Customizing an Atom Sidewalker Kick Scooter for Tall Riders
Our official review of the Atom Sidewalker was based on the experience of four people, starting with me at 5-feet, 4-inches and ending with Christopher Seiler (Chrsei) at 6-feet, 5-inches, plus comments by LKS Forum member Xootom and his wife, Xootomella. Overall, everyone liked the kick scooter, however, the taller the riders felt that the scooter’s handlebar was too close for comfort. This article shows “why” and, if needed, how to address it.
The Atom Sidewalker is one of three 12-inch kick scooters available in the USA. Two of those scooters, (marketed to teenage boys), are the Mongoose Expo 12 and the Bikestar 12, both of which have been reviewed by LKS. Out-of-the-box, the Mongoose Expo 12 required bike mechanic assembly skills, plus custom handlebars for taller people. The Bikestar 12 was easier to use out-of-the-box, but also required custom handlebars. Conversely, the Atom Sidewalker, which is designed for and marketed to adults, is ready-to-ride upon unpacking, with the possible exception of a handlebar modification.
Chrsei, our tallest tester, modified his Bikestar 12 for similar reasons, and is our authority for this article.
To demonstrate the issue related to stem and handlebar height, the handlebar is shown at its lowest point on the left, and highest on the right against Phil, a 5-foot, 10-inch man who was comfortable with this adjustment range.
For contrast, below is Xootomella, a slim, 5-feet, 8-inch woman, who also has plenty of room with the handlebar “as is.” Now, picture someone 7-inches taller than Phil (or 9 inches taller than Xootomella) on the floorboard. That person’s body would be closer to the handlebar which, in turn, would not give him or her much room to lean forward when underway.
Now let’s look at a simple adjustment. The Atom Sidewalker (in background, below) is definitely longer than the Bikestar 12, but the Bikestar 12’s stem and handlebar was modified by Chrsei so that it was positioned forward of the stem.
In the picture below, you can better see the difference between the straight-up Atom Sidewalker’s stem and the initially similar, but now modified Bikestar 12.
The stem Chrsei used to modify the Atom Sidewalker is pictured below. The circular clamp on top is what formerly held the handlebars. Note that as this scooter will be returned to Sidewalker, we chose to limit any investment in further modifications, however, you can see that a simple adjustment can improve riding comfort for a tall rider. Chrsei, in fact, commuted for a week on the scooter in this configuration.
Stems like this can be found in bike shops that sell mountain bikes, as well as on-line. For the Atom Sidewalker, the diameter should be around 1 1/8-inches at the tube and 25.4mm at the handlebar. A stem specifically made for folding bikes is called a “double stem,” with the part that folds often called a “folding riser.”
Most inexpensive stems cost from $20 to somewhat over $100. The one Chrsei installed was 130mm long which he felt would probably be too long for most people. He recommended installing a stem around 100mm.
Here are recommendations found on Amazon.com:
- XLC Comp Stem, 90mm
- XLC Comp Stem, 110mm
- Race Face Ride XC Stem, 110mm
- Origin8 Pro Fit Alloy Ergo Stem
The subject of 12-inch foot bikes has been covered extensively on Let’s Kick Scoot and now covers four brands, the Atom Sidewalker, the Mongoose Expo 12, the Bikestar 12, and the Mibo Tiny (which is not available in the US). The following article provides links to all related articles: Comparing the Mongoose 12, Bikestar 12, and Mibo Tiny Kick Scooters
Our official review of the Atom Sidewalker is here: Review: Atom Sidewalker, a kick scooter with 12-inch tires
The previous review of the Atom Sidewalker is here: Updated Review: The Sidewalker Atom Kick Scooter
Read more about the Atom Sidewalker, its specifications, and other Sidewalker-brand scooters on www.SidewalkerUSA.com.
Sidewalker also manufactures the 12-inch miniZum, which is a battery-operated scooter based on the Atom Sidewalker. Read about it here: www.zumaround.com
Article by Karen Little in conversation with Christoph Seiler (Chrsei). Photos by Karen Little, Christoph Seiler, and and LKS Forum member, Xootom. Posted September 14, 2015 on www.LetsKickScoot.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from Karen at Karen@LetsKickScoot.com.