The scooter has evolved into something beyond a mere child’s toy. It’s now a legitimate form of transport, handy for commuting from home to work or shortening your travel time after hopping off the train or bus.
Things to consider
The market has exploded in the past couple of years, and there are loads of scooters for sale out there. With so much choice it’s difficult to know where to start, so we’ve narrowed down your priorities when searching for your steed.
Anything between 250W and 300W is perfect for your everyday needs. If you go below 250W you’ll be underpowered, while anything more powerful than 300W should be kept strictly off the road or footpath (as legally they’re not allowed to be there).
The more powerful the motor, the quicker it’ll drain your battery and leave you stranded. You’ll use the battery even faster if you’re a bit heavier, ride fast, or hoon up hills. Look for the biggest battery you can find within your budget. There is a trade-off when it comes to batteries: the bigger they are, the heavier the overall package will be, so be sure you can still pick it up and heft it around.
Your brake choices tend to be either electric or disc. Electric brakes are weak and struggle to slow you when going downhill. Disc brakes are superior and should be high on your list of priorities.
Unless your scooter specifically has front and rear brake controls on the handlebars (none of our tested scooters did), you’ll need to use the rear foot-operated brake.
Scooters have small wheels, so they’ll never be able to compete with a bike in terms of comfort. However, you’ll be able to choose between solid or pneumatic tyres for your wheels.
Pneumatic tyres are the best by far for comfort and grip but are susceptible to getting flats. Solid tyres won’t get punctures, but that’s where the positives end. They’re more slippery and transfer loads of vibration and bumps straight through to your hands and feet. If you have a choice, opt for pneumatic every time.
A good set of shocks helps you handle the bigger bumps while you’re out cruising. While they soak up bumps, they’re not the answer to cutting out vibration from the pavement. Front suspension takes most of the load whereas rear suspension, if present, is more of a luxury addition that’ll make your ride that little bit smoother.
Folding and unfolding
Check you can fold and unfold the scooter easily, so you aren’t left fumbling about when the bus or train pulls up. Overall weight is important as well, under 10kg is easily manageable while your arms will begin to burn when the weight get above 14kg.
Depending on the motor location (front or rear wheel) and battery location, the balance can be skewed towards the front or rear. If the weight is unbalanced, it’ll be hard to carry for anything more than a few steps.
Having lights front and rear is essential for commuting. They probably won’t light your way all that well, but they will make you more visible to everyone else.
Scooters have a recommended weight limit. Generally, its 100kg or less. If you’re near the upper limit, you’ll have diminished range, top speed and braking.