I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about these – good and bad. Like most things in life, if we pick the right equipment for the job we can end up with good results. In this scenario, we’re talking a tool that is a lot of fun and can save you time and money. It seems too good to be true, but it’s not. eScooters are the new personal mobility movement that is sweeping the globe.
Let’s take a look at a few factors you really must consider prior to picking your first eScooter.
1. Scooter Weight
What are you going to be using your eScooter for? At the iScoot headquarters, we have stairs. It’s been a real eye-opener to our customers to practice carrying their scooter up or down these.
If you are planning on using your escooter to travel those last few tricky kilometres and then plan on climbing 16 flights of stairs, best stick with something light.
If you are travelling further than a few kilometres, you’ll need something with a bit more power. With that comes weight.
We recommend practicing – yep – right here at our store at 24 Little Street, Fortitude Valley. Why? Because we have the largest range in Australia and will be sure to find something that suits you down to the ground.
2. Wheel size
Check out the route that you’ll take most regularly on your electric scooter. Is it well-paved and smooth? Or is it bumpy and filled with potholes? Is there gravel or sand? Grass?
For places with bumpy paths, larger wheels are safer and more comfortable to ride. Large wheels also cope better with loose surfaces, such as sand and gravel. If you are mainly going on smooth surfaces or grass, small tyres will cope fine.
3. Tyre types
Electric scooters can come with a few different types of tyres. You can get solid wheel made of rubber, or pneumatic tyres, which are filled with air. There are two types of pneumatic tyres: inner tube, like bicycle tyres; and tubeless, like car tyres.
The big benefit of solid rubber wheels is that they are puncture-proof. If you are likely to encounter broken glass, three-corner jacks, prickles or anything else that might puncture a tyre, a rubber wheel might be what you need.
But unless you are regularly riding through those types of hazards, give solid tyres a miss. If you have ever ridden in an old-fashioned carriage, or pushed a shopping trolley across a carpark, you know it can feel real rattly even on flat surfaces. That’s where air tyres come in.
Pneumatic tyres, the ones filled with air, give you a more comfortable ride. The air in the tyres acts like a cushion. I recommend choosing an air-filled tyre if you can, as you will notice the difference.
What kind of pneumatic tyre is up to you. The ones with an inner tube are the best value option, and the type most commonly used in electric scooters. Although tubeless tyres are more comfortable, they are much more expensive and only found in top models.
4. Motor power
If you are taking your scooter up steep slopes, you need at least a 400 W motor to climb it at a decent speed. In really steep areas, you might need to use your foot to push off and assist the scooter. If you don’t want to do that, you are better getting a motor 600 W or more. The more powerful the motor, the easier you can take your scooter uphill without losing speed or acceleration.
Though it’s not something to worry about, keep in mind that power and wheel size need to be matched. Having a high-power motor with small wheels will result in lots of skidding. That’s why more powerful scooters tend to come with larger tyres.
Prices for electric scooters can range widely, from $250 AUD to well above $4000 AUD. But it’s not just the price, it’s about value. If you’re planning to use your scooter instead of a car, then you are saving heaps on petrol and parking over the long term. Ditto for public transport.
Cost out your monthly expenses for transport and multiply that over a few years, and you might well find an electric scooter will pay for itself. My sister works in the city where parking costs easily $10 a day. That’s $50 a week, and over $2400 a year.
The same logic applies when choosing a model. Choose a reliable brand and a model that is comfortable and powerful enough for your needs, so that you’ll enjoy the rides and be excited to take it out for a spin. The fun side of riding is part of the value too.
This one is easy. Plug in your planned routes into Google Maps and see what distance you need to make it a round trip. That’s the max distance to look for in a scooter. Most scooters will list their max distance or range, though it can by influenced by hills, terrain, and speed. Give yourself some wiggle room.
You can charge scooters at any normal PowerPoint. So, if you are taking your scooter to and from work, or to a friend’s house, you can probably charge it up while you’re there.
A good quality electric scooter and battery should come with a 12-month warranty.
Electric scooters aren’t cheap investments, so you should always go with a brand that provides warranty and after-sales support. Talk to us instore to find out more about your Warranty.
8. Battery quality
The lithium ion batteries used in e-scooters are pretty expensive to start with, so it is best to go for a good quality battery that will last a long time rather than a cheap one that might fail. Typically, Chinese manufacturers make batteries with half the lifespan compared to batteries made in Korea or Japan.
LG and Panasonic make batteries for e-scooters that come with solid documentation and proven charge cycles. They are both good options when it comes to choosing batteries, as you know exactly what you are getting.
9. After-sales service
Like any piece of equipment, an electric scooter requires regular maintenance – which you can either do at home yourself, through Dash, or a specialty bike shop. Brakes and tyres can wear over time, so look for a brand that can provide parts for replacement.
Once you’ve crunched your numbers and figured out exactly what you need, remember the fun factor. Pick a model that has enough power that it will be fun to zoom up that hill, go for extra comfort if it will help you enjoy a commute more in the mornings. I am a total geek when it comes to research and tech, and I love reading blogs and making spreadsheets and looking up details. But at the end of the day, what I really love about electric scooters is that they are the funnest way to get from A to B. Is funnest even a word? Maybe it’s thrill, or adventure, or the wind on my face. I don’t know. It’s just fun.