top. Now measure on the inside of your clamp from your compression cap to the top of the clamp. That measurement will tell you how much to cut off your bars for the same height. For example: if you measured 2” inside your SCS clamp and you want to run 20” heigh bars, then cut your bars to 18” high. You need to cut the slit off your bars for SCS, so this usually isn’t a problem.

Can I install a flex fender brake, like a Phoenix Switchblade, on a District deck?

While I haven’t done this personally, there’s no reason why this wouldn’t work and I’ve seen people on the internet post about doing this. You’ll need to drill 2 holes in the top of your deck for the mounting bolts just like you would when mounting a Switchblade on a Razor Ultra Pro.

Can you buy replacement axles and bolts at a hardware store?

Yes and no. You may not be able to find the exact replacements that came with your parts, but you can often find much harder, longer lasting axles for really cheap. I buy all of my replacement axles at Ace Hardware. I buy hardened steel bolts and nylock nuts. These are stronger, last longer, don’t strip as easily, and the nylock nuts help prevent loosening of your axles.

Can I use an SCS clamp for HIC compression?

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. Even if the upper half of your SCS clamp can accommodate oversized bars, like with a Proto SCS, the lower part is only large enough for your forks, not including a shim and bars like you would need for HIC compression.

Can you scooter at Camp Woodward?

No. Err…kinda. Sometimes. Woodward, as of the writing of this article, is not open to scooters on a regular basis. They do sometimes open for scooter camps, but those are typically only once or twice a year. Other camps, like Ohio Dreams, may have different rules regarding scooters.

What type of compression does a Razor Ultra Pro come with?

That’s a trick question! The Razor Ultra Pro doesn’t use a compression system because it comes with a threaded headset and fork. While a threaded headset and fork provides the same function as a compression system in securing the fork to the deck, it’s technically not a compression system. That is, the Razor Ultra Pro does not come with SCS, HIC, ICS, TLC, IHC, or any other type of compression system that you can think of.

Can you install threadless forks on any scooter deck?

Threadless forks can only be installed on a scooter that has a threadless headset. The good news is that you can install a threadless headset on most scooters. (Actually, I can’t think of any that you can’t install a threadless headset on, but there might be one weird one out there.) Removing the old bearing cups and installing new bearing cups is a HUGE pain in the butt, however, so you should have an adult or a bike shop help you do this step.

What compression system should I use with an integrated scooter deck?

An integrated scooter deck has the bearing cups built in to the headtube, so it’s just a regular deck with a threadless headset that is “integrated” into the deck. An integrated deck his HIGHLY preferable over a non-integrated deck for ease of installation, maintenance, and for ensuring proper headset alignment for smooth rotation. You can use pretty much any compression system that your bars, fork, and clamping mechanism can support because an integrated deck will be running a threadless headset.

Can I upgrade the bars on my scooter that has a threaded headset and fork?

Yes, as long as the new bars are standard diameter bars with an outside diameter of 1 1/4” and an inside diameter of 1 1/8”, then they should fit on to your fork without any problem. Some stock bars will have threads inside the bars, but this is unnecessary if you have a good clamp. On the other hand, it’s always a good idea to upgrade to a threadless headset, threadless fork, and new compression system if you don’t already have it and can afford it.

Should I start scootering?

YES! Absolutely! :) Scootering is great exercise, it’s fun, you get to meet great people, and it can help regulate kids who have dysregulatory issues, like Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, and other autistm-spectrum disorders. Scootering has been a great influence on my kid’s life and it has given him self-esteem to feel good about himself and be confident in other aspects of his life. Grab a scooter and a helmet, head out there, and have fun!