How to buy your first scooter


he electric scooter craze is here and many first time buyers are finding it difficult to buy the right scooter. Your first scooter purchase can be challenging because it’s such a new industry and there are a lot of poorly constructed scooters. Unlike many products we purchase today there isn’t always a local store where you can purchase one. Or if you have a big box store in town like Costco they don’t have the staff available to tell you what you need to know to make an intelligent decision.

 Most electric scooters are made in Asia and the big three are China, Taiwan and Thailand. In my experience scooters purchased from Taiwan are the best and use similar manufacturing processes as we do here in the U.S. Their quality control is excellent and their overall performance of their scooters is superb. Thailand is 2nd and has a big customer with the Currie line. My least favorite scooters are built in China and for the most part it really shows.

 Look at a Chinese made scooter next to a comparable Taiwanese scooter and the differences are obvious. Poor welds, cheap quality bolts and nuts, misaligned drive lines and a host of other issues plague the Chinese built scooters.
 For the inexperienced buyer they may look good on the surface but once you have owned a few of these it becomes real apparent that these are not designed to last. What you might save up front you will spend in sweat, frustration and cash to keep these scooters up and running.

Most scooters consist of a battery, controller card, (the brains) a 200 to 450 watt motor and steel or aluminum welded frame. There are also a variety of other options like led. battery indicator, adjustable seat or handlebar, and some have front and rear shocks.
 The three categories of scooters that are most common are the children’s scooter that support under 150lbs the adult scooters supporting 225 lbs and scooters supporting up to 300lbs. Most consumers will fall into the over 225lb range and a high percentage of these can be ridden by children as well.
 What kind of hill climbing will it do?
This is the toughest question to answer, it depends. It depends on the weight of the rider, the incline of the hill, the temperature and if you’ve got a good charge on the battery. For heavier riders like myself (195lbs. and living in
Seattle, much like the streets of San Francisco) there are only a handful of scooters that will handle steep hills without setting off the thermal switch. (a fuse to protect the circuit board)

“The three most important factors to consider when purchasing a scoter are: Warranty, Serviceability and Reliability of the manufacturer.”

 Nothing will zap a battery like a steep hill. Most scooters will climb slight inclines with an average rider. More often than not with my 195lbs. I will give the scooter full throttle and a kick every 10 feet to get over the crest of a hill. If I try to run the hill without kicking then I will probably over heat the controller card and it will either blow a fuse or if it has a thermal switch it will shut down for a few minutes.
If you plan on riding hills or you’re pushing the 225lb. limit then you will want a scooter that can really climb. The number one scooter for that would be the Charly. Built in
Germany by MZ a motorcycle company that’s been around as long as BMW. They really know how to build a quality ride and it really shows in the craftsmanship and the way this scooter handles.


 If hill climbing is important, then I would choose based on this factor alone. The Charly being the best hill climber, 2nd would be the Rad2go E-36, and 3rd would be the Xport SLX a.k.a. HCF-707 a.k.a. Pacelite.

 How much do you want to spend? It’s tough to get a scooter for less than $300 that will provide you with a quality ride that will get acceptable range or speed. I try to stay away from these scooters with the exception of the Bladez XTR-Lite designed for people under 150lbs and travels at 10mph. There are not many in that category I would risk spending the money on. So determine your budget and plan on spending at least $400 to $750 for a quality scooter.

“Always keep your batteries charged! Lead acid batteries do not like being completely drained. For longer battery life ALWAYS charge immediately after riding your scooter.”

 What kind of warranty are you looking for? Currently most manufacturers offer 30 days to 6 months, I would stay away form manufacturers that offer less than 90 days. If they offer a 6 month warranty then they are pretty confident that the scooter will last. Most manufacturers Will offer phone support and send you parts that you need to fix the scooter during the warranty. Very few mfg’s will take the scooter back to the factory fix it and send it back to you. All the more reason to buy a quality scooter to begin. At
we offer a replacement warranty. It actually kicks in after your warranty period is over. After your 90 days is up and if your scooter breaks then you will receive a one time replacement scooter. This is a great deal for the consumer in that you get a brand new scooter at no cost to you!

 Speed and range are the two questions I get asked the most.
While most if us want to blaze down the sidewalk. I’ve had a few that wish their scooters weren’t so fast. Most scooters will go between 14 and 18mph with 15 mph being the most common top speed. The Rad2go Great White or E-36 is the fastest production scooter we sell. At a claimed 23mph this bad boy will blow your hair back in short order. I can pop wheelies with my 195lbs and that’s no joke. I would not recommend this scooter for anyone under the age of 16 and I make everyone I sell it to sign a waiver.

“A little secret is to over inflate the tires by 10 to 15lbs. This will improve your range and speed.“
Never use a gas station to pump up your tires, they will pop!

 Your range is also dependant on the same factors as hills. Weight of rider, air pressure and how much hill climbing you do. Realize that most manufacturers fudge on their numbers and only a few places like Electric Scooter Magazine post accurate information on the speed and range. Like most e-tailers Freakin Sports post what the manufacturers tell us.

 Safety counts! If you are purchasing a scooter for a child then spend the time to educate them about their scooter and the safety issues. Do a weekly visual inspection and check wear on the belt or chain, look for cracks in the welds and make sure the brakes are working properly. Require they wear a helmet and bike gloves and advise them not to ride near traffic.  Add extra reflective tape and flashing lights to the scooter so that cars can see them coming. We sell a neon wire that can be zip tied to the handlebar or other parts of your scooter and it provides 360 degrees of illumination in 8 different colors. Not to mention it makes your scooter look really cool at night, and that’s part of what makes riding scooters so much fun.

“Always place battery chargers on a non-flammable surface! (Tile or concrete) This goes for other household battery chargers too.”

So there you have it! Spend between $400 and $700 for a quality scooter, make sure it has a good warranty and that it meets your needs for hill climbing. Follow this guide and your next scooter purchase should be an enjoyable one!

 Howard Hale is an online e-tailer and his opinions may not reflect that of Electric Scooter Magazine. He can be reached at 1.888.332.1932