The Mini WCSB is an adapted WheelChair ScooterBoard that is small and light-weight (20 lbs) for portability. It has a powered front wheel which is mounted to the rear half of a longboard which provides two articulating skateboard wheels for stability. It uses a Pocket Mounting system to loosely attach the rider’s wheelchair single footplate to the board.
The primary use of the rear two wheels is to enable the scooter to be stable when not held up. This stability enables it to be mounted, rolled, pushed, and pulled much easier by a wheelchair user in comparison to a two-wheel scooter (which falls over) or a one-wheel scooter which is also awkward to transport. The skateboard trucks allow the deck to articulate side to side which enables the rider to lean in the turn more effectively and thus corner at higher speeds.
The electronics and battery are all hung on the steering column. This raised position protects them from damage from bottoming out and also from standing water on the road. Since the bottom of the longboard is free of electronics, it can slide, scape and clear obstacles like a skateboard. The flexibility of the Pocket Mount allows the Mini-WCSB to absorb the impact of bumps and jumps that would likely break a rigid mounting system.
For my build, I adapted a KXD scooter for well under $200. As of this writing, the KXD is available in the United States , UK, and Germany. But other than its low price and three wheel platform, the KXD is not unique. As long as you can find a front wheel drive scooter with a steering column that can be removed from the footboard, you should be able to make some form of a Mini-WCSB. The following directions are specific to the KXD. They will also serve as a general guide for adapting other scooter models. There are no methods that work best. Do what works for you.
Step 1. Unpack the scooter from the box. Charge the battery and assemble the scooter just enough to test that the electronics function properly.
Step 2. Once you have confirmed that it is in working order, it is time to take it all apart. Remove the battery box from scooter deck, remove and disconnect all the wires and components.
Battery Box with components removed. The electronic speed controller.
Step 3. The disconnected control wires should be pulled completely from the steering column.
Step 4. The front wheel should be removed from the axle and the Stop Bolt removed. Removing this Bolt will allow the front wheel to turn 180 degrees for high maneuverability.
Step 5. Cut a section out of the steering column as needed to lower it. How much you lower it depends upon your height, arm length, and handlebar position preference. I removed 5” and bolted the pieces back together. You could also splice it or weld together if you have the capability. Thread the control wires back through the steering column.
Step 6. Cut the rear section off a longboard to your desired length. Based on my wheelchair’s length, my footboard is 19”.
Step 7. Use some type of a rubber gasket to connect the base of the steering column to the longboard deck. In this photo, I am using a rubber skateboard wedge which I cut and drilled to fit the pattern of the mounting frame. Other materials will also work fine. You will need to buy longer bolts.
Step 8. I created my Pocket Mount using stiff foam and securing it with Gorilla Tape. Other methods are fine too. The goal is to secure a firm rectangular block to the deck which will match with the rear section of your wheelchair footplate. Your footplate will simply drop into the space in front of the block creating a flexible attachment. Your footplate will be pulled along by the scooter when it moves forward.
Step 9. The KXD comes with a bag which you can put the battery and speed controller into. You will have to cut a hole in the bag to allow the wires to enter it. You will want to expose the push button ON/OFF switch and charging port.
Step 10. The electronics bag must be secured to the steering column in some manner. I created a simple metal bracket using a U-bolt to keep the bag from rotating on the column and to help secure it.
Step 11. Cut the handlebars a little shorter if you desire. I wanted my Mini to be as small as possible.
The end result is a light, highly functional, fast, and portable scooter that is much smaller than other adapted versions as shown by the comparison photo below. I added a Blue Accessible Tag in the hopes of making it less likely to be stolen.
Scooterboarding: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Considerations
1. Front wheel drive scooters tend to have less traction and the drive wheel slips on hills. Rear wheel drive scooters tend to perform better on hills in terms of slippage since the weight is distributed to the rear.
2. Front wheel braking tends to be more effective than rear wheel braking which tends to skid. Wheelchair scooterboarding on an adapted scooter may require grabbing your WC wheel for additional braking power.
3. Mounting/dismounting the scooterboard requires functional wheelie skills. If you are unable to execute a wheelie, this method will not work for you.
4. Using a flexible attachment enables a greater degree of leaning into turns which improves cornering at higher speeds. This dynamic flexibility translates to less static stability. Therefore, there is a tradeoff. If you require more stability, you may want a scooter with a fixed attachment.
5. A fixed mounting system will prevent you from leaning into turns, as a result you will have to corner at slower speeds to avoid falling to the outside of the turn due to centrifugal force. For people who are not riding fast, this is less of an issue.
6. A scooterboard’s range is mostly a function of battery size. You can typically increase your scooterboard’s range by adding extra batteries or replacing the existing battery with a larger capacity battery.
7. Larger motors typically lead to greater speed and hill climbing capability. Larger motors are also heavier, use more electricity, and are more expensive.
8. An electric motor brake will fail if the power fails. Therefore, it is always important to have a braking backup plan such as wearing gloves to wheelchair wheel brake. All electric devices are prone to failure. Therefore, it is important to have a plan to deal with a breakdown so that you do not get stuck. If you cannot carry your scooter, it makes sense to carry a lock so you can lock it up and come back and retrieve it.
9. Every scooterboard has a maximum incline where it will come to a stop. You will have to have a plan to deal with this situation. It may require you getting off the scooter, and/or to turning it around. It makes sense to practice this skill. If you have trouble controlling your wheelchair on slopes, you may want to avoid scooterboarding on them.
10. You should know the maximum decline angle your scooterboard brake can safely handle. You may want to practice declines with someone to assist you in case you exceed your braking capability.
11. There is always some sort of tradeoff between maneuverability, stability, speed, range, portability, and price. There is no one best scooterboard.
12. Scooterboard performance is a function of the integration of your ability, your wheelchair’s specifications, and the environment you are riding. What works well for other people may not work well for you and vice-versa.
13. Scooterboarding videos on Facebook, Instagram, etc. never show the complete story. Do not believe everything you see on social media.