When Should You Upgrade to a Pro Scooter?

When Should You Upgrade to a Pro Scooter?

It can be difficult to decide when to make an investment in your kid's freestyle scooter. The Razor Ultra Pro is the best all-around complete scooter for beginners.

When your kid is first beginning to scooter, he will probably start out on a Razor A1, A2, A3, B model, Pro model, or similar folding aluminum scooter with adjustable handlebars. These work decently for younger riders when they are first starting out, but once your scooter kid is good enough to tailwhip or if he weighs more than about 60 pounds, then it's time to start considering purchasing a better quality scooter. That's a general guideline, but I'll go into more detail as to why you should upgrade your kid's scooter.

Level Up

There is no actual designation for different levels of scooters, but for the sake of this article, I'd like to explain the delineations I see in scooters. These are by no means industry standard divisions. These are just how I envision the various types and levels of scooters on the market today.

A folding, or "foldy", scooter with adjustable handle bars is what I would consider, for the purposes of this article, a "level 1" scooter. Level 1 scooters are the cheapest, most entry-level scooters that will work great for young kids just beginning to ride. All of the Razor A1, A2, A3, Spark, Graffiti, and B models, as well as most lesser-known brand folding scooters, are level 1 scooters. These scooters range in price from $19-$39.

A "level 2" scooter would be a foldy scooter that you can modify to lock the folding mechanism. The Razor Pro model is one of the few scooters in this category. While some people have modified the level 1 scooters to lock them from folding, the metal in the folding mechanism really isn't strong enough to support this kind of modification. The Razor Pro model has a sturdy enough mechanism to support bolts to lock the folding mechanism. I refer to these modified Pro models as a "bolty pro". The Razor Pro model is around $79.

Scooters that have been designed without a folding mechanism or adjustable handle bars would be what I would consider a "level 3" scooter. Scooters in this category are the Razor Ultra Pro, the Fuzion Elite, and the Madd Gear (MGP) Pro model. These are typically $99-$120.

Beyond the level 3 scooters are competition-level pro scooters, or what I'll call "level 4" scooters in this article. The reality is that some of the level 3 scooters are competition-level scooters, but they might require modifications before a rider would compete on them. A level 4 scooter is one that either comes complete with competition-level parts or a scooter that has been custom built/assembled to be a competition-level pro scooter.

In the Beginning...

Razor A ModelPretty much every kid starts out on a folding Razor-style level 1 scooter because they are inexpensive and easy to find. If they don't have one of their own, then they probably will ride a friend's folding scooter. For younger kids, these work great. In fact, they even work great for adults as an executive toy around the office. But once you start riding them at skate parks, you're going to trash them pretty quickly. Even if your kid is just starting out, there's a way that you can save some money on foldy scooters: if you buy your Razor A2 or similar model from Toys 'R' Us, you can usually find them on sale, but more importantly, they sell a warranty for $5. This is only good for one replacement, but you've just reduced your cost of 2 scooters from $60 to $35. After your kid damages the replacement scooter, you'll have to buy another full-priced scooter, but you can buy the warranty on that one too, and get another replacement.

Razor Pro ModelEven if you use the Toys 'R' Us warranty trick, you're going to get sick of buying new level 1 scooters all the time. As I mentioned above, one option you have is to buy a level 2 scooter, like a Razor Pro model, and then bolt the folding mechanism. Having tried to buy bolts at Home Depot to lock a Pro model, I highly recommend you spend a few extra bucks, save yourself the hassle, and just buy Inward Scooters' bolt and plate set. You can choose your color, they look great, function fantastically, and the bolts are high quality.

In addition to bolting the folding mechanism, you can improve the stability and durability of the Pro model by replacing the bars with solid, fixed bars, such as Inward Scooters' T-bars. These are great quality and inexpensive solid steel bars that many scooter kids love. If you're replacing the bars on a Pro model, make sure that you specify that you need your bars with a slit.

Show Me the Money

While the Pro model with some modifications can get you by, it's really not the most effective and economical way to get your kid into a better quality scooter. You might be thinking, "My kid isn't ready to compete. I don't need to waste money on buying a more expensive scooter," but you'll actually be saving money by buying a higher quality scooter. When my scooter kid first started riding, he rode a Razor A2 for a few years. Wait...let me correct that statement. What I meant to say is...he rode over a dozen (MORE THAN A DOZEN) Razor A2 models! Even if you can find them on sale for $29.99, that's still over $360 in scooters.

