Basic Scooter Information
 

Finding the Scooter That's Right For You
Standard Features and Specifications
Electric Scooters and the Environment
Electric Scooters vs. Gas Scooters

 

It's time to join the latest craze; Electric Scooters! You can find them everywhere these days. On TV, in the movies, kids zipping up and down the block on them. Even their parents use them to run local errands to the store, post office, etc.. People commute to work or the local bus, train or subway station on electric scooters. Students and Professors zoom across campus on electric scooters. Vacationers keep electric scooters on board their RV or boat. Active seniors use electric scooters to help them get around town. As a matter of fact, you find people young and old having a ball riding electric scooters for all sorts of reasons.

 

Finding the Scooter That's Right for You!

The electric scooter that's right for you is out there and our goal is to help you find it. This section outlines key factors to consider when purchasing an electric scooter.

QUALITY: Quality is the number one factor to consider when buying an electric scooter. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of overseas factories flooding the market with poor quality off brand scooters, no brand scooters and clones. Poorly manufactured electric scooters aren't built to last. They break down shortly after purchase, repairs are expensive, parts may not be available, safety can be a concern and ultimately these scooters find themselves in an early grave. Sadly, too many people have been ripped off by unscrupulous vendors selling poor quality scooters. You'll even find these cheap scooters sold in normally reputable establishments! You can save yourself much heartache and frustration by doing your homework and steering clear of poor quality electric scooters.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid poorly manufactured electric scooters:

   ● Stick with brand name electric scooters (avoid off-brand, no brand and clones).

   ● Avoid vendors who sell off-brand scooters, no brand scooters and clones.

   ● If the price sounds too good to be true… it is!

   ● Buy electric scooters that offer at least a 90 day warranty. 

   ● Purchase from a reputable vendor.

PRICE: There is a big price range among electric scooters, but generally speaking electric scooters for kids sell for about $200 - $400 dollars and electric scooters built for adults sell for $300 - $1,000 and up. The better the specifications and the more bells and whistles the scooter comes with the more it will cost.

SPEED: Electric scooters vary in speed from 8 mph to 25 mph, however electric scooters that hit speeds over 20 mph are rare. The speed of an electric scooter is affected by several factors. The weight of the rider, the level of charge in the battery, tire pressure, inclines, hills and rough terrain can all influence an electric scooters speed. Typically the speed rating the manufacturer lists for an electric scooter is its maximum speed under ideal conditions.

RANGE: This is the distance an electric scooter will take you on a single charge. Electric scooters vary in range from 8 miles to 20 miles per charge. Electric scooters that offer a range of more than 15 miles are rare and more costly to purchase. The range of an electric scooter is affected by several factors. The weight of the rider, tire pressure, extreme temperatures, inclines, hills and rough terrain can all influence an electric scooters range. Typically the range rating the manufacturer lists for an electric scooter is its maximum range under ideal conditions.

CARRYING CAPACITY: This is the maximum amount of weight an electric scooter can carry. Keep in mind that the heavier the rider the slower the acceleration and top speed of an electric scooter. Heavier riders will also reduce an electric scooters range and decrease its hill climbing ability. Riders under 180 lbs. can typically ride any electric scooter out there and achieve maximum performance.

RECOMMENDED AGE: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that children under the age of 12 not ride motorized scooters (see http://www.cpsc.gov/pr/prscoot.php). Local laws may require a rider to be a certain age to operate an electric scooter as well. The manufacturer will post a recommended riding age for their electric scooters. Manufacturers tend to recommend a riding age from 12 & up to 16 & up depending on the specifications of the electric scooter.

TERRAIN: The ideal riding surface for an electric scooter is a relatively flat street or road. If you plan of taking your electric scooter off-road, climbing hills or scooting through rough terrain you will want to purchase a scooter with a high watt motor. For a 180 lb. rider a motor rating of 300 watts or above will do the trick. Generally speaking, the higher the watt rating of the motor the better your electric scooter will tackle demanding terrain. Riders heavier than 180 lbs. will want to compensate by purchasing a scooter with an even higher watt rating.

