You have a child you love and they love scooters. Maybe they’ve never even ridden one before but they’ve seen the older kids riding them and want to be a part of the scene. You want your child to be safe, to be able to take part, but you don’t want to break the bank because you know that growth spurt is right around the corner and it’s bad enough you need to replace all their shoes in a few months. What’s a parent to do?
First you need to know what you’re getting into. No, scooters tend not to move at the speed of bicycles, but they still move fast enough that a kid can take quite a spill, so you’ll need to invest in adequate safety equipment, especially if your kid will be riding their pro scooter at a skatepark or on the streets.
Second, if nothing else sticks, you need to understand the importance of the engineering of pro scooters. These things are designed to take serious abuse, or at least they should be. Every pro scooter has a total weight tolerance. Bear in mind you don’t want to get a pro scooter that’s just over the rider’s weight because you want the pro scooter to be able to take as much abuse as the rider can dish out, and that might be more than the engineers thought your kid was capable of. As you peruse the options, remember that when you take a step (normal walking) you’re putting 150% of your weight on your knees with every step. That’s a lot of PSI. Now imagine how much weight you’d put on the deck of a pro scooter after jumping off a two-foot-high stair and landing with both feet— get one with a weight tolerance higher than what your kid actually weighs.
Third, you are in luck because kids’ scooters are cheaper than adults’ scooters. Still, within that category of pro scooters are several price points. To satisfy your need for affordability, the scope of this overview will focus on two subcategories: pro scooters under $100USD and pro scooters under $60USD.
Sub $100USD Pro Scooters
If you want to invest in a slightly more deluxe, yet still affordable pro scooter, you couldn’t do any better than the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter. Available for about $70USD, the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter is a perfect choice. The manufacturer, Arcade, has been in the business for about two decades, so you’re not getting a pro scooter from some fly by night company. History aside, the pro scooter itself has some remarkable clever engineering for the price point.
The deck is made of several strong, light weight aluminum sections, welded together, so the stresses on the deck are spread out, rather than focused on just a few structural members. Likewise, there are buttresses welded under the handlebars so the lightweight frame can take a few good impacts without bending under the stress.
The wheels and the tires (so to speak) are where you’ll find some manufacturing changes that work for both safety and cost saving, as they are made of polycarbonate rather than machined aluminum. They are fixed to the fork and the deck using ABEC 7 bearings, which are super smooth. Cheap? Check. Safe and good? Check.
The neck of the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter is “3D Stamped” which is a marketing language way of describing the way the neck’s internal structure is U shaped. This not only shaves off some manufacturing costs, but it also saves weight and makes the structure of the neck work a bit like that of an I beam used in steel cage building construction. I beams (so named because their cross section looks like an uppercase “i” with serifs) save weight over solid steel pillars but spread out the stresses and weight in such a way that the beam can flex without cracking. The neck of the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter works more or less the same way.
The brake, which sits above the rear wheel, is steel on the side that matters, and nylon on the bit you’ll see and step on. This means the brake works well but doesn’t break the bank. It doesn’t even look all that different from the more “adult” pro scooters, so aside from the ergonomics being made more for riders ages 7 and up, and rated for riders up to 220 lbs, but really, you shouldn’t be getting on this thing if you’re a 200 lbs adult because, c’mon, you’re just putting way too many miles on this thing at that weight.
Finally, the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter comes in several colorways, so no matter the aesthetic tastes of the rider in question, there’s a Defender that will suit them.
Yeah, you could find something that has the same specs on paper, probably made by some knockoff farm, but it won’t have the same quality, and finding out the specs only exist on paper isn’t something you want to do with your kid’s bodily harm on the line.
Sub $50USD Pro Scooters
Of course, if $70USD is too rich for your blood, there’s still a great option for you. Coming in just under $50USD is the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter’s little brother, The Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter. It’s very similar to the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter in most meaningful ways, but as with the name cutting back by two syllables, the Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter is the slightly less deluxe yet very respectable pro scooter for kids getting acquainted with the sport.
Unlike the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter, which is officially rated for riders anywhere from 7 years old to 107 years old (according to Amazon) the Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter is meant for the smaller set: ages 6 to 12. This is borne out in it’s much lower weight tolerance of only up to 140 lbs. That means that if you want to show your kid how to ride, get your own pro scooter to demonstrate with.
It doesn’t have the buttresses under the handlebars, but it doesn’t need them because it isn’t intended for riders as large as those who might ride its big brother. It comes with an aluminum boxed deck like the Arcade Defender Pro Scooter, but the neck isn’t 3D stamped. Instead, it has cross braces, likely machined in manufacturing, so it’s still lightweight and more than good enough for its stated weight tolerances.
Like its big brother, the Arcade Rogue Pro Scooter has a nylon brake with a steel brake pad within, molded handlebar grips, and it comes in several colorways, sure to please the pickiest tween. If you still feel compelled to get a knockoff at this price point, you need to reexamine your priorities.