Why did he have so many? Before we found out about better quality scooters, he kept breaking the folding mechanisms, the bars, the forks, and the brakes on his scooters because he was doing tricks beyond what they were capable of handling. Our first step in improving his scooter situation came when my wife found that Tite Toyz (the online store for Scooter Zone) sold pre-modified Razor Pro models. We didn't know anything about building or customizing scooters, so buying a Razor Pro model that had already been bolted and had solid steel bars was a great way for us to provide Paxton with a better scooter. (Note: this was before the Razor Ultra Pro was released, so the only pro scooter option at the time was a bolty pro or a TSI.)

While the Tite Toyz bolty pro wasn't anywhere near the quality of today's pro scooters, it was a great intermediate step both in terms of quality and cost.

Enter the Dragon

Razor Ultra ProWhen Razor introduced the Ultra Pro model scooter, it revolutionized the sport of freestyle scootering for beginner riders as the first level 3 scooter. Now, you can buy a decent competition quality freestyle scooter with a solid, non-folding deck and solid steel bars for less than $100. They even make two versions: the "Hi" and "Lo", which offers the same scooter, but with two different size bars, differing in height and width.

Razor has also released a second version of the Ultra Pro that has a reinforced neck/headtube joint to prevent breakage, which is a good thing since even my scooter kid broke one. Since replacing his original model Ultra Pro with the improved version, he hasn't had a problem. When buying an Ultra Pro, be sure to look for the gusset welded below the neck for additional support.

Since the introduction of the Ultra Pro, other companies have introduced quality, competition-ready scooters around $100. Madd Gear has the Pro model and Fuzion has the Elite, but the Razor Ultra Pro remains the most popular scooter at this price point and skill level.

If you buy an Ultra Pro, the first things you'll want to do is cut the bars to the right height and width for your child, replace the wheels with metal core wheels, and replace the grips with something like Animal or ODI Longneck grips. As important as it is to replace the wheels and modify the handlebars for the right size, I can't stress enough that you should replace the grips. The grips that come on the Ultra Pro are awful and they will give your kid blisters on his hands.

If I haven't alluded to it enough yet, I want to state this clearly: the Razor Ultra Pro is the best scooter for the money for beginner riders. If your kid is just starting out, make the jump to the Ultra Pro as soon as you can financially make the investment.

Pro Dough

Once your kid starts competing seriously, landing some big tricks, and getting big air, the quality of the components he rides will become more and more important. A pre-built level 3 scooter will no longer cut it for him. That's not to say that the level 3 scooters aren't great, but he'll want a specific fork, specific bars, specific wheels, etc. and you'll end up building a custom scooter out of a variety of parts from multiple manufacturers. This is where almost everyone ends up, so don't be surprised when you arrive here: a level 4 scooter that you've custom built.

At this point, Razor will likely become the passé scooter brand and your kid will want a deck from Phoenix, Lucky, Madd Gear, District, Zero Gravity, or other top brands. A lot of it is the quality and features that those decks offer, but to be completely honest, there is a certain status attached to having a pro scooter. Don't be surprised if your kid feels peer pressure to upgrade to a certain quality of scooter or a part that his friends are riding. Try to find a balance between helping him express himself and keeping the financial burden of scooter part buying under control.

There is one important thing to remember about more expensive pro-level parts: while they are more expensive, they are also better quality and more durable. That is, a Phoenix or Lucky deck will most likely never break. While consumables like grips, wheels, and bearings will need to be replaced over time, it's unlikely that your kid will wear out or break a high-end level 4 scooter deck, so your money isn't being wasted. In addition, the resale value of level 4 scooters and parts is a lot better than the lower level ones.

Growing with Pride

Only you can make decisions that are best for your kid, but remember that investing in quality parts and equipment can help keep your kid safe and give him the best possible advantage in his sport. That's not to say you need to buy him a top of the line scooter from day 1, but try to keep the quality of his scooter one step ahead of his skill level so he has room to grow, like a pair of new shoes.

Whatever you do, don't keep your kid on a junker scooter held together by duct tape and paper clips. You're only going to endanger his body, his self-esteem, and hold him back in the sport that he loves. Your child is an investment in the future. You're never going to look back on your life and say, "Boy, I'm sure glad I didn't spend that extra $100 on that scooter and instead kept him riding a sloppy hunk of scrap metal." Support your kid the best way you can and put him on the best scooter you can, appropriate for his level of skill and interest.


Comments

Do you know where to buy the latest model of kid's scooters for age group of 4-12 ?

By Jenny May (not verified)

Be sure to check out Inward-Scooters.com for all online freestyle scooter parts and accessories. In the California area, check out Scooter Zone. In the Seattle area, check out Mothership Distribution in Everett. As far as other local retailers, Wal-Mart carries the entry-level Madd Gear Pro scooter. Target and Toys-R-Us carry the entry-level Razor models.

