...Dirt Scooters?

By TSI Scooters
on September 29, 2021

...Dirt Scooters?

Hello again friends; Greg here. So glad you've decided to join me here today, on the internet. Today we're going to talk about something fun: Dirt.
In the early days of scootering, even before Razor came around, there were a few companies who tried to make tubular steel scooters with small bike wheels, made for any terrain. companies like Mongoose, Yo Scoots, GT, Redline, even Go-Ped had a non-motorized version of their classic scooter, called The Know-Ped.

Redline team rider circa late 1980s.

These scooters died out as BMX became more of a staple in action sports, and were soon forgotten to time. Our neighbors to the North, RAD Scooters, played around with some ideas in the early 2000s, but their efforts soon fizzled out & their project never made it to a production model, I believe mainly due to the fact that no one made a strong enough spoked wheel in the size they were using - they all came from kids' bikes. In those days, you gravitated towards scootering from either skateboarding or from BMX, generally. Hence why so many tricks in our day-to-day repertoire are re-imagined versions of tricks from their respective counterparts.

Cory Mosbrucker of RAD, no foot can-can over their hometown trails.
Cary Mosbrucker of RAD, no footed can-can.
RAD's dirt scooter.
Tyler Bonner holding the RAD prototype dirt scooter.

John Radtke of Affinity Scooters and formerly of Razor USA, also played around with some steel tubular prototypes, that eventually became the Razor Phase 2 line of aluminum extruded dirt scooters. That line really re-sparked the idea that scooters were suitable for more than just smooth concrete. Companies like Crisp, Lucky, and others soon followed suite, producing aluminum extruded decks with larger dimensions to fit pneumatic tires. But what happened to the prospect of using steel tubing? where did that idea get discarded? No one can really say.
Our very own KC corning had a prototype of a tubular dirt scooter for almost 10 years, and it would just sort of hang around, begging to be expanded upon. We decided to finally listen, and started brainstorming again. with the wider availability of dirt scooters left unloved, we were able to source a few sets of wheels and forks to play with. we got to work, revised KC's design, and went to play in the dirt (as seen below).



We're still hard at work here in old Oregon, figuring out the best possible way to produce a strong, reliable dirt scooter. Wheels are still a bit of a mystery, in terms of sourcing the right tires & tubes, as well as hubs. We are very eager to bring back the love of dirt to our community, as it's something that has been absent for too long. There is a light at the end of this long, dark, dirty tunnel. We're getting closer day by day. We're hoping to reach that light soon, and bring you with us on a ride through the woods. But for now, it's back to the sidewalks and skateparks we go. Hang tight friends.

T-Bars for 2021

By TSI Scooters
on September 29, 2021

T-Bars for 2021

Hello Friends; Greg here. just wanted to showcase our 2021 T-bar for you all! T-bars were the first product we ever made, before we even knew we were TSI yet. One of the first DIY custom parts in scootering, and still the high standard of handlebars to this day. hard to beat a well made, reliable chromoly T-bar.

When Thomcat started making T-bars in the early days, he would use tubes cut from scrapped high end bike frames... Pretty crazy, right? We've come a long way since then. I can remember some of my friends when I was younger, getting bars MIG welded together at auto shops. Sometimes the crossbar wasn't even the same material as the steertube. Complete with janky slits cut using a hacksaw for the now antiquated 'Internal Compression System', which required you to use a starnut inside your bar, instead of your fork, and running a long bolt through your fork into the bars. Be thankful we went through these early technologies and learned from them for you. Those days were rough, I can tell you that.

But it's 2021 now, and we've got the handlebar making process 110% down. So we decided to bring back the old, faithful, T-bar to our line-up. 100% handmade from 4130 Chromoly. Perfectly balanced tubes, keeping lightness & rigidity in mind. Cut, coped & welded right here in Oregon. We wanted to keep the pricepoint low without cutting any corners, to deliver you the best possible T-bar we can. I do believe we succeeded. Try some for yourself, let us know what you think!

Nick Toigo - Nicky T. Bars

By TSI Scooters
on April 02, 2018

Nick Toigo - Nicky T. Bars

 TSI is proud to release Nicky T. Bars in memory of Team Rider Nick Toigo. 

 

These bars feature Nick's classic light blue powder coat and are heat treated for extra strength. These bars are standard sized and come in at 23" wide by 28" tall.

$10 of every bar sold we will be donating to CURE - Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy. CURE, is the leading nongovernmental agency fully committed to funding research in epilepsy. CURE’s mission is to find a cure for epilepsy, by promoting and funding patient-focused research. To find out more information go to https://www.cureepilepsy.org . 

