Electric Scooters UK Introduction
Over the last few years, electric scooters in the UK have seen a massive surge in popularity. Not just with kids and youngsters, but also adults and seniors alike. After all, they are a very convenient way to beat the traffic and a fun way to commute each day to your destination. Elders in particular love their e-scooters because it allows them to go wherever they please and do what they want. Irrespective of their age or any physical disabilities they may have.
Since the worldwide ‘social distancing’ measures, more people are now looking for an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to their regular commutes. Electric scooters UK live up to the task quite nicely and with good reason.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about buying electric scooters in the UK – so sit back, grab your favourite snack and drink, and enjoy the read!
What is an Electric Scooter?
If you’ve never come across one of these contraptions, it’s a compact two-wheeled scooter with a small electric motor. You get into a standing position marked on the scooter’s ramp, hold on to the handle bars and accelerate. Many e-scooters are capable of hitting top speeds of 15-20 mph or higher.
They’re very popular today in well over a hundred cities around the world. This includes Paris, San Francisco, Copenhagen and surprise : London!
Electric scooters in the UK can be easily bought through an online store. We offer a broad selection of leading e-scooter manufacturers. With us, you get only the best deals, period.
Why are Electric Scooters in the UK so popular now?
The rise in their popularity can be largely attributed to a wave of US start-ups including Lime and Bird, Voi and Dott. All manufacturers which are now almost just as popular in the UK.
The aim of e-scooters is to help travellers solve issues they typically face in the last leg of the journey –the part which public transport cannot cover. However, some electric scooter owners have bypassed public transport altogether. Also and even their own cars entirely because of the convenience and cost-savings e-scooters offer.
It’s a sustainable form of transport, after all, so you’re also helping to protect the environment.
Are Electric Scooters UK a safe way to travel?
While e-scooters in themselves are very safe to ride, there have been a few accidents in the UK and more than a few in the US. However, reports have narrowed down the causes of the accidents not to e-scooters but rather the way people tend to ride them. Also the failure to wear protective gear like a helmet.
Electric scooters can travel as fast as 15 mph, according to leading manufacturers Bird and Lime. This is actually not any faster than the average speeds you would maintain on a bike. Even at those speeds, we feel it’s only common sense that people wear adequate protection when setting foot outside their home or office on an e-scooter.
So they are indeed very safe as long as your ride them responsibly.
Are Electric Scooters in the UK Legal?
The UK government is currently working out rules and regulations to put in place so as to make electric scooter riding completely safe on the country’s often congested roads. In fact, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, calls it “the biggest review of transport laws in a generation”.
Despite their persistently growing popularity around the world, electric scooters UK are not entirely legal yet. That’s only owing to the nation’s pre-existing laws.
The fact of the matter is these laws classify electric scooters in the same categories as motor vehicles. However since e-scooters cannot undergo the same safety and law regulations as motor vehicles, they are currently illegal to ride on UK roads or sidewalks.
Here’s an interesting factoid though: even though electric scooters UK aren’t legal yet, they continue to be a common sight on the streets of London and other cities.
Grant Shapps recently revealed plans to evaluate electric scooters in the UK in June 2020. This is amidst other plans to bring about changes in the country’s public transport infrastructure. As lockdown measures are gradually lifted.
In order to avoid mass build-ups of traffic owing to trains and buses, he has advised citizens to walk. Even cycle and soon “e-scoot” their way to work whenever they can.
While electric scooter UK legality is still hanging in the balance, so to speak, other EU countries and the US have taken a much more practical and modern stance on things.
But with the way Shapps is pushing things forward, you shouldn’t be surprised to see e-scooters enjoy a fully legal status on UK roads and pavements. Even though many people are already riding them all over the UK, as we speak.
Your Guide to Buying the Right Electric Scooter UK
Electrical scooters in the UK are offering people a highly practical, fun, environment-friendly and cost-effective way to go about their daily commute. An added advantage is you never have to break a sweat!
