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Here’s what I learned from riding an electric scooter

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Standing on e-scooter at stop light
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Adam Birney / Android Authority

In an effort to cut down on carbon emissions, my city has a plethora of bike lanes and more and more gadgets zipping across them. There are many new technologies for transportation, from electric bicycles and scooters to electronic boards and futuristic unicycles. I wanted to know what the electric vehicle (EV) craze was all about and decided to buy an entry-level e-scooter to drive to work in the summer. Was the trip as fun as it seemed? Here are five things I learned the first time I rode an electric scooter.

Read more: Electric Scooter Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Learning to ride a scooter is easy

Gotrax G4 handlebar

Adam Birney / Android Authority

For the uninitiated, it may seem like a daunting task to catch up with all the electric cars speeding down the road. Rest assured though, learning to ride an electric scooter is surprisingly small. I decided to get the Gotrax GXL V2 ($348) because it was an affordable model aimed at beginner riders and had twice the range I needed to get to and from the office on a single charge.

When it finally arrived, the Gotrax GXL V2 was easy to assemble, and after a four-hour charge it was even easier to ride. As a cyclist, I found the familiar handbrake and bell to my left. To my right is a tempting throttle stick that I was itching to hit. My first test run was around the tables in our open office (which might have forced some of my co-workers to put on noise canceling headphones) and then I went outside for a real road test.

After a few days, I felt like I had mastered the basics of driving an electric scooter. And after weeks of commuting, the fun factor is still far from gone.

With one foot on the scooter and the other kicking off the ground, a simple twist of the throttle was enough to pick up speed and keep balance. In terms of deceleration, I found the brakes on this model to be a bit inconsistent, sometimes coming to a slow stop and sometimes too hard. The higher your braking speed, the faster they wear out and require maintenance.

Turning is easy enough, especially if you can afford a large radius. However, you can’t actually signal your turns as you need to keep both hands on the wheel, although some newer higher end scooters have added signal lights for this reason.

Invest in practical features

The first thing I felt while driving my Gotrax was every bump and crack in the road. One feature my e-scooter didn’t have was the suspension and my knees would certainly appreciate some support. Even if you mostly ride flat pavement, I recommend investing in suspension or fatter tires to handle any surprises on the street smoothly.

Transporting a folded scooter

Adam Birney / Android Authority

The second thing I noticed was a decrease in speed on the slightest climbs. The 250W motor would have had a hard time climbing any hills and it took me a few pushes to get me up the hill. Hills also drain the battery faster, reducing the maximum range. Look for a 350W motor, or even 500W if you want to travel long distances or over sloping terrain.

While the scooter is fun under the sun, I don’t plan to use it in most other seasons on the west coast as it’s not waterproof. As soon as it began to rain, it quickly became slippery under the wheels. There is also concern that any splashes could damage electrical components. If you live in a humid area, look for a model with an IP rating of at least five, preferably six (IP5X or IP 6X) for weather protection.

Finally, there is the portability factor. Although the Gotrax GXL V2 weighs only about 25 pounds, the foldable clip (or lack thereof) makes it difficult to carry. The plastic latch failed the shake test and suddenly opened. If you plan to carry your scooter on public transport or in public areas, take my advice and buy a scooter with a lock strong enough to keep the scooter folded, such as the Gotrax G4.

Legality is a gray area

Electric scooter Gotrax G4

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Initially I wasn’t sure about the speed limits and it looks like most municipalities don’t know what to set them to either. My city is in the middle of a three-year pilot program for electric scooters, threatening fines for anyone traveling over 25 km/h on the roads. However, that doesn’t stop some riders from doubling it up with higher end models. However, most low cost options will have the engine limited to ~25 km/h which is against the rules.

Check the laws of your city before making a purchase.

There was also a question where I was allowed to ride my e-scooter. For example, I was looking forward to a ride along the Stanley Park causeway, only to find it was limited to bicycles and pedestrians.

Finally, some areas have different rules for night skiing. If you plan on riding after dark, buy a scooter with a good headlight and reflectors. Although most e-scooters have a headlight, you will usually find reflective stickers that wear out over time. For added safety, some helmets now have LED lights to improve visibility.

It’s faster and more fun than transit

Ride an e-scooter next to a cyclist in traffic

Adam Birney / Android Authority

I used to take the bus everywhere, but now I never go back unless I have to. The feeling of the breeze as I cross the downtown bridge and the quiet satisfaction of passing cars stuck in traffic never get old.

I found myself constantly checking the distances I could cover and the errands I could complete on my scooter.

An electric scooter is perfect for quick commutes until you have too much stuff. Riding with a backpack is no problem, but if you need more cargo space, you might consider hanging your bag on the front handlebar. If storage space is still not enough, there is always an option to get an electric bike. While it’s more expensive, you can carry heavier loads on the front and rear of the bike.

Our guide: What you need to know about electric bikes and our best deals

It left me wanting more

While Gotrax was a fun and safe introduction to the electric scooter world, it left me craving for more. After I’ve already tested a couple more models, I can say that it’s worth paying a little extra for some of the higher-end features. Namely, look for suspension or fatter tires for a smoother ride, a secure folding clamp, and better waterproofing. The fewer plastic parts, the longer your scooter will last.

Have you bought an electric scooter?

654 votes

standing on an e-scooter in the sun

Adam Birney / Android Authority

After a week of riding, I became confident that I could handle more speed and power. One of the frustrating things was the inability to overtake slower cyclists or scooters on the bike path. The inability to pick up speed also made me feel unsafe to jump out of the way at any moment. Some models, like the Segway Ninebot Max, have multiple speed modes, allowing novice riders to up the ante with a little practice. The higher range will also allow you to keep riding longer without having to worry about recharging.

5%off

Electric scooter Segway Ninebot Max

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Electric scooter Gotrax G4

Theft protection
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real reflectors

Electric scooter Gotrax GXL V2

Intuitive
Safe Speeds
Fast charging time

$348.00 on Amazon

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular as technology improves. If you’re thinking about it, summer is the best time to jump into the turbulent world of electric micromobility. And if storage space isn’t an issue, then a good e-scooter is the way to go.

#Heres #learned #riding #electric #scooter

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