Yes we've all done it and ridden a lime electric scooter!
Let's be honest Electric scooter shares are great, and people are loving them by most accounts. At just $1 to start and $0.15 per minute afterwards, they are an affordable way for many people to test ride their first personal electric vehicle.
However, when people start using them as a regular form of transportation, the cost can quickly add up to the price of buying an equivalent electric scooter. That has led to a surge in sales of consumer electric scooters over the past year.
Theres nothing like riding an electric scooter, but what do you buy? With so many different variations in electric scooters it can be a nightmare to narrow it down, never the less the Electric scooter is an excellent and affordable yet very portable alternative means of transport. Here's a few things we believe you should ask yourself...
- What are you using it for? Weekend Fun? Commuting to work?
- Where do you store it? Does it need to fit in your car or office?
- What is your budget?
- What terrain do you ride on? Dirt? - Will you need suspension?
- How far do you travel? Do you need one with a long range?
- What is it made of? Is it heavy?
- Who are you buying from and what support do they offer?
- Do you ride and night and need sufficient lights?
- Where do you live? Near the Sea? Will it rust?
As obvious as it is there are many scooters out there ranging from around $150 - $2,000+ so what is for you? Well I guess the thing to consider here is, what are you using it for? how often? and of course what your budget is. The rule of thumb as with most things in life is - you get what you pay for and most the time eBay and cheap product is not a good place to start. But do your homework and consider the above and below points.
In today's times Electric Scooters come in many motor configurations such as single or dual motors (dual motors meaning one at the front, one at the rear). Single motors could be a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive, giving a different ride sensations and purposes - personally I prefer rear wheel drive as I feel the front wheel drive has too much pull on the steering if the scooter isn't a solid one. The other thing to note about motors is the wattage size, generally the higher wattage (eg. 500W) the more powerful the motor is when it comes to acceleration and tackling things like steep hills or even carrying more load. The common mis-conception is that by buying a larger motor means more speed which can be correct but isn't necessarily always the case as some scooters are regulated by their onboard computer controllers, so check the speed under the specifications before you buy.
I know what most of you are probably thinking, I need to be an electrician to understand this one. Well the basic thing to know is what is the batteries capacity, generally read as "AH" for example "8AH" meaning - 8 Amp hours. A basic rule of thumb with most scooters is that for every 1AH = 4km of range, now keep in mind this isn't always correct as other variables such as motors, voltages and ride conditions must be taken into account but without diving too deep into it, I find this is the easiest method to figure a rough range as to what a scooter can achieve. There are many scooters out there now using Samsung, LG and other main brands which is also a good sense of quality, but generally any lithium battery will suffice and in my experience I have seen some Chinese batteries out perform main brands and the difference can be minuscule especially as the market matures, maybe 10years ago I would be more concerned about this. I for one would buy a scooter with a Chinese battery if the rest of the scooter ticked the right boxes.
When buying an electric scooter I always look at what the frame is made of and I always stay away from steel and prefer aluminium as its never going to rust, plus its super lightweight in comparison. An important thing to note is the frame construction between the stem/handle bars and base as some scooters are not very solid in this department, and what I mean by this is when you stand on the scooter you can hold the handle bars and they move back and forward and almost can feel as though the scooter is going to throw you off, so check for how much play is in the handles, some movement is to be expected but try take the scooter for a test ride to see how it feels. Dual suspension is also a good plus to look for if your looking for a ride with comfort especially if your travelling a reasonable distance.
The best form of brakes are disc brakes which can come in "mechanical" which is operated by cable and then theres hydraulic which is operated by fluid. Hydraulic disc brakes are generally the best option as they are relatively maintenance free and last, however they can be somewhat rare on most scooters and come with a bit more of a price tag. Cable or Mechanical disc is probably the most popular as it is still very good and is becoming a lot more affordable, the only down fall with cable is the potential to snap the cable mechanism which can be painful to repair.
There are two general types of tyres and that's the "air" tyre and the "solid" tyre. Air tyres are the most common but they can tend to ware quicker or burst internal tubes which is frustrating. Solid tyres are excellent as they tend to last a lot longer and don't pop, however they can be a lot more solid and hard when riding on hard surfaces in terms of comfort although if its combined with a suspension system this could be a great way to compensate for the stiffness of the solid tyres.
So there we have it. Hopefully you now have a better understanding on what to look for when it comes to your new scooter, but rest assure your on the right track!
Drop a comment below if you have any questions about this article.