How Does a Kick Scooter Work

Are you looking to ease up self-isolation but couldn’t think of what other things to do away from the crowd during this time of pandemic? Many people resort to doing things that are new to them because, as we all feel, staying at home all the time is boring. This is where other outdoor activities many people have discovered before coming into play. Enter the kick scooter – one of the most popular things people are busy talking about recently.

If you are looking to know more about this incredible ride and how they work, continue reading. You come to the right place and in this article, I am going to explain everything to you.

These rides have been around since the 1920s and even teens from 3rd world countries enjoy riding on them even though they are mostly made of woods and steel bearings.

What is a kick scooter?

A kick scooter is either a two or a three-wheel riding mechanism that has a platform where your feet can rest, and a handle that is used to steer that whole thing. You might have one when you are a kid but because things changed when you grow older, you might have forgotten it already.  If you do, now is the time to ride again because they are becoming more and more popular and the later technology is even better. Unlike the common misconception that these rides are only for kids, adults can ride and enjoy them too and they are even more useful to them. People use them for plenty of different reasons and that is what we are going to discuss as we go further.

Also called pedal scooters (because you need to pedal or kick the ground while pushing it in order to roll), are totally different from motorized vehicles (aka moped in Europe especially in the UK). In order to fully understand this topic, we will focus only on manual rides, and not those vehicles that have 30 to 50cc engines or those that needed electric motors and batteries to run.

Before we discuss how they work, we first need to identify the different parts of this interesting personal mobility vehicle.

Parts of a Typical Folding Kick Scooter

From front top to bottom to rear

  • Handle grip (usually collapsible) – this is where the scooter is being held and steered
  • Attachment for handle grip and carry strap – where the carrying strap is attached
  • Quick-release clamp for steering column height – can be loosened or tightened when the steering or the T-bar’s height is adjusted.
  • Steering column height locking pin – holds the steering height in its position
  • Lowering steering column – the outer part of the steering mechanism
  • Clamp – locks the whole steering system and handlebars
  • Headset bearings (concealed) – used to move the steering left and right.
  • Front suspension – absorbs front shocks
  • Front fender (mudguard) – protect the rider from showering dirt and mud
  • Fork – holds the front wheel
  • Front wheel – one of the two wheels attached to the font and can be steered. 
  • Headtube (usually integrated with folding mechanism – connects the T-bar and the deck.
  • Deck – where the rider stands
  • Kick stand – supports the scooter to stand on its own when not in use
  • Rear fender brake – the main braking system of the scooter
  • Rear wheel – one of the two wheels attached to the rear

As you see, all parts are important and maybe you are wondering how this thing could work without even a pedal and a motor? This is where we need to answer the main question.

How does a kick scooter work?

Although it’s widely called in the US and Canada a “kick scooter”, some people call it a “pedal scooter” because you need to continuously kick the ground like pedaling in order to maintain its running especially on flat roads or uphill riding. In short, this type of vehicle is leg-powered riding personal transport. If you are familiar with a skateboard, you can definitely enjoy the ride with a short riding practice. All you need is mode balancing as the latter has only two wheels compared to the former that has 4.

At first, it might be tiring but as you get yourself familiar with, and realize how fun it is to ride, you will not feel tired.

Basically, the scooter rolls by kicking the ground like pushing your whole body forward while your hands control the steering. The more frequent you kick and push, the faster and longer it will run depending on the road surface condition. If it’s downhill, you don’t need to push. Just ride and enjoy while focusing on the brakes as you may go overspeeding.

When riding uphill, it’s normal to struggle a little bit especially if you are a beginner. Of course, it doesn’t have a motor so expect to kick more while pushing more. Similar to a bicycle, going uphill is always a challenge but for the thrill-seekers, it doesn’t matter. 

Short version:

To use a manual scooter, have your one foot stand on the deck while both of your hands are holding the handlebars. If you are right-footed, your left foot should be on the deck while your right food is kicking. It’s the right foot that should be responsible for braking as well. Reverse the process if you are left-footed. If this is your first time, it may take several tries but it would take longer to master and enjoy the ride! 

What Scooter is Best for You? 

As mentioned above, there are 2-wheel and 3-wheel models. The two-wheel models are designed mostly for teens and adults while the three-wheel are built mostly for toddlers. There are different types of these vehicles too. If you need something for a daily commute then you need a common kick model. If you want to ride on skate parts and want to show off your jumping and flipping skills then you need a freestyle or stunt model. If you want to go outdoors then get an offroad model. The choices are all yours!

About the author

Phillip Gray

My name is Phillip Gray and I love going outdoors riding on skates and scooters. I work as a graphic designer and I love creativity. This is why I appreciate the different creative scooter’s designs. I’ve been riding on kick scooters ever since I was 5 and one of my early scooters had grown-up together with me.