Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Schwinn Yo Scooter - Things You Might Not Know

I've been riding them since the 80's. Having a few in my possession, I decided to examine the difference that exists between base models. Excluding the 14" "Yo Deluxe" that I never rode, there are some big differences between years on even these "base" models. In frame measurements, geometry and more. No offense to the 14" Deluxe but I just never saw the need for a 14" front wheel. I've also noticed that the head tube angle on the Deluxe looks much steeper than the standard Yo. I'd like to see one in person again to verify. Either way, I never had much use for the Deluxe. 

Test subjects -
Schwinn Yo with standard deck / kickplate. serial number - GT719002

My original Schwinn Yo with standard frame. Serial number - G6003746

Schwinn Yo with wider, reinforced deck and kickplate. Serial number - GV711374

I've been beating on the black Yo for years. The other two were purchased online from a bmx forum back in 2000 from a guy in Pennsylvania (I think). They were bought complete but are tore down right now. 

Giant made them for Schwinn. Under the scooters frame, Giant put their own stickers on them with sub serial numbers written in pen. The actual serial numbers stamped into the frames start with "G" that represents Giant. In the pic to the left, the numbers written in pen are still visible. But barely. 

Here are two 12" Yo Scooters. The left is the standard Yo before the wider, reinforced kickplate. The right is the wider kickplate Yo. Both 12" scooters. However, the fork is significantly longer on the "updated" Yo. 

Not only is the fork on the updated Yo longer but the fork width is wider. The older Yo's inner width is 3", where the updated Yo's width is 3 3/16" wide. 

The frames are very similar but have some differences. Clearly, the longer fork on the wide-deck Yo is going to slacken the steering a bit. My theory is that is may possibly make it loopier as well. The wide-deck Yo is significantly heavier than the standard deck. I have yet to weight them but I'll report my findings soon for you handful or misfits that still dig these things. 

The standard deck Yo has a brake cable "in" on the right frame "up" tube and then an "out" near the rear of the deck that would lead to a typical, old school BMX brake. The wide deck Yo has the brake cable "in" at the same spot but the "out" is placed underneath the front of the deck that leads to a cable route accommodating the center pull brake they added. However, I've always rode brakeless on these like new school BMX riders so it had zero affect on me. 

The rear brake mounts are completely different and put in completely different spots on the frame. Most likely to accommodate the short-arm, center pull brakes that came with it. You can also see the wide-deck reinforcement..which doesn't account for the mysterious weight issue. Again, the wide-deck Yo is noticeably heavier just by picking up each frame. They are both 4130 Chromoly so steel isn't the issue. Notice that both the dropouts on the frame and fork are zero offset. Also, the two blocks that are part of the frame which the decks bolt to (you can see the rear one on each in this pic) hide the deck bolts from being trashed unlike most of the 80's scooters made.  

The frame's "donut" design were one of the only ones out there that allowed a scooter to last more than a month or two. Those with the typical 80's design like the Mongoose Miniscoot would continually bend from hardcore riding to the point where the bottom of the frame would be dragging on the ground. It would start out by hearing and feeling the frame hitting cement or wood on landings and then eventually dragging to the point where it was un-ridable. In fact, the Yo's design had such little give that the main, rear downtube will always crack off the bottom of the frame if you're riding hard. Also note that I'm not a big guy. A simple re-weld will fix it for a year or so
. You really didn't even need to do anything. I rode one with a cracked frame for a few years until I got tired of the noise the frame made on landings and decided to weld it. It's the black one I have now and is completely trust worthy to this day. 

After a while of riding, the bottom of the frames will flatten out. The tubing will
actually go flat without cracking...and astonishingly, making it easier to rail slide, grind or do whatever. I've considered modifying underneath the frame but have yet to do so. I've done a lot of experimentation with these things. I rode street and ramp with them mainly so I've cut down aluminum pegs for the front, fabricated steel decks, fabricated kick plates and just about anything else. I have a few plans now that I've eliminated the kick plate completely. I plan to cover about half of the back wheel and design an integrated aluminum deck. Which is one of the reasons I don't ride the wide-deck with the kick reinforcement. I would actually have to cut the reinforcement off the frame to use it..which would just kinda' be sacrilege. 

The frames are practically indestructable and bulletproof. The wheels aren't. I've broken more mags than I can count. Seriously. The mag spokes tend to snap off right at the rim. I solved this by snagging some 12.5" Skyway Tuff Wheels. Haven't had an issue since. I have literally beat the shit out of them and nothing. They still even look new. While we're on the subject of parts, the stem and bars are strange. The stem puts the bars in a weird position and the bars are awkward with uncomfortable sweep. As far as BMX bikes go, I always rode a Haro Master. I solved this by throwing on a Dyno stem that brought the bar height down a little and throwing on a pair of cut Haro Kneesaver bars. Simple and to the point. It's completely comfortable for someone 5 8" - 5' 9" to ride. You can raise the stem without the weirdness of the Yo's original tall stem height paired with the Schwinn's low bar height. It was just a weird combination and doesn't feel right to me. 

The indestructible Skyway 12.5" mags. Get them. They're cheap. I picked mine up a long time ago..but only paid about 25 bucks for them new. The wheels roll forever..and contrary to things I've read, you can throw them right on. You don't need to buy mags made for a Schwinn scooter (I've read this somewhere and it simply isn't true). The 14" Yo may have this issue but again, someone else will have to chime in on this. 

The current setup goes like this - 

87 Schwinn Yo Frame/Fork

Dyno stem

Haro Kneesavers (cut to 25")

87 Haro headset / cups

Primo grips

Skyway Tuff Wheels

Some tires I hadn't used off other scoots. 

Kickplate delete by fabricating plastic / lightweight deck and covered in grip tape. This gives bigger than kid size riders a lot more room. You get used to it very quickly. Besides, any hardcore riding will snap the kick right off the deck anyway and someone could use it. 

I'll keep adding to this as time goes on. Have fun. Build bikes. Build scooters. 



  1. Where can I gind a kickstand for a yo scooter?

  2. Sorry for the extremely late reply. The only person I know of that has a couple kickstands is me. I could hook you up. There were a couple different types that came with the Yo.