Review of the Kbike K5 Kick Scooter
This article follows a slightly edited Let’s Kick Scoot Forum discussion related to the Kbike K5 kick scooter.
This scooter has 12-inch wheels, making it a very stable. It was, however, built for the Czech market where riders prefer short scooter bodies and typically bend down quite a bit in order to ride them. Americans usually stand straight up and because of that, the reviewer, “eBucks,” focuses on rider height as well as touching on his experiences with buying from overseas (Italy by way of the Czech Republic), and other details.
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Yesterday was a fun day because a package that had been held up with shipping/customs in NY finally arrived!
I’ve made two trips to work and back on it. Not epic rides, just a mile both ways of residential and college downtown streets and sidewalks. But so far I’m really pleased. My only previous scooter experience is with a Xootr, which a lot of us enjoy. No surprises: pneumatic, larger wheels on the K5 roll over that which might be trouble on the Xootr. And the ability to fold up the Xootr is really handy. But the K5 is fun too. Handling feels quick, but not twitchy – – having handlebars that are even wider than what I would use on a road bike, I suspect, contribute to handling to me that seems to hit a nice balance between feeling stable and feeling sensitive or twitchy.
So far all the questions I get are in reaction to the low handlebar height and whether they shouldn’t be up higher.
I pulled the stock stem out to the minimum insertion point, but the bars leaned forward. Adjusting them so that the handlebars themselves are leaned back would put the grips up higher, but I find that where they sit right now is comfortable for the rides I’ve done. (I’m about 5’10” Yes, I ride leaned forward. For reference, the grips themselves are about as high up as my hands naturally are at if I stand upright with my arms hanging at my sides.) Besides, there are taller quill stems that could be swapped in, if I decide I’d rather try a more upright position.
10/9/2015: Funbob Kickpants:
… I’ll bet you have the only K5 in the country.
I tried one at the 2006 World Championship off-road event. The guy who owned it raced it on single-track and even waist-deep into a lake. Most of the riders just let their mounts scuff on the bumps, with little regard to possible damage. Those little scooters have such a short wheelbase, they clear a lot of stuff that bigger frames scrape on. When he had to climb up a steep bank, he would just hoist the thing up on its rear wheel and run in back of it. I love how they build their wheels. Those puppies are bombproof, and the hubs are super-smooth.
… how did you obtain it?
Handlebar height: Just to clarify, so far I don’t think I’m going to want higher stem/handlebar setup. But I’m not a really tall guy. It just seems like most of the questions I get from others is about whether the bars should be higher. (And I’m assuming the people who aren’t talking to me about it are probably wondering what a grown man is doing riding his kids’ toy…)
About the purchase: I ordered through http://ilmonopattino.it/ and it was really pretty simple. Actually, for better than a year now, I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a scooter, and everyone that I’ve contacted has been very helpful and patient with answering questions, including the Revo5 staff here in the States. Most put up with my shameful, Google-translated emails and responded in English, too.
I nearly pulled the trigger on another scooter model from another dealer, but ultimately decided not to for two reasons. 1) Maybe it had to do with a language barrier, but I couldn’t convince them that VAT didn’t apply to purchases here in the USA, and 2) they preferred to handle payment with a bank transfer, and my bank wanted to charge me $40 for that service. So VAT + my bank fees kept me on the fence for a while.
The K5 wasn’t originally on my short list, but Jan (the man who sold me the scooter) has a couple of cool videos on the http://ilmonopattino.it/ site that made it look like a really fun ride. Jan hadn’t shipped a scooter to the USA before, agreed that VAT didn’t apply, but had concerns about whether I faced other import taxes after the package passed through Customs.
I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t have to pay anything like that. Or at least, I was betting on it based on doing a search on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website. When I’d type in “scooter,” the very first entry you get is for toys, which can come in duty-free:
Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars and similar wheeled toys; dollsʼ carriages; dolls, other toys; reduced-scale (“scaleˮ) models and similar recreational models, working or not; puzzles of all kinds; parts and accessories thereof
And my reasoning was that if push came to shove, the scooter I was importing was definitely toy-sized. [wink] So I told Jan that I didn’t expect to get stung with a tax bill. He accepted payment via PayPal, which was easy enough and came with fees that were half of what my bank wanted to charge, so that was cool, too. Despite the Italian website, Jan shipped from Prague via Czech Post, insured, and gave me a tracking number. He was great with communication, too, every step of the way. I think it shipped on 9/25. It arrived 10/8.
Shipping box: I can’t comment on how well the scooter was packed tho because I’m not even sure the box I received it in was the box he used to ship it.
What arrived was a franken-box made from parts of two cartons. I think both of them were recycled boxes, both of them appeared to be sourced here in the US because they all the printing on them was English. And from the tracking number I know the scooter spent nearly a week in a NY post office AFTER being released by customs.
So I’m guessing that somewhere along the line, either the original box was damaged, or possibly was opened up for inspection. And then maybe someone took their sweet time to half-ass a “box” together out of whatever was handy. One small part of the original box, the part with the shipping label from Czech Post, had been taped onto the new box(es). So yeah, I was pretty worried when I signed for the package and even asked my postal carrier what to do should I find I needed to file a claim for damage.
But hey, these little scooters are tough, no? I pulled the scooter out of the franken-box, installed the stem, and took off down the street. I quickly chased down the postal carrier. Not just to show off the new toy, mind you, but to let him know I wouldn’t need to follow his advice as to how to file a claim.
