My experience with Electric Scooters

Benchmark of three models (prices: 200-800€)

But first a bit of context. This is my current commute:

HOME > Car (10m) > Train (20m) > Walk (15m) > Train (40m) > Walk (10m) > WORK

One of my personal goals is to be car/petrol free. Using a car to do the famous “last mile” deeply annoys me. It’s too short for a car trip, but it takes too long if I walk it instead. That got me started thinking about alternatives.

I could replace the car with a bicycle, however the path is not flat so there would be some effort/sweat involved. An electric bicycle would mitigate the effort, but it’s too expensive to leave locked and unsupervised in the train station #PortugalXXI #2ndWorldProblems.

In summary, I was looking for a transport that would:

  • be heavy and leave locked OR light and carry with me
  • be as fast (and hopefully as cheap) as a bicycle
  • assist me on climbs OR easy to carry

A candidate emerged: an electric scooter.

Models under review

After weeks of research, there were 3 models to choose from. All except one required international shipping #PortugalXXI #2ndWorldProblems.

International Shipping. Magically turns something locally affordable into a luxury abroad. Also you can’t try it before buying and if you regret your purchase, tough luck.

— Urban Dictionary

The results

The greener the better. Red is bad.

  • UrbanGlide Ride 50S Carbon (low weight/price/quality)
  • EcoReco XS (lightweight but good construction)
  • Zoom Stryder (solid, powerful, expensive, heavy)
  • Mi Electric Scooter was as expensive as EcoReco XS, but had double the weight so I did not consider it. However it’s by far the most popular electric scooter, it’s the only model I’ve seen in the streets so far.

The regrets

It was a hard choice. This was my first (electric) scooter, so I decided to play it safe and buy UrbanGlide Ride 50S Carbon, the cheapest and the only one available locally.

I asked for a refund 48h later. Let me tell you why it sucked so bad:

  • Uncomfortable: knee & wrist pain after one trip (due to lack of suspension)
  • Weak engine: normal 6km/h, max speed 18km/h (lower than specs)
  • Weak battery: reached 60% at 4km (half the specs)
  • Hand grips unscrew themselves during trip

The conclusion

  • No easy way to safely lock it; your arms will get tired of carrying it
  • Cheap is good for flat paths and good quality pavement (not the case in 🇵🇹)
  • Otherwise go for power and suspension (which compromises portability)
  • I decided to use a bicycle downhill and carry it when returning