Thinking of investing in an E-Scooter? Read this first…
When it comes to buying an E-Scooter, there’s more than just the colour to choose from. An E-scooter is a reasonably large purchase, that can range in price from under €500 all the way up to €2000. With such a lot of money at stake, making a mistake in what you buy can be a pricey misdemeanour… but the fact that you have sought out this E-Scooter buying guide means that you are heading in the right direction.
Use this E-Scooter buyer’s guide to find the best in price, style, origins, features – and more. With us on your side, the world of E-Scooters should give up its mysteries and leave you feeling more comfortable with your purchase.
What To Look For In An E-Scooter?
What sorts of things should you be aware of before you rush out and buy a new E-Scooter? We put together the following guide to the features of E-scooters to help you out.
How Much Does an E-Scooter Cost?
First thing is first… what should you pay for your new E-Scooter? We mentioned above that €500 is a good starting point. Anything less than this is likely to be a kid’s model, or an extremely budget-friendly option. While these lesser models will be fine for a few weeks’ worth of commuting, you wouldn’t be able to off-road on it, nor should you expect it to have any extra features.
For a higher end model, you can pay all the way up to the €2500 mark. Any e-scooter that you spend this amount of money on is highly likely to have a wealth of features. The more you spend, the more you get, at least in terms of electronic scooters.
How Far can an E-Scooter Travel?
We use the umbrella term ‘range’ when talking about how far an e-scooter will travel on a single charge. The length of time you can run your e-scooter for on a single charge will vary according to a handful of factors. The weight of your scooter and yourself, the battery capacity, and the strength of your motor all have a part to play.
All scooters have different ranges. Testing to see how far it will go is done by a mid-weight person who will stop multiple times and ensures some of the journey is spent going uphill. In other words, the scooters are tested in as close to real life simulations as possible.
Don’t the Batteries Die on E-Scooters?
The batteries are Lithium-ion in an E-scooter, or some variation thereof. If you are wondering how long it takes to completely kill these batteries, you are looking at more than a thousand charges minimum… and that’s from empty all the way up.
To put that into perspective, you only charge your phone about 360 days of the year, so a thousand charges would mean a phone that lasted you more than three years… by which point the tech is outdated and can be replaced by better things. So a thousand charges before you need to consider battery replacement on your E-Scooter is actually pretty impressive.
What do they Weigh?
If you are concerned about the weight, then opt for a foldable e-scooter. These models can be ridden to work, then folded away into a handy storage bag or box and tucked under the desk until home time. In this instance, some aluminium folding models can weigh as little as 10 lbs.
If you don’t want a folding model but do want a sturdy-yet-light machine, a 25 lbs e-scooter is a possibility. You probably wouldn’t want to carry these over long distances, but if it is just up and down the staircase in your block of flats, you should be fine.
Think about what you are going to need form your scooter. Could you put it in an elevator to take it upstairs? Could it fit in the boot of a car? Could you take it on the bus with you in case you were forced onto the transport system by rain, ice, or snow? Consider all of these answers carefully before you buy.
Other Portability Factors
If you are intent on using your e-scooter for off-road riding more often than your daily commute, then you ought to stop concentrating on weight. Speed, durability, and wider tyres are the three things you ought to look for in regard to portability.
Let’s not forget the weight of yourself, too. Different E-Scooters have different weight limits. So if you buy one for your child, you need to make sure that they are light enough and don’t grow out of it. There will be a max load or max capacity somewhere on the scooter that will tell you all about the maximum rider weight allowed.
Your own weight will affect the power of the motor that you need. Riders who are heavier (above the 200 lbs mark) will need to focus on a stronger motor for the same impact. This means a 500 watt motor or greater. Young kids’ scooters should be no more than 250 watts, while an adult scooter comes in at around 400 watts. The power you will need is in direct correlation with how much you weigh.
How Fast Do E-Scooters Go?
A lot of the time, speed isn’t a desirable feature in an e-scooter. The younger the person riding them, the less of a speed they need to have. A child’s scooter really shouldn’t go above 10 miles an hour and ought to be used only with parental supervision. On the other hand, some altered models can speed up to 40 or 50 mph.
Assuming you are buying a modern e-scooter model with your commute in mind, and aren’t intending an off-road experience, you should consider around 15 mph to be fast enough. You will need a more powerful motor for a mostly uphill journey, and to go any faster than that. Be assured that going faster than this is a little scary in traffic.
If you are in the market for an E-scooter, you ought to be in that same market, looking for safety equipment. You should never use a scooter without a helmet on, for example. Knee and elbow pads are advisable if you are going faster than 20 mph. Leather or denim clothing also soaks up the damage from a fall.
On the scooter itself, there should be a white light on the handlebars, and a rear red light above the back wheel. Any road using vehicle needs these – be it bicycle or scooter. E-scooters sometimes skip the back light so be careful on the road. Consider a light-up backpack if you are scooting at night.
