Thinking about buying an electric scooter? Good call. But how do you avoid buying the wrong electric scooter? Read on...
1. Decide what sort of riding you are going to be doing. Scooters come in many different sizes, levels of specification and performance, and of course prices. Matching to your needs is paramount.
2. How far will you be riding? Battery size is the biggest factor in determining the range of a scooter. A battery of around 10ah (amp-hours) should see you around 20-25km of real-world range. But read on for other factors.
3. How hilly is the area you are riding in? Nothing drains a battery, and causes a scooter to struggle, than big steep hills. To climb hills you need power in the motor. In the authors opinion, 500w (watts) plus is the go-to power output for hilly areas. And higher wattages need more electrical power, cue a bigger battery.
4. How often will you be riding? If you are planning on a daily commute on your escooter, you will likely be racking up the kms. Cheaper scooters are not built for this level of use. You will need to buy a proven, durable branded scooter or it will be back to the car for you when it breaks down (and it will)!
5. What terrain are you riding on? Smooth, flat areas work well for smaller-wheeled scooters with no suspension. If you have rough ground, broken pavement, or other more challenging surfaces to traverse, a scooter with suspension, bigger tyres, and more ground clearance will suit you better
6. What sort of a rider are you likely to be? Are you generally cautious, dislike speed, and like to keep a careful eye on things, or are you an adrenaline junkie, who gets a buzz from a quick take-off and a well-taken corner? Choose your scooter carefully, to avoid one that is too much, or too little, for you.
7. How portable do you need your scooter to be. Looking at pictures its hard to get a sense of size, but a lightweight 300w scooter weighs about 11kg, folds easily, and fits easily in almost any car boot, or under a bus seat. A 1000w scooter will weigh upwards of 27kg, and be scaled accordingly. It might just fit across the back seats at a push!.
These are just some of the factors at play, and the reason that we urge you wherever possible to visit our store and test ride the scooters before committing to one. We repeatedly get customers who come for one model but leave with another, and its often a cheaper one than they first considered, when they come to fully understand what it is they want it to be able to do.
Lime Scooters burst onto the scene last year with a rush of media attention and made a whole lot of fanfare about a 'new' mode of transport. New Zealanders rushed to embrace them, race them, and find creative ways to destroy them. Pedestrians feared them, short-hop commuters loved them, and with good reason. They are fun, accessible, and 'cheap'. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad (as Meatloaf once said). They ain't cheap. They (currently) cost $1 to 'open' them, and 30 cents a minute to use it. It's $18 / hour. If you had the exclusive use of it for 24 hours, or used it an hour a day for 24 days (roughly a working month, doing a daily commute), that's $432! If you used one long-term, say for year, at 24 days a month, only an hour a day, that's $5,184....
WIll prices drop? Doubtfull. Rumour is, Lime, Bird, and Uber (with their Jump brand of rideshare scooter) are losing money rapidly as it is. How come, when they are so popular? Because research has shown the average scooter lasts just 28 days. It's a hard life, being a rental scooter. Estimates are that each scooter costs around $550 (USD), and actually loses the company $285 over its lifespan. So why are they even here? Floods of Venture Capital money has poured into the rideshare industry (Lime has a market value over $1Bn), but nobody seems to be worrying if they will ever see that back! You can read more about that here . In summary then, rideshare scooters need to charge more to stay around.
What's a scooter fanatic to do? well, lets look at the numbers for buying your own. Lets say you have no cash, and you finance the lot through a consumer finance agreement with no deposit. Lets say you go for a top-end scooter like the Inokim OX Super, and even chuck in a good helmet for another $100. Total spend $3000. That will cost you $35.10 a week over 2 years (at 16.95% interest), almost exactly 2 hours A WEEK of riding a Lime scooter (costs 2 x $18 = $36 for 2 hours)! That scooter you have bought will always be ready when you are, nobody will ride off on it leaving you stranded, and it is a better scooter in every single way than a rental. Better brakes, proper tyres, 3 times as powerful, actual suspension, and looks the business. 2 years later you own it outright. Charge it for free at work. You might have spent another $100 on some new tyres after a couple of years. No contest.
OK. So you have tried a Lime scooter, or maybe a Bird scooter, and you have looked at all the electric scooters for sale. You've seen one for kids, like the original Razor, but you want the best electric scooter for adults. Maybe not the coolest electric scooter, but the best e scooter for your own situation. But where to start?
There is a lot of information and dis-information around, however if you are thinking of taking the plunge and wondering where to buy electric scooters, this article is for you.
If you have been asking 'Is there an electric scooter shop near me', the chances are not, as the field is quite specialized. Some bike shops stock a couple of models, but for the full range and advice you need to consult an electric scooter store, and there are only a handful around.
Some questions you might want to think about are:
- Do you need a portable electric scooter?
- What range do you need from your electric scooter battery?
- Do you need an easily foldable electric scooter?
- Is hill climbing important, or do you just want the fastest electric scooter?
- Are you looking specifically at an electric scooter for seniors, where stability and easy riding are important?
- Do you just want the best electric scooter, or an affordable electric scooter?
