Big Boys Need Big Toys
Like many of you out there, I too have found myself scouring department store racks only to find small and medium sized t-shirts that haven't dawned my delightfully sized body since my tween years. Now in my adulthood in full embrace of my XL/XXL frame, this depressing shopping scenario plays itself out time and time again.
Fortunately for those reading this today, the emerging electric scooter market has adapted and although it still has the industry standard of evaluating performance metrics based on a rider approximately 170 pounds, there are a ton of options for the people out there that don't fit that mold.
I myself, am 6'3 240 pounds, unless it's a long weekend, then I might be in the 250 pound realm, so finding a scooter that has all the performance and comfort I'm looking for is essential. Many people assume more power equals more performance and in most cases this is true, but there's far more to getting the right fit for your needs than that, so we'll be exploring what those metrics are and how to keep your eyes peeled for the perfect electric scooter.
First, RIDE COMFORT! Lots of electric scooters on the market try to dazzle you with 2000 watts, 3000 watts, even 6000 watts of power, and to some extent those numbers matter (we'll talk about that later), but suspension systems and tire construction are essential for riding experience. Suspensions matter...a whole lot. Whether it's single or dual, spring or hydraulic, this all makes a difference in how much of the road vibrations you feel in your hands while steering and how much the springs will assist your knees in shock absorption. If you disagree and think this should be further down the list, rent a ride share scooter and take it over rough pavement for a few minutes, the point will make itself. As for the tires, there are generally two kinds being consistently used, solid rubber and pneumatic. For big boys, there isn't much discussion, pneumatic air filled tires provide superior comfort and ride performance. Couple that with an overbuilt dual hydraulic suspension and you've got yourself a good start.
Second, the Battery/Controller Combo. These two provide the elements necessary for the third metric, power, to be relevant. When looking into any electric scooter, the power plant is naturally what people gravitate towards. How big is the battery? How long does it last? How long does it take to charge? These are all good questions and I myself have jumped immediately into those quandaries, but that's not the number one question when it comes to the battery. It's, who makes it? I'll say right away that I am not here to dissuade anyone from purchasing an electric scooter with an unnamed battery, but if you do, the quality cannot be guaranteed or the battery warrantied. When looking at the battery specifically, you should be looking out for names you know and there are 3 main companies out there are, LG, Samsung, and Panasonic. Not only, do they stand behind their products, they have significantly less DOA units and returns as compared to unnamed batteries. Please be aware though, you will pay a premium for these branded batteries but I assure you, they will save you money in the long run.
As for the controller, the bigger the better. (usually 15-30amps and depending on the scooter, it could have multiple) For those not familiar with this particular part, the controller will take the input from the throttle position and precisely control the flow of current from the battery to the motor. Think of it as the carburetor of the electric scooter world. More current equals more power. Without the proper controller, all of the big power numbers advertisers throw out at you mean essentially nothing. So, when you're on the lookout for your high performance electric scooter, make sure this combo is what it should be and if you don't have a clear picture of what a scooter's true capability is, just remember this simple equation:
Voltage (48V) X Controller (20amp) = 960 Watts Rough Peak Power
As you can see from this equation, if you were to have a 10amp controller (too small for the battery) it would make the scooter seem woefully underpowered.
Last but not least, POWER! Why power gets ranked last is because it depends largely on personal preference. How fast do you want to go? Do you live in a place that has a lot of different terrain and climbing involved? Are you looking for short range portability, an all-around performance scooter, or an off-roading juggernaut? These are all questions only you can answer and the motor power will widely differ between them. Speaking from experience, I tend to lean towards models that are capable of going anywhere, that aren't super heavy, and have a little extra power when I want it. So in this instance the single motor electric scooter would be out (the 48V 600W varieties) and the dual motor 3000W *2 varieties would be out too. This lands me in a pretty versatile sweet spot with a ton of products that will satisfy my need for speed, my sense of adventure, and will be easy enough for me to fold up and slide under my cubicle at work or throw in the trunk of my car on the weekend.
So...there you have it. From a guy that stands out in family photos, what to look for in an electric scooter for the big boys: Ride comfort, Battery/Controller Combo, and Power. Knowing that this blog wouldn't be enough to wet your insatiable appetite for knowledge or hot wings (wink, wink) below is a list of my recommendations based on the the performance metrics discussed above.
2. VSETT 11+
3. Zero 11X
4. VSETT 10+
5. Kaabo Wolf Warrior King