Thursday, September 24, 2009

Inner Tubes, Scooters and the Last Days of Summer

Last week we had a delivery truck come in with bundles of tires and box loads of inner tubes in all kinds of sizes for recreational scooters. I counted almost three dozen different sizes of tubes from 8 X 2s all the way up to the 20 X 2.4 size. One of the most popular tubes of them all is the ubiquitous 12-1/2" x 2.5/3.0 inner tube. This scooter inner tube is puncture resistant and comes with an angled valve stem. A size common to a great number of scooters, the 12-1/2" x 2.5/3.0 inner tube will fit so many scooters that I cannot even begin to list them here. Just click on the link here to see the compatibility list. So versatile an inner tube, it even fits on a number of wheelchairs.

Why do some scooter tires still use inner tubes when tubeless is almost the rule these days? Well it mostly comes down to mounting and repair. A typical tubeless scooter tire is stiffer and will still allow emergency riding at very low air pressure; however they can be a bear to replace. The same qualities of stiffness that keep a tubeless scooter tire on the rim -even when almost totally deflated- mean that getting them on or back off of the rim is sometimes a time-consuming, frustrating, and possibly knuckle-skinning chore.

A scooter tire with a puncture resistant tube, like our 12-1/2" x 2.5/3.0 inner tube, is far easier to fix and remount. The tube holds the air pressure, so the tire itself doesn't need to create the air-tight seal on the rim. Rims can get damaged, bent and dirty without creating too many problems for the tire. As such, scooter inner tubes are preferred by many riders due to the ease of repair. Additionally, many riders prefer tires with inner tubes due to what they perceive as smoothness of the ride. Those air-filled donuts do double duty as shock absorbers.

Back in the proverbial Olden Days of Yore, almost all tires used inner tubes. Whether on cars, trucks, aeroplanes or bicycles; if it was a tire it had a tube inside of it. Scooters had not really made much of an appearance in the US until the mid-1960s, and even those were the street-legal gas-powered motor scooters like the Vespas and Honda Cub 50s. Electric scooters like the various eZips and IZIPs and Razors and such weren't even thought of yet. Even if they had been, they would have had tires with tubes.

If you picked up a nail, you put a patch on the tube to get rolling again. Almost all kids who had a bike sooner or later made the trip to the hardware or dime store (anyone remember those?) for the little repair kit in the can. They came with a 4X4 square of rubber, some glue, and a textured metal lid like a cheese-grater that you could use to roughen up the rubber prior to slapping a carefully-cut and glue-smeared rubber patch over the nail puncture. You practiced on your bike tires because you knew that sooner or later you would be grown up and repairing the rubber on your (hopefully) future Mustang or GTO in the same way. I don't think that "puncture resistant" had been thought of yet, not for small vehicle inner tubes anyway.

With all of those inner tubes in circulation -(no pun intended)- there was always a few old ones ready to find a new lives as rafts. Swimming pools, ponds, creeks, branches, runs, rivers, ocean waves, inlets, lagoons, and swimming holes of every description and water level would be festooned with kids floating and frolicking on old inner tubes. And that was just what summer was for.

Hint: if you want to re-create the joys of inner-tube rafting, use a tube with an angled valve stem pointed down. Not heeding this advice will sooner or later result in a very intense pain in a place that you really don't want to get hurt. 'Nuff said.

And then they invented the tubeless tire and rafting became rarer each year. They also invented a lot of other things that took away the fun of being a kid on summer vacation. Then they told you about this terrible thing called work that would replace your carefree summer delights as soon as you turned 17 or 18 and life would never be the same.

It is now late September and the summer has flown off south with the Canadian geese. Perhaps to Uruguay or Argentina or wherever it is that summer retreats to. A Southern Hemisphere location anyway. The kids are back in school trying to decipher the algebra that most will never again have any practical use for, and those of us who live in the coastal South-eastern and Mid-Atlantic region will keep one ear on the weather forecast, always on the alert for terms like "growing tropical depression" and "maximum sustained winds."

September morphs into October with its cooler nights, small-town Oktoberfest celebrations and the sound of Vince Guaraldi playing his magnum opus "Linus & Lucy" on the piano. Mr. Guaraldi may have passed away decades ago, but his classic soundtrack to the Peanuts television specials like "The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" was the first introduction for millions of us to the joys of listening to genuine jazz. The cooler weather of autumn reminds me that I might never again get to drift down the lazy creek in an old inner tube. Somehow trying to float on a tubeless steel-belted puncture resistant radial just doesn't cut it.

Maybe I could tie up a bunch of these puncture resistant 12-1/2" x 2.5/3.0 scooter inner tubes (heavy-duty thorn resistant with angled valve stem), take my shoes off and pretend I'm floating down stream.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Modern Times... or is it Post-Modern now?