I'll be straight up from the start. A cheap electric scooter will do the job at a basic level. You can buy a Xiaomi scooter from an electronics store where the staff can tell you its a battery powered scooter and little else, and it will roll you along. But cheap scooters lack range, power, and climbing ability. If you are a heavy rider, you want a powerful electric scooter or you will be pushing it up even moderately steep hills. Where's the fun in that??
An adult scooter, in our opinion, isn't just adult-sized, it is adult-powered, and adult-braked as well (heavier objects exert greater inertia and require greater stopping force). Look for twin brakes, with levers, and preferably drum or disc brakes.
If you are thinking to buy electric scooter online, we would advise against it, at least not before you have test-ridden a selection of scooters for sale. You first thought should be 'Where can I buy an electric scooter where I can test ride a range', and that is where somewhere like Electric Scooter Shop comes in. We have all available models on the shop floor to demonstrate, and you can compare models within a range and across ranges. For example we stock 2 top-end scooters, the Inokim Ox and the Dualtron MX, which are at a similiar price point, but have very different characters. They sell in roughly equal numbers, but some people see one as one of the best e scooters for sale, and the other they hate, and vice versa! So you really need to test ride until you are certain.
Cheap electric scooters will try to be all things to everyone, but a specialist can guide you. Perhaps you want a very stable scooter? We would recommend an Inokim Quick 3 . The name says 'Quick' but the top speed is modest, however with the low and wide deck the stability is excellent, plus the gearing is low for excellent hill climbing. This is the sort of information you will only get from a specialist. Do you want a very portable electric scooter? We would look at the Mini 4, but only if you didn't have a hilly ride, if you were a heaver rider...... I could go on, but you probably get the picture by now.
We are always happy to talk electric scooter deals, especially for company purchases, and we have set up electric scooter fleets and one-offs for notable corporate clients. Just call up or call in. Thank you for reading!
There is a very wide span of prices in the current scooter market, and a big difference in what you get for your money. You can buy a scooter for $600, or $5500. What's the difference, and what do you get for your $5500 (OK, you have to be pretty keen to spend $5500, but the option is there if you want to!), and what do you get for your $600?
It starts with looking at who you are buying from. As in all markets, what is the brand you are buying? Is it a scooter from a long-term scooter manufacturer who has been conducting R&D for years, continuously developing new models and supporting older ones with part and service, or is it a 'bandwagon' product from a recent entrant to the market, who has figured that scooters are 'so hot right now', and has bashed out a quick line of very mass-produced products? What do they make as well as scooters? Are they a specialist, or do they make mass-market electronic products, with scooters stacked in there alongside big TV's and wireless toasters?
What advice and service do you receive from the vendor? Can you receive friendly and impartial advice, test rides, knowledgeable recommendations for your situation? Or does it extend to 'Pay for it over there at one of those tills'?!
And let's look at the products themselves. Before buying, I would suggest doing a search on Alibaba / AliExpress, the giant Asian online marketplace, and see if you can spot your scooter being sold by numerous vendors under different names and guises. If you can, you are looking at a generic product being pumped out as copycat technology loaded with cheap parts and probably from several different factories. Someone will stick their badge on it, and sell it to you as theirs, but it hasn't come from a company with a vested interest in developing scooters, and good luck if anything fails on it! But, it will be cheap(er) than a brand name product.
So now you have decided on the established brand you will buy, and you have found a retailer who knows what they are talking about (well done, there aren't many), which scooter should you invest your hard-earned cash in, and what does it buy?
The biggest cost of an e-scooter is the battery. Batteries are expensive, especially good quality ones. The stabilising element (usually Cobalt) costs, and this is reflected in the price of those batteries. More powerful motors naturally require more battery power, hence as your scooter increases in power, so does the battery to sustain a reasonable range, and therefore the cost increases. If you are buying a cheap scooter, I can guarantee you a poor range and a weak battery that fades fast. The economics make it so.
Motors are the next in the cost line. Power comes at a cost, and the biggest scooters, such as the Dualtron , now run dual motors, one in each wheel. The engineering of those motors is also a variance, and as always, buy a branded product and you are buying longevity. There is also the question of front-wheel or rear (or two) wheel drive. Front-drive is the cheapest system. You'll find it on Lime, Xiomi, and other scooters built to a price. It also has the least traction as your weight is positioned more over the back wheel, and easily loses traction, especially in damp conditions.
Next, look at the tyres. Again, cheaper tyres are solid, polythene-derived numbers. No chance of a puncture, but also a harsh ride and limited traction. Does anyone make solid car tyres? No? There's a good reason for that!
And finally move on to the components. Brakes? Actual levers, preferably with discs or drums, or those silly switches that send the current around the other way to hopefully slow you up a bit? Frame? Rigid? Or bendy like an over-ripe banana? Does it lock solidly in place when you unfold it, with a satisfying clunk, or does the locking lever it feel like it might just come off in the hand of an enthusiastic 4-year-old?
There's a lot to think about, and all of these elements will have a bearing on the final cost of the scooter. Ultimately, perhaps the depth of your own pockets will determine which way you go, but hopefully I have given you something to think about. Personally, I think you are better off with a mid-range offering from a top brand than a top-range scooter from a knock-off brand, but I am probably biased, because at Electric Scooter Shop, we only stock the top brands!