X-treme 3500li: It's got speed, but not much else.

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stueveone
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Joined: Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 16:19
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X-treme 3500li: It's got speed, but not much else.

Greetings,
I just took a test ride on the new X-treme 3500li. If this scooter were as well crafted as it is fast, look out gas scooters. . .

Sadly, however, being fast is the only "write home to my mother" quality that the X-treme possesses. From pictures, and from a far, the bike looks fantastic. It's bigger, accepting larger bodies to ride it without knees scraping (I am 6'4), and the overall lines of the 3500li are very attractive. Getting closer to the bike, however, it is a different story, as the attention to detail you were expecting from a distance, is upon closer inspection, missing. It's at this point that the familiar Chinese low quality nonchalance (afterall, this bike IS made in China) is remembered, and almost as quickly replaced by, "give me the keys!"
Turning the key, and twisting the throttle, the power of the large 3.5k motor bucks a smile across your face. I dug in for a full grab of throttle and soon was going 30mph with little noticeable effort or noise. After giving the bike a few good launches, it was off for a more sedate ride around the neighborhood.
The 3500li likes to launch. It is a bike that likes to go fast and doesn't worry about being easy to ride. With that said, the controller on the 3500li immediately reminded me of the Zap variety, with it's almost complete lack of motor control, effectively operating like an On/Off switch. I could still here myself going "Well, at least this thing is fast!" And continued with unsuccessful attempts at smoothing out the throttle, and thinking back to the time I built a drag bike.
Only my drag bike had better brakes. It's one thing to go fast, it's another thing to be able to stop quickly. The brakes on the X-treme are below adequate, stopping the large bike from a dead roar just barely. The brake lever feel is poor and squishy and feels like the brakes themselves aren't exactly sure themselves if they are even up for the job of slowing the bike down.
It was about at this time, where the immediate appeal of the bikes rapid acceleration was conspired upon by the overall lack of quality that this bike was created. From the turn signal switch being of low craftsmanship to the low quality feel and resonance of the scooter's dress plastic, the X-treme is regrettably just another low quality build from China.
As I pulled the bike back into the lot, I gave it one last grab of throttle, thinking that it would somehow trick me into thinking differently about the scooter. This bike is, after all, one of the fastest scooters I've been on. But even with it's one saving grace, its speed, the controller is erratic and unforgiving, causing too much time to be spent figuring out if you are going to ease around the turn ahead or launch into a parked car. Unfortunately, speed was seemingly the only consideration taken to the drawing board, with scooter quality and quality of parts used apparently brushed over.
There will come a day when a high quality electric scooter will come out of the box doing 45mph. That day is not today and the X-treme 3500li is not that scooter.

dirtywater
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Re: X-treme 3500li: It's got speed, but not much else.

I own a 3500li and my experience has been similar. The bike has two modes: "Stop" and "Fast." With some skill and practice you can learn how to control it; however, I think for now this bike is strictly in the realm of the enthusiast and early adopter. I enjoy riding it, but it's not the kind of thing I'd recommend to a friend unless they were just as crazy as me.

Jeremy

zarlor
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Re: X-treme 3500li: It's got speed, but not much else.

The throttle is quite touchy and it does take some practice, but you can control it with a bit of practice. I hold the plastic housing next to the throttle between my forefinger and thumb and that helps greatly in keeping a more subtle control over the throttle. It's still very touchy and there is just enough deadspace on mine before it kicks on that getting a slow startup can be a challenge. Holding a speed below the top end is also fairly doable that way, but bumps in the road tend to make that speed vary a bit, so it's not easy to stay steady unless the roadway is smooth. It definitely takes a little practice, though.

I also agree that the plastic on this is a bit on the cheap side. A lot of panels are held together with tab-in-slot, which is not a problem in and of itself except that the plastic is a bit more brittle than it should be. It needs a little more flexibility and maybe some fiberglass reinforcement would do wonders for it. Most of the plastic is also screwed in using these little metal tabs (strips folded in two) with a metal screw to just screw into. It's better than just using the plastic itself (which is how the little metal floorplates are screwed in, and that plastic strips a bit too easily) but it would be far better to have something that a small bolt could screw into instead. The metal tabs often fall off if you take off body panels. All of which also means the body panels often don't really fit together or to the frame perfectly. I've got a few with cracks just from the general fatigue of riding on the not so smooth roads we have around here in New Orleans. I'm sorely tempted to see how much body panels like those made in something like carbon-fiber or fiberglass might cost. It would probably be exorbitant for a single bike, though.