One of the best-selling items that we have here at Monster Scooter Parts is a little 3-prong, 24 volt battery charger that we call the "Razor Pocket Rocket & Pocket Mod (Bella, Betty, Bistro, Daisy, iMod & Vapor) Battery Charger (Standard)." The name is almost bigger than the product, and these popular battery chargers are usable on a wide range of recreational electric scooters. We also list this battery charger as the generic 24 Volt 1.6 Amp 3-Prong Battery Charger (Standard) but both item names refer to the same thing. These work on those little electric scooters that swarms of kids zip around with on countless suburban sidewalks and cul-de-sacs when Saturday morning cartoons are over and their parents have claimed the big screen television to watch the cooking shows on PBS.

Please don't get the idea that I am endorsing one scooter manufacturer over any other, but I admit that I think that those little Razor Pocket Rockets and Pocket Mods are some of the cutest kids' products ever made. Scaled-down replicas of the classic old Euro-scooters of the 1950s and '60s, these represent a masterful marketing endeavour by Razor to introduce the street scooter concept to another generation of riders. By patterning their ride-on toys after a design style that has world-wide recognition, Razor has all but guaranteed that some of these kids are going to buy full-sized street scooters when they are older.

Electric scooters for kids have been around for a few years now and the idea is catching on for adult models as well. In these eco-concious times the term "green" has taken on a new meaning for both the consumers and manufacturers. Whether this signals a fundamental change in global priorities, or just another faddish affectation remains to be seen, but there is no denying that environment-friendly personal transportation is a growing business. The Powers That Be tell us we need to wean ourselves off of our addiction to fossil fuels, and all for the better future of our dear old planet. The gasoline 2-stroke scooter engines of the past have all but been replaced by the cleaner-burning, less pollution-spewing 4-stroker designs. Eco-friendly hybrid-electric technology holds a lot of promise for the near future, while an almost mythical hydrogen-powered utopia always seems to be just out of reach.

The street-legal scooter, whether gasoline-powered or electric, has been enjoying quite a burst of popularity lately here in the US. Sales are increasing even as other economic indicators are down. Still relatively rare just a half-decade ago, scooters like Vespas and Honda Silverwings and a host of other models are now begining to populate the urban asphalt and the suburban side-streets. I have begun to see full-powered 250cc scooters burning up the roads of rural Maryland and Virginia, places where you once saw a Ford or Chevy pick-up in every driveway. There are even rumors that Harley-Davidson is doing the R&D for another scooter model, maybe an up-dated and refined version of their long out of production 1965 Topper model. Perhaps Dylan said it best when when he sang that the times they are a'changing.

I don't want to tell you how old I am, but when I was a kid "The Jetsons" was on prime-time television. There were only three channels back then and Ed Sullivan had the closest thing to reality TV. Men were orbiting the Earth in Mercury capsules and we were all being led into a bright and prosperous new future where every kid was going fly to school on their very own jet-pack strapped to their backs. We didn't see "The Jetsons" as another mindless cartoon whose strategic goal was to get us to consume more sugar-coated cereal products; we watched "The Jetsons" because it was prophecy! We saw on the news how NASA was developing real jet-packs, and that dad was going to get a flying car, and sometime in the not-too-distant future people would be living on the moon and vacationing on Mars. Well, the future didn't quite turn out that way. Dad never got his flying car and by the time I graduated from high school I still hadn't gotten my promised jet-pack.

I sit here and contemplate what it would have been like if "The Jetsons" really was the harbinger of our future. Would I be writing the blog for Monster Scooter & Jet-pack Parts? Maybe so, and I bet that we would have the correct battery charger for it too.

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Scooter Parts, Scooter Battery, Scooter Charger

Welcome to Monster Scooter Parts, the largest and most comprehensive scooter parts site on the web. Need a scooter battery pack, an off-board scooter charger, or specialized electric parts? Does your street-legal motor scooter need tires or inner-tubes, roller-weights or an aftermarket performance carburetor? Since 2005, Monster Scooter Parts has grown to become the leading global online retailer of OEM, replacement and aftermarket parts and accessories for most major brands of mobility scooters, electric recreational scooters, and street-legal motor scooters.

Monster Scooter Parts is your home for the best price, the broadest selection, and unrivaled customer service that cannot be found elsewhere. We pride ourselves on our huge selection of scooter battery packs and scooter chargers, along with thousands of additional electric scooter parts and gas scooter parts to meet all of your needs. In addition to our fast-moving, high-demand items from the big-name manufacturers, Monster Scooter Parts stocks a large number of difficult to find parts for out-of-production scooter brands such as BladeZ and Minimoto. Many of the parts in our warehouses are available nowhere else in the world, and when our stock of these parts are exhausted, the final chapter in these scooter brands' histories shall have been written.

With our broad and comprehensive knowledge of gas-powered or electric scooter parts, and the scooter parts industry, you can be assured that you are getting a top-notch, high quality scooter battery, scooter charger, or any other replacement part at a truly great price. We are an authorized parts dealer for the ActiveCare, Drive Medical, Invacare, Pride Mobility, Rascal, and Shoprider lines of mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs. In the recrerational scooter field, Monster Scooter Parts is an authorized dealer for Currie, Razor, and Baja Motorsports.

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