It happens every year at Christmas. Parents and grandparents get requests from their 16 year olds who have just been introduced to scootering to pick up the hottest new scooter. Said 6'0" kid asks for a $199 size appropriate scooter for their age and height but all the parents see on our site when they go to our scooter category is the $119 model. Everyone wants to save a buck, right? Nothing wrong with that...unless the $119 scooter that you purchased was designed for a 4'0" 6 year old, not a 6'0" 16 year old.
We all want the best deal possible but opting for the lowest priced scooter, rather than the correct rider height, is often going to result in a return, which is a pain for both you and us...not to mention very expensive. The average cost of returning a scooter is in the $40 - $50 range. Nobody wants to spend 25% of the value of a scooter to return it.
You know how every kid is a different shape and size? Well, so are scooters. The pro scooters that we sell dramatically vary in size, as we sell to 6 year old beginners and 18 year old pros. There are obviously drastic height differences between those two age groups.
We have taken a stab at taking most of the guesswork out if it for you. I say most, not all, because there are obviously very tall 6 year olds and very short 18 year olds. As a general guideline, the following scooters are appropriate for these age groups.
Scooter that are geared towards 6-7 year olds are going to be very small. When we say small, we mean small. If you purchase a scooter in this category for a child that is olderthan 6-7, it will be too small. These scooters are typically built to hit a low price point (around $100) that easily allows entry into the sport but will sacrifice high end parts to hit the lower price point. Steel is prevalent, which will make these scooters fairly heavy - not suitable for a lot of tricks but intended for the very young rider who just wants to patrol the driveway or neighborhood. These entry level scooters are typically less expensive due to steel components and because they use much less material to make (read: deck and bars are smaller). Scooters in this category are geared toward the very youngest of scooter riders.
Not everyone starts riding scooters at the tender age of 6 or 7 so the scooters geared towards 8 and 9 year olds are still pretty entry level scooters so that the manufacturers can still hit an entry level price point (generally $159 or less). Scooters in this category are still aimed squarely at the beginner crowd. You will see deck length and width increase slightly from the most entry level scooters and bar height increase moderately. These scooters will also start replacing some of the steel parts found on the least expensive scooters for lighter weight aluminum parts.
We sell more scooters in the 10 and up category than any other age group for two reasons: (1) these scooters have the most moderate bar and deck dimensions and fit the widest variety of riders and (2) at this price point, most of the components have been upgraded to high end and light weight aluminum components. Compression also tends to get better and we start seeing threaded and ICS compression systems being upgraded to IHC, HIC, or SCS. Larger 110mm and 120mm wheels also come standard, making this category the best bang for the buck pro scooter that money can buy.
We see two groups of riders purchasing scooters in the 12 and up category. Not all 10 year olds are the same size. Growth spurts at this age routinely push 10 year olds into the 12 and up category. Bar height should be belly button or higher so, if a 10 and up scooter is too short, you need to move into this category. When we get into the 12 and up category, the scooter riders have been riding for a long time and tend to be more serious. This category has top of the line components and start featuring tall bars and long decks to provide the rider with better ergonomics and foot space.
We don't sell a ton of scooters in the 14 and up category. By the time kids get to age 14 and up, all but the most serious have dropped out of the sport. As a father of boys, once mine found girls and cars, they lost interest in scooters. The 14 and up category is aimed squarely at intermediate to pro riders who are older and bigger and need some extra foot space and bar height.
We hope this helps with your decision making process when picking out a pro scooter for your son or daughter. I definitely want the best price that I can get when shopping but you need to keep the following in mind when purchasing a scooter:
1) Scooters are definitely not "one size fits all". Don't just shop for price point. The least expensive scooter that we sell will DEFINITELY NOT WORK for your 14 year old. First, shop for size/age/skill, then shop for price point within the appropriate size/age/skill level category.
2) The cliche "you get what you pay for" holds true. If you find 5 scooters that are the appropriate size for your child that range in prices from $150 - $300, there's a reason. The $300 is going to have higher end components that will most likely last longer than the $150 scooter.