"Nick was as bold as he was vivid. He had a big heart that was without a drop of fear. The realm of uncertainty is where he thrived, constantly driven to push himself on and off his scooter. He had a contagious appetite for fun, as well as success. He loved scootering not for the details and nuance, but for the feeling and the community. For what it means to be a scooter rider.

Nick was something that scootering won’t see again."

-Chase Robertson

 

Check out a couple of the last clips of Nick Toigo

 

 

Welcome to the team!

By TSI Scooters
on February 20, 2018

Welcome to the team!

We already consider Zac Lorenz as family since he’s been helping out and cruising around at the TSI shop for years, but today we make it official. We are proud to announce Zac as our newest addition to the TSI team!

Welcome to the Team!

By TSI Scooters
on February 14, 2018

Welcome to the Team!

It is our great pleasure to welcome one of the Bay Area's finest, Kevin Closson to the TSI team!

 

From Toy to Thrash: How Scooters Are Becoming Millennials' Extreme Sport of Choice

By TSI Scooters
on February 09, 2018

From Toy to Thrash: How Scooters Are Becoming Millennials' Extreme Sport of Choice

Scooters have long been scoffed at by the skateboarding community, but will a new generation of riders finally bring legitimacy to the sport?

 

 

Pedestrians on the sidewalks of downtown Chicago hold up cellphone cameras, drivers honk in frustration and the police don't quite know what to do. It's not every day that 300 young scooter riders flood the streets, ignoring red lights and turning a loading dock into a temporary stadium – to the dismay of at least one exasperated business owner.

 

It's called a street jam, where riders flock from all over the world to shred a city, performing tricks and causing the same type of mayhem more usually associated with skateboarders. For those who grew up during the Razor-scooter boom in the early aughts, it's hard to see a scooter as much more than a fad, let alone a symbol of rebellion, but that stereotype doesn't exist for the younger generation. Eighteen years after the release of the first Razor, scooters have come of age, spawning a uniquely millennial subculture with the same disruptive spirit as skateboarding – minus the steep learning curve. And according to many scooter riders, it's actually overtaking skateboarding in popularity.

"I've seen less and less skateboarders over the years," says Devin Szydlowski, a 17-year-old semi-pro rider who traveled from San Luis Obispo, California, to take part in the Chicago Jam in August, one of the largest in the U.S. "It depends on the [skate] park, but we have the majority. There's more scooter riders than skateboarders. We're targeting younger kids, whereas skateboarding is targeting older kids." A study on Statista.com by the Outdoor Foundation backs up his observation: The number of skateboarders in the U.S. decreased from 10.1 million to 6.4 million between 2006 and 2016, with an even more dramatic drop among skaters age six to 17.

"It's huge in other countries," says Logan Fuller, a 25-year-old whose baggy, torn jeans and mischievous eyes look straight out of a Nineties issue of Thrasher magazine. He's one of the best known scooter riders at the jam and is capable of grinding down a 22-stair handrail. Fuller is based in Maryland but basically lives on the road, traveling from jam to jam, supported by sponsorships and contest winnings. "I just went to Russia and France for street jams, they're crazy. There's, like, a thousand people," he says.

Starting at Grant Park Skate Park, the riders at the Chicago Jam – most of whom look under 18 – critical-mass through downtown, stopping along the way to grind down rails and spin scooters around their heads like helicopters. As with skateboarding, the chance of landing a trick is relatively low and the probability of racking yourself on a rail dangerously high.

The event is totally rogue, with no permits and no Internet trail outside social media. Historically, it was organized by a prominent scooter manufacturer, but this year it grew too large for a business to carry the legal liability should (or when) the cops arrive. It's so loosely planned that there's not even a route map; organizers simply direct the mob using a megaphone.

The best tricks win prize money, crucial since many of the top street scooter riders backpack across the country for months at a time. But what's more important than money is the opportunity to put faces to Instagram names. After the jam, kids gather in a warehouse to watch the premiere of a scooter film, buy scooter art prints and mosh to a performance by Atlanta rapper KZ, whose Instagram features as many photos of him on a scooter as in the studio. There's a rebellious spirit to the gathering, and half the young riders seem like the type to sneak cigarettes between classes – but good luck asking any of them for a lighter. After all, this is the vaping generation.

Skateboarding's roots lie in 1960s surf culture, but push scooters originated as much more of a kids' toy. The image started to change when Razor launched its insanely popular "Pro" model in 2000. The founder owned a toy company and saw that scooters had become trendy as transportation for Japanese businessmen in Tokyo, thus the brand's initial retail partner: The Sharper Image (sticker price: $149). They sold at a pace of one million units per month for the first six months.

