Choosing the right scooter for you can be confusing, that’s why we have put together this buyer’s guide which will take you through all the considerations and make sure you choose the perfect scooter for your needs.
First and foremost, what are you looking to use your electric scooter for? Commuting, family fun or catching up with friends?
If commuting you may need to consider a lightweight scooter which can easily fold and store at work or in the car. If you are looking to do longer journeys then range, speed and comfort may be more important.
In general terms the lighter, compact electric scooters will have a smaller battery and the tradeoff is usually a shorter range. Larger batteries and motor power can achieve longer range but tend to be heavier, it’s about striking the right balance which is why we have created a handy selector tool to help you choose the perfect scooter for your needs.
Simply select your required combinations of range, speed and weight to see the right scooter tailored to your needs -
Other practical considerations to help you decide can include comfort, style, maintenance, power output, charge time etc.. so, we have outlined some of the key things to look out for –
Tyres come in two varieties: pneumatic (air-filled) and airless.
Pneumatic tires have the advantage of shock absorption and better handling/traction (especially in bad weather). The downside to pneumatic tyres is there is more maintenance required than the airless variety. Pneumatic tires are prone to punctures and need be filled with air when they have low pressure.
Airless tyres, on the other hand, have virtually no maintenance required but you will feel more of the bumps in the road so will need to consider the surface and distance you plan to travel on solid tyres.
Range refers to the distance a scooter can travel before it runs out of battery power. A cautious rule of thumb is to take whatever the manufacturer advertises and divide by two. Results from the 2018 Electric Scooter Survey show most manufacturers overestimate by 30% in their range claims.
Like all batteries, as time goes on, your battery capacity (and scooter range) will diminish. Think about your commute and how far you travel in a typical day. Remember that when your scooter runs out of power you can still kick to push it.
Weight can be a big consideration if you ever need to fold and carry your scooter. Think about your commute: will you need to walk upstairs, get on a train or lift your scooter into a car?
Most scooters with a reasonable range (>15 miles) will weigh over 17kg. Anything much above 20kg will be difficult to carry for long durations. Se our selector tool to see what weight, range and speed combination will suit you –
Top speed is not a huge factor for most commuters if the scooter can reach 15 mph. In fact, the current recommendation for some EU countries have laws against going over 15.5 mph (25km/h) on a scooter. Which is the same for Electric Bikes in the UK. In reality, when traveling on roads or in bike lanes, 15.5 mph is fast enough. If you are interested in the extreme performance type of scooter, those go much faster and we recommend wearing safety gear when traveling at those speeds.
Caution: Always wear a helmet when riding your scooter at any speed.
Motor power generally starts at 200 watts and goes all the way up to 800 watts on the EGRET – TEN V3X. For adults, we do not recommend anything under 250 watts for daily commuting. This will be adequate for flat surfaces and very small hills. If you live in an area with steeper hills, think about going to 350 or 500 watts. Even with 500 watts, your scooter will slow down on medium-sized hills. At that point, you can always kick to help the scooter. Larger motors will not only help with powering up hills, but they will also get you up to top speed more quickly.
Suspension, similar to that in a car, smooths out bumps and indentations in the road. Without it, and especially if you have airless tires, you will feel every bump that you travel over. If your commute is longer or has more rough terrain to cross, strongly consider purchasing a scooter with suspension. Suspension can either be attached to the front, rear, or both wheels. Scooters in the Premium Commuter class should have either front or rear suspension.
Scooters, like bicycles, can have a white front light and a red rear light. If you ride after dark, it is necessary to have both a front and rear light. Due to the design of electric scooters, they typically do not have very visible rear lights. If you are going to ride at night, strongly consider adding some flashing red rear lights to your helmet or backpack. Our range of Livall smart helmets have built in automatic LED lighting including turn signal indicators, handlebar remote control, stereo speakers and Bluetooth technology.
There are four main brake types: electric and/or regenerative, foot, drum, and disc. They are listed in order from least to most effective and can be installed on the front, rear, or both tires.
Electric and regenerative brakes are the weakest. If you are traveling at 15+mph and need to stop quickly, these alone will not do the job.
Foot brakes, which are activated by pushing your foot down on the rear fender, cause it to rub against the rear tire, slowing it down. This type of brake has slightly more stopping power but is not as effective as the disc or drum brakes.
Drum Brakes are enclosed inside the wheel hub and are generally lower maintenance than other braking types and have consistent performance in wet conditions.
Disc brakes have the most stopping power and are lighter than drum brakes. They are typically found on the higher end Premium Commuter and High-Performance scooters but may appear on better quality Budget Commuter scooters.
Legislation and Safety
Most importantly, we would like to ensure that you consider all of the legislation and safety aspects and you are fully aware of where you can ride your electric scooter and our recommendations to keep you safe.
At the moment Electric Scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs), so they're treated as motor vehicles and are subject to all the same legal requirements - MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction. So, because they don't always have visible rear red lights, number plates or signaling ability, they can't be used legally on the roads.
The law covering e-bikes - which are battery-assisted pedal cycles - doesn't currently cover e-scooters, but the government wants to regulate them in a similar way in future.
Electric Travels strongly recommend that you always wear a helmet and appropriate clothing to protect yourself and others when using an Electric Scooter.
We hope that you find this guide useful please feel free to visit us at our showroom for some advice or personal recommendations from the Electric Travels team.