PORTABILITY: Will you need to carry your electric scooter around? If so, then portability is a big factor to consider. Check the weight of the scooter and its dimensions when folded. Electric scooters can weigh anywhere from 30 lbs. to 100 lbs, so you'll want to make sure it's light enough for you to carry. You'll also need to check the folded dimensions of the scooter to make sure it fits in the trunk of your car or wherever you might need to store it for travel.

CLIMATE: Do you live in sunny California, the snow covered North or rainy Seattle? Wherever you live you'll want to make sure your scooter can handle the local weather patterns. Temperature will affect the battery of an electric scooter. Extremely hot or extremely cold weather will decrease a scooters range. You will typically want to avoid the rain. Electric scooters tend to offer some resistance to wet weather and your scooter will probably survive a real light rain. However, if water gets into the motor, the motor will short out and need to be replaced. Some Currie built scooters (Currie, Schwinn, Mongoose and GT) come with weather resistant motors and can handle wet weather. High winds will also affect the performance of your electric scooter. Traveling against a high wind will decrease your speed and range.

Standard Features and Specifications

MOTOR: An electric scooter motor or engine is rated by its output in watts. Electric power is measured in watts; 746 watts are equal to 1 horsepower (hp). Electric scooters with a watt rating under 300w are not recommended for use on steep, hilly, or rough terrain, or with riders over 180 lbs. Generally speaking, the higher the watt rating of the motor the better your scooter will handle demanding terrain and a heavier load. Unless the electric scooter comes with a weather resistant motor, the motor should be kept away from water and wet weather. If water gets into the motor, the motor will short out and need to be replaced. An electric scooter motor is regulated by a controller. For more information about how an electric scooter motor works, visit HowStuffWorks.com.

DRIVE TRAIN SYSTEM: The mechanism that moves the scooter. Most electric powered scooters are chain or belt driven. Some brands and models come with a direct drive system. Chain and belt drive systems usually consist of a sprocket (chain wheel) on the motor and on the rear wheel with a chain or belt running around them. The motor turns its sprocket which moves the chain/belt and turns the rear wheel. Direct drive systems usually consist of wheel type device on the motor which is directly in contact with the rear wheel. The motor turns its wheel which turns the rear wheel. Most scooters are hand throttle controlled with either a twist (motorcycle style) or thumb (ATV, Jet Ski style) controller.

BATTERY: The power storage device of an electric scooter. The standard electric scooter battery is a sealed 12 volt rechargeable lead acid battery. Electric scooters will come with 1 to 3 batteries depending on the brand and model. The range of an electric scooter has much to do with the quality and power rating of the batteries. A heavier rider, low tire pressure, extreme temperatures, inclines, hills, rough terrain and high levels of speed will put extra demand on the battery and drain its charge quicker. The life span of a battery tends to run 300 – 500 charges and varies by brand and model. When fully drained a battery will take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to recharge depending on the brand and model of the electric scooter and the quality of the battery charger. Some models offer a quick change battery feature that let's you swap out your depleted batteries for a fresh pair. It's recommended that you always keep lead acid batteries charged. Lead acid batteries do not like being completely drained. For longer battery life always charge your scooter immediately after riding it.

BATTERY CHARGER: The charging system for the scooter. Some electric scooter brands and models offer smart chargers which will not over-charge the battery and quick chargers that power an electric scooter faster than a regular battery charger. Always place battery chargers on a non-flammable surface!

BRAKES: The stopping system for the scooter. Brake types vary by brand and model. The most common types are drum, hub, disc and caliper (cantilever). Most scooters will come with any combination of the above brake types. Some models offer rear brakes, others offer front brakes and some offer both front and rear braking systems. Some models will come with an automatic throttle shut-off system. This is a safety feature that keeps the engine from engaging while the brakes are being applied.

