By Jeffrey the Barak
A search for the word scooter on the-vu.com will reveal my passion and obsession for this type of vehicle. I much prefer scooters to bicycles, even though I have to admit I won’t be tackling a hundred mile charity ride on one.
I have this year reviewed the KickPed, an amazing kick scooter. I mentioned in that article that I once owned its ancestor, the Know-Ped, briefly in the early 00s, but it was lost to a burglar before I had a chance to put many miles on it. This week I reacquired a Know-Ped, in the same color, blue, and have had a chance to compare it side-by-side with my KickPed.
Both are made by Patmont Motor Werks, but the KickPed is sold exclusively by New York City’s jewel of a bike shop, NYCeWheels. They took the standard Know-Ped and had some made just for them, with subtle changes.
The differences are:
- The KickPed has a deck that has been shaved to an arguably more efficient narrow shape, so that by sacrificing the ability to stand with your feet side by side, you have a closer arc available for your propelling foot, and free space instead of wood, where your passing ankle needs to be. It is also upgraded to marine plywood so it can take a few rain soakings without delaminating.
- The KickPed frame is finished in clear lacquer, showing the patina of the welded steel, whereas the Know-Ped comes in an assortment of powder-coated colors.
- The KickPed does away with the arguably unnecessary front caliper brake, which likely leaves you with nothing to adjust or maintain for the life of the scooter.
- The KickPed is available in tall (42″) or regular (38″), the latter of which has the same handlebar height as the original Know-Ped.
In the photos here you see my tall KickPed (42″ high with a 39″ bar height measured from the deck) beside a blue Know-Ped. I am five feet seven inches tall, and I bought the tall KickPed, however the short KickPed and the original Know-Ped (38″ high with a 35″ bar height measured from the deck) are actually about the right height for me. I would say that if you are five feet ten or taller, then the tall KickPed is better, as the seller clearly suggests, but it is not a huge height difference. Stand on the floor and while holding a tape measure in your hands about 12″ ahead, observe where 39″ and 35″ are and that will show you which bar is more suitable for you. Your hands should be lower than your elbows. If you ride with small children, look at the smaller Grow-Ped for them.
The Know-Ped first appeared as a human powered version of Patmont’s combustion-engined Go-Ped. The Go-Ped Sport was this very same vehicle with an engine propelling the back wheel. You did not have to kick a scooter with an engine, so it was nice to place your feet side-by-side and face forward into the wind for an hour or so.
This wider deck is not a disaster on the Know-Ped, and it can be fun at lower speeds to change foot positions easily, and to cruise downhill with feet together, but NYCeWheels point out that the deck’s width can be a hinderance to efficient scooting, and you can possibly knock your ankle on the deck as you scoot.
The front caliper brake on the Know-Ped is another throwback to its roots as a motor vehicle. The rear spoon brake is usually all you ever need for the human powered Know-Ped, even on a high-speed steep downhill scary run, and that is why the KickPed simply left it off. The front brake is also an item that may occasionally require adjustment, so the KickPed becomes truly maintenance-free. The front brake can actually be a little bit too aggressive and I recommend that Know-Ped riders use it with caution, shifting their weight accordingly.
The blue Know-Ped that I acquired this week is almost exactly the same as the one I briefly enjoyed owning a decade ago. The hook that used to secure the folded bars to the spoon brake for carrying has been replaced by the same strap that I have on my KickPed, but that is the only difference/improvement I can spot. They have always been available in blue and red, but at times there have been yellow, pink, black and bright-green limited editions, and they now have a new color, flat-black. All look great, as does the Kick-Ped’s clear lacquer.
Only the KickPed has the bar height options, and only the Know-Ped has the frame color options.
The Know-Ped has been around since 1997 so you may find a used one on eBay or Craigslist. They are so tough that it is likely to be in great condition. As for new scooters, (at time of writing), NYCeWheels.com charges $239 plus shipping for either size KickPed. You may find much lower prices on new Know-Peds, as low as $154 (at time of writing).
If you are a handyman or a woodworker, then you could always find a lower priced Know-Ped, and shave the sides of the deck down, and remove the front brake. But if your time is worth money, (about $100), and you prefer the thinking behind the KickPed, just get a KickPed and be done with it. It is still good value compared to many much worse designs out there. Whichever you get, you just pull it out of its shipping box, raise the handlebar, letting the spring push the sleeve over the hinge, then step on and ride. There is nothing to adjust and nothing to inflate. Repeat daily and you’ll be happy.
Update, a month later.
Since the bars on my KickPed seen in this article were for a person taller than myself, I sold it and acquired a second Know-Ped. Having had an opportunity to deliberately switch back and forth from one to the other many times over, I just felt happier with two feet on the Know-Ped. Now I have two the same, (one for my wife), and I continue to love the scooter.
Jeffrey the Barak has a scooter where his brain should be, and he likes espresso and to laugh at nothing in particular.