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How to choose an electric scooter

Jonno Leonard - Saturday, November 24, 2018

So, how do you go about choosing an escooter? Maybe you have had a ride on a Lime scooter and you like the idea, but not paying $18/hr for one, and having someone ride off on it when you stop for a coffee somewhere out-of-the-way!

The good news is there is a wide range of scooter products available in the market, so read on.

Firstly, identify what you will use it for. How far will you ride? Do you need to take it on the bus or train? What is the terrain like you will ride it on? And what is your budget?

Currently there is a 300w limit on the classification of 'electric scooter'. Frankly, it isn't enough, and this author is campaigning for rule changes, allowing scooters to use the bike lanes, travel at a reasonable 30km/h (but I'll accept 25!), and have to wear a helmet (don't get me started on that one). 300W works for an ebike because you have pedals and gears to assist. A scooter of 300watts will struggle with a heavy adult up a gradient, and that just ain't convenient...

So you need to decide if you are prepared to flount the rules with a powered-up scooter and stick it to 'the man', or be a law-abiding citizen. The truth is, to my knowledge nobody is out there measuring scooter motor output at the roadside, and a responsible rider going about their business isn't a problem to anyone. A couple of idiots 2-up on a  rental scooter tearing up the pavement is, however, so please don't be THAT guy (or girl).

So what's do you want on your scooter?

Brakes - you definitely want brakes, and not the reverse-electric crap type. You want a brake, preferably 2, where you pull a lever and the wheels stop moving. Cheaper scooters will have one to the rear, premium models will have 2. Drum or disc is fine. Drums are lower-maintenance, discs stop harder and in top models regenerate energy (although not much, its a bit gimmicky tbh).

A stable platform is nice. If you are a bit wobbly, go a wide and low deck like the Inokim Quick 3. For lighter and more athletic riders, a narrower (twitchier) scooter can be the go. Speedway Mini 4, maybe? These are more portable and lighter, due to reduced size.

Motor power. This is your big decision. An electric scooter like the Quick 3+  at 450w does exceed the legal power limit, but is geared for torque and hillclimbing, with a modest top speed of 27km/h, so is a deservedly popular choice. A Light 2 at 300W maxes out the legal power limit and remains portable, whereas a Dualtron at 1200W output and 2-wheel drive will climb any hill with a  120kg rider (try THAT on a Lime - good luck!), and achieve a frankly-ridiculous 55km/h top speed. Handle with care. 

Weight. This is your portability factor. Batteries are heavy, and the more high-powered scooters have bigger batteries. A Dualtron weighs nearly 30kg. A Light 2 less than half that. So think about whether you will be lifting it into a car boot or onto a bus, and choose accordingly.

Price. Pay under $1500 and you are buying an overgrown toy. Might be fine for a short while, but you will get mediocre performance, a fast-fading battery, and a build quality that will disappoint. We know, because we have a constant stream of people asking if we can fix the pile of rubbish scooter they have bought off trademe which has mysteriously stopped working, and we have to let them down gently. $1600 - 2000 will buy you a good quality lightweight scooter that will last, and $2500 - $2900 will buy you a power-monster scooter that can scare the $h!t out of you, to put it mildly! 

What to do next? Well, demo, demo, demo is the best bet. If you buy right you will do thousands of kms on your escooter for almost no cost-per-km. We have all our scooters in our shop available to try out, so stop at 25 Lake Road in Devonport and have a go, or call us on 09 445 6969 for help and advice. 

Check out models here: https://www.thinkelectricbikes.co.nz/cruiser-scooters






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