What should I buy and where can I buy it?

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BillMex
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Joined: 12/20/2011
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Hello, having just recently visited Beijing and been blown away by the widspread use of electric scooters I want one. I commute 7 miles to and from my ofice each day in moderately heavy traffic. The scooter will be garaged and charged overnight and may also be used for local shopping trips at the week-end.

Endless browsing has led me time and again to the Ego Electric Street Scoota but I'm devastated to see that Firefox stopped selling them some while back and they're not sold by anyone else here in the UK. The new price seemed too good to be true. Was it or did something else go wrong?

Anyway, what should I go for? It would be really be hepful if I could find a reasonably close multi dealership showroom to visit (I live just off the M3 on the Hampshire/Surrey border) but I can find nothing on the interweb.

Having passed my driving test in 1971 I can ride (and still sometimes do) a 50cc moped. I've never passed my motorcycle test having failed the only one that I've ever taken in 1970 but it's not that long since I passed the CBT just to make sure that I could. My only specific requirement is a top box big enough to take my oversized and always full laptop bag.

All suggestions, comments, ideas and opinions will be welcome and much appreciated. I'm ready to buy, cash in hand, but haven't the foggiest idea what to buy and where to get it.

Please help.

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LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

We need a bit more info, especially what top speed and sustained cruising speeds you need your scooter to achieve. There are a lot of scooters out there, but if you don't have a local dealer it's a crapshoot. The Chinese scooters tend to have defects on arrival, and even those without them can be seriously damaged in shipping. (Mine was damaged so badly I wish I'd refused delivery.) With a 14 mile round trip, you can consider both lithium and sealed lead-acid (SLA) scooters. The lithium bikes have longer range, lighter weight and short recharge times, but the SLA bikes can be more reliable and torque-y, not to mention cheaper.

BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Many thanks for responding LeftieBiker. Having never passed my bike test I had assumed that I would be limited to scooters restricted to 33 mph which would be perfectly acceptable for my commuting which is generally through 30 and 40 mph limits albeit that the traffic rarely gets to the speed limit on these roads! There is an alternative route that I could use that includes around a mile of dual carriageway. I've used a petrol moped on that road and was happy to do so at 33. However, if I can legally ride the more powerful scooters without taking my bike test I'd have no problems with travelling faster! :-) :-) :-)

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LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Sounds like you want a scooter in the 3500 to 5000 watt range, Lithium or SLA. Do you have a price in mind? In any case, you want to find a scooter mechanic in your area, preferably one with experience with Chinese scooters. It's ok if you can only find a gas scooter mechanic: if he or she is good then they will be able to work on the electrics with a bit of a learning curve. Ironically, even though the E-scooters are on the whole less reliable and robust than all but the worst gas scooters, they are also simpler in construction.

I've got a 2001 Oxygen Lepton that's better constructed (Italian instead of Chinese) than most and has never given me trouble, but even though all it needs is new batteries and maybe tires (from sheer age) I don't think it's fast enough for your commute even with its good acceleration - it tops out at 28MPH. I've been trying to find a good home for it for the last 7 months, but everybody wants either gas engines or lots of speed. ;-(

BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Thanks again LeftieBiker, this is all very helpful. Many of the scooters I've read about are as little as 1500W but appear to have reasonable specs. However, on your advice I'll restrict my searching to the more powerful motors. I've no fixed plan on price but there seems to be a reasonable choice for less than £2k, if only I could find some close enough to home to view!

I'm a little nervous about buying used as from what I've read replacement batteries can be almost as much as some new scooters.

I hadn't come across the Oxygen Lepton but having now Googled it I'd be happy to check one out. Where are you and how much are you hoping to get for yours? 28mph may be enough for me as my average speed using the car for commuting is less than 14mph. PM me if you think it appropriate.

Thanks again.

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LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Another thing to keep in mind - and this directly relates to what you wrote about 1500 watt scooters - is that most if not all of the manufacturers greatly exaggerate their scooters' performance stats. The one who don't outright lie base the stats on absolute best possible conditions. That means a very light rider wearing snug clothing and riding at a constant, slow speed on absolutely level ground. Real world performance tends to be 50% to 60% of the claimed range, and about 70-90% of the claimed top speed. (The speedometers are always "optimistic.")

