Electric Scooters vs. Full Sized Electric Bikes

Discussion in 'Help Choosing an Ebike' started by Court, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Court

    Court Administrator Staff Member

    Hey guys, as you know I'm a huge fan of electric bikes. The efficiency, light weight and utility are wonderful for carrying rider + cargo over long distances for very little money and with a limited environmental impact.

    I don't focus much on electric scooters but recently had the chance to try out the EcoReco M3 which resembles a Razor scooter + electric motor. This thing is almost as powerful (and fast) as a full sized ebike but it's a bit lighter and much more compact. The idea is that it will be easier to fold up and carry onto a bus, train, light rail, subway etc. providing versatility for commuters. You could even take this thing right up to your office or into class etc. versus locking up a full sized ebike.

    I think e-scooters definitely have their place and I like the professionalism of this model in particular. I saw it being funded on Kickstarter and was contacted by Jay, the founder, who offered to send a unit out for review. I haven't tried many of the Currie scooters but I did try the Lyric Ranger recently which is larger and had a seat. Seems like the ranger is designed to be a Segway alternative. Here's some footage of a speed test I did with the EcoReco M3. I was impressed that it could actually top 20mph!

    Just below I've listed some of the pro's and con's encountered with scooters vs. ebikes and also some of the benefits specific to the EcoReco M3. Aside from the scooter itself I really love how sustainably minded the EcoReco company is - the grips are recycled rubber, they used LiFePO4 chemistry for the battery which is more efficient to produce and they also used recycled paper and cardboard all around on packaging.

    Scooter Pro's:
    • Folds, very compact
    • Light weight, easier to lift
    • Portable, don't have to lock it up if you bring it inside
    • Affordable, the M3 is $999
    • Approachable, most people can ride a scooter
    • Less maintenance, no tubes in tires, no gears or derailleurs
    Scooter Con's:
    • Limited storage, no racks
    • Less stable at high speed, most scooters are limited to 15mph, the M3 can reach 20mph
    • Less forgiving on bumps, smaller wheels, the M3 has a small shock in the front
    • Tiring to ride over long distances, you have to stand...
    • No lights, have to add them to your backpack or helmet
    • Can't go off road, wheels are just too small
    Feel free to add your own thoughts here. I wanted to help promote the M3 and provide a space for discussing other scooters since EBR is really about electric bicycles. This post was not sponsored or paid, I just admire the EcoReco guys and wanted to help their cause. The full video review with unboxing is posted just below :)

    For more on the M3 check out their official website at http://ecorecoscooter.com/ and the Kickstarter campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1107065803/ecoreco-m3-state-of-the-art-last-mile-electric-veh The specs are: 250 watt motor with 750 peak output, 36 volt 8 amp hour 288 watt hour LiFePO4 battery (not easily removable), 34 pounds (15.4 kilograms), 22 miles/hr (35.4 km/hr) top speed, 15 to 23 mile (24.1 to 37 kilometer) range, 85% charge at 2.5 hours or 100% charge at 4.5 hours, priced at $999.

    If you or someone you know near Fort Collins Colorado is interested in this kind of thing at a discount I'm selling the demo unit EcoReco sent to me (all money goes back to them). This saves on shipping etc. and is how I sometimes handle reviews where the company sends a unit vs. visiting the factory or a shop.

  2. Please support your local electric bike shop! These guys work hard offering test rides, sharing expertise and performing support.
    EBR strives to be impartial, we don't sell bikes ourselves and keep ads limited and relevant. Donations are greatly appreciated.

  3. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Hey Court,

    I think for the right urban environment or shorter commute that little thing is pretty rad. Certainly the lighter weight and folding aspect would make it easy for public transit considerations.
  4. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    Court, what do you think of this scooter, I actually considered purchasing this instead of a ebike:
    The scooter is claimed to go 35-40mph at ranges up to 25-35 miles per charge.
  5. Court

    Court Administrator Staff Member

    Hey calvin, wow! That little scooter packs a punch... Can't believe its got a 1,500 watt motor and 48 volt 20 amp hour pack. This thing is more powerful than most full sized ebikes and I'm not surprised at the speed and range stats at all.

    Essentially this the Super Lithium 1500 is illegal and very heavy (weighing in at 89 pounds) but maybe the smaller unassuming design of a scooter would go unnoticed? Compare this to the Specialized Turbo and I bet the Turbo gets more unwanted attention from authorities. With the seat design this reminds me a bit of the Lyric Ranger, I love that it has suspension.

    Thanks for sharing! I'm curious what changed your mind about this vs. a full sized ebike and what you decided on instead?
    opimax likes this.
  6. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    I don't need "unwanted attention from the authorities" or the bad boys. I would stick out like a sore thumb with that thing. What attracted me are the looks, top speed, acceleration and !tah dah! its very, very low center of gravity.

    The smaller Super Turbo 1000 got a lot of positive reviews on amazon for what they are worth. But I decided that what I really needed is something to get me around town at regular biking speeds plus. This "something" was going to have to be a asphalt grey color to blend me in/or camouflage me , and at a glance sorta look like an ordinary bike so that attracting attention is minimized. Hah! Sort of the opposite of what is needed in marketing/advertising!
    Brambor likes this.
  7. Steve2014

    Steve2014 New Member

    Hi Calvin,

    I understand I'm posting months later, but found this thread in a Google search and thought I'd chime in since I owned a Super Lithium 1500.

    In short, the scooter is everything it's advertised as. With my 175 pound body I could easily achieve 36-38mph on level pavement. As for range, I can't speak for their figures because honestly I never rode it more than 15 miles or so, after which I recharged it. I can say that even after 15 miles it was still operating as if the battery was fully charged. I suspect their published range figures are fairly accurate, but I can't vouch for 'em.

    The scooter was well-built. For the year I owned it I never had any problems, although I could tell the rear tire was going to need to be changed soon (after I had put about 600 miles on the scooter.) The scooter could handle reasonable off-road use just fine. I never jumped it or anything (bad idea, IMO), but it could handle grass or dirt roads fine. The suspension worked quite well. This thing IS heavy, so you definitely wouldn't be carrying it or even kicking it anywhere. But when you're traveling at 38mph the weight is sorta comforting. I never had to adjust the chain. It did loosen very, very slightly after the first 50 miles or so, but not so much that anything needed to be done to it.

    I almost always stood on the scooter since I found that to be more comfortable. When seated, it feels very much like a 50cc gas scooter ala a Honda Spree. Without the noise, of course. (And this scooter was fairly quiet. No loud or overly obnoxious motor/chain sounds.) I'm 6'0 tall and I thought the handle bars could have been a little higher. I had to bend ever-so-slightly when standing on the scooter, taking an "aggressive riding posture". It wasn't uncomfortable at all, but yeah...I really would have appreciated an extra 2 or 3 inches of handlebar adjustment. Perhaps they've fixed that by now, as I know others complained about this as well.

    Now the best part: this scooter is indeed wicked fun to ride! Even after owning it awhile I was always taken aback by how fast it accelerated and how fast it would go. Massive power for sure. It had great torque and handled even steep hills with ease, although obviously it slowed down a bit on the very steepest hills. I should mention that whenever I rode it, invariably at least one or two people would flag me down and want to know "What the heck are you riding?" It was also cool to be at a stoplight beside a car, and to then accelerate up to 36-38mph faster than the car :) Whenever this happened I very frequently looked over at the car drivers and either saw a huge grin or a look of being completely puzzled. Priceless.

    I never got hassled by the police (and I saw several in 600 miles of riding), although that may be because I always slowed down whenever I saw one coming down the road. I also never rode the scooter like a complete jerk. Sometimes just being mindful of what type of impression you're making among bikers, cars, police, etc. goes a long way. (This includes wearing protective equipment, not weaving in and out of traffic, and basically just using some common sense.) But for sure, if a cop sees you hauling tail on this thing you can expect that you might be stopped and perhaps cited. I guess that depends on where you live. My only interaction with the police was when I got off the light rail once, pushing my scooter to the road where I could ride it. Three transit cops who were just hanging out on duty approached me and asked a bunch of questions. They weren't hassling me though. They simply thought it was pretty cool.

    All in all I really liked this scooter! So why did I sell it then? Two reasons: First, and in all honestly, it was just a little too fast. Yes, there is such a thing. :) I never wiped out while riding the scooter, but if I had (and was going as fast as this scooter will go), the potential was there for serious injury. I never felt unsafe on the scooter, but after a year I guess the "OMG this is amazing!" factor started to wear off, and it dawned on me that "Hmm, this thing is sorta dangerously fast." The second reason I sold it was because I originally bought it as nothing more than a "toy" for myself. And after a year, the fact that I had spent $1,600 on a toy sorta made me think, "That was kind of a dumb way to spend $1,60e 0." I make a good income, but I ain't rich. $1,600 is still $1,600. Feeling guilty for having spent that much I resold it. Fortunately, I was able to sell it for $1,300 to a guy who worked at large construction sites. He was about 55 and had trouble walking long distances, and thought this would be perfect for his job. Upon selling it I gave him my number and told him to call me if he ever had any questions or problems. I never heard from him, so I assume to this day he's still scootin' around.

    IF this is the type of scooter you're looking for, I would definitely recommend it. It's a good scooter, and the guy who runs the company is very helpful and always willing to chat should you encounter any issues. It's also a head turner everywhere you go, which never stopped being fun. But for reals...it is fast! Like, dangerously fast IMO. I sorta wonder how many people have wiped out and seriously hurt themselves on one of these. They're still selling them, so maybe it's not a problem. But like I wrote, after awhile I became a little uncomfortable with the speed. In fact, I'll soon be buying an Ecoreco M5 to replace my Super Lithium 1500. The M5 has a more reasonable top speed, and by all reviews appears to be a solid little machine. The fact that I could actually carry the Ecoreco is attractive too. Trust me, you won't be carrying the Super Lithium 1500 anywhere. The Ecoreco isn't cheap either, but I'll probably use it more than I used the Super Lithium. For some reason I'll just feel less silly riding the Ecoreco than I did the Super Lithium. Maybe that's just me. I work at a Fortune 500 company, and I never rode my Super Lithium to work for that very reason. I WOULD ride the Ecoreco to work, though. I know, I know...that might make absolutely no sense. I guess it's sorta hard to explain. In my mind, the Ecoreco looks like something a "professional" might ride to work. Simply put, the Super Lithium doesn't. But again, that might just be my own hangup.

    I hope this review helps either you or others who might stumble upon it in the future. In sum, the Super Lithium is a good and very fun scooter but ONLY for the right type of person. It's hard to understand how scary it is to be going 38mph on a small scooter until you've actually done it. Thrilling for sure, but also kinda scary. :D
    stevenast likes this.
  8. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    Thanks for the Super Lithium 1500 review. The Ecoreco M5 looks a lot more urbane and sophisticated style wise I think. The Lithium 1500 appears to have industrial/warehouse motif. I am sure that the 1500 is illegal on bike paths, the Ecoreco M5 with its 250 watt motor may pass. I like that it weighs 36 lbs. Let us know what your impressions are.

    I purchased a Motiv Shadow instead of a scooter, and am happy with it.
    Brambor likes this.
  9. Brambor

    Brambor Well-Known Member


    Have you posted a user experience review about your Shadow on this site? I would be very interested .
  10. Steve2014

    Steve2014 New Member

    When I purchase my Ecoreco M5 I'll absolutely post a review on EBR. Since I live in rainy Beaverton, Oregon, as far as purchasing the M5 I'm not going to "Just Do it" (;)) until this Spring when I can actually ride the thing on a regular basis. If I buy it now, the M5 will mostly just sit in my garage waiting for better scooter-riding weather. Besides, I'm sorta secretly hoping that between now and April Ecoreco will start to offer a pneumatic tire option for the M5. I've read the rear suspension of the M5 does indeed help smooth out bumps compared to the M3. But still, pneumatic tires might bring even more improvement and allow for an overall better riding experience. Then again, I'm sure Jay Sung (co-founder of Ecoreco) is looking at this option or has already looked at it, and will ultimately do what's best for the scooter (which may or may not include a new tire option).

    Oh, and as for choosing a scooter or a bike, yeah...I've dealt with that issue several times. I've owned a couple scooters (a Currie Phat Flyer SE and the Super Lithium 1500) and three ebikes (a piece of generic junk I bought off eBay in 2002 before I knew any better, a 2007-era Currie with their 600W "hi-torque" side-mounted motor, and finally the Giant Lite around 2009). As you can tell, I'm a slow learner. Ha!

    Both of those scooters were great, and the Giant was pretty impressive for its time. As Court has mentioned, both electric bikes and scooters have their place. I've always viewed my scooters as semi-practical toys that are loads of fun. My last two bikes have also been great fun, and more often used for bonafide transportation purposes. Currently however I'm both sans scooter and bike, and will remedy that situation in the next six months. That's one of the reasons I was searching Google, and reading this website. I've been out of the electric bike scene for a few years, and am just now catching up with all the new models. Man, what a difference a few years makes! Seems like just five years ago you had a realistic choice of seven, maybe eight models. And you largely didn't have to decide between mid-drive or hub, pedal-assist or throttle, etc., etc. But nowadays...holy cow, the options! I'm glad this site exists to help separate the wheat from the chaff. Over the next several months I intend to read and learn all I can in order to make an informed investment in a good bike. (And BTW, thanks Court! You provide a tremendous amount of value here.) Hopefully over time I'll be able to contribute more to the vast collective knowledge of EBR.


    P.S. That Motiv looks nice! Right in my financial sweet spot too, around $2,000-$2,500.
  11. George S.

    George S. Well-Known Member

    The scooter really wins the award for design simplicity. You can buy a new set of tires and new springs, but there aren't a lot of parts to break or wear out, as long as the battery and motor work. Plus the Ecoreco seems to be pretty well built, for a very reasonable price.

    They are building a lot of light rail in cities these days. But the lines are going to be several miles away from many neighborhoods. It's not quite light enough to lug around too far.

    At least Ecoreco is completely honest about the legal issues of electric vehicles. That is so refreshing. From their website:

    Q: Is the electric scooter street legal?

    Answer: Yes. State laws vary on this issue. Some state laws approve the use of electric scooters in bike lanes of general road traffic and some do not. To the best of our knowledge (we are still building it up so don’t hold it against us), e-scooters are street legal in California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Washington, with many other states expected to follow suit. Some cities/counties have their own rules on light electric vehicles so it’s best to consult with your local transportation authority.

    Mahindra makes an interesting scooter, the GenZe, but it's more like a Vespa. Due out in the spring. Mahindra is a giant Indian company.

    As for ebikes, you can keep them fairly simple. If you read Court's reviews and do a few test rides, it should be easy to find what you want. There are probably too many players in the market, so it never hurts to buy a brand that can hang around.

    Interesting Ecoreco video, shows the capabiity:

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  12. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    Small scooters are a very attractive option for short trips, smooth sidewalks/roadways and fold 'em up and carry on situations. Wouldn't we all like to have one? Ebikes, are a car replacement thingie, at least for me.
  13. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    Not yet, I been trying to get the bike up to 1000 miles first. I live close to everywhere I want to go.
  14. Brambor

    Brambor Well-Known Member

    Mike leroy likes this.
  15. calvin

    calvin Active Member

    Sort of a smash up between an scooter and a bike.
  16. ecorecoscooteruser

    ecorecoscooteruser New Member

    I just picked up an ecoreco scooter M5. This was one of the forums I came across this board while looking for info on this scooter. Since I didn't find much written on their new M5 model, I thought I'd post my thoughts.

    By way of background, I am a previous owner of a go motorboards 1500x electric scooter and I didn't want to go through that horrible experience again. I had tried a Xootr push scooter but found I was a bit too "perspirated" when I arrive to work.

    This is an expensive scooter, so every little bit helps, at least for me. I had a a current owner's invitation code the was suppose to get me $50 off a scooter and the owner gets some credit for future purchases too. However, it didn't work when I chose a package. So I called and talked to Jay, who appears to be the CEO, and he personally assured me that if I noted it in the order, it would be applied on the package deal. This was last friday. I thought it over and actually went to a local shop who carried these, but they only had them on display, locked down to the display shelf. Not much help there. So I ended up placing my order on saturday. It shipped on Monday and arrive today (tuesday).

    If anyone is interested in that discount, my invitation discount code is NJfVCY which should get $50 off an order. There is also a code for free shipping, EVSCOOTER, but I was charged about $29 for shipping, though I also noted the code in my order notes. We'll see what happens.

    The double box the scooter came in was a bit hefty, so I was afraid it might have gotten damaged in transit but no, Ecoreco had packaged it pretty well with padding and lock ties in all the right places. No damage out of the box and I was impressed at this stage. The second box contained the other package item deals; no padding and just placed in the box. It is a bit heavy, but I also got the case which should help with bringing it on/off the train, as well up in/out of my office buildling.

    My first impression was that this thing is built like a tank. I did make a small modification before I used it: I had a roll of non-slip grip (the kind used for stairs) which I added to the bottom of the scooter and the deck. Why? Because just the week before I had been trying out a Xootr for my 2 mile post train commute, and there were scratches on the sides and bottom. To prevent these I put on the grip tape. When putting on the grip, I found that the kick stand and the rubber bumper under the front of the deck would probably stop a lot of these types of scratches. I feel that most of them happened when I was setting up and breaking down the Xootr outside the train station on the concrete, and it tipped over as I was trying to get the locking bolt in.

    The Ecoreco M5 feels like the Mercedes Benz/BMW of scooters. It was so smooth when I first rode it on the sidewalk compared to the Xooter, which I rode with padded weight gloves on. My 1500X ev scooter actually died because its batteries couldn't handle the bumps, and the rattle actually made screws in the handle come out.

    When I took the M5 on the actual road, something I'd never consider with the Xootr or 1500x, it was still such a pleasant ride even without any gloves. I am very glad I went with the M5 which has an extra suspension in the rear. If anyone says an Ecoreco scooter is a rough ride, it must be because they are on a M3 and haven't tried an M5. I had been weary after watching a youtube video comparing the two, but the M5 is very easy to ride on the road or sidewalk, unlike a Xootr or a Razor.

    My grip strips on the deck of the M5 does makes it feel really stable both when I push the scooter and am riding on it. To be honest, since I've never ridden on the M5 without the grips, this isn't exactly an "informed" opinion. However, it feels much nicer with the grips than the sans grip Xooter. Also, I figure since work shoes are often smooth soled and not as grippy as sneakers, this little mod will be beneficial. I am waiting to see how these hold up to daily use, and I am going to be extra cautious when when I break it down and reassemble the M5- I hope I don't scrape my knuckles or hands on the tape while working the breakdown levers.

    Although the gauge went to 25mph, I found I was mainly cruising at 15mph. I did manage to pushed it up to close to 20mph before I chickened out and stopped looking and slowed down. I went approximately 1.6 miles and stopped my test. We'll see how it fares during tomorrow's commute of 2 miles. I don't plan to charge it tonight, but will charge it after the morning commute in my office.

    So that's it for now. Having had a go motorboards 1500x, and a Xootr (and toyed with razors), I think I've found the perfect solution,but only if it last at least 3 years before needed a battery change. Based on my usage, I hope it will go 5 years. So I'll try to keep updating this until it dies a premature and horrible death (like my 1500x), or until the first battery change. If it does die, I'm sure I'll find a way to revive it on this forum.

    Ecoreco Discount Code: NJfVYC
    (Gets you $50 off a scooter, and gives me some credit towards a future purchase ;) )
    DavidM likes this.
  17. Mike leroy

    Mike leroy Active Member

    do the larger wheels provide more shock absorbtion than the M5 springs? I also prefer the disc brakes and Bionx brand in the CitySurfer.

    A 35+ pound scooter is a testament to eBike's relatively low weight. I guess the scooter platform must be heavy.
  18. Brambor

    Brambor Well-Known Member

    For me, from my limited experience, the larger wheels provide more comfortable and safer ride. I would love to have one of these scooters. They could be more portable than a bike but 35 lbs is still pretty heavy to carry a distance like for example from the street down the stairs onto a subway car. If there was some kind of 'backpack' to spread the weight properly for carrying then 35 lbs wouldn't be too bad.
    Mike leroy likes this.
  19. Brambor

    Brambor Well-Known Member

  20. JayVee

    JayVee Well-Known Member

    There's scooter and scooter. I'll have me one of these... :D

  21. Brambor

    Brambor Well-Known Member

    i like that one too Jay but can you stuff it into a Mini trunk ? :)
    JayVee likes this.