My road to the KickPed

By Jeffrey the Barak

Xootr left and KickPed right

Most kick scooter riders and potential kick scooter buyers are thousands of miles from being able to stroll into a certain New York City bike shop called NYCeWheels, but thanks to the Internet anyone is able to choose to buy the scooter that I have personally chosen as the best scooter ever, the KickPed.

I did not just stumble across it and decide to say it is the best. No, I have owned and ridden six different scooters in California, and before that, when I lived in England I had a few more.

The KickPed competes with scooters of the past

Each scooter had its good points and bad points and each was used hard and evaluated objectively in several riding situations. And for me, the KickPed is the best one of all.

Toy Scooter

The scooter that I rode the most was a heavy, inefficient, steel child’s scooter that I bought new for $50 back in 1988. I lived at the time, a mile or so from Venice Beach, California, and would appear on the boardwalk daily, riding my little scooter, in an era where scooters were almost never seen. I was “Scooter Man”.

Occasionally a child would happen by on a toy scooter, not that mine was not also a toy, and very rarely, the elusive dream machine known back then as a BMX scooter would make an appearance. But in general, it was all bikes and skates, besides me on my scooter. Although I should add that the future Patmont guys (manufacturers of today’s KickPed) were field-testing their prototype of the combustion engined Go-Ped in Venice that year, and getting hassled by the police even then.

That $50 scooter wore out and the last pair of tires was kept in service with a can and a half of Fix-A-Flat. After donating the scooter, I was left with a hole in my life. I yearned to have another scooter. I flirted with bikes, got a bruised behind from the saddles, and even went through several models of stand-up electric scooters, which while fun, did not really fill the void left by my last human-powered scooter.

We each have our preferred way to get around, but for me, the kick scooter, or leg scooter or push scooter is the vehicle that really gets me going. I love the simplicity and the efficiency, and I also, I have to admit, enjoy the attention.

I will repeat at this point that my current scooter favorite is the KickPed, sold by NYCeWheels in New York, (or at their website, from anywhere). For me, the KickPed has all the right stuff. It is easy to ride, easy to push or kick, easy to carry and is the easiest scooter to fold and unfold.

In recent years I have had a few remarkable human powered scooters, and I will comment on each here and explain why the KickPed beats them all.

The KickPed vs the Sidewalker city

Sidewalker City

The Sidewalker City was an amazing looking giant scooter, but it was inefficient. The foot-board was too high, making it very tiring to ride, as the supporting leg had to basically do squats on every stroke. It was also pretty huge and was as cumbersome as a full size cruising bike when you wanted to park it or transport it. At 26 pounds, it was a little on the heavy side, and in 2003 it cost $299. It was a good argument for the inefficiency of scooters, but it did cause a stir and attracted many curious onlookers.

Clearly the KickPed is faster, lighter, easier to carry and less expensive than the Sidewalker.

Kick Ped takes on the KickBike

KickBike Millenium Racer

The KickBike Millennium Racer was a scooter of the sort that is raced by European athletes. Scooters have always been more popular in countries such as Denmark. They call them Footbikes, and there is a FootBike brand, but mine was a KickBike. With its large front wheel from a racing bike and its 100 pound tire pressure, the KickBike would fly at terrifying speed over bumps and cracks, stopping at nothing except the steepest of hills. On a downhill it would speed along like Lance Armstrong, passing teams of cyclists, and I would see the road beneath me as death in waiting. Luckily I never once wiped out on that KickBike.

Despite it being fairly easy to remove the front wheel and toss it in the car, the KickBike was a never a vehicle that you could hop off, fold, and carry, so it never had the full convenience that is a major advantage of a scooter. It weighed under 20 pounds and in 2003 it cost $299 plus shipping.

The KickPed is easier to carry, more convenient, and less expensive than a KickBike.

Xootr MG folded and unfolded

The KickPed vs the Xootr Mg

The Xootr Mg is one of the more popular versions of the Xootr scooter range of foldable kick scooters.

Sometime around 2005 I had just written a magazine review of the KickBike on the-vu.com, and a man whose name I unfortunately cannot remember asked me if we could meet and ride each other’s scooters. He showed up in a van containing folding bicycles, two Xootrs and if I remember rightly, a Know-Ped with a shaved deck. Or perhaps it was a Xootr Cruise with a shaved deck, but whichever it was, he was onto something, as a shaved deck is one of the star features of today’s KickPed. Anyway, we rode together up to the top of Beverlywood and back, a steep climb up and free ride back down, about three miles, with he on my KickBike and myself on his Xootr MG. The next day I found myself ordering a Xootr MG.

When the surface is smooth and dry, the Xootr is hands down the best scooter you can get. The deck is low, the rolling resistance is minimal. and it is simply the most efficient scooter, and is also quite easy to fold, unfold and carry around. If all surfaces were always smooth and dry, there would be no beating the Xootr. But, not all roads are smooth are they? That is why I think the KickPed is the better scooter in the real world. Compared to the KickPed, the Xootr MG was very noisy, very bumpy, harder to fold and unfold, prone to sudden grinding stops on uneven pavement, and it skidded unnervingly on damp or wet pavement.

