Friday, April 19, 2013

#30DaysofScootering: Soggy Commute and Scooter Talk

It was a late night for me last night, so I slept late and didn't get out for any early morning scooting today. The rain didn't exactly motivate me either. I did ride my scooter to work and back and forth at lunch and then back home this evening for a grand total of 0.8 miles of scootering today. And I took this picture of the nice tree and the book lady statue.

Since this is a super short daily entry, I'll try to add a bit of value by quoting from an email exchange I recently had. Will said it was OK to quote from his email. Will writes:


Hi Kent,

Thank you very much for your great blog. I've been reading your reviews on the kickped, and thought I should send a few questions your way.

I've been wracking my brain regarding what to purchase (Xootr vs KickPed vs KnowPed). I am worried about the thin tires on the Xootr, but I love the idea of going farther on a single kick compared to the kickped. Also, the lower deck may be easier on my squat frame. The kickped costs more (190 total for the Xootr, vs 260ish for the Kickped).

I guess I should get to the point. Have you ever felt like you were about to fall/fly off the Kickped?
Do you feel super confident, or wary that you could hit a snag? Have you tried a Xootr? Assuming you have, what do you think of it? What's the difference efficiency wise?

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. Best wishes!

-- Will


I reply:


Hi Will,

Thanks for writing. First off, you ask good questions and I bet other folks are wondering the same thing (I was!) and I am wondering if it would be OK with you if I quote your email in an entry on my blog. I wouldn't need to include your email address in the post, of course.

Anyhow, to answer your question, I've been fascinated by scooters for quite a while and a couple of years ago, after lots of reading reviews and such on the internet, I was very close to getting a Xootr. Folding Bikes West in Seattle had a Xootr and I tried it out in the parking lot.

The Xootr didn't win me over. The thinner, harder tires are faster on smooth surfaces but the ride is more jarring and loud than the ride of the KickPed. One reviewer noted (and I wish I could re-find this review on the net) that he felt like he could read braille by rolling over it on a Xootr. You really do notice every crack in the pavement. The KickPed's ride is much more forgiving. The Xootr is more efficient on very smooth stuff (I'm not sure how much. 30% maybe?) but I'm not sure how much faster it really is in the real world.

I don't want to jinx things, but so far I haven't fallen off my KickPed. The closest I came was when I got it up to about 12 mph on a descent here and started to loose my nerve. I hadn't gotten the hang of trusting the rear brake and tried to drag my kicking foot.

The fat rubber tires grip very well and even in the wet weather I haven't had problems. I have heard that the urethane wheels of the Xootr or Razor scooters are very slick in the rain, so that again pointed me to the KickPed.

I was tempted by and have heard good things about the Razor A5. It's the least expensive scooter I've found that gets good reviews, has good performance and is suitable for adults. Check out this Amazon link:

Another budget option would be to get a GoPed KnowPed. The blue ones (I don't know why blue is cheaper, but it is!) can be had for under $150 on Amazon:

The deck is wider (and not marine plywood like the KickPed) and it has a front brake and lacks the cool clear-coat finish of the KickPed, but it's a good, stable scooter. I've learned to value the narrow deck on the KickPed (for kicking efficiency) and am not a front brake fan, so I've found the KickPed to be a great value but you could get a KnowPed and run it stock to start with and make modifications if you desire. For example, I found this page of a guy who modified a KnowPed with a very cool aluminum deck:

By the way, here are a couple of articles by Jeffrey the Barak that I found useful in my scooter quest:

The bottom line for me is that the KickPed is a practical, stable, tough, fun scooter. I've found that the NYCeWheels folks have added real value to the KnowPed design to make a good scooter into a great scooter.

By the way, I got to try a Razor A5 that a customer brought into our shop. For under $100, it's quite nice. But I wouldn't ride it in the rain. And officially, I don't think anybody recommends riding any scooter in the rain. But I live in the Pacific Northwest and we get lots of rain and I've been OK with my KickPed in the rain. But I slow way down and the braking becomes almost nothing. So, consider yourself warned.

I hope this helps.

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA

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