About my Lepton: it's 1800 watts, if I remember correctly, uses 4 37AH AGM (a type of SLA that's robust) batteries, and so runs 48 volts using a motor mounted above and ahead of the rear wheel with an enclosed chain or belt drive. (I've been told it uses neither, but it must be one of them, and I think it's chain.) This produces *much* better acceleration than a similar or even bigger hub motor, but it also limits top speed, because the motor is running at about 6000RPM at 28MPH. I'll link to a topic on it here below. It has 1668 miles on the odometer. Bottom line: if you decide you want to refurbish it (batteries and tires are all it needs, and not necessarily tires right away) you can have it for $500USD, with you handling all the details and expenses of shipping it. If you want me to remove the batteries and mirror for shipping, I'd like to get $600. I can provide plenty of photos. I suggest you first see what kind of mechanic you can find, and check again for a local dealer, because there is nothing like having a dealer nearby to handle problems. You might even be able to find a former Oxygen dealer!

LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

This site is pretty glitchy - for some reason it wouldn't let me edit the above post to add this link to the topic on my Lepton:

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/11709-what-do-my-lepton

BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Thanks fot all the good advice LeftieBiker. Shipping your Lepton, buying batteries and tyres and registering it in the UK would not be a realistic option as the total costs would probably exceed that os some of the new scooters that are available over here. I am still finding it difficult to locate a dealership anywhere close by so will probably have to travel to get to see the scooters that are available here. Curiously, I haven't been able to find an Oxygen dealer anywhere in the UK but I have taken a liking to a Retro model that almost meets my requirements. take a look at http://www.barnesandrobinson.com/electric-retro-2000-scooters-79-c.asp. These scooters just look so good to me!

Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.

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Johnny J
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

This is one of the best quality scooter available, this model has been around since 1999.
http://www.greencarsite.co.uk/GREENCARS/EVT-4000e.htm

I have sold these scooters before so I know them very well.

Regards

Johnny
Sweden

LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Understood about the costs of shipping the Lepton - I wasn't trying to "sell" you it, just noting I had one for sale. The Retro model is a bit too old-fashioned for my tastes ('40's styling as opposed to the Lepton's '60's styling) but it should suit your needs - IF the 30MPH top speed is actual, and not "indicated." It's apparently an SLA model with separate charger like my Lepton. Johnny can probably tell you its range, and remember: if you can't recharge at work, it needs to have at *least* a 28-30 mile real world range, to prevent battery damage from sitting around with less than a 50% charge all day. That and the slow recharge time are two of the three biggest drawbacks of SLA batteries, the third being fewer cycles in the pack's "life" than good lithium batteries. Although frankly, from what I read here about cell failures in lithium packs, I think I actually prefer the rugged, reliable (but heavy!) SLA batteries. I got ten years of light to moderate use from mine.

BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Many thanks for the suggestion JohnnyJ. I had spotted articles on the EVT 400e but like so many good electric scooters it no longer seems to be available in the UK. Even the EVT home site (http://www.evt.com.tw/html/evt_info/english/index.htm) doesn't list one! If anyone out there knows where I can find one I'd like to hear.

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LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

I made a dumb typo. "...it needs to have at *least* a 20-25 mile real world range, to prevent battery damage from sitting around with less than a 50% charge all day." is how it should read.

franzellin
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

i have another point of view, the real question is : how much you want to pay?
i make an example if you buy directly in china with vat, custom and shipping you pay. 2500 eur, if you buy in your country from a dealer you pay 5000 eur
once you have one you cannot change it anymore, and if you need to drive uphill with your son you need at least 60 volts and a scooter weight less than 140 kg

forget everything under 60 volts and without lythium batteries and ask the producer to give a motor with torque wiring and not speed wiring...

LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

The above comment about wattage and motors may apply to hub motors, which tend to be rather gutless, but they don't apply to the 1800 watt Lepton (and other geared drives). In Sprint mode it will carry a normal sized adult and a child up a steep hill easily and briskly. I also disagree with using price as a primary consideration, because Chinese scooters on the whole have a pretty bad record for both initial quality (lack of defects on delivery) and long-term reliability. Or, to put it another way, don't buy a Chinese scooter with an unknown reputation unless you can afford to buy another one soon afterwards. The only reason I got an X-Treme was it was less than $1k on Ebay, and even then, with the defective parts replaced (I had to find and pay the labor) under warranty, I hated it for quite a while...

LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Off-topic, but speaking of my XM-3000: I got it out and rode it 4 blocks to a party and back this evening, in 27F temps. The scooter's first reaction to the idea was "What?! No." It was also losing power in Low, something I also noticed in cold Fall weather, but it still had plenty of Go in High. Chilly ride there, but on the way home I actually went a bit out of my way to look at Xmas lights. I was going to take the Lepton, but realized that I really needed the XM's hand guards, which came with it and are a great feature for cold weather riding.

franzellin
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

you are right, i forgot to say that you need a few mechanical skills to make little reparations and if you do not want to repair your scooter you need a dealer

personally i find that the biggest difference between an escooter and a gas one is that you cannot sell it...
it means you sit on your scooter and you loose a lot of value if you have to sell it, for that reason buy something with a good performance

LeftieBiker
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

So it isn't just me who can't seem to sell an e-scooter? I guess that just shows us how far society hasn't come. Either that or we have more people reading here about our problems with them than than I had imagined.

SERIOUSLY, FOLKS: I'VE HAD *NO* PROBLEMS WITH MY LEPTON! HONEST!

davidscooter
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Hi Bill,

The eGo electric scooter appears to be no more. Their website now contains dangling links, and, in California, their previous distributors no longer appear to carry the eGo.

Whichever scooter you choose, I urge you to make sure that there is a local scooter shop that can and will maintain it. Even electric scooters have problems, as evidenced by the posts in the Visforvoltage forum.

I have owned 2 electric scooters, and, both times, I experienced weeks during which the scooters were non-operational. I had to (tediously) perform troubleshooting myself, with over-the-phone help from the manufacturer. I had to order replacement parts, wait for them to arrive, and perform the repair work myself. This is fine if electric scooters are merely a hobby, but not fine if you are depending on the scooter for daily transportation.

In my case, I ended up settling on a 125cc gasoline-powered scooter. No, it is not as clean or quiet as an electric scooter. However, it gets 85 miles per gallon, and there are 2 local shops that will maintain/repair it for me. A high-quality gasoline scooter, such as a Genuine, SYM, Kymco, Yamaha, or Honda (avoid cheap Chinese scooters) will have excellent reliability.

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BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

Many thanks for your input David. You're probably absolutely correct in all that you say but I'd still like to find an electric scooter for my daily commute. I have three petrol cars, a moped (50cc petrol scooter), a small 125cc motorbike and if all else fails use of my wife's estate car but despite being a petrol head I'd to like to help preserve the planet by making sure that my primary mileage has the smallest possible carbon footprint. Despite being post heart attack I'm not fit enough or brave enough to tackle the traffic on a pedal cycle, it's too far to walk and the very poor bus service takes forever (over an hour for a 7 mile trip) and costs more per mile than my least fuel efficient car.

So, I'll be continuing my search for an electric scooter and will choose one with the closest possible capable mechanic. Although, I now read that Renault will very shortly be releasing their new range of conventional looking ZE electric cars here in the UK so I might just wait a while!

Thanks again

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Tonyxhb
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

why not buy a electric bicycle converson kit from online shop? you can google it everywhere.

BillMex
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

I have been considering the possibility as well as that of a tailor made electric bike. I've not yet ruled out either but would prefer the higher speed of an electric scooter to improve the chance of staying with the traffic (when it is moving) and it seems to me that I may still need a local dealer for spares and/or repair when required.

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franzellin
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Re: What should I buy and where can I buy it?

"I have been considering the possibility as well as that of a tailor made electric bike. I've not yet ruled out either but would prefer the higher speed of an electric scooter to improve the chance of staying with the traffic (when it is moving) and it seems to me that I may still need a local dealer for spares and/or repair when required."

Forget it, electric bikes are wonderful if you drive downhill...

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