How To Dial Your Scooter: A Complete Guide
Getting your scooter dialed just right is an important part of the riding experience for most of the core scooter community.
With a perfectly dialed setup, you can easily pull off tricks, land cleanly, and make that crisp sound that every rider loves.
Finding the perfect combination of parts and setup may take some time and patience, but it's worth it!
With our How To Dial Your Scooter: A Complete Guide, we are here to help you get your pro scooter dialled for ultimate performance.
What does dialed mean on a scooter?
For a scooter, the term dialed means that your scooter does not make a rattling or vibrating sound when drop-tested. A dialed scooter can make all the difference, both for your skills as a rider and for how long your parts will last.
Ideally, all bolts are correctly tightened down, the wheel and headset bearings are suitable, and there's grease in all the right places. Although some riders prefer the sound and feel of an undialed pro scooter, getting your setup dialed is essential for performing tricks with less risk of breaking parts.
For your scooter to be considered dialed, it must have the following features:
- Tight compression
- All screws and bolts Tightened.
- Handle bars in alignment with the front wheel.
- Wheels that spin freely without wiggling side to side.
- Grip tape completely adhered to the deck.
- Clamp bolts are evenly tightened completely.
- A solid one-piece sound when drop tested
With everything on this list checked off, you can ride confidently, knowing that your scooter is perfectly dialed!
How Do You Make Your Scooter Dialed?
- Loosen your clamp and take off the handle bars.
- Tighten your compression bolt and cap, which are located at the top of your fork.
- Put your bars back onto your fork and tighten the clamp from top to bottom, tightening each bolt a half-turn at a time.
- Tighten your brake bolt so the brake doesn't move side to side
- Tighten front and back axles until very tight or until the wheels do not shift side to side
- Conduct a drop test by bounding it on a hard floor and listening to the sound it makes
- Apply handle bars and tighten the clamp top to bottom
The following sections will explain how to dial your complete in-depth. We will assume that all parts of your scooter require tuning and adjustments.
Inspect bearings and wheels.
Starting with Allen keys and the back wheel. Ensure your front and rear wheel are completely tightened and spinning smoothly. Inspect the wheel bearings carefully - if they sound dry or make strange noises, it's likely time for a replacement. Even with new bearings installed, you may still get a rattling if the bearing well has been misshapen or "ovaled out," which can happen with older wheels. Some bearings in new wheels are low quality and move side to side no matter how much you tighten. These need replacing. It'sIt's also essential to ensure you're using the correct wheel spacers for your deck, as this will help ensure everything fits snugly and securely. Once you've checked these details, you'll be well on your way to having a perfectly dialed scooter!
Once the back wheel is tightened up, the next step is to check on the brake. It is one of the most critical components of a dialed setup, and most brakes require a 4mm or 5mm Allen key.
Tighten the clamp, starting with the top bolt and down to the bottom bolt. Tighten each bolt evenly until snug, but be careful not to strip the bolt. For an even more dialed setup, add a small piece of rubber between the deck and the brake, which most brakes come with.
If your brake frequently comes loose, try using a thread locker to keep it in place or even remove it. With these tips, your setup will stay dialed for longer!
Adjust the compression system.
Next, you will want to work on the compression. A loose compression system is the most common reason a scooter becomes undialed. Remove handle bars and lubricate headset bearings. You can shake your headset bearing; if it rattles, it's broken and needs replacing. Then insert the headset and fork back into the head tube, with a tight front wheel.
If using a HIC/IHC system, add the shim before tightening it with a 5mm Allen key.
After that, tighten your compression bolt and cap until it'sit's tight. Then, break it loose by giving a quarter turn in the other direction. Pull the fork and wheel down and spin it in both directions.
You should be able to feel it spinning smoothly and not in a crunchy way.
There should not be spots where it is harder to turn. This may mean the headset bearing is not sitting in the cup evenly or the headset dust cap is rubbing on the deck.
It should be snug but not too tight or too loose.
If you like the compression level and resistance, you can apply handle bars and tighten the clamp moving from the top to the bottom bolt.
Remember, the tighter the compression, the more dialed the scooter will be and the harder it is to spin. The looser the compression, the faster it turns, but it will be less dialed.
How Do You Tell If Your Scooter Is Dialed?
- Find some hard floor; we recommend tile or concrete.
- Lift the scooter about 7 inches off the ground
- Conduct a drop test by allowing the scooter to bounce on its wheels.
- If your scooter sounds like one solid piece, for example, dropping a two-by-four piece of wood, it's dialed.
- However, if your scooter sounds like crashing glass, it is not dialed, also known as "undialed."
How Do I Keep My Scooter Dialed?
You keep your scooter dialed by performing a tune-up before riding and applying thread-lock on bolts evenly to keep them from coming loose. While it's normal for components to become un-dialed over time, this can quickly be resolved with a quick tune-up. You may even need to replace parts every now and then, but that's all part of riding scooters!
Why Is My Scooter Not Dialed?
A scooter is not dialed due to consistent use, parts wearing down, and bolts loosening.
This is an unfortunate part of riding scooters, but it's an easy fix. Aging bearings may also make more noise; this can often be fixed with grease or Speed Cream.
We have been seeing more and more new decks being sold with pre-installed plastic inserts. These inserts are known for a fit just loose enough to rattle. To stop rattling deck inserts or deck plugs you will need to wrap them in Teflon tape, glue them or remove them.
Other less common causes of an undialled complete include: bearing spacers that are too short and shift side to side in the wheel while it has an axle through it. Older decks and forks that have spacers inside the axle hole may become misshapen allowing the axle to shift slightly.
If all other steps have failed and your scooter is still not dialed, it might be worth checking for a broken bearing. Scooters typically use the same bearings as skateboards, so you can go to your local scoot or skate shop to change them. If the issue isn't the scooter wheels, you may need to remove your bars and compression, drop out your fork, and remove and clean the headset bearing from inside the headtube. Although disassembling a headset bearing is tricky, and there's a chance of breaking it, cleaning it and re-greasing it will usually do the trick – just make sure all parts are in order before putting it back together!
Why Is My Scooter Making A Rattling Noise?
If your scooter is rattling, it means something is loose. Specifically, the noise could be coming from loose deck inserts, broken bearings, loose compression, axle, brake, or even a clamp bolt or a flipping piece of grip tape! With over 10 years of experience, we have seen it all.
Why Is My Scooter Creaking?
A creaking scooter is from the compression being too tight or the headset bearings drying out. Over time, using the headset to steer and for bar spins causes the bearing lubricant to dissipate. Also, dust or water could remove your grease. See the steps below to fix a creaky headset.
How Do I Stop My Scooter Bars From Creaking?
The best way to stop your bars from creaking is to replace the headset bearing. To avoid paying for new ones, you must take them apart, clean them, and relubricate them. This should only be done by experienced riders or with the help of an adult.
If you have HIC or IHC compression top bolt and hardware. Then, remove your headset bearing and clean the "cups" they were in with a dry paper towel. Put a thick layer of grease on your bearing, then reassemble your scoot.
If you run SCS compression, try the same process. If the creaking does not stop, you may need to purchase a headset spacer.
Remove your bars and the compression cap from inside the clamp to determine if you need a headset spacer.
With your scs clamp all the way down, look into the clamp gap between where the bolts squeeze the clamp together. If you notice that the top of your fork is above the lip that holds the compression cap, about at the middle of the clamp, you likely need a headset spacer. Even if it's close, try to get one, just in case.
If you are more of a visual learner, please see our video tutorial by Raymond Warner below.