Buying an electric scooter is bloody exciting. But, just don't let that adrenaline and anticipation lead to a rushed purchase. Instead of jumping straight into the riding, give yourself enough time to do research (especially when there's a $1000-$5000 price tag on the line).
From simple models to wide wheels to compact designs, you want to be sure you're choosing the right e-scooter for you. Likewise, knowing which supplier to purchase from can also play a large factor in the quality of the product.
To help make the shopping experience as easy as possible, we've compiled the ultimate list of things to consider before buying an electric scooter.
Use: Are you buying for travel or play?
Before you buy, it's vital to think about how frequently you'll be using the scooter and the purpose of the ride. Generally, the answer will be either daily commuting, occasional leisure, or both. Having a clear purpose in mind throughout the shopping process will help to ensure that you're selecting a scooter that will work best for you.
If you plan to travel regularly to work or school via scooter, it's a good idea to invest in a model that will ensure a reliable ride. That should mean choosing a scooter, such as the Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 or Kaabo Mantis, that comes equipped with excellent battery range and motor power. Doing so will give you confidence that you will arrive at your location on time and sweat-free.
On the other hand, if you won't be using your scooter as often, you can consider buying a cheaper model with slightly less range and power, such as the Ninebot ES4. Just keep in mind that with reduced motor power, you’ll be doing less cruising and much more kicking — which isn’t ideal.
For the best of both worlds, our Cruiser Fat Tyre Scooter can accommodate a range of different rides. From off-road tracks to a quick neighbourhood dash to the shops, it's versatile design makes it a multi-purpose investment. Plus, with the option of sitting or standing, it’s perfect for those longer rides. The only potential downside of the Cruiser is its large size — which won’t be suitable for if you still need to use a ferry, bus, or train during your commute. In that instance, a compact design such as the Mantis Skywalker or the Mercane WideWheel Single Motor will work best for you.
As you can see, the purpose of your scooter will hugely impact what type of models you should be looking into. Check out the summary below to help get a glimpse at the scooters that may suit you most (then it’s time to look at other important factors such as maximum load and portability).
The ultimate urban street rider.
A city commuter who enjoys a long weekend ride.
A city commuter who enjoys a long weekend ride (with a more advanced display and controller).
An adrenaline rider ready for the ultimate on and off-road experience.
A fun weekend cruiser or daily commuter.
A fun weekend cruiser or daily commuter (who has riding experience to handle additional power).
A universal rider who wants the ultimate sitting or standing cruise with superb stability.
Weight: Both yours and the scooters
With each scooter built to handle a specific maximum load, it's essential to get a model that can safely carry your weight. Scooters such as the Kaabo Skywalker and Kaabo Mantis can hold up to 120kg, whereas models like the Mercane WideWheel (Single and Dual Motor) can only withstand a maximum of 100kg. And if you're a bigger guy, with larger requirements, the Cruiser Fat Tyre Scooter can take up to 200kg.
The Mercane WideWheel and the Cruiser Fat Tyre Scooter are also desirable options for heavier riders, due to their high-quality build. Using materials such as metal alloy chassis (featured in the Mercane) and tube steel (featured the Cruiser), these scooters offer that extra bit of stability.
Abiding by the weight restriction is not only vital for safety but can also impact the scooter’s warranty. Therefore to ensure both your physical and financial safety, you’ll certainly want to dust off those scales before buying or riding.
Scooter Weight: Will you need to carry it with ease?
Now, it’s time to consider the weight of the scooter — which is especially crucial if you need to use the ferry, bus, or train during your scooter commute. If you do require a light model that you can easily bring on board, the Mercane WideWheel Single Motor is an excellent option due to its ability to fold with ease and its light weight of only 18kg. The Kaabo Skywalker is also another convenient choice weighing around 21.4kg. And if you’re okay with a slightly heavier model, the Kaabo Mantis Pro sits around 30kg, allowing it to be portable if you’re willing to put in some muscle.
If you don’t need to carry your scooter, you can also consider models such as the Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 which weighs around 50kg. Its foldable design will still fit perfectly in the boot of a car but isn’t something you want to be carrying around.
