Reviews You Can Rely On

How We Tested Scooters

Thursday May 30, 2024
scooter - we gathered up our measuring equipment and testing tools to help you...
We gathered up our measuring equipment and testing tools to help you find the best scooter for your needs.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

In an effort to find the best electric scooters available we purchased the top models on the market and spent many hours testing, cruising, and racing them in a variety of scenarios and road conditions. Our analysis not only addresses performance concerns but also the nitty-gritty details of budget, safety, and ability to stow so that you can confidently pick the right machine for your needs and desires. To see our comprehensive look at electric scooters check out our review of the best electric scooters.

Power


To assess the power of each scooter, we tested their ability to climb hills as well as how fast they will go on flat ground. The hill climb tests were conducted on moderate (3.5%) and steep (10.5% and 15%) grades. All the products in the review were ridden up these gradients to see whether they could climb the hill at all and, if so, at what speed they would do so. To assess flat ground maximum speed we took a running start, fully depressed the throttle, and brought the machines up to their maximum speed, then timed how long it took each to traverse 100 ft. This test was repeated three times for each model. The average feet per second for the three trials was calculated and converted into miles per hour.

scooter - we test maximum speed by measuring how long it takes the scooter to...
We test maximum speed by measuring how long it takes the scooter to travel 100 feet at full throttle.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Ride Comfort


Ride comfort is admittedly a more subjective category than the others analyzed here. However, this is the critical component of motorized vehicle analysis as you'll know a bad ride when you feel it. With this in mind, we set up a 1.2-mile loop that covered a variety of surface textures and features and ran each test model around it. When the wheels passed over bumps and cracks in the road, we asked ourselves: How aware was I of those features?

We rode over every bump, pothole, and obstacle we could find.
Credit: Brian Walker

In the process, we took note of the various components (such as wheel type) on the test models to see which of these helped to produce the feel that we liked best.

scooter - large pneumatic wheels improve the comfort and safety of the ride.
Large pneumatic wheels improve the comfort and safety of the ride.
Credit: Laura Casner

Braking


To develop effective brake analysis tests, we focused on scenarios where brake performance is critical to safety. In this context, we all agreed that steep hill descent and rapid arrest tests are essential for this metric.

scooter - the flat stop brake test measures what distance it takes for a...
The flat stop brake test measures what distance it takes for a scooter travelling 12 miles per hour to come to a complete stop.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

We conducted our hill descent tests on three progressively steeper grades (5%, 10%, and 15%) and at two different speeds leading into the descent: slow and cautious (phase 1) and full speed (phase 2). We also analyzed the different types of braking systems as many of the models tested have different brakes on the front and rear wheels.

Our rapid arrest tests measure the distance it takes for a rider to come to a complete stop when going ~12 miles per hour on flat ground. As with the descent test, we closely inspected the brake system during the rapid arrest test to see which components best halted forward momentum.

scooter - some models in our group have a rear fender brake supported by the...
Some models in our group have a rear fender brake supported by the weight of the rider.
Credit: Laura Casner

Range


Range is of chief concern when considering electric vehicles, so we tested the range of each scooter in two ways: effective range and maximum range. Effective range is how far the scooter can travel at or near its top speed. To test this, we ran each scooter around a level test track at ~13 miles per hour until it could no longer maintain that speed. Maximum range is the total distance the scooter can travel on a single charge, regardless of speed. To test this, we continued running each scooter around the test track until the battery was depleted to the point that it could no longer move the scooter and rider.

We test how long each model can travel over a defined flat course.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

As a further consideration, we also measure how long it takes a fully depleted battery to recharge. To do this, we start a timer, plug the battery in, then videotape how long it takes for the battery indicator light to turn green.

scooter - we measure battery charge time and incorporate this sub-metric into...
We measure battery charge time and incorporate this sub-metric into our overall range score.
Credit: Matt Lighthart


Portability


The portability analysis is primarily a measure of the folded dimensions, weight, and comfort of the carrying handle when gripped. Additionally, we looked at the ease — or difficulty — of making the conversion from riding mode to carry/store mode.

For city commutes, a scooter should be easily portable to accommodate going in elevators, buses, and tight storage areas.
Credit: Brian Walker

This included looking at safety redundancies in the steering column upright locking mechanism as well as the latch securing the steering column for carrying.

There's nothing like a large, auto-engaging dashboard hook to make popping your scooter into carry mode easy.
Credit: Matt Lighthart

Conclusion


We aim to not only test products in a manner that simulates how the average consumer will use them, but also to take these products to their limits to see if the claims made by the manufacturer are accurate and consistent. In an effort to simplify the comparative shopping process, we quantify the results of these tests so that you, the consumer, can make apples-to-apples comparisons across the products in our review. Our comprehensive scooter review provides all the information that we, the reviewers, would want if we were in the market for an electric scooter. We hope that you find the information useful.