The kick scooter originated more than 100 years ago, although it took almost a century for them to catch up to the popularity of similar personal transportation methods, such as the bicycle or skateboard. The earliest patents for scooters were submitted in 1921, but serious manufacturing of scooters did not begin until the late 1990s.
The Early Days of Scooters
The earliest kick scooters were typically hand-made by those living in industrial urban areas looking for another way to get around. Some versions of the early homemade scooters included using a roller skate wheel set on a board with a handle or an old box. Some people created their scooter out of two boards connected by a crude pivot to help turn the scooter. These scooters tended to be made of all wood, with three to four inch wheels with steel ball bearings. Another typical homemade kick scooter was made using a steel clamp roller skate attached to a wood beam.
Scooters begin to Improve
The lighter and more durable metal scooters with two small bicycle wheels attached became a popular mode of transpiration for children before bicycles caught on, but soon were overtaken in popularity by bicycles. These early scooters typically made with roller skates were four-wheeled, similar to skateboards. Although other wheel options have since been manufactured, there are still lines of four-wheeled scooters produced today. In 2000, the four-wheeled Wetzer Stickboard was produced by a Swiss company, which had a narrow skateboard attached to a foldable pole. In 2006, Nextsport produced four-wheeled scooters called the Fuzion. These four-wheeled models tended to be larger and heavier than the Razor and similar scooters, and some also added features to facilitate stunts and freestyling.
The Folding Scooter
The folding scooter debuted in 1996, and changed the scooter world. It was made from aluminum and featured inline skate wheels, providing a faster, easier and lighter scooter. The first version was made by Wim Ouboter from the Micro Mobility Systems in Switzerland known as the Micro Skate Scooter. Soon after, the Razor debuted, and in 1999, it caught on in Japan as a way to commute and quickly became popular around the world. Larger folding kick scooters have also been manufactured for adult commuters. These typically have more durable parts and feature a wider deck, larger wheels, and a hand brake.
With the invention of the lightweight folding scooter, the new sport of freestyle scootering began. Soon after, new versions of stunt scooters debuted, which include non-folding professional scooters that are stronger and made for doing stunts and using in half pipes.
BMX Scoot Debuts
BMX began manufacturing scooters in 1987, which they called Scoot. Although the manufacturing did not last long under BMX, other companies saw the draw, and began producing scooters. These scooters are often faster than a folding scooter and offer users more convenience than a utility bicycle in urban areas. Mountain Scooters also have been produced, which are made for off-road usage.
photo credit: Sheldon Hay