By Kenny

what tricks should you know how to do before you buy a better scooter than an ultra pro

By rob young (not verified)

The Razor Ultra Pro is a great platform for a freestyle competition scooter. It can take you a long way in your career. Don't worry about what tricks you know or don't know with regard to what scooter you are riding. Try riding other decks and when you find one that you really like, and when you can afford it, take the leap. Just know that you usually have to do some significant upgrades all at once when you step up from from the Razor Ultra Pro. You likely need to upgrade the deck, headset, fork, bars, and clamp/compression system.

By Kenny

I just upgraded my scooter from a razor pro to a blunt and I can bri flip double whip up the bank 360 flat 270 to 90, 90 to 270 540 up the quarter pipe and finally 360 whip up the bank I consider that I moved up pretty fast though because I have only been scootering for one month now. Hope that helped :)

By Chase (not verified)

In my opinion once your child can fly out if a quarter pipe and do double tail whips. This is when I upgraded my sons scooter to a district. After that he started trading parts and knew a lot more than I did so now if he wants something he shows it to me and if it looks good he pays 50% for it and I pay 50%

By Damon (not verified)

my son can back flip which scooter should i get him

By john (not verified)

If he can backflip, he's definitely ready for a pro-level scoooter. You don't want him flipping and landing on something that could break. Anything from Phoenix, Lucky, Envy, Madd Gear, or the other big name companies should be good. If you need help selecting parts, talk to a local shop, call an online retailer, or try using our Scooter Configurator. :)

By Kenny

what customizations to do to a razor pro deck that would be good ( upart from bolting it)p.s. is a mgp brake better than a razor pro brake(not a flex fender)

By jake (not verified)

If you don't have metal core wheels, you should definitely get some. Hopefully you're also running solid bars too (not adjustable) bars. Beyond that, save your money for a one piece deck like an Ultra Pro, District, Phoenix, or similar.

By Kenny

una pregunta yo mido casi 180 un poquito menos la pregunta seria que e mirado las tallas de las scooter y decidi comprarme una que es la razor pro xxx pero dice que su alto es 67 cm eso es bajito o me recomendarias una mas alta o en este caso que podria hacer ?

By fabian (not verified)

Hey Fabian,

I wish I could help you, but I don't speak Spanish. Based on Google's translation, I think you're asking about the height of the bars on a Razor Pro XXX. Maybe someone who speaks Spanish can help you. Sorry.

By Kenny

[An attempt at translation since no one else has........... and by the way, thanks for the helpful article, and I love this site!]

"I am just under 180 cm [about 5' 11"] tall. My question is that I have looked at scooter sizes and decided to buy the Razor Pro XXX but it says the height is 67 cm [about 2' 2"]. This is very short... would you recommend that I buy a taller one, or what else can I do?"

By B Love (not verified)

That should be the bar height, not the height for the person riding the scooter. That is, if you stand on a scooter and measure from the top of the headset (bottom part of the bars) to about waist height, that's probably pretty close, maybe a little short. Razor also makes an Ultra Pro Hi version that is very similar, but has taller, wider bars.

By Kenny

Hi my son is 3 years old and I got for him one of those foldy ones works great but is too heavy for him he is a small boy but he rides like a little pro and he is trying tricks and stuff but the scooter is heavy and I want to upgrade to a very light one no foldy,a madd bp1 beginner will do the job? I will be able to cut the bars for my so height.any advise will help me a lot
thanks

By vladimir (not verified)

Madd Gear makes a good scooter, but they front-end heavy and I don't recommend them for very young kids. The lightest scooter would probably be a District, but it will also be more expensive. Honestly, the folding scooters are pretty light, so you might have a hard time finding a better quality scooter that is lighter than a folding scooter. You can almost always cut bars down in both height and width to accomodate smaller riders. Take a look at the Razor Pro X model as well. Good luck!

By Kenny

So my son is big for his age!! He is 6 & about 90lbs!!
Right now he has his 3rd little junk razor scooter & hates it!!
He's not huge into tricks or anything yet but all the boys
In our neighborhood have the lucky scooters!! I knew
nothing about scooters/prices ect. until today when we
went to look & price them out!! I definitely want him to
have a good quality scooter but don't want to fork out
the $400 they want for the lucky ones near us!! Any
suggestions? It seems like they all have that one!! Is
there any other scooter of good quality that will fit his
needs in the $200 range? Thanks :)

By Megan comesano (not verified)

Hey Megan,

At 6, your son probably isn't ready for a $400 scooter. Still, you're better off spending a little more on a decent scooter than blowing through $40 every other week on a cheap folding Razor. I would recommend checking out the Razor Ultra Pro, Razor Pro X, Razor Pro XX, and Razor Pro XXX models. Target and Toys'R'Us both sell them and they are all pretty much the same scooter, just with a few differences. That deck is solid and will last him a while. They range from about $80 to $140 or so.

