Bikestar 12 Kick Scooter Review
>> Kick scooters with pneumantic 12-inch wheels are similar to full-scale foot bikes. At the same time, while not as portable as small urban kick scooters, their compact size make them convenient to ride on sidewalks, take in and out of buildings, and transport in cars. Between small urban kick scooters and foot bikes, this size kick scooter, such as the Bikestar 12, offers the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, there are few 12-inch scooters marketed directly to adults. The majority are marketed to children and teens even though they can be ridden by adults. Consequently, components on these scooters tend to be inexpensive. The upside is that these 12-inch kick scooters are very reasonably priced.
The Bikestar 12, for example, currently sells for around $90 on Amazon and eBay. My 12-inch Mibo adult scooter, on the other hand, is built with high-quality components, which all come with price tag over $600 (some of which reflects import shipping costs).
If spending several hundred dollars on a scooter is not in your budget, or you are not sure that you are going to love kick scooting on a 12-inch vehicle, inexpensive models like the Bikestar 12 and the Mongoose Expo 12 (another approximately $90 vehicle) are worth considering. Hopefully, the information below, along with other articles on Let's Kick Scoot, will help you decide.
The Bikestar 12 requires some assembly. If you do not enjoy assembly, or have appropriate tools, make arrangements with a local bike shop to acquire the scooter and put it together.
While the scooter came well protected, some of its nuts and bolts broke loose and wound up rattling around at the bottom of the box.
Assembly would have gone smoothly for me except that after spending a fair amount of time attaching the front fender, reflector, and tire, I noticed the fender rubbed against the tire. No amount of realignment helped the situation, so I wound up removing it.
Later I discovered the same problem with the back fender because the space allowance between fender and tire was very tight. To solve the problem, I just removed it, too.
The Bikestar 12's brake pads were also misaligned and required adjustment. Fortunately, they use standard bicycle V-brake components, so anyone familiar with adjusting bicycle V-brakes will have no problem adjusting them.
As expected, the ride on the Bikestar 12 was smooth and comfortable. It rolls well and the brakes, while not stellar, do an adequate job.
Generally, the scooter feels solid, however, two issues arose for me. First was the deck length. Although published specs state that the Bikestar 12's floorboard is 13.4-inches long, its usable length is a shorter 11.5-inches because it bends at a sharp angle at the back. This is not a problem for people who wear small to medium size shoes. At a man's size 13 US, though, my shoe does not fit.
In the photos below, note how far forward my foot is placed. The remaining empty area behind it should ideally be used for a floorboard.
In order for me to ride the Bikestar 12, I need to point my foot at a slight angle to the handlebar. Although this stance is not ideal, this was not a deal-breaker for me - I quickly got used to it.
You can gain extra deck length on the Mongoose Expo 12 by removing the deck surface (so one is left standing on the frame), or by shifting the deck to the back (as discussed in LKS's review), neither of which you can do on a Bikestar 12. In order to lengthen it, you first need to remove its welded metal heel guard.
The other issue is handlebar height, which did cause a problem.
The Bikestar 12's handlebar reaches a maximum of 35-inches, which is perfectly adequate for a child, but not for a tall adult.
Being 6-feet tall, it is definitely not high enough for me! Thankfully, the Bikestar12 uses a standard bicycle headset. To correct the problem, I installed a $13 stem raiser. This was simple task requiring nothing more than a long-handled Allen wrench. I raised it to a comfortable 39.5-inches. Through the use of the stem raiser, the handlebar can be raised another two inches.
Note that the Bikestar 12's deck surface is 4.3-inches from the ground. While I prefer a lower deck (the lower the deck, the easier it is to kick), I got used to this height fairly quickly, but others may find it too high, especially when scooting for long distances. It is a matter of personal taste and, perhaps, the length of one's shoes. Longer shoes on a high deck touch the ground sooner than shorter ones do.
One more drawback of the Bikestar's design - again, probably a result of having been designed for kids - is that the grips are very short. Short grips did not make it unusable, but they did detract from comfort and control. In order to install longer grips, the handlebar ends would have to be lengthened. There are methods of extending short handlebars, so if this is of interest to you, do a Google search and you'll find several articles and videos on the subject.
On several occasions, I took two other 12-inch scooters out for side-by-side comparisons with the Bikestar 12. They were the Mongoose Expo 12 and a Mibo Tiny Top.
- The Mongoose Expo is marketed in the U.S. as a "BMX" vehicle used for racing on hard, dirt tracks and comes with track-ready tires. Neither it or the Bikestar 12 fold.
- The Mibo Tiny is a high-end, foldable Czech scooter built for teens and adults.
See the LINKS section below this article for related reviews.
The Mongoose Expo 12 with track-ready tires felt the most sluggish and I found the performance of its brakes to be unacceptable. The Bikestar 12 is a definite step up in terms of riding performance.
Rolling resistance tests confirmed that "as is," the Bikestar 12's performance was between the Mongoose and Mibo. Replacing the Bikestar 12's stock 40 psi tires with 90 psi tires further improved its performance.*
Nothing topped the Mibo - its super-fast, smooth ride, low deck height, and excellent brakes make it ride like a champ! It price, however, at least 600% more than the other two.
The Mongoose Expo 12 (distributed by a division of Schwinn) is sold through Walmart, ToysRUs, and on Amazon.com. The Bikestar 12 is sold by Dakota Cycle through its eBay store and on Amazon when the vehicle is in stock. The Mibo Tiny is sold through its manufacturer and must be imported from its Czech manufacturing plant. See the LINKS section for more information.
- Steel frame
- Floorboard length: 11.5"
- Deck height: approx. 4.3"
- Maximum handlebar height approx. 35.4"
- Weight 15.9 pounds
- Length: 45.7
For someone looking for an entry-level 12-inch scooter, the Bikestar 12 is a worthy choice. It rides well and offers all the advantages of a 12-inch scooter - a smooth, stable, and safe ride - at a very reasonable price. Floorboard length will require angled foot placement for those with shoe size larger than US men's size 12, and maximum handlebar height may require installing a stem-raiser for taller riders.
The Bikestar 12's floorboard height, at 4.3-inches, is a consideration for people who do not like deep knee bending when riding for long distances. Shorter people, especially those who wear smaller shoes, might prefer the Mongoose Expo 12 because of its 3.5-inch deck height.
LKS Articles Related to 12-inch Wheel Commuter Scooters:
Manufacturers and Importers:
- www.Hoolay.pl: A Polish company that manufactures a kick scooer with 12.5-inch wheels
- Mongoose's Home Site: This company is owned by Pacific Cycle (related to Schwinn products) and is available at ToysRUs, Walmart, other large stores, and Amazon.com.
- Mibo: A Czech manufacturer of adult kick scooters.
- Kostka: A Czech manufacturer of adult kick scooters
- K-bike: A Czech manufacturer of adult kick scooters.
- Dakota Cycle: Importer of Bikestar kick scooters.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
Jerry Szubin - ScooterJerry88@gmail.com
Article and illustrative photos by Jerry Szubin. Edited by Karen Little. First published on 10/25/2014. All rights reserved by www.LetsKickScoot.com and Jerry Szubin.