But there is no denying that any Xootr is a great scooter. The NYCeWheels store in New York has a custom version of the Xootr MG called a CityKicker. Other Xootrs include the Venus and Roma models which have a narrow deck for improved scooting efficiency.

More advantages to the KickPed

The KickPed Scooter is much safer, much quieter, much more comfortable, and yet still almost as fast as a Xootr, actually faster on the uneven sidewalks around this neighborhood, which often require a dismount and walk if you are on a Xootr.

It is no secret that my favorite scooter, the KickPed, is adapted, very cleverly, from an existing product, the Know-Ped. Despite the KickPed being better in a few ways, an original Know-Ped push scooter is still a nice scooter. I had a blue one for a while, but I lost it in a burglary in 2003, before I really had a chance to put many miles on it. I do remember that I wished the bars were higher, and that the kick stroke was a bit too far out to the side to be very efficient, but it was a nice smooth ride on an over-engineered platform that was originally designed for a combustion engine driven scooter.

The improvements that NYCeWheels brought to the Know-Ped when they designed the KickPed are all very effective. Especially the version with the taller handlebars. As long as these improved KickPeds are available there is no good reason to consider the older Know-Ped for your next scooter.

I realize that not everyone has the patience to buy and sell their way through five or six scooters just to find out which is the best choice for them, but if you take my suggested direction, you’ll be very happy with a KickPed, and slightly less so with any other choice.

Jeffrey the Barak writes from Los Angeles, California.

http://www.nycewheels.com/xootr-scooters.html
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  • http://the-vu.com Jeffrey the Barak

    That’s different! How much does it weigh?

    • http://sickridez.com salome ponce

      Just under 25lbs fun to ride lots of lookers and people asking to ride.

    • http://sickridez.com salome ponce

      Im curious on your thought on this design. Thanks

  • http://mikenopolis.wordpress.com Mike

    Great write up! I’m saving up for the KickPed. With owing a few hundred in income taxes and just paying property taxes (seems like it’s better to be homeless and unemployed when April hits!) I really wish I lived in a city like NYC where you can skate everywhere and supplement it with the subway. In California you basically have to drive most of the time.

    Like you, I’m a wheel junkie, I have used many means of transportation over the years. Bike (mountain, road and BMX) skateboards, long boards, stowboard, early razor scooters, electric/gas scooters, freeline skates…rollerblades (worst thing ever! getting wheels stuck to you!). Anyway, in college I found the K2 Kickboard, think it was walled the K2 Trifecta, it’s a three wheel scooter that steered like a skateboard and it’s assisted with a steering stick that you push left or right. I sold it after graduation 10 years ago. I decided to do a search on that contraption and recently bought K2′s newest edition of that scooter, the REVO. So far I love it, the stock bearings are a bit slow so that needs to be swapped out. The BEST thing about the Revo is the ability to always have one hand free. It’s like having the freedom and stability of longboarding, the smooth fast ride of rollerblades but with safety of a hand control. with that said, this can be ridden without touch the steering stick since leaning will turn the wheels.

    As much as I like my K2. I’m jealous of your KickPed, that beefy frame and wheels would be awesome.

    • http://www.nycewheels.com Jack R.

      Thanks for reading Mike, hang in there, as soon as you have that extra bit of change you’ll be enjoying the KickPed’s beefy frame and wheels in no time- jack

  • Carlos

    I have never had a kickscooter of any type. My problem is that I have been looking for a means to have greater mobility due to two problems; knee damage, and overweight problems. Most scooters cannot take the over 300 pounds that I am (losing weight now), and likewise the damage to my knees in the form of ligament damage and cartilage damage. Bending the knees and walking is excrutiantingly painful or bothersome all the time. So I started considering kickscooters as a means of regaining some mobility. I can say that the KickPed seems to address all that I was looking for in durability, ease of transportation (folding) and rubber tires for wet ground which is a plus. The only other kickscooter that may challenge the KickPed is the new Sbyke. However, like I wrote the people of the Sbyke, that the lack of a folding design to make it easier to carry negates any advantages of the extra large wheel, the limited weight carrying of 225 pounds, and even though the steering easy is superior to the other styles of kickscooters, again, the Sbyke’s lack of vision on making the design easier to carry, hamstrings its usefulness to older people who travel on public transportation and need portability and large weight carrying properties. That then leaves the KickPed as the ONLY viable kickscooter to consider. Something that has finally given me the daring to buy one and see if I can improve my mobility in spite of my medical problems. Stay tooned.

  • http://www.nycewheels.com Jack R.

    Stay in touch Carlos, let us know how it’s going. Best- jack

  • Clark G

    Great write up – Thanks! I am curious about using a scooter for a short commute (about 2-3 miles) in my small town. I have read and am seriously considering the KickPed, however what concerns me is the stock bearings poor resistance. I am wondering if these could be upgraded or improved upon? Thanks again!