Razor soon realized that scooters could become a new action sport and began to invest in building a community. In 2001, they offered a $1,000 prize for the first person to land a backflip and created the first touring team of riders.

"We started putting on competitions locally and then a national tour," says Ali Kermani, a skateboarder who helped Razor cultivate its extreme-sports program. "We'd go all over the place to skate parks that had strong scooter scenes, like the Incline Club in New Jersey and Skate Barn West in Washington [State]. Then the first street jams started happening in New York."

Even though the sport isn't recognized by the X-Games and no Tony Hawk figure has propelled it to the mainstream, athletes are innovating at an unprecedented pace. The most groundbreaking trick in skateboarding history is likely Hawk's 900 at the 1999 X-Games, the result of nearly 50 years of skating progression. Scooter rider KC Corning landed one in 2004, showing how quickly the sport is evolving.

"Scootering is the first sport that developed through the Internet, so we were able to build a whole industry in just a few years," says Andrew Broussard, considered by many to be the godfather of scootering. He landed his first tailwhip on July 4th, 2001, and became hooked. While still in high school, he launched Scooter Resource, a message board that for the next decade would be the website of record for the community. Broussard also began hacking together custom scooters capable of taking more abuse, a business originally branded Scooter Resource in 2006, before being renamed Proto Scooters in 2008. The company doubled its revenue for six years straight, its growth only slowing once a rush of other companies entered the market.

A rift exists between "park" and "street" brands, with street riders preferring upstart, rider-owned companies like Proto and TSI to corporate operations like Fuzion (available at Walmart). Scooters are modular, which has created a marketplace for component-specific companies like River Wheel Co. and Tilt, which produces nearly indestructible wheels, decks, forks and even the clamps that connect the parts. Scooter riders (or often their parents) drop up to $700 on pro-level rides, a sharp contrast to the costs of earlier models.

 

The lexicon of tricks grew and was cataloged on Scooter Resource with specific credits for the pioneers behind each move. Because a scooter has handlebars like a BMX bike and a deck like a skateboard, it's a hybrid capable of incorporating tricks from each with a much quicker learning curve, which is undoubtedly part of why it appeals to a younger crowd.

"When you first start out skating, you can't just ollie right away, you have to practice for six months," says Szydlowski. "On a scooter, a bunny hop takes, like, a day to learn. Or an hour."

Today's riders mainly find inspiration on YouTube. It's resulted in underground scooter celebrities like the Funk Bros – Corey and Capron Funk – who are far from household names but boast 3.5 million subscribers. Scooters still play a part in their videos, but they're now known mainly as Jackass-style pranksters (who can land triple front flips). Ryan Williams, a well-known rider of both scooters and BMX bikes, has 950,000 Instagram followers. But despite these riders' huge followings, their popularity leaves little trace outside social media.

The rest of the community is the same; nearly everything happens on Instagram or Facebook. According to Tommy Daddono, one of the organizers of the Chicago Jam and a founder of scooter manufacturer Outset Select, his event is one of the most popular street jams in the world, but it was un-Googleable until a week after the dust had cleared.

Since pro-level scooters are so costly, many of the kids come from affluent backgrounds. Despite this, the scene feels decidedly DIY. Riders dress with a mix of grungy skater gear and a touch of Internet irony. One middle-school rider in Chicago wore a black cap with small text reading "Link in Bio." Just like skateboarders, shredded jeans and dirty Vans are the style, but unfortunately for the burgeoning scene, it takes more than just streetwear to convince skateboarders who came of age during Razor's initial boom that scooters are cool. Landing a backflip at a skatepark definitely turns heads, but a combination of entitlement and inexperience has made most scooter riders a bane to skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX riders.

"There's a stigma because of all the little kids," says Daddono. "Every skateboarder will tell you that [scooterers] don't look where they're going, they'll ride in front of you. They don't have the etiquette yet." Many simply never learn, which Broussard credits to a lack of guidance from older kids. "Skaters will complain about it, but they'll never go up to scooter riders and explain why what they're doing is dangerous or bad park etiquette," says Broussard. "But if it's a young skateboarder, they'll give them pointers and help them out. It's a hypocritical attitude."

Pioneering riders like Daddono, 24, and Broussard, 31, turned to scooting because they felt skateboarding's street credibility died with its commercial boom. Buying a board at the mall wasn't rebellious. Instead, early scooter riders dug through garage sales for dollar scooters, took them to skate parks and rode them until they were literally destroyed – typically about an hour.