Alongside the scooter’s weight, it’s folded measurements are also something to consider. These details can be found amongst the list of specs in the product description and shouldn’t be overlooked. For instance, the Kaabo Skywalker folds to 1150 x 350 x 260 (mm), which could be useful to consider when planning your rides.
Battery Range: How far can your scooter go?
Although exceptionally lightweight scooters exist online, be careful that you’re not sacrificing this for a decent battery range.
Range basically means how much “fuel” the battery has. Amongst the scooter specs, you will often see the range expressed in km’s, letting you know how far you should be able to ride when the scooter is fully charged. Typically, scooters that weigh less than 15kg will only have a battery range of 16-20km (which may not be enough for most rides).
Whenever looking at range, think carefully about what seems realistic. Generally, the larger the 'battery size' measured in Ah (ampere-hour), the further the range will be. If the Ah is small, but the range is exceptionally large, the specs may not be giving a 'real world' estimate but instead what can be called a 'factory spec'. And there's nothing worse than expecting something to perform better than it actually does!
To help get a clearer idea of how long the scooter can ride for, check out some in-depth scooter reviews online (such as those listed on Electric Scooter Guide). It’s also a wise idea to watch a range of YouTube reviews to gain further insight about what other riders think about the scooter specs in action!
Check out what Electric Scooter Guide had to say about the below models:
- Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 Tested range: 67.9km
- Kaabo Mantis Pro Tested range: 54.2km
- Kaabo Mantis: Tested range: 46.9 km
- Mercane WideWheel Pro Tested range: 30.2km
While the range and ah are both significant, it's also worthwhile looking at the scooter's warranty and seeing whether or not the battery is included (which ideally it should be!)
Bumpy Terrain: Will your scooter be prepared?
From gravel to grass to cobblestones, you’ll want to make sure that your scooter is prepared for various terrain. For maximum comfort when faced with a bumpy surface, the suspension is key! That's why models such as the Mercane WideWheel and Cruiser Fat Tyre Scooter that have front and rear suspension are highly sought after (as who doesn't want ultimate comfort on their ride?)
The Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 is also another superb option, specifically designed for off-road terrain. The heavy-duty shocks, combined with its knobby tires, will have you ready to go!
Motor Power: Will you be riding up many hills?
Attention all Auckland and Wellington riders, this is a point you won’t want to miss. With the number of hills in our cities, there’d be nothing worse than having to kick your way to work and end up in a sweaty mess. Instead, make sure the scooter you buy has a motor designed to take on the incline.
- The Kaabo Mantis Pro is not only agile around corners, but with a 2000W motor, it also manages to power up large hills.
- Ninebot ES4 may be lightweight, but it's 300W won’t get you very far as soon as you’re off a flat surface.
- With a 2400W motor, the Electric Scooter guide commented that the Kaabo Wolf Warrior 11 was one of “the fastest scooter we’ve ever tested. This thing flies up steep hills.”
- The Mercane WideWheel 500W is also powerful enough to get you up most hills — perfect for a daily city commute.
- With double the power, the Mercane WideWheel Dual Motor can get you up hills in a flash. With it’s 1000W motor, comes a need for extra riding skill (especially handling the throttle control). Therefore, making it an ideal model for reasonably experienced riders.
Brakes: How well will your scooter stop?
Good brakes = safe riding. Most electric scooters usually have either a drum or disc brake. As their names suggest, a drum brake is a small round drum that has the major brake components inside of it. And a disc brake has a disc-shaped metal rotor spinning within a wheel. All the scooters at Storm Rides use a disc brake (of some sort) to offer more stopping power.
For more information about why disc brakes are the preferred safety option read, “Technical Guide: Electric Scooter Brakes”.
Handlebar Height: Does it feel right?
The height of the handlebars is also something to consider (particularly if you’re tall). To make sure the design is right for you, always take the scooter for a test ride. By experiencing the scooter in real life, you will get a much better idea of whether it’s the model for you or not.
At Storm Rides, we’re big believers in trying before buying, so that you can choose a scooter that’s genuinely right for you. If you want to test out any of the scooters, check out the Storm Rides Dealers Page or call Andrew on 021 685 026 before visiting us at our Auckland Headquarters.
For those who are unable to go for a test ride, remember the power of checking out various reviews online!