FRAME, BODY & DECK: The overall construction of the frame structure and body of the scooter. The frame is typically constructed of steel. The body covers the frame and the deck is the area you stand on. Bodies and decks can be constructed of steel, aluminum, plastic or any combination of the three materials. Plastic bodies and decks are more susceptible to cracking and breaking. A rear suspension system may be built into the frame which will cushion the scooter and increase the handling characteristics. Rear suspension models will usually show the type of suspension and the amount of travel the suspension offers; measured in millimeters (mm); 25.4mm is equal to one inch; so a 50mm travel fork has just under 2 inches of travel.

FORKS: The system holding the front wheel on the scooter. Most brands and models come with a solid front fork but some brands and models are offered with a suspension fork setup. Suspension forks add travel to the front wheel. This cushions the scooter and increases its handling characteristics. Most fork suspension systems use metal springs, elastomers (rubber springs) or a combination of both. Most fork suspension travel is measured in millimeters (mm); 25.4mm is equal to one inch; so a 50mm travel fork has just under 2 inches of travel.

WHEELS: The entire part that includes the axle, hub, spokes and rim. Wheels come with wire spokes, solid spokes or a spoke-less solid design. Wheels come in steel, aluminum and reinforced plastic.

RIMS: The outside part of a wheel that holds the tire. Aluminum rims offer superior quality in terms of look and wear. Steel rims are a cheaper alternative. They can be found at lower prices, but typically, they don't last as long or look as good. Steel rims are more prone to rusting and paint chipping. Alloy rims are also available.

TIRES: Most tires are made of rubber, foam rubber or polyurethane. Styles vary from pneumatic with an inner-tube to pneumatic tubeless to solid and can come with a smooth, semi-smooth or knobby surface. Tire size will have an effect on the performance of the scooter. Taller tires will generally increase the top speed of a scooter but will lower its hill climbing ability. Taller tires will also increase a scooters ground clearance. Enhanced ground clearance helps the scooter handle speed bumps, pot holes, curbs and off-road terrain better. Shorter tires generally increase the hill climbing ability of a scooter but will lower the top speed. Shorter tires decrease ground clearance. Tire width will also have an effect on the scooters ability to grip the road, wide tires will increase traction and skinny tires will decrease traction.

ACCESSORIES: Some electric scooters offer a host of accessories and other stick with the basics. Here's a list of some of the accessories you might find when looking for an electric scooter; A removable seat, adjustable height handlebars, handlebars that fold, key ignition, headlights, taillights or brake lights, reflectors, turn signals, horn, rear view mirrors, battery indicator gauge, speed indicator gauge, kick stand, basket or cargo box, tool kit.

 
Electric Scooters and the Environment

Automobiles emit over 300 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year in the United States. These emissions contribute to a global warming trend that threatens our entire planet. When you buy an electric scooter, you're doing your part to help end global warming and harmful emissions in the air.

Since electric scooters run on batteries, they don't burn fossil fuels to propel the motor. Therefore, when you switch from a gas based form of transportation to electric you're helping reduce pollution in our atmosphere. Making the switch to an e scooter helps by decreasing the amount of harmful emissions in the air and by supporting an environmentally friendly industry that's in direct competition with the gas and oil industries. Many environmentally conscious people buy e scooters for these reasons alone.

Electric scooters are a fantastic alternative to the automobile for people who have a short commute to work or to the local metro station. Electric scooters are great for running local errands. Electric scooters are compact and portable, so you can take them into the office and store them under your desk or in the closet. People use e scooters for local transportation when traveling by car, bus, subway, train, RV, boat or plane.

Clearly, the more we use e scooters as a means of transportation the better off our environment will be. Electric scooters represent a terrific alternative to other forms of transportation, save the environment, and provide their riders with many other benefits.