So that’s the long-winded version of how the purchase went.
Deck height: I think I read somewhere that the K5 has a deck height of 5cm (around 2-inches), and the K6 is at 6cm (around 2.4-inches). My hunch is that 1cm wouldn’t really make a lot of difference in the ride or ease of kicking. I probably would have been happy with either model, but Jan just happened to have a K5 in stock. Undoubtedly, one more cm of clearance would mean fewer scratches, but I really don’t mind some scratches. I like the saying “It’s a tool, not a jewel.” Scratches are going to happen.
And then when I read Funbob’s description of seeing people race a K-bike on singletrack, or through water… Wow!! Even my kids aren’t likely to put the scooter through that kind of use.
I have the K6 model [which he races in Canada]. You can see it here: http://forums.letskickscoot.com/post/kbike-k6-scooter-6330199
It’s election season, and my daughter and I were out knocking on doors for a mayoral candidate. We split time riding on my new scooter, and both really enjoyed it. Here’s a couple of pictures. The first is just opportunistic. The local Red Cross building provided a backdrop for another photo:
And here are a couple of pics of my daughter on the K5, who stands about 5’5″ and, at age 14, is a proud political activist. And she’s also open-minded enough about new things to give the scooter a try:
Looking at these pics of her, that while I know I’m taller than her at 5’10” and probably ride leaning forward a bit more than she appears in these pics, the position doesn’t feel awkward to me. In fact, it’s kind of fun to lean down lower and do some rapid kicks for speed.
Also, for anyone who is doing door-to-door work like election canvassing, riding a kick scooter is nearly perfect for speeding up that kind of work. I’m talking about residential neighborhoods with no need to worry about locking up. Our routine was to ride up to the next address on our canvassing list, dump the scooter in the front yard, knock the door, and then take off for the next house.
When it comes to knocking on doors and canvassing, kick bikes are a two wheeled, people-powered, democracy machine, y’all, I tell you what.
As for the ride of the K5, it’s super-sweet. What I’m going to struggle with in describing how it handles is I only have one scooter to compare it to, which is a Xootr Ultra Cruz. For such a short wheel base, what surprises me is that the handling feels, in (at least to me, without a wealth of scooter experience) to be surprisingly neutral/stable. Now, I don’t at this point feel like I can ride one-handed, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel twitchy.
- Having linear-pull brakes front and rear put it head and shoulders above my first-Gen Xootr that only has a rear brake.
- Seriously, the K5’s brakes have some squish to them as far as how they feel at the handle. But they are definitely effective. Everyone who rides the K5 winds up commenting on how effective the brakes are.
- Pneumatic wheels roll over obstacles that would trip up Xootr wheels.
- (But in the Xootr’s defense, I wish the K5 could fold like the Xootr does.)
10/10/15: Funbob Kickpants
I could almost fall in love and pursue getting a Kbike into my stable, but I’ve had two Czech short-wheelers too many. I’m over 6 ft and the romance quickly fades when I try to wind up my leg for a full drive. I end up striking my knees on the handlebars and cursing for a few minutes until the pain subsides. I have to employ a different kick on each scooter, and forgetting which one to use can be painful.
This weekend include a quick ride out to the regional airport. I figured that the T-33A they have parked there might make a good photo backdrop. I went out there assuming there might be a “No Step” sticker somewhere on the plane that would juxtapose just right with a scooter deck.
It’s funny how the 12″ wheels of the K5 really didn’t seem all that out of proportion compared to the jet trainer’s landing gear.
Later I ran some errands downtown with my 10 year old son, and took some more pictures:
Here’s to enjoying the fall weather while it lasts!
10/12/15 – eBucks
I’m only a couple of days in from receiving my K5, but so far I haven’t hit my knee against the handlebars. In fact, I spent some time purposely trying to kick far out ahead to see if it would interfere, and yes, I can make it happen, but kicking out that far doesn’t seem natural as far as how I’m used to kicking. But then again, I’m 5’10”.
Continued . . . there are plenty of taller quill stems, and all sorts of BMX and “ape hanger” handlebars that could be swapped in to raise the grip height.
Again, I’m 5’10” and the more I ride the more I find I like the position with the handlebars tilted forward over the front hub and with me bending over slightly at the waist. No discomfort so far, and a surprising amount of speed for such a little machine.
Did someone try the k5 with big apple tires? I read somewhere that the big apples have a smaller height than the original tires. Strange since normally the big apples are higher than the stock tires meaning that the original k5 slicks must be huge.
I did try the Big Apple tires for K6. You can read about it, plus see several photos here: http://forums.letskickscoot.com/post/show_single_post?pid=1281972913&postcount=59
Here are the results of switching tires on my K6:
clearance is ——–2 1/2″ (6 cm)
footboard height is –3 1/4″ (8 cm)
clearance is ——–1 7/8″ (5 cm)
footboard height is –2 5/8″ (7 cm)
K-bike K5 with Rubena Slick tires:
clearance is ———4 cm
footboard height is –6 cm
clearance is ———3 cm
footboard height is –5 cm
10/18/15: Scooter [the moderator]
This topic is discussed on our LKS Forums here: http://forums.letskickscoot.com/post/kbike-k5-in-ohio-7753432?pid=1289603287
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Article and photos by eBucks, with comments by other LKS Forums contributors. Posted October 19, 2015 on www.LetsKickScoot.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from “Scooter” – Karen@LetsKickScoot.com.