Also, since this is an electric, the main thing you'd like to be able to get at consistently would be the batteries. Access to that area of the back required the removal of at least two plastic pieces from around the seat, but that leaves very little room to do anything other than check the cells with a voltmeter. To really get to them a whole lot more has to be taken of to get in there. Of course the body was for a bike with an internal combustion engine on it, but still it would have been nice to have had something designed to make use of all that extra space under the seat storage and for making it easier to get to all the batteries if needed.

As for the brakes, the front brakes chatter pretty badly on mine. I've hit them with brake cleaning fluid (and quite a bit of gunk came out) but it only helped a little. However, I also don't have too much problems with stopping. They do seem a tad soft, and they definitely are not anti-lock, despite advertising (I've locked them up once already, but this bike can definitely stop when you need it to!) Others here have noted some other possible problems with brake alignment.

We're all aware, as well, of the problem with the speedometer (although oddly I don't seem to be having that problem with mine!) and the lights, especially the dash lights, are a bit on the dim side. Although I would note that the brake light does seem plenty bright to me, and it is nice and big, which makes me feel a little more comfortable in traffic. And while folks note that it's "fast", i would also note that for dealing with American traffic, especially on 35 and 40 mph speed limit roads, this one just barely makes the cut on the top end. At 6'1", 220 lbs., I get a top speed of only 39 mph on average (on occasion my GPS will say I hit 40, but I'm pretty sure that's only with a slight tailwind). It's important to remember that a headwind or incline (even a slight one) will start to reduce that speed. I find going over one bridge during my daily commute will drop me to as low as 34 mph, a good headwind and we're dropping that down to 32 or 33 mph. Luckily that is in an area with a lot of bicyclists and everyone is used to looking for slower traffic in the right-hand lane, but if you are someplace where it may be a little less safe to lose speed like that it could be important to keep in mind.

Acceleration is decent up to around 25 mph. I can often keep up or even beat cars off the line at red lights and such, which is a very good thing. From 25 on up to 39, though, it's a bit slow to get there. That's a subjective measure, of course, but it can be a bit problematic if someone starts tailgating you as you get up to speed. It becomes something of a safety issue when that happens because it seems that many drivers just don't realize that you have the capability to stop a LOT faster than they can.

After around 200km (my GPS says 136.1 miles, and it's likely missing around 16 more either because I didn't have it when I first got the bike, or because I didn't feel like waiting for it to finish "acquiring satellites") I've noticed that after I've gone for a mile or two and at speeds above maybe 10-15 mph there is a clicking sound that, I think, is coming from the rear wheel. It sounds like what, on a bicycle, might be something sticking into the spokes (but not having all those spokes on the wheel, it's not quite so fast sounding.) I can't find anything that is making the sound and it doesn't do that if I have the wheel off the ground, like while on the center stand. It may well be nothing, though.

So I agree that there are a lot of negatives on this bike (and to be honest, the reports we're seeing on that similar bike from R. Martin are making me wish I had known that was coming out before I bought this one). Still, for folks who are willing to accept being early adopters and enthusiasts, it's not a bad bike. The style and performance at the current price point is acceptable, considering that fewer options like this are out there, especially for those of us who are in the 6'+ range. And I must admit that I do like the general look of the XM-3500 and, while the shocks could use a little softening (the ride can be a bit rough at times), overall I still find it to be acceptably comfortable considering my height. My dad, who is almost 6'5" and weighs over 300 lbs., doesn't look like he's riding a child's toy and he enjoyed the ride on it as well. And that is something to be said for this, it really is pretty fun to ride. I'm actually enjoying using my XM-3500Li as a daily commuter.

Overall, and considering that there is just not too much other competition out there at this price/performance level right now, I'd say this scooter, for me, was a worthwhile investment. It's yet to be seen how it holds up to a whole lot more mileage, but so far it's not a bad bike.

Lenny Zimmermann
Metairie, LA

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