Human powered stand up scooter


100 W
Feb 15, 2011
Vancouver BC
Has anyone developed a standup scooter with some sort of compact pedals and variable ratio drive?

Yes, I know, I could always just kick ;) In fact I've used unpowered kick scooters off & on for decades. But it can get really hard on the knees, limits top speed and maneuverability. I've sketched stand up scooters with pedals and electric for decades but never got very far with prototyping. My goal is something for jumping on & off transit which is more compact, more stick-shaped and lighter than my old Brompton. The Brommie was a big clump, even with a bag over it I felt guilty taking up space on crowded transit, and it hurt my elbow carrying it around. I have not seen a new electric scooters which folds very compactly at all. They seem to be designed for car trunks and closets, not crowded transit.

Having trad bike cranks would work, but would be far more bulky than I'm thinking. I saw a kids scooter once (maybe from 80's?) where you rocked back & forth on a pivoting deck to make the thing go, but it had no ratio variation. So I'm thinking either something like that, or two parallel long levers that you pump up & down, with maybe cable drive? Or hydraulic. Human powered racing is not the goal, so 15% drivetrain loss is not a big deal.
I don't remember what it is called, so I couldn't find any of the threads about it, but there is a "bicycle sized" standup scooter that uses a kind of treadle system to "pedal" with. I don't know if it has shiftable gears or not, but if it uses a chain drive to the rear wheel a regular IGH could be used. I think the last posts about it I've seen were a few years ago, by someone in Florida?

EDIT: I found it, it's called an "elliptical bike", of which I could find one called Elliptigo that uses a 3speed IGH in the wheel.

Chalo has something to say about them, compared to an actual treadle bike:

There's also this:
which uses handlevers to propel it as well as the treadles.

And this:
on why it's not as good as rotating cranks.

G'day people's
Back in the 1970s Honda had a kid's scooter called a Kick N Go. Had a single pedal at the back that pulled a length of chain over the rear freewheel, returned by a spring.

Thanks AussieRider & AW,

Those are great reference points. The Kick N Go is closest to what I'm thinking about - compact and fits on a tiny fold up scooter.

Everyone please feel free to let this thread die ... unless someone knows of prior art similar but better than Kick N Go.

Maybe I'll try to copy the Kick N Go idea, but with two levers, and a variable ratio lever. Or maybe .... Oh, no seriously I don't have time to play with this, oh well.

I agree with all Chalo's perspectives on the "elliptical bike" and treadle bikes. Also agree with his perspectives on 2 wheel scooters. I don't encourage them for the general public, because, just like regular bikes, without a lot of experience, and hopefully traffic training, they can be incredibly dangerous. I tried an Alenax "lever drive" bike a long time ago (featured in AW's Sheldon ref). I found it had no advantage over a normal bike drive, was very bulky, weird, uncomfortable, and the worst part was simply an incredibly noisy freewheel.

The reason I like 2 wheel scooters is because I'm childish and they make me feel "wheeeee" inside. Walking 10 blocks from the bus stop, on the other hand, makes me go "ughluglugluhhhshsh..." inside, especially in the rain. But you can't take a bike on a bus, unless it's a folded and disguised Brompton, but you can take a scooter, and it's more compact.

One could graft a normal bike pedal drive onto a 2 wheel scooter. But you would have to increase the overall gear ratio; I don't know of any light, compact or simple way to do that. And you'd be left with a lot of weight and bulk and clutching something sharp filthy and greasy on the bus.