The Difference Between a Foot Bike and a Scooter?
The urban mobility market has seen a huge change in recent years, there are now many varying shapes, sizes and specifications of personal transportation. Without a doubt, they are here to stay, and with the help of electric options, will revolutionise how we get around our increasingly congested cities.
It can be confusing, foot bike, kick bike, stunt scooter, step scooter, micro scooter? These are just some of the names given to this mode of personal mobility. Is there a difference or are these all just an evolution from the kid's scooter explosion we saw at the turn of the millennium?
“There is a big difference between a foot bike and a scooter”
Before we start however we must address our brand name Swifty Scooters. It’s only a name and it sounded so good when we were designing the brand that it stuck. So let’s focus on the technical riding points that make our vehicles awesome. The following points identify why Swifty's adult kick scooters are technically foot-bikes or kick-bikes, and certainly not toy scooters.
A scooter is not a toy!
In general, a foot bike is designed and built much like a bike. It’s a big, serious bit of kit and deserves a category all to itself.
A foot-bike uses bicycle componentry, in particular, spoked wheels, pneumatic tyres and front and rear brakes. Toy scooters are small, have tiny hard wheels, have only a rear fender brake, simple componentry and ultimately are designed for kids. You’re not gonna earn any street cred if you’re an adult riding one, and you’ll struggle with any longer distances.
You can go anywhere!
From the top of Mt Snowdon to icy winter tarmac in Austria, our foot-bikes can handle whatever mixed and uneven terrain you can throw at them. Dirt trails, grass or gravel won’t stop the large pneumatic wheels from turning. Compared to a small-wheeled scooter, it feels completely different to ride and it’s in a whole different class.
No need to take our word for it though, watch our co-founder Jason take his SwiftyAIR down Mt. Snowdon. It shows perfectly how well our large-wheeled foot-bike handles the rocky and mixed terrain that the route consists of. You couldn't do this on a small wheeled scooter!
Speed, Distance and Endurance
Speeds in excess of 80km/h have been achieved on foot-bikes. On the flat, it’s perfectly normal to cruise along at 16km/h and up to 25km/h in a sprint if you use the correct technique.
Our premium adult fitness scooter SwiftyZERO, for example, is designed for speed and distance and has recently been the vehicle of choice in three 1000 mile adventures!
Learn more about the endurance trips people have been on with their Swiftys:
Dave Cornthwaite - 1000 miles on a scooter through Japan
Super Gran Dinah - 500 mile solo scoot
Bicycle Wheels & Pneumatic Tyres
Foot-bikes have large bicycle spec wheels. The hubs, rims and air-filled pneumatic tyres can vary in size. We, however, think the 16inch 305mm wheel is the perfect size for speed comfort and riding pleasure. This is by far superior to the hard PU wheels you get on little scooters.
The large wheels mean the usual cracks and holes in the ground that you encounter won't cause you any problems, you'll simply cruise right over them!
Learn more about the safety of Big vs Small wheel scooters in our pothole simulation test HERE
Bicycle V-brakes vs Scooter V-brakes
Braking performance is super important for the safety of the rider and any pedestrians that share the path. Foot-bikes have bicycle specification brake callipers and hand-operated brake levers. The callipers actuate rubber brake pads onto a wheel rim to provide industry-standard stopping power in all weathers. Small scooters that have a rear friction fender brake that underperforms in wet conditions.
Bicycle Headset, Stem and Handlebars
Foot-bikes utilise bicycle headsets, stems and handlebars to give the user maximum control when riding. These are designed and tested to bicycle safety standards. This specification is also adjustable, allowing the user to modify to their desired level of comfort.
Using standard bicycle componentry also allows any bicycle service centre to adjust and maintain on behalf of the user – nice!
Foot Bike vs Scooter
This market is set to grow year on year. It’s exciting to see so many other innovative brands and an ever-growing choice for the customer. Our advice would be to choose wisely, buy the best you can afford and do your research. The foot-bike is here to stay folks, so let the good times ride and roll!
Hi Kevin, we don’t have any current plans to develop bigger wheel scooters. 16-inch wheels allow the ideal amount of safety and ride quality, while also being ideal for the foldability of the SwiftyONE.
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What about units with bigger wheels like some other brands make, for example 20inch wheels or 26front 20back etc..
Do you plan to develop that way?
Or is the brand concentrating on the smaller 16inch wheel units.?