My only problem with Kickbikes® and AW Footbikes

Homemade footbike rear wheelYou’ll see from the ‘blog-entry title that I mean footbikes from the Kickbike and Amazing Wheels companies. My gripe is that both makers use proprietary rear hubs on their bikes – and one’s not even the same size as the other.

It’s not even that serious; certainly not serious enough to keep me from owning one of each brand, especially since I’ve no plans of switching out either rear wheel, although 16″ wheels instead of both bikes’ 18-inchers would let me easily lower their deck heights. I know 16-inchers are sporadically available from Kickbike, as they come stock on some of the models, but I’ve already lowered my City Cruiser to a 3.25″ deck height just by changing the tires, and that’s not the point.

If only these scooters (or some models) were designed to use 20″ front wheels on the back. There are plenty available (even setting aside the narrow hub, 18″ bicycle wheels are as rare as hens’ teeth).

And you’ll never find 70mm-wide hubs. According to BikeWorks NYC, hubs narrower than 100mm are antiques: “90-93mm = narrow and pre-1930s front hubs. 96-100mm = standard front hubs….”

I know the idea was to keep ankles intact, and there are folks who scrape theirs on the narrow hubs already on footbikes, but not all do. And there are footbikes that use standard wheels, although some are plagued by high deck heights: viz., the otherwise beautiful Sidewalker City. Not all are as unsuitable for serious kicking, though; there’s Jim Gallant’s fine homemade footbikes and the venerable Amish scooters.

Okay; I feel better now…

5 Responses

  1. That was a good vent, nearly a perfect circle I might add!
    So aside from answering your own riddle, we can tell you a couple of small point. If you take the 65mm Kickbike rear hub and wish it to have pressed bearings instead of loose bearings you end up with the 70mm Footbike rear hub.
    If low, low, low is where you need to go then shop for a carbon fiber fork with a 14.5 inch axle to crown measurement, a low profile headset, and a 23c front tire and you are racing away.
    For kicks we have laced the FB rear hub to a 20″ hoop and ran a 650b kit up front—almost too low unless you live near a pristine course.
    There is a German builder that uses a 110mm rear hub with an 18″ wheel. Yes the swapability seems elegant, but their knobby ankles are not!

  2. Sparty, the Tretroller-Quartette card game has specs on all the scooters I’ve heard of and more. I see most have narrow rear hubs, apart from Blauwerk, Bike2Go, Kostka and Ketam (not to mention the Puky[!]), which have 100mm.

    Still, it would put my mind at rest to know there was a place I could lay my hands on 70mm hubs or wheels.

  3. Well there you go. I have seen many Kostka scooters being raced and never realized that they have a 100mm rear. The Team Ultima riders are the fastest of the fast, and their ankles looked fairly un-knobbly to me.

  4. Yeah! Look at the daylight between the rear stays here!

    BTW, Gary, Jan Vlasek’s (in the pic linked above) are the handlebars I copied. There’s not much more than one hand position, but it’s so comfortable I don’t feel the need to move around.

  5. Aerospoke 20″ x 70mm $325 :)

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