If you want to go with an even better scooter, the Envy Prodigy at $199 (http://www.inward-scooters.com/catalog/pc/Envy-Pro-Scooters-c98.htm) is a great deal for what you get. Lucky has some decent scooters in the $230 range (http://www.luckyscoot.com/Complete-Pro-Scooter-Lucky-Crew-s/134.htm). The very best scooter for the price, in my opinion, is the Phoenix Session Complete starting at $275 (http://www.inward-scooters.com/catalog/pc/phoenix-session-comlete-pro-scooters-c203.htm). However, I still think that the Razor Ultra Pro and Pro X/XX/XXX models are going to be a good choice for a 6 year old who is just getting into the sport.

Good luck!

By Kenny

Hi looking to buy the fuzion z300 or razor black label pro 4.0. Do you know the difference between the two? Would love your feedback/recommendation for my soon to be 10 year old whom is small for his age (48lbs and just above 4 ft tall). He is super active and ready to do some tricks! Thanks in advance!

By Aide (not verified)

I haven't checked out the Z300 yet, but we may do a review of it in the coming months. It looks really good, so I'm anxious to check them out. The Razor Black Label 4.0s are great scooters as well. Both should be great entry-level freestyle scooters. Other options, if you're looking to step up to a better scooter, would be the Envy Prodigy at $199 and the Phoenix Session Complete at $299. Lucky and District also have some good scooters in the $200+/- price range. Good luck!

By Kenny

Looking to buy a good quality scooter for a 12 year old as xmas gift. Friends have pro scooters but he is a beginner however I want him to fit in with the others and don't want to buy junk yet not sure if he will totally like the sport. Any suggestions?

By Wickey (not verified)

The new Envy Prodigy completes are a good deal at $199. For an even better scooter for a little more, Phoenix is about to release their new SESSION by Phoenix line at $249 and $349, but those won't be released until about the middle of December. Lucky also has some nice completes in the low to mid $200 range.

By Kenny

My son is almost 9 and we are probably on our 5th scooter. We just ordered him a Grit Elite Pro Scooter. Do you know anything about these scooters? I read a lot of reviews and read that they were better than the fuzions because the thing they stand on doesn't move?

By Ashley (not verified)

I don't have much experience with Grit other than their first-generation low-end stuff, which I wasn't impressed with. Their more pro level stuff seems pretty good though. The Elite Pro that you mentioned looks like a decent scoot, but I can't give you any opinions based on specific personal experience with it.

By Kenny

are you able to crome and or raw the razor altra pro scooter bars?

By Jake (not verified)

You could raw them by sanding them down, but they will get rusty. I don't recommend it. You could sand them down and have them chromed, but I think it would be a lot cheaper to just buy bars that are already chrome.

By Kenny

Hi, my son is just about 8 years old, he loves to scooter, but isnt into all the tricks. He enjoys riding long distances(few miles) as fast as he can, mostly on straight flats near the coast like the boardwalk(while i ride my longboard skateboard). So far he has just been using one of the basic razor fold up(i think kick or a?) scooter, ive replaced the 98mm wheels and bearings once. What would you recommend as a good fast "long distance push"(longboard lingo) scooter ? I saw a Razor A125 basically a folding razor with 125mm wheels, and a razor pro xx. Would the razor pro xx be "faster" than his current one? Any advice? Thanks

You've got the right idea with bigger = faster wheels. Bigger wheels can roll over bumps easier and they carry more momentum. I've seen a few scooters with 125mm wheels, but I don't have any first hand experience with them, so I can't make a good recommendation in that area. We definitely notice a speed and momentum increase by going from 100mm to 110mm wheels, but not all scooters (forks and brakes) can handle larger wheels. Most of the folding models won't handle 110mm wheels. As far as bearings go, for freestyle use, fancier bearings (ceramic, etc.) aren't any better because they are more fragile for impacts, so I don't recommend anything more expensive than Bones Reds. But, if your son isn't jumping at all (i.e. landing), then better bearings might be worth it. Just don't jump right to some $80 bearings. :)

By Kenny

Hi, is fuzion z300 pro black scooter foldable?

By Diana Radcliffe (not verified)

None of the Fuzion Z-series scooters are foldable. The Razor Pro Model (original) is the only foldable "pro" scooter and it doesn't even really qualify as a pro scooter anymore.

By Kenny

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