AN E-SCOOTER BUYER’S GUIDE
Let’s be honest, choosing to invest in an electric scooter is the easy decision. The difficult part is what comes next: deciding which e-scooter is right for you. Well, allow us to help you out.
Let’s start by narrowing things down a little. Electric scooters generally fit quite well in one of four groups:
BUDGET ELECTRIC SCOOTERS
The one obvious benefit with this group is the price. But there’s a reason that these scooters often come in at less than £200. In essence, you get what you pay for, and if you’re not paying much, then you usually won’t be getting much in return. As a result of this, we don’t stock budget electric scooters here at The Electric Scooter Store. While you could easily pick one up on several well-known auction sites, they’ll often be counterfeit models imported from China without a warranty. So, although we aren’t here to make your decisions for you, maybe allow us to draw your attention to our next group.
MID RANGE COMMUTER ELECTRIC SCOOTERS
Sitting anywhere between £250 and £500 are our mid-range scooters. They have a longer range, larger batteries, and more power than the budget range (and most importantly they come with the manufacturer’s warranty!). While scooters in this range don’t come with dual batteries, some are fitted with suspension, and the increase in quality is more than worth the increase in price.
PREMIUM COMMUTER RANGE
Our next group is the premium commuter range coming in at £500 and up. With higher top speeds, suspension, larger motors, bigger batteries, and better brakes they’re the most popular choice for first time buyers. We stock some of the best mid and premium range models from our favourite brands including Xiaomi, Ninebot Segway, Joyor and Walberg.
PERFORMANCE ELECTRIC SCOOTERS
At the top of the class sits the performance electric scooter range. Many of these scooters incorporate dual motors and large battery packs to deliver either serious speed, ultra-long range, or both. These scooters can fall anywhere between £1000 and £2500, and with good reason. Large tubeless pneumatic tires, semi hydraulic brakes and powerful lights combine with top level performance. I guess what we’re really trying to say is, it doesn’t get any better than this. Although it’s worth bearing in mind the rumours that legalisation of e-scooters for road use may come with a 500w motor cap, which would rule out many of the top performing scooters.
There are number of features that go into making your decision. Let’s begin with range. As a general rule, the more expensive the scooter, the further it will take you. The range is dictated by a variety of factors including motor power, rider weight, scooter weight, weather, and average speed. Manufacturer’s notes usually give expected (and exaggerated ranges) so a good rule of thumb is to divide this by two. Think about how far you plan to travel and find the range that works for you.
Let’s be honest, going fast is fun, and how fast you want to go will be one of the biggest factors to consider when buying your first scooter. Most electric scooters have a top speed of 15mph which is more than fast enough for most. While it might not feel like much in a car, trust us, on a scooter it feels quick. Some models reach 18mph but if you have a real need for speed there are a few models that will reach a hair raising 40mph. Remember though, going at that speed on a relatively small machine comes with risks. It’s easy to lose control or fall off. It’s also worth remembering that fast electric scooters require bigger batteries with more powerful motors which come with a much higher price tag.
One of the biggest benefits of an electric scooter is their manoeuvrability. When taking them on and off busses and trains you might need a smaller lightweight scooter. So, if you’re buying one mainly for a commute a lightweight model will probably be best. Most e-scooters weigh in the region of 12kg which should be fine for carrying them upstairs and through public transport networks. Anything that weighs upward of 14kg might begin to present a problem.
Most electric scooters make do with one motor, but some of the more powerful ones include dual motors. The rating of electric motors is based on their power consumption which is expressed in watts. The more powerful the motor the greater the wattage and you’ll find that most range from 200w to 600w. The kind of power you need depends on how much you weigh. We would encourage most adults to opt for at least 250 watts for a daily commute. But if you need to tackle hills on a regular basis then something in the region of 350-500 watts might be more appropriate. However, it should still be noted that even the most powerful scooters will slow down on steep inclines.
The decision on motor power goes hand in hand with the riders weight. All scooters will come with a suggested weight limit from the manufacturer but again these need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Most suggest a maximum rider weight of 100kg-120kg, and while they may well carry someone heavier, you should note that riding one every day in this case will void your warranty.
Suspension plays a similar role on an electric scooter as it does in a car, smoothing out bumps and reacting to uneven surfaces to improve ride quality. Without suspension you feel every bump in the road especially if you have an electric scooter with solid tires. So, if your commute involves tricky terrain, we’d recommend a scooter with suspension.
Whichever scooter you buy it’s important that you can be seen at night and in low light. Make sure that your scooter has both front and rear lights, and that the rear lights are visible. The design of scooters often means that the rear lights are difficult to see, so perhaps you need to consider buying a helmet with integrated lights or attaching lights to your backpack.
The only thing that’s as important as getting your electric scooter moving is getting it to stop. With all that speed on your side you’re going to need some decent brakes, which typically come in one of three types. Foot brakes which are operated by pushing your foot down on the rear fender. Drum brakes have more stopping power as they are enclosed inside the wheel hub leading to better performance in wet conditions and less of a need for regular maintenance. Disc brakes are the most effective and are considerably lighter than drum brakes. They are mostly found on high end scooters but can also be found on some of the more affordable models.
There are two choices when it comes to tyres: pneumatic (air filled) tyres and solid rubber (airless) tyres and both have their pros and cons. Pneumatic tyres will always give you a better ride due to their shock absorbing properties. The handling is also much better as a result. However, they require regular maintenance to make sure that your air pressure is at the right level to avoid damaging your scooter or yourself!
The benefit of solid tyres is that they need little to no maintenance and aren’t susceptible to punctures which is great if you encounter patches of broken glass or other sharp hazards while riding through city streets. The downside is that they don’t provide as smooth a ride over bumps or tricky terrain.
Our final piece of buying advice is about IP rating. It’s a little-known fact that most electric scooters aren’t waterproof. Most electric scooters will stop working if you drive them in very wet conditions. In fact, most scooters warranty’s will be invalidated if you do drive them in wet conditions. So, knowing what the weathers like in the UK, if you want to ride for more than two weeks a year, then we’d suggest purchasing an electric scooter with a decent IP rating, which all the scooters available at The Electric Scooter Store have.