In Part 1 of this section we examined the key factors to consider before selecting an electric scooter for purchase. Now it's time to take a closer look at standard features and specifications. This section outlines the standard features and specifications offered by electric scooters and will bring you another step closer to finding the scooter that's right for you!
MOTOR: An electric scooter motor or engine is rated by its output in watts. Electric power is measured in watts; 746 watts are equal to 1 horsepower (hp). Electric scooters with a watt rating under 300w are not recommended for use on steep, hilly, or rough terrain, or with riders over 180 lbs. Generally speaking, the higher the watt rating of the motor the better your scooter will handle demanding terrain and a heavier load. Unless the electric scooter comes with a weather resistant motor, the motor should be kept away from water and wet weather. If water gets into the motor, the motor will short out and need to be replaced. An electric scooter motor is regulated by a controller. For more information about how an electric scooter motor works, visit HowStuffWorks.com.
DRIVE TRAIN SYSTEM: The mechanism that moves the scooter. Most electric powered scooters are chain or belt driven. Some brands and models come with a direct drive system. Chain and belt drive systems usually consist of a sprocket (chain wheel) on the motor and on the rear wheel with a chain or belt running around them. The motor turns its sprocket which moves the chain/belt and turns the rear wheel. Direct drive systems usually consist of wheel type device on the motor which is directly in contact with the rear wheel. The motor turns its wheel which turns the rear wheel. Most scooters are hand throttle controlled with either a twist (motorcycle style) or thumb (ATV, Jet Ski style) controller.
BATTERY: The power storage device of an electric scooter. The standard electric scooter battery is a sealed 12 volt rechargeable lead acid battery. Electric scooters will come with 1 to 3 batteries depending on the brand and model. The range of an electric scooter has much to do with the quality and power rating of the batteries. A heavier rider, low tire pressure, extreme temperatures, inclines, hills, rough terrain and high levels of speed will put extra demand on the battery and drain its charge quicker. The life span of a battery tends to run 300 – 500 charges and varies by brand and model. When fully drained a battery will take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours to recharge depending on the brand and model of the electric scooter and the quality of the battery charger. Some models offer a quick change battery feature that let's you swap out your depleted batteries for a fresh pair. It's recommended that you always keep lead acid batteries charged. Lead acid batteries do not like being completely drained. For longer battery life always charge your scooter immediately after riding it.
BATTERY CHARGER: The charging system for the scooter. Some electric scooter brands and models offer smart chargers which will not over-charge the battery and quick chargers that power an electric scooter faster than a regular battery charger. Always place battery chargers on a non-flammable surface!
BRAKES: The stopping system for the scooter. Brake types vary by brand and model. The most common types are drum, hub, disc and caliper (cantilever). Most scooters will come with any combination of the above brake types. Some models offer rear brakes, others offer front brakes and some offer both front and rear braking systems. Some models will come with an automatic throttle shut-off system. This is a safety feature that keeps the engine from engaging while the brakes are being applied.
FRAME, BODY & DECK: The overall construction of the frame structure and body of the scooter. The frame is typically constructed of steel. The body covers the frame and the deck is the area you stand on. Bodies and decks can be constructed of steel, aluminum, plastic or any combination of the three materials. Plastic bodies and decks are more susceptible to cracking and breaking. A rear suspension system may be built into the frame which will cushion the scooter and increase the handling characteristics. Rear suspension models will usually show the type of suspension and the amount of travel the suspension offers; measured in millimeters (mm); 25.4mm is equal to one inch; so a 50mm travel fork has just under 2 inches of travel.
FORKS: The system holding the front wheel on the scooter. Most brands and models come with a solid front fork but some brands and models are offered with a suspension fork setup. Suspension forks add travel to the front wheel. This cushions the scooter and increases its handling characteristics. Most fork suspension systems use metal springs, elastomers (rubber springs) or a combination of both. Most fork suspension travel is measured in millimeters (mm); 25.4mm is equal to one inch; so a 50mm travel fork has just under 2 inches of travel.
WHEELS: The entire part that includes the axle, hub, spokes and rim. Wheels come with wire spokes, solid spokes or a spoke-less solid design. Wheels come in steel, aluminum and reinforced plastic.
RIMS: The outside part of a wheel that holds the tire. Aluminum rims offer superior quality in terms of look and wear. Steel rims are a cheaper alternative. They can be found at lower prices, but typically, they don't last as long or look as good. Steel rims are more prone to rusting and paint chipping. Alloy rims are also available.
TIRES: Most tires are made of rubber, foam rubber or polyurethane. Styles vary from pneumatic with an inner-tube to pneumatic tubeless to solid and can come with a smooth, semi-smooth or knobby surface. Tire size will have an effect on the performance of the scooter. Taller tires will generally increase the top speed of a scooter but will lower its hill climbing ability. Taller tires will also increase a scooters ground clearance. Enhanced ground clearance helps the scooter handle speed bumps, pot holes, curbs and off-road terrain better. Shorter tires generally increase the hill climbing ability of a scooter but will lower the top speed. Shorter tires decrease ground clearance. Tire width will also have an effect on the scooters ability to grip the road, wide tires will increase traction and skinny tires will decrease traction.
ACCESSORIES: Some electric scooters offer a host of accessories and other stick with the basics. Here's a list of some of the accessories you might find when looking for an electric scooter; A removable seat, adjustable height handlebars, handlebars that fold, key ignition, headlights, taillights or brake lights, reflectors, turn signals, horn, rear view mirrors, battery indicator gauge, speed indicator gauge, kick stand, basket or cargo box, tool kit.