When it comes to picking the right electric scooter UK, there are a number of factors you must take into consideration. These are things such as size, weight, speed, range, cost and overall reliability.
At Top Dog Babies, we stock only the most sought after and leading e-scooter manufacturers from around the world. We test them rigorously to ensure that they function as intended. Feel free to browse through our electric scooter UK collection and let us know if you have any questions.
To help you choose an e-scooter model that fits your specific needs, let’s look at the following factors at length:
This will probably be one of the first things to consider when picking up an e-scooter. How does it ride? Is it comfortable? Can it go the distance? These are important questions to ask.
You may actually find it surprising so as to how poor the ride quality is on some of the cheap Chinese knock-offs. These can’t be ridden for more than a mile or so, unless you’re able to find a perfectly even and smooth patch of road. They may look great in an online store, but they are legitimate bone shakers!
With us, you’ll never have this problem as we only stock electric scooters in the UK from top manufacturers including Lime, Bird and Dott. When it comes to assessing the ride quality of an e-scooter, you need to factor in:
Generally, larger wheel sizes are better as they are more effective at absorbing minor bumps and unevenness in the road or pavement. We suggest that you avoid wheel sizes that are less
than 8” in diameter. Smaller wheels mean a potentially rough ride, especially if you’re riding over uneven or abrasive surfaces where there may be potholes and other minor hazards.
Solid vs. air-filled tyres
Right from the outset, air-filled tyres are going to offer a better, generally smoother ride. However, we’d suggest that you always keep a puncture protection solution handy. This will make fixing punctures a lot easier. Scooter tyres are actually cumbersome to take on and off compared to bicycle tyres.
Now, solid tyres, on the other hand, are more suitable if your daily commute includes a mix of regular and irregular surfaces. Especially where there may be pieces of glass, nails, thorns or other debris that may damage tyres.
An active suspension in your electric scooter is always a good idea but it can only do so much to offer a smoother ride. In many cases, it will take out all the ‘bone shaking’ from the larger bumps only. So an e-scooter that’s outfitted with large, air-filled tyres, but no suspension, will provide for a smoother ride. This is opposed to one with a suspension but only solid tyres and smaller wheels.
A good rule of thumb is that you should either go with larger air-filled tyres or a suspension plus solid tyres (to compensate for the latter’s lack of cushioning). Fat, treated tyres are always better suited for off road or generally rugged and uneven terrain.
Safety comes before anything else, which means you need an electric scooter UK with solid, reliable brakes. With e-scooters, there are typically three types of brakes:
Electric brakes – These require the least amount of maintenance but are also the least effective at quickly stopping you.
Foot brakes – These require shifting weight toward the rear mud guard in order to stop the scooter. This can take time to master, unless you’re already accustomed to riding a kid’s scooter.
Disc and drum brakes– These type are the best overall, but they need timely replacement as they wear out with time. They must be serviced at regular intervals, much like your car’s brakes.
The actual speed that your e-scooter is capable of versus the speed you want is determined by multiple factors. Things such as the motor’s total horsepower, your bodyweight, how much air you fill in the tires and the surface you generally ride on. Underinflated tyres, for example, can increase drag and adversely affect the top speed.
The speed quotes or range that you see on manufacturers’ websites are mostly based on a person weighing between 60-75kg riding on a smooth surface with the correct tyre pressures. In other words, ‘ideal conditions’.
We’d advise not to obsess too much over the maximum speed numbers, however. As long as your e-scooter is capable of hitting a top speed of 15 mph or higher, you’re all set. In most cases, you won’t need to ride it any faster than 10-12 mph. This is due to traffic, congestion on the road or pavement and other obstructions or safety hazards.
If it helps, the average speed that people walk at in London is 4 mph. While the average speed of a vehicle here is around 7 mph. The average speed for bicycle riders is 14 mph. Variations in the road’s slope and your bodyweight will affect the maximum speed at which you can ride your electric scooter in the UK. For example the steeper the slope is, and the heavier you are, the slower your average speed and maximum speed will be. In contrast with what the manufacturer claims. But this is usually not off by a wide margin.