Braking Systems on E-Scooters
Well-working brakes are a vital part of e-scooter and road safety. Without knowing that they work properly, you really shouldn’t be on the road. E-Scooters tend to use mechanical or electronic brakes, of which, mechanical brakes are more effective. If you are speeding along on your scooter at 15 mph, your scooter will take 20 feet to stop with a mechanical brake. Electronic brakes are slower, stiffer, and work overtime instead of for speed.
There are three main types of brake used on E-scooters of the mechanical brake variety. These are…
The Disc Brake
Disc brakes are nice and light, allowing for the portable e-scooter to keep its weight down. They have more stopping power than their fellows and are typically reserved for the good quality e-scooter models. You will find them on the occasional cheaper model, though.
The Foot Brake
As you can imagine, the foot brake is operated by putting your foot on the back or front wheel of the e-scooter, which then slows to a stop. This can wear down your shoes, your tyres, and your patience. It is most often used on low-end, budget e-scooters.
The Drum Brake
The drum brake features a barrel inside the wheel compartment itself. These work well in winter weather, but don’t have the same lightweight feel as the disc brakes do – even though the performance is equally as good.
What About Electronic Brakes Though?
Electronic brakes aren’t as good as you would think. The average stopping distance of a 15 mph scooter with electric brakes is about 35 feet. When compared to the 20 of the mechanical brakes, you can see the difference.
Try to find an e-scooter that blends mechanical with electric baking as the combination of both is optimal.
What Strength Motor Do I Need on my E-Scooter?
The motor in an E-scooter, at least, in an adult one, is brushless. A brush separates the motor from the hub, allowing friction to generate electricity and power your scooter. If you are a full grown adult, your motor should be around 300-400 watts. If you are a heavier person, opt for 500+ (they go up as high as 600 watts). This ensures you don’t experience a loss of scooter power as you move.
It is important to remember that even the most powerful motor will slow down on tough hills. An e-scooter doesn’t have the same power that a car has, so don’t expect it.
A budget scooter should have about a 200-250 watt motor and won’t travel far or fast. A mid-range e-scooter will come in at about the 500 watt mark, while an amped up, high-end, or off-roading model, can run as high as 2400 watts. These are extremely powerful and go fast… be aware of this if buying for a child.
How smooth is the Ride?
An E-scooter engages a similar type of suspension as that which you might find in any non-electric motor vehicle. Scooters will use either a hydraulic, a spring, or a rubber suspension system, with one or both tyres affected. Not all e-scooters have this, and it is particularly hard to spot on the budget models.
If you want good suspension on your e-scooter, you need to be willing to pay for it. High end models are much more likely to have sprung suspension that can absorb shock. Off-road e-scooters ought to have this as standard – but always check before you buy. There’s nothing worse than being thrown all over the road.
What to look for in E-Scooter Tyres?
In general, you will have the option of solid tyres or pneumatic tyres. A pneumatic is similar to a car tyre and is filled with air. A solid tyre uses a filled wheel that can come with polymer fillings, or hexagonal holes similar to a beehive. If your bike has no suspension and solid tyres, you may be in for a bit of a bumpy ride!
Opt for pneumatic tyres where you can. When you add a suspension system to this, it becomes a much less bumpy ride, and you have better impact absorption. Pneumatics are also better in wet weather and can come without an inner tubing. They do need you to keep the air inflated in the tyre (the tyre pressure) consistently, as well as watch out for flats, but it is a better ride in the long run.
How do I Maintain my E-Scooter?
E-scooter maintenance will allow your purchase to last longer, potentially extend the battery life, and protect your safety while it is in use. When you buy an e-scooter from a specialist brand, it is likely that you will need to buy any future parts from them. Keep this in mind when you buy, as it can become pricey.
You should keep an eye on the mechanisms, wiping off excessive oil if you need to. Check the brakes once a month and make sure the tyres don’t have punctures. You may be able to order some parts online.
What’s the Ingress Protection Rating?
You may have seen this term being brandished around in relation to your e-scooter choices. The Ingress Protection (or IP) rating, refers to how well your e-scooter protects against foreign contaminants. This just means the rain and dirt from the road. Not all scooters are made for all weather conditions, so if you want one that will work in the rain, opt for level 4 or above.
IP x 0 means you have no resistance to dust or water. Between 1 and 3 means it could handle a light sprinkle. Between 4 and 6 means it is rain-proof, and 7 means you can dunk it in a swimming pool, and it would come out tops.
The Freedom to Buy an E-Scooter of your Own
Now that we have come to the end of our E-scooter buyer’s guide, you may still be a little on the lost side… and that’s OK. As soon as you start looking at them, this is all going to make sense. Don’t forget you can refer back to this guide whenever you need that extra bit of advice.
Try to find one that weighs less than 20 kg, that goes more than 15 mph, that has pneumatic tyres and, where possible, that comes with a warranty or guarantee. The higher the IP rating, the better. The higher your budget? The more e-scooter you can afford.
Stick to these rules and you will be scooting off into the sunset in no time! E-Scooter