Kick Scooter vs bike? What makes more sense in NYC?

by JACK on JANUARY 11, 2014

Source: NYCeWheels

Kick Scooter in NYC

Kick Scooter in NYC

Here in NYC, kick scooters are becoming a more and more popular way of getting around town. All different types of people of all different age groups are hitting the streets on KickPedsCity Kicker, and Micros – from parents who want to keep up with their kids, to young professionals who need a faster way to get to work.

When someone comes into the shop looking for a kick scooter, the most common questions are about durability and speed. Will this scooter be safe to ride, how fast will it go, and can it really hold up on New York’s quintessentially rough-and-tumble sidewalks?

Is a Kick Scooter a substitute for a bike? What exactly can this thing do?

Kick Scooter vs bike

Is a Kick Scooter a substitute for a bike? Hmmm…. in some situations maybe. It all depends on how far you want to go, how many hills you have to climb, and what your expectations are. Certainly an extreme biker is not going to have all his/her needs covered by the Kick Scooter. It is foreseeable to ride a bike hundreds of miles, my friend Peter rode his folding bike 150 miles to Philly, and there are countless people who bike 1000s of miles on cross country tours. If you tried to take a kick scooter on a 1000 mile ride, who would probably break some sort of record, have 15 minutes of fame on Night Line, and possibly be committed temporarily for having a mental breakdown. I would say if your commute is over 5 miles, a bike would be the way to go, in the case of NYC probably a folding bike.

Kick Scooter Detail

Kick Scooter Detail

That said, there are many situations, especially here in NYC, in which it might be more convenient to commute on a kick scooter than a bike. Let’s say you live 15 blocks from work. A bike will get you there faster, but due to the density of traffic in NY, probably not that much faster. 15 blocks? On a bike depending on how many red lights you’re willing to run, it would probably take you around 4 – 5 minutes. On a Kick Scooter you could make it in 7-8 minutes at 1 block every 25 – 30 seconds. Once you get to work, the Kick Scooter has the added advantage of being much easier to carry with you and store at the office, unless you have a high tech folding bike like the Brompton of course.

Kick Scooter Speed Test

Let’s say that you’re more of a recreational kick scooter user, not so much concerned with commuting as tooling around, and from time to time, getting your speed fix. Surprisingly a kick scooter with thin polyurethane tires like the City Kicker can reach some pretty serious speeds. Riding a bicycle in New York City, I usually average around 12 – 15 miles per hour. Bellow is a video sent to us by a past customer named Newton Dixon, who took his City Kicker down the Queensboro bridge at over 20 mph. Too fast for my blood.

Durability and Longevity

KickPed Scooter Variation

KickPed Scooter Variation

The three most popular kick scooters at NYCeWheels are the City Kicker, the Micro Adult, and the KickPed. All of these scooters are very well made, using high quality materials, will carry up to 240 lbs and be expected to last a long time. There are some important differences to take into consider however. The City Kicker has those hard thin wheels which are very fast on smooth surfaces, but if you ride on rougher pavement you will really hear and feel every bump in the rode. The KickPed, by contrast, has a nice Chromyl steel frame, and thick rubber tires that will be much smoother on rough terrain. The thicker tires on the KickPed will also grip better on hard packed dirt trails, although keep in mind that no Kick Scooter is going to work well on Sod or ungroomed trails.

So to sum up for all those commuters out there, if you have over 15 – 20 miles or so to ride, I’de say a folding bike is going to be the way to go, but if you live in a dense urban area, and want something cheap, lightweight, and reliable to get you where you need to go at a nice clip, an adult kick scooter may be your best choice.

Happy holidays!

Jack