When looking at the range numbers, it should be noted that the quoted ranges you see in the list of specifications are generally examples of ‘best case scenarios’. Again, the maximum range is typically based on ideal conditions. This is things such as the average bodyweight of the rider being between 60-75kg, while riding on a flat and non-abrasive surface and a completely fresh battery.
With that said, more budget-friendly e-scooters will have smaller batteries which means their charge will diminish faster. This means they will have a shorter range.
While it’s important to know how much your e-scooter weighs, it’s more important to get a size which is only large enough for you to stand and ride comfortably. However not large enough that you find it difficult to tuck away in a storage space. Most e-scooters are compact enough to easily store at home, in the trunk of your car or under your work desk.
With that said, you want to always check the deck size, bar height and width, and fold down size. This will all help you determine if the size is right for you, during use and storage.
After size, the next most important aspect to consider when buying an electric scooter in the UK is weight. At any point in your commute or journey, especially during the start and finish, you may have to carry your scooter to a ‘designated location’ first. With that being said the weight needs to be manageable.
The majority of e-scooters weigh, on average, around 15 kg. Some weigh a bit more than this, some less. However, if you’re the kind of person who’s not used to carrying around loads on a daily basis, then we’d suggest you go with one that weighs around 12 kg or less.
Maximum load capacity
Now, this is one factor that many e-scooter buyers tend to overlook and we feel this is a mistake. You see, not every e-scooter you see on the market is designed to carry a load that you feel is ‘normal’ or adequate. As such, you really should take this into consideration before buying it.
Electric scooters in the UK and EU, for instance, usually have a maximum load capacity of 100 kg. However, this hasn’t stopped certain people weighing over 100 kg from riding their e-scooters. We wouldn’t recommend this as it may not only cause your e-scooter to not perform optimally but also pose a safety risk to yourself as well as others. Furthermore, you’d void the warranty, so it’s not worth the risk.
Build quality & reliability
Many scooters are made in China, and not the UK, US or EU, and that’s not exactly a cause for concern. After all, some of the best electronic products have come out of China such as leading game consoles, HD TVs, smartphones, etc. However, there are also some equally cheap knock offs of really great products that are manufactured and exported from China.
When it comes to e-scooters, the ones that do not have good build quality tend to not only look cheap and tacky but also feel ‘plastic-like’. Since the electric scooter market is a bit new at the moment, particularly in the UK, it is best to stick to reputable brands like Lime or Bird, for example.
When we talk about reliability, again, we’d advise sticking to well-known, mainstream manufacturers. With us, you’re only going to find leading brand names. You’ll never have to worry about this problem as you’re browsing our store for electric scooters UK.
The thing is electric scooters are still a relatively new category of products to be offered at online stores. And while we have done our homework to ensure that we have only the most reliable and best-quality ones available from leading manufacturers. Others have stocked less-than-reliable e-scooters and as a result, have had to deal with many disgruntled customers post-purchase.
In terms of reliability, we should be looking at two main factors:
Cheap Chinese builds and replicas – You might find it surprising to know how many ‘cheap’ e-scooters are being imported from China. Some of which are actually pretty good replicas of the original variants, but do not boast the same level of reliability, performance or build quality. So while they do look the part, many people have found out the hard way after running into battery issues. Also putting up with a rough ride due to cheap wheel bearings or dealing with frequent breakdowns.
Naturally, with the passage of time, it’s going to fall apart, and this is something you do not want in the middle of a commute.
Some knock off manufacturers have become such experts at making replicas of the actual models that you almost cannot tell the difference online. However once you receive the product ‘in the flesh’, you’re in for a rude awakening! Buy from a trusted local supplier of electric scooters UK such asTop Dog Babies. You’ll never have to worry about these nuisances.
Going with an established brand which has been in the market for years