"Skateboarding used to be anti-establishment, but now if you wear skate clothing, you're trendy," says Broussard. "Scooters started [out] punk-rock. The older generation couldn't afford skateboards or BMX bikes, but we could dumpster-dive for scooters."

"Every skatepark I've been in, there's always a skateboarder with a chip on their shoulder and are super mad," says Szydlowski. "Skateboarders are trying to make themselves feel better, because they know that their sport is dying in a sense."

Although events like the Chicago Jam appeal to a younger audience, it's the relatively older kids who play the starring roles. Mike Hohmann, a 22-year-old with frayed Kurt Vile hair, is a good bet to win prize money at any jam. He's based in Florida but has spent the past six months couchsurfing between events across the country. In May, he won several hundred dollars for grinding a 30-foot rail called the Green Monster in Austin and had a similar payday in Chicago for landing a backside 360 bar twist down a dozen steps at Grant Park. Once Hohmann's cash runs dry, he'll return to Florida to work a pair of minimum-wage jobs to save for his next trip.

"It's the community I love. It doesn't matter who you are, what you are, everyone's a brother here," says Hohmann.

Scant documentation of the community has emerged outside social media, but the scene does have historians. One is Dylan Kasson, a professional rider for Proto who has photographed scooting for a decade and hosts a popular podcast, Tandem. He's produced several photo books and is compiling a larger survey of the sport that he hopes to publish under the title The Scene.

"Scootering is so new that it's still in that stage where there's a lot of untapped potential," says Kasson. "Videos are the most important thing. That's how people realize new tricks are possible." 

As documentation of the sport grows, so does the industry around it. As with skateboarding, apparel companies like Sky High have formed to serve the subculture. The 11th annual Scooter Con in San Diego boasted 1,500 attendees, and in October, Vault Scooters hosted the first-ever invitational competition, called Sovereign of Street, which had a prize pool of $11,000. Scooters are also a big part of Nitro Circus, an internationally touring stadium event with an emphasis on daredevil mega-ramps (it's where Capron Funk landed that triple front flip).

Even though it's still a fresh industry, it might already be getting too mainstream for Broussard, who fears the popularity could ruin the rebellious character, just like with skateboarding."The founding generation of scooter riders is drastically different than the current generation," he says. "We rode because after the Razor boom, it was not trendy. We were experimental. Now, some kids spend more time accessorizing their scooters than riding them."

Rebelliousness was certainly on display in Chicago, however. It's hard to call a mob of 300 kids riding into oncoming one-way traffic anything but daring. They were not only endangering their own bodies by running red lights and hurling themselves down stairs, but also destroying public and private property. The Most Disorderly Conduct Award went to a teenager who climbed to the top of a 20-foot wall overlooking a loading dock, then launched himself off it with a sinister grin, landing on the roof of a parked van and nearly causing the roof to cave in.

"Just like with every sport, there's the rebellious scootering, where it's just haywire, no one gives a crap and they just do illegal things," says Szydlowski.

Even so, not even the police seemed convinced this was a group to be concerned about. The only real legal altercation happened at a 10-foot ledge overlooking a busy street. Riders filed into the road to block off cars and, surprisingly, the first officer on the scene graciously looked the other way. He just seemed shocked that these kids would attempt something so stupid and asked that no one hurt themselves, a luxury that would've never been afforded to skateboarders. After about 10 minutes and a few very dangerous tricks, another cop arrived and quickly broke up the scene. The organizers thanked the officers over the megaphone and the scooter riders erupted in applause, but not before a mumbled chorus of younger voices could be overheard saying, "Fuck the police!"

 

Article By Dan Gentile
Published By Rolling Stone Magazine

2018 TSI Product Release

By TSI Scooters
on January 15, 2018

2018 TSI Product Release

Matt and Greg take you through the history of all the TSI decks, and reveal our newest scooter deck!

You've found the new website

By TSI Scooters
on October 27, 2017

You've found the new website

Hey folks, welcome to the new TSI website with built-in web store. An update has been a long time coming and is still ongoing in a way... so thanks for the patience as the site takes form. 

Keep an eye on this blog for new information on our newest products and content from our team riders.

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About Us

In 2008 KC Corning's "Trick Scooters International" and Matt Thom's "Renegade" joined forces to create the worlds first one piece scooter deck......

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From the Blog

...Dirt Scooters?

...Dirt Scooters?

September 29, 2021

Hello again friends; Greg here. So glad you've decided to join me here today, on the internet. Today we're going...

Read more →