Electric Scooters are widely hailed as the next generation transport to solve the last mile puzzle, and as a “disruptive technology” able to change our urban transport to be able to connect people in ways public transportation could not. There are literally hundreds of models out there. Some you only want to ride once, and others so fun, you want to ride day after day. Before you ride the wave and hit the buy button however, we put connect the dots and put together a start guide on buying your next ride.
A decent set of brakes are a must. With Bird and Lime shared scooter accidents at an all time high, it is true to say they just cannot ensure the brakes are working for their entire fleet. These relative cheaper scooters are light, and usually have rudimentary drum brakes that run for the lifetime of the scooter, or regenerative braking which depend on the electronic control for activation. Should they fail, it is often with drastic ER consequences.
Thankfully there are scooters with proper brake calipers and disc brakes with much higher stopping power. Disc brakes also offer significantly higher reliability in all weather conditions. Models from Minimotors like the Dualtron, Speedway IV feature bike compatible post mounts that will accept aftermarket hydraulic brake upgrades like the Magura, Shimano XTR or TRP models easily.
The general guide is that higher voltage would offer more power and acceleration especially uphill. 36V are a compromise and sad spot where no scooter rider would want to be. Most shared scooters are 36V to be light enough for logistics team to work easily on, good for level ground and gentle inclines. However, they fare really badly when hauling heftier adults or struggling up inclines.
The other camp however, lucky you, gets their pick of 48V, 52V or even 60V drive systems! A 60V scooter makes short work of any hill or slope you can think of. The joy of having the acceleration on-tap, and having responsive, reactive power to depend on. Should you wish to go all out, there is no shortage of options in the Dualtron. It features a 60V drive with twin electric motors! Fortunately, the LCD control unit features options to customise power levels, speed limits and single/dual modes to suit everyone.
You can choose from the whole gamut of sub-10kg scooters to the 30kg machines. While we can see the attractiveness of lighter scooters, which usually also happen to be cheaper, they generally do not handle well. They offer very little in comfort and are dicey to ride on. Steering becomes an effort and riding one is barely tolerable for anything more than a mile or two. These are suited for flat terrain and pristine sidewalks. They will not handle asphalt or uneven roads, and riding them at any speed is a bone jarring experience never to be repeated.
One level up, -20kg scooters with pneumatic 8”-10” wheels fare much better, with ride comfort being significantly better. These are also safer as the proper tyres function better to provide adequate traction. The downside is however, omnipresent risk of tyre puncture by a stray nail or thorn. Also, with pneumatic tyres, scooters start needing some basic care and attention like checking tyre air pressure regularly for safety and changing them out when their treads wear out. Good thing is, they start to become a meaningful transport investment which will last for some time if properly cared for.
Speedway Mini 4 Pro
The last category, top of the line models are hefty, but equipped with pretty impressive features. The Dualtron Thunder for example, is a rider’s dream come true with torsion arm suspension. These make the riding experience a joy. You can easily ride one to the diner, the local grocer or to work day after day. It actually makes riding scooters fun, and safe, which is good. If you so desire, the Dualtron can be fitted with customised bike handlebars to match your posture and ride style. 800mm risers? Check. 680mm flat bar? Check!