Micro Flex Blue Kick Scooter Review
>> The Micro Flex Blue, an adult kick scooter sold around the world, is specifically designed to produce a smooth, well-balanced ride on a variety of surfaces. This article examines whether that claim is true.
To determine whether Micro's ("Micro Kickboard" in the USA) claim is true, we tested the Micro Flex Blue's ride against a Xootr's. Both kick scooter brands are known for their high-quality vehicles and are in a similar price-range. Xootrs, however, are best ridden on smooth surfaces, making its riding behavior on packed brick a good contrast to the more all-surface-capable Micro Flex Blue.
As you can see from the above photo, the silver Xootr and Micro Flex Blue (MFB) are relatively the same length. Their major differences are as follows:
- The MFB's floorboard is shorter than the Xootr's.
+ The MFB's floorboard is made out compressed plywood molded to form a slight curve. Pressure on the curve causes the floorboard to behave like a tight trampoline. The fluctuating floorboard compresses slightly when you step on it, lifts whenever the front wheel hits a rough patch or when you kick, then compresses again.
+ The Xootr's floorboard is flat metal which does not flex.
- The wheels on the MFB are larger and thicker than on the Xootr.
- The MFB has a rear fender brake. Xootrs feature a hand brake and a rear fender brake.
With or without flexibility, kick scooter wheel design contributes to riding comfort and stability on less-than-smooth riding surfaces. Here are the differences between the MFB and Xootr tires:
- Diameter: MFB = 200 mm. Xootr = 180 mm
- Thickness: MFB = 1.29 in. Xootr = 1.00 in
- Shape: MFB = rounded edge. Xootr = flat edge
- Stability: MFB = less affected by surface imperfections and small debris (pebbles, twigs, etc.). Xootr = performs best on smooth sidewalks, with small debris to be avoided.
Note: Micro uses the same wheels on its Micro Black/White adult kick scooters as it does on its Micro Flex Blue. Both scooter styles are very stable on slightly rough surfaces, such as packed brick, cracked asphalt, and very hard-packed mud.
Rider Size Considerations
While smooth and stable riding characteristics are a consideration when buying an adult scooter, your height, weight, and shoe size are also important considerations. Xootr kick scooters, for example, can carry heavier, taller riders (up to 300 pounds, depending on model), while the Micro Flex Blue's recommended weight limit is 220 pounds. Its shorter floorboard is also more practical for a shorter person, from approximately 5-feet 10-inches and under.
Testing Ride Smoothness
We tested the Micro Flex Blue's riding quality on packed brick, a material that is becoming increasingly common on sidewalks in the USA.
Prior to testing the MFB against the Xootr, we knew that the MFB would produce a smoother, more balanced ride on rough pavement. The purpose of the testing, then, was to "scientifically" demonstrate how the rides differed, rather than just offering a personal opinion.
The picture of the sound waves are taken from the audio picked up through a video. To set up the test, we rested a video camera on the handlebar of each scooter in approximately the same spot. Once underway, all video footage was taken between two points on the pavement, with the same rider (me), riding in same direction. Several videos taken during the test were compared, all of which exhibited similar patterns to what is shown here.
The smoother, less spikey sound waves show that the Micro Flex Blue provided a smoother, quieter ride when compared to the Xootr with its smaller wheels and stiff frame.
The above slow-motion video shows how a rider's body is affected by the Micro Flex Blue's flexible floorboard. The actual ride feels cushioned, even though the continuous flexing is almost imperceptible.
Flexing occurs when scooting over uneven (lumpy) portions of the pavement, as well as when the rider kicks, causing the rider's body to briefly lift.
The sense of flexing might seem more pronounced to a light-weight person (less "weight pressure"), than one who is closer to or over Micro's suggested maximum weight (220 pounds). My videos, for example, showed less flexing when the scooter was ridden by a 240 pound person, although the rider (my husband) reported that he felt the ride on the MFB was more comfortable then the Xootr's over the same pavement.
Riding comfort on rough pavement alone is not a reason to select an adult kick scooter. You also need to determine how the scooter's deck affects your ease of kicking.
The MFB's floorboard is perfect for people who wear size 9/10 (US) shoes or smaller. The floorboard becomes cramped for people who wear size 11 (US) and larger shoes. Seasoned kick scooter riders, however, can usually deal with small floorboards, but novice riders might find a scooter with a short floorboard constricting.
The MFB's back "stomp brake" is unique among all small urban kick scooters. As you can see in the photo above, the brake's surface is quite small and it is located closer to the back of the standing foot than to the middle of the back fender.
This brake design appears to reduce the heat that can be generated through a traditional stomp brake. Its use, however, is not intuitive.
Sole stiffness (or softness) and shoe size can affect how easy or hard it is to use this brake, so experimentation is needed when selecting your riding shoes. Under all conditions, you need to practice using this brake in order to develop the most effective braking performance.
The Micro Flex Blue is an excellent small urban kick scooter for people who regularly ride on a mixture of rough and smooth pavements. It is more ideal for shorter people (say, 5-feet, 10-inches and under) who wear size 9/10 (US) shoes or smaller, however, than for taller and/or heavier adults.
It is well built, light weight (10 pounds), and folds easily, making it ideal for carrying on public transportation, as well as in a car's trunk.
Former Flaw: When first introduced in 2014, the Micro Flex Blue had a flaw that caused its handlebar to collapse when riding. This has since been corrected by the manufacturer. Research our Let's Kick Scoot forums to learn more about this. Should you buy a MFB used, or from old stock, check for the presence of two gaskets at the joint where the scooter folds and have them immediately removed.
- www.MicroKickboard.com. This is the site of the USA importer of Micro products.
- www.Micro-Mobility.com. This is the site of the Micro scooter manufacturer based in Switzerland.
- Let's Kick Scoot Article. This is a 2011 review of the Micro Kickboard Black/White scooter. Note that this style is slightly smaller than the Micro Flex Blue, with less floorboard room. Both scooter styles, however, have the same stability characteristics, although the Black/White does not have flexibility.
Article by Karen Little. Pictures and video by Karen and Phil Little. First published on 7/4/2015. All rights reserved by www.LetsKickScoot.com.