Price: How much are you willing to spend?
Although specs such as good battery range, decent power, and suspension may come at a slightly higher cost, at the end of the day you get what you pay for. While it may seem cheaper now, extremely low-cost models may not last you very long or be easy to repair (with little/no spare parts available).
On the other end of the spectrum, remember to think carefully about what you need (and what you don’t). There’s no point paying for a long list of extra features unless they will truly benefit your type of ride.
If you've got your eye on a particular scooter but just don't quite have all the money for it upfront, make sure to check if the supplier offers part-pay options that can help you start riding ASAP! At Storm Rides, we offer a convenient layby option on our products. Simply pay a portion upfront and then the remainder over the next five weeks (interest-free).
Top Scooter Specs Covered: Now time to think about who to buy from?
Before you buy, don't forget about the importance of choosing a suitable and reputable supplier.
While you may have found the perfect model, an unofficial parallel import purchase may leave you with many gnarly surprises. Instead of risking some dodgy scooter parts and things not working quite right, there are several things to look out for when choosing your supplier.
- Firstly, are they an official importer of that particular scooter brand? For instance, Storm Rides are official Mercane & Kaabo Importers & Distributors in New Zealand. So you count on your purchase to be the real deal!
- Warranty is another biggie! Most of these unofficial importers will leave with you with a 6-month warranty (if that!) and no support for parts. Storm Rides, on the other hand, offers a 12 Month NZ Backed Warranty, with spare parts held in stock right here in New Zealand.
- Although buying a cheap unbranded model may seem cost-effective at first, you'll soon see this isn't the case when finding replacement parts is near-impossible. This is because most official suppliers (such as Storm Rides) can only provide genuine parts/support to genuine scooters purchased from their store (so that means we sadly can't repair any sketchy models you bought online).
Alternatively, if you buy from Storm Rides, you can feel relaxed knowing we hold a comprehensive catalogue of spare parts and have an on-call auto electrician who's an e-scooter expert!
Okay, you've narrowed down your options to a list of official dealers, now what? Don't worry; there are still more factors to consider to help make that final call.
- How experienced is the business? Ideally, you should purchase from a supplier that has been in the industry for at least three years. Lucky for our Storm Rides customers, we have five years experience importing, selling, and supporting e-scooters.
- Does the company stock legit brands other than their own? We're all for developing models yourself (just take a look at our epic Storm Cruiser Fat Tyre Scooter) but do keep in mind that ONLY stocking 'house' brands is a bit of a red flag.
- Where is the company based? Online promotions can be tempting no matter where in the world it comes from. But before clicking 'buy', think about how you will maintain your product in the long run. If the supplier isn't based in NZ, it might prove difficult when any problems appear. And, yes you guessed it, Storm Rides is based right here in NZ, with our headquarters located in Auckland, the city of sails (and e-scooters) - making any repairs a breeze.
- Does their website give off good vibes? If their digital presence seems a little sketch, chances are relatively high; the product will be a bit dodgy too. Rather than risking it to save a few dollars, stick to companies with legit-looking sites who are also active online.
You’ll soon be able to tell; we may be slightly obsessed with e-scooters...
- Likewise, you should consider what online reviews say about the company (and make sure to check more than just one reviewing platform!)
We're pretty stoked that at Storm Rides, our customers continue to provide us with some awesome feedback, some of whom have also shared their feedback online:
"Excellent service, Excellent scooter. Would also highly recommend buyers do so through an established New Zealand importer / dealer where possible for financial ease of mind and after sales and service only a phone call away"
"Great quality rides at a reasonable price. perfect back up servicing. i use mine every day to go to work in downtown"
You can check out the reviews for yourself by simply typing 'Storm Rides' into good ol google and Facebook. We seriously love e-scooters, and it makes us ecstatic seeing you guys enjoying them too!
- And, lastly, talk to the supplier! Email, call, or go in for a chat! Doing so is not only helpful to suss out what model to buy, but it will also give you an indication of what their service is like (and how good their future support is likely to be...).
Want to chat with us?
At Storm, we’re always up for a yarn and a ride! So, if you’re ready to find the perfect e-scooter for you, we’d love to help!