 
Electric Scooters vs. Gas Scooters

It's the question on everyone's mind… do I go gas or electric! There are many factors to consider when purchasing a motorized scooter. Whether you buy a gas scooter or an electric scooter is one of the first decisions you'll want to make. This section outlines the pros and cons of each type of motorized scooter.

COST: Electric scooters win the prize in the affordability category. As a general rule, an electric scooter that offers the same specifications as a gas scooter will be less expensive.

SPEED: Dollar for dollar, gas scooters have the advantage. You'll find electric scooter models that vary in speed from 8 mph to 25 mph, but electric scooters offering a speed in excess of 20 mph are very rare. On the other hand, gas scooters will zip along at speeds ranging from 16 mph to 30 mph.

NOISE: Electric scooters are the clear winner in this category. Gas scooters are quite loud and their noise level can be compared to a motorcycle, lawnmower or leaf blower. If noise is a concern, you should probably get an electric scooter. An electric scooter is very quiet and usually gives off a low humming sound rather than the high volume sound produced by gas scooters. If you must have a gas scooter and noise is a concern, try a gas scooter built with a California C.A.R.B. Tier 2 exhaust emission compliant motor. Gas scooter motors built to California C.A.R.B. standards are quieter.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: And the winner is by unanimous decision… electric scooters! If your goal is to help save the planet by reducing harmful emissions, then electric is the way to go. Gasoline scooters burn fuel which give off emissions that are harmful to our environment. However, gas scooters do produce fewer harmful emissions than your car. If you plan on keeping your car in the garage and commuting by gas scooter instead, then at least you're headed in the right direction. Gas scooters with motors built to California C.A.R.B. Tier 2 exhaust emission standards are cleaner burning than standard gas scooters.

USABILITY: There's no clear winner here although electric scooters do have an edge. While electric scooters get their power supply from an electrical outlet, gas scooters require the handling of fuel. Typically gasoline is mixed with two stroke engine oil to properly fuel a gas powered scooter. If you're uncomfortable handling flammable liquids then gas powered scooters are probably not for you.

DURABILITY: Gas scooters tend to have the advantage here. Generally speaking gas scooters are more durable because they must handle higher speeds and are more likely to be used off road.

RELIABILITY: Neither electric scooters or gas scooters have an obvious advantage here. The key is to stick with a quality brand name motorized scooter and to avoid off-brand scooters, no brand scooters and clones. Off-brand scooters, no brand scooters and clones generally offer extremely poor reliability.

SAFETY & LEGAL ISSUES: Both electric scooters and gas scooters require attention to safety guidelines and local laws. Laws regarding motorized scooters vary from state to state and it's best to contact your local DMV or law enforcement agency for the laws in your area. Gas scooters that don't comply with California C.A.R.B. Tier 2 exhaust emissions standards are illegal for use in the state of California for other than closed course competition purposes.

IN CONCLUSION: The type of motorized scooter that's best for you depends partly on how you plan on using the motorized scooter and partly on personal preference. To help make your decision a little easier, consider the following information:

Electric scooters are much quieter than their noisy counterparts. No warm-up time is required when starting an electric scooter. Electric scooters are easy to use and don't require the handling of fuel. They only cost about five cents per day to charge. Electric scooters are allowed on public transit, such as buses, trains, and planes, whereas gas scooters are typically not allowed by law. Electric scooters are environmentally friendly and don't have that 'gasoline smell'.

Gas scooters offer more power and speed. They are lighter in weight and usually have a smaller frame and higher carrying capacity. Gas scooters tend to have greater range and outperform electric scooters on hills and rough terrain. A gas scooter is more convenient than an electric scooter in that you can simply fill it up at your local gas station and get back on the road. An electric scooter must be recharged through an electrical outlet and charging can take from four to eight hours depending on the scooter.

There you have it, the basic pros and cons of buying an electric scooter versus a gas scooter. Simply weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide which type of motorized scooter will best suit your needs.