Electric Scooter Repair Help > Electric Scooter Buying Guide
Electric Scooter Buying Guide
1- Electric Scooter Quality
Electric scooters are similar to bicycles in their construction and they share many common components. Due to the nature of these type of vehicles if they are used frequently they will most likely need to have several repairs and adjustments performed on them during their lifetime to keep them running. For this reason buying an electric scooter from an established and reputable manufacturer who will be around in the future to provide parts is always a good idea. Cheap off-brand electric scooters may seem like a great value until you need to buy replacement parts for them which may not be available.
2- Braking Systems
The braking system is often overlooked when buying an electric scooter. Electric scooters along with their rider and batteries are heavy and require a well designed braking system. Band brakes have a tendency to lock up the wheels instead of slowing them down which can wear out the tires and cause accidents. Front band brakes are particularly dangerous because when they are used they sometimes lock up the front wheel and send the rider flying over the handlebars see video. Scooters with both front and rear v-brakes or disk brakes have the best braking performance. Electric scooters with only one brake can not stop as fast as electric scooters with two brakes. You really should have the control of having two brakes. For example on clean and dry pavement you should apply the front and rear brakes together in unison to stop the scooter. However if on a dirt trail or on wet or sandy pavement then you should primarily use the rear brakes to avoid locking up the front wheel and loosing control of the scooter.
3- Frame and Fork Construction
Frame and fork construction is an important detail when choosing an electric scooter. Electric scooters with frames or forks made from thin steel sheets have a history of bending or breaking under normal use. Electric scooters with frames and forks made from all tubular steel and thick plate steel construction have proven to be the toughest and most reliable electric scooter designs.
4- Chain Drive or Belt Drive
Chain drive is the most reliable of the two systems and chains also last a lot longer than belts however the tradeoff is that chain drive electric scooters are a little noisy while they are being driven. The chain noise is usually a good thing though because it warns other people that you driving a vehicle down the road, sidewalk, or trail. But if you are expecting a nearly silent electric scooter then you will probably be very disappointed with chain drive. Belt drive is much quieter than chain drive. The tradeoff is that belt drive is not as reliable as chain drive, and that it will need to be replaced more often. However if you are looking for an electric scooter which is truly quiet then belt drive is the only way to go.
5- Chrome Plating Quality
All chrome is not created equal. Low quality chrome will start to rust and flake off after the scooter is stored in the garage for the winter or unintentionally driven in the rain. Most brand name electric scooters will have high quality chrome however many smaller brand name ones may have inferior quality chrome. For example, we have an old eBoarder chrome-plated scooter frame which was stored outside for over 10 years and it has zero rust on it and look like brand new. On the other hand we have a Scoot-N-Go frame that has been stored outside for just 2 years and it's chrome is completely rusted through and flaking off. Electric scooter manufacturers can make a little more profit if they substitute another less expensive metal for chrome when they are plating their parts, however those parts will quickly start to rust after being put to use. Chrome that rusts right away is not real chrome. Real chrome does not begin to rust for a very long time after it is exposed to the environment. Buying a scooter made by a well established manufacturer is one of the best ways to insure that you get one with real high quality chrome.
6- Plastic Body Parts
Electric scooters with a few plastic body parts here and there to cover up sharp areas are okay however electric scooters which are completely encased in plastic bodies tend to have a shorter life than the exposed frame type, unsurprisingly due to broken plastic body parts. Larger adult driven street legal electric scooters with plastic bodies work well because their drivers are experienced and take care not to damage the body. However smaller electric scooters driven by children should probably have exposed metal frames to prevent damage to the scooter when it is treated roughly or gets into an accident.
7- Finding a Good Deal
If a new electric scooter that you want to buy is available locally and reasonably priced you should consider buying it locally because if any parts are missing or if it is broken or damaged when you take it out of the box then you can usually take it back and return it or exchange it for another one. For used electric scooters craigslist is usually the best place to find local people in your area who are selling them. When buying a used electric scooter you should determine the condition of the battery pack by asking the seller how old the scooter is, and if they ever replaced the battery pack. It is also a good idea to give the scooter a good test ride to determine the range that the battery pack provides. Electric scooter batteries which have no power in them at all, or which have just enough power in them to faintly turn the motor or illuminate an indicator lamp are almost always too worn out to be able to recharge and use again. If a used electric scooter's battery pack is old or worn out you can usually buy the scooter for a lower price and save enough money to buy a new set of batteries with a warranty.
8- What to Expect from an Electric Scooter
Most electric scooters with under 350 Watts of power will have slow acceleration, low speed, and will be quickly challenged by hills. For good acceleration and speed an electric scooter with at least 500 Watts of power is recommended. And for uphill riding you are going to need even more power. Electric scooters with 750 Watts or more of power are recommended for most uphill riding conditions. An electric scooters ride time and range depends a lot upon the condition of the battery pack. Electric scooters with new battery packs usually have around a 45 minute run time on flat ground, and much less range in hilly areas. That usually equates to around ten miles of riding on flat ground with a good battery pack.
9- Electric Scooter Companies
There are basically two types of electric scooter companies - ones who design their own scooters, and ones who do not. The companies who do not design their own scooters buy standard issue factory designed electric scooters and have their logos placed on them. These type of companies all have the exact same electric scooter models with different names and company logos on them. The quality of these types of electric scooters can vary widely depending upon the factory they were built in and the quality of the parts that were used to assemble them. Companies who design their own electric scooters tend to be larger and more established companies. These companies include Razor, eZip, IZIP, and EVO. These type of electric scooter companies have total control over the design and manufacturing process of their electric scooters.