In this article we cover the most popular Compression Systems that are available today. We will be highlighting the pro's and cons to each compression system. Along with a brief description of how the compression system is built and maintained.
Threaded Fork Compression:
The oldest and most basic compression system, used mainly on entry level scooters for beginners.
There is no advantage to this system except for the low manufacturing costs. It is the only compression system using a threaded fork. All other systems use threadless forks
Pro's: - Comes on most entry level complete scooters. This makes it convenient for the customer on an ultra-low budget. - Easy to travel with if breaking it down for your suitcase. Only needing to remove your bars, everything else stays assembled.
Cons: - With an unsealed bearing headset, it is hard to keep a threaded fork tight. - Generally threaded forks are the most basic fork designs you will see
ICS Compression: Inverted Compression System
ICS Compression is an old system that was once used in most intermediate and pro scooters. ICS compression has a bolt that goes vertically into your fork and screws into a starnut installed in your bars. This compression system can only be used in Standard sized bars. Pro's: - This is an entry level compression system, when on a budget while entering the threadless fork market. - It's light. ICS can be used with steel standard sized bars, or aluminium bars.
Con's: - Need to remove the front wheel to tighten or loosen your compression. - Not so easy to travel with. Must remove front wheel and take front end completely apart.
IHC Compression: Inverted Hidden Compression
IHC Compression was developed by Blunt/Envy Scooter brand. The idea behind this compression system was to provide a lighter option of HIC Compression (shown below). The compression system is built into the actual fork, unlike most compression systems. Pro's: - It's light. You can run both Steel Standard and Aluminium Bars with an inner diameter of 28,7 mm.
- Easy to travel with if breaking it down for your suitcase. Only needing to remove your bars, everything else stays assembled.
Con's: - Some brands use starnuts in the fork. Sometimes the starnuts rip out of the forks steertube. This is an issue because the starnut is a specialty size that most dealers don't carry. - Some brands make their shims sit on top of the headset top cap, instead of the headset top cap sliding over the shim.
- Must have a slit cut into your bars to allow the clamp to fasten the bars to the fork.
HIC Compression: Hidden Internal Compression
The HIC Compression System was created by Cory and Cary Mosbrucker, the owners of RAD Scooter Parts in Seattle, WA.
HIC Compression is a shim with an inner/outer diameter of a Steel Standard sized bars steer tube, with a compression cap and bolt, which screws into a starnut installed into a fork. Pro's: - A clear-cut advantage over the ICS system is the stability of *the fork - handlebar* connection. It is a fixed connection with no tendency to get loose over time, no clearance.
- Relatively an easy compression to work with. Just loosen the clamp and remove the bars to tighten the compression system. - Easy to travel with if breaking it down for your suitcase. Only needing to remove your bars, everything else stays assembled.
Con's: - Cannot run Aluminium or Standard Bars. - You can ONLY use it in combination with handlebars that have an inner diameter of 31.8 mm and outer diameter of 34.9 mm.
SCS Compression: Standard Compression System
SCS Compression was created by Andrew Broussard, owner of Proto Scooters. In our opinion the most efficient compression system of all.
It’s a “2 in 1” system (compression + clamp) You can use Steel Standard sized bars in any SCS Clamp and depending on the SCS, some fit Steel Oversized and Aluminium Bars. If the clamp fits oversized bars and you have Standard Steel bars, you simply run a clamp shim in between the clamp and bars
Pro's: - The biggest Pro of them all, NO SLIT IS REQUIRED! This means there is no opportunity for the bars to snap above the clamp. - Tends to stay tighter for longer. - Easy to travel with if breaking it down for your suitcase. Only needing to remove your bars, everything else stays assembled. Con's: - Depending on the height of the fork, headtube and headset top cap, you may need to run headset spacers. This can be bad for brands like Madd Gear because of the headtube only being 4 inches tall. You don't want to run more than .75 inches of headset spacers to be sure the forks strength isn't compromised. Only option is to cut the fork and lower the starnut. Which can sometimes interfere with compatibility on future deck purchases. - Some SCS's come with 5mm clamp bolts. These tend to strip easily if using cheap or worn tools or user error. I recommend buying an SCS with 6mm bolts -