The headset is perhaps the most important part of your scooter to setup correctly first time and maintain regularly. Should this not happen you can dramatically reduce the life of your scooter very quickly; a poorly maintained headset will not be considered a warranty issue. Headsets are made up of two rings of bearings, one situated at the bottom of the scooter head-tube where the fork is inserted and one at the top of the head-tube where the handlebars and clamp slide down to. These bearings are usually held in 'cups' which are pressed into the head-tube during assembly. Threadless Headsets also come in an internal version whereby the bearings (usually in a cartridge) slot into the pre-machined head-tube instead of normal headset cups. This system can be seen on the Grit Mayhem and Invader Scooters. Compression is added to a headset to keep these two rings of bearings held in place and running smoothly. If a headset is not maintained and kept tight the bearings are likely to move about and very quickly can become damaged.
As mentioned in the Fork section before, there are two main types of scooter headset, Threaded and Threadless. A Threaded Headset uses a thread cut into the top of the scooter fork to add compression to the headset and keep it all in place. As shown here:
Threaded headsets use two large nuts that screw onto the top of the forks to add compression to the headset. These are coloured Pink and Yellow in the above diagram. Threaded headsets can be found on many different types of scooters, which are shown in the table here. They are great entry level headsets but often aren't designed to keep up with the rigours of freestyle scootering and so we recommend the use of a Threadless headset as they are much stronger, easier to set up and require a great deal less maintenance.
Threadless headsets differ slightly in style in that they don't use a smooth steered tubed fork and they have compression added via a bolt and nut assembly that fits into the centre of the fork. There are 3 different styles of Threadless scooter compression systems:
Different scooter companies use different systems to add compression to their headsets. Crisp use the SCS on their Ultima X SCS, Grit use the ICS on their Elite, Mayhem and Invader Scooters. And Madd Gear use the HIC on their Ninja, Nitro and Nitro Extreme models. When it comes to selecting a scooter, none of the above systems are necessarily any better in ensuring your headset is kept tight. But they do have a few different compatibility issues when searching for replacement components. The SCS system is great in that it will fit any handlebars that are available on the market (excluding the Madd Gear Bat Wing bars) as will the ICS. The standard width HIC system, as used on the Blunt scooters and many after-market components, will fit all handlebars (again excluding the Madd Gear Bat Wings Bars). But the oversized Madd Gear HIC system as used on the Ninja, Nitro and Nitro Extreme, unfortunately, will only fit the oversized Madd Gear Bat Wings handlebars and Madd Gear Hot Head clamp.
Here is a chart showing which scooter use which style of headset and compression: