Standing on e-scooter at stop light

I Bought an Electric Scooter for Quick Commute, and Here’s What I Learned

Adam Birney / Android Authority

In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, my city has seen the rise of many bike lanes and an increasing number of gadgets that travel along them. There are plenty of new technologies for transportation, from electric bikes and scooters to futuristic e-boards and unicycles. I wanted to see what the electric vehicle (EV) craze was all about and decided to buy an entry-level electric scooter to get to work during the summer. Was the ride as fun as it looked? Here are five things I learned while riding an electric scooter for the first time.

Read more: Electric scooter buying guide: everything you need to know

It’s easy to learn to ride a scooter

Gotrax G4 handlebar

Adam Birney / Android Authority

For the uninitiated, it can seem daunting to catch up with all the electric vehicles speeding down the road. Rest assured, however, that there are surprisingly few learning curves to riding an electric scooter. I decided to buy the Gotrax GXL V2 ($348) because it was an affordable model aimed at beginners and had twice the range I needed to get to the office and back home with it. a single charge.

When it finally arrived, the Gotrax GXL V2 was easy to assemble, and after a four hour charge it was even easier to ride. As a cyclist, I found a familiar handbrake and bell on my left. To my right was a tempting thumb throttle that I kept pressing. My first test was around the desks of our open office space (which might have required a few of my colleagues to put on their noise canceling headphones), then I took it outside for a real test road.

After a few days, I felt like I had mastered the basics of riding an electric scooter. And after a few weeks of travel, the pleasure is still far from fading.

With one foot planted on the scooter and the other pushing off the ground, a simple twist of the throttle was enough to pick up speed and maintain balance. When it comes to slowing down, I found the brakes on this model to be slightly inconsistent, sometimes slow to stop and sometimes too harsh. The higher your brake speed, the faster they will wear out and require maintenance.

The turns are fairly easy, especially if you can afford a wide radius. However, you can’t really signal your turns because you need both hands on the handlebars, although some newer high-end scooters have added light signals for this reason.

Invest in convenient features

The first thing I felt while riding my Gotrax was every bump and crack in the road. One feature my e-scooter didn’t have was suspension, and my knees would definitely have appreciated a bit of support. Even if your ride is mostly on flat pavement, I recommend investing in suspension or thicker tires to smoothly ride out any bumps in the street.

Carry a folded scooter

Adam Birney / Android Authority

The second thing I noticed was the reduction in speed on the slightest inclines. The 250W motor would struggle to climb any hill, and it took a few kicks to help propel me up. Hills will also drain the battery faster, reducing the maximum range. Look for a 350W or even a 500W motor if you want to travel longer distances or on sloping terrain.

Although the scooter is fun in the sun, I don’t plan on using it for most other west coast seasons because it’s not waterproof. As soon as it started to rain, it quickly became slippery under the wheels. There is also a concern that any splash may damage the electrical components. If you live in a humid location, look for a model with an IP rating of at least five but preferably six (IP5X or IP 6X) for protection against the elements.

Finally, there is the portability factor. While the Gotrax GXL V2 only weighs around 25 pounds, the folding clip (or lack thereof) made it difficult to transport. The plastic latch failed the shake test and opened unexpectedly. If you plan on transporting your scooter in transit or in public areas, take my advice and invest in one with a lock strong enough to keep the scooter folded, like the Gotrax G4.

Legality is a gray area

Gotrax G4 electric scooter

Adam Birney / Android Authority

I wasn’t sure about the speed limits at first, and it seems like most municipalities don’t know what to set them at either. My city is in the middle of a three-year pilot program for e-scooters, threatening to issue a ticket to anyone traveling over 25 km/h on the roads. Still, that doesn’t stop some riders from doubling that with higher-end models. However, most budget options will have the motor limited to ~25km/h, for safety in regulations.

Know the laws in your city before you pull the trigger on a purchase.

There was also the question of where I was allowed to ride my e-scooter. For example, I looked forward to riding along the Stanley Park Seawall, only to find it was restricted to bikes and pedestrians.

Finally, some areas have different regulations for night driving. If you plan to travel after dark, get a scooter with a good headlight and reflectors. Although most electric scooters have a headlight, you will usually find reflective stickers that can wear off over time. For added safety, some helmets now have LED lights to increase visibility.

It’s faster and more fun than public transport

ridign e-scooter next to a cyclist in traffic

Adam Birney / Android Authority

I used to take the bus everywhere, but now I don’t go back unless I have to. Feeling the breeze as I cross the bridge into downtown and the quiet satisfaction of passing cars stuck in traffic will never get old.

I find that I continually test the distances I can travel and the errands I can do while riding my scooter.

An electric scooter is perfect for quick trips until you have too much to haul. Riding with a backpack is not a problem, but if you need more cargo space, you can consider getting a bag attachment to hang on the front handlebars. If that’s still not enough storage space, there’s always the option of getting an e-bike. Although more expensive, you can carry heavier loads on the front and back of your bike.

Our guide: What you need to know about e-bikes, plus our top picks

It made me want more

While the Gotrax was a fun and safe introduction to the world of electric scooters, it left me wanting more. Having already tested a few more models, I can say that it’s worth paying a bit more for some premium features. Namely, look for thicker suspension or tires for a smoother ride, secure folding clip, and better sealing. The fewer plastic components, the longer your scooter will last.

Have you bought an electric scooter?

661 votes

standing on e-scooter in the sun

Adam Birney / Android Authority

After a week of riding I became confident that I could handle more speed and power. One of the frustrating things was not being able to pass slower riders or scooters in the bike lane. The inability to pick up speed also made me feel unsafe to pull away from traffic at all times. Some models, such as the Segway Ninebot Max, have multiple speed modes, allowing novice riders to up the ante after a bit of practice. Longer range will also allow you to ride longer without worrying about recharging.


Segway Ninebot Max Electric Scooter

Excellent range
Smooth ride
Responsive speed control


Gotrax G4 electric scooter

Robust construction
real reflectors

Gotrax GXL V2 Electric Scooter

Intuitive to learn
Safe speeds
Quick charge time

$348.00 on Amazon

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular as technology improves. If you’re thinking of getting one, there’s no better time than summer to dip your toes into the booming world of electric micro-mobility. And if storage space isn’t an issue, then a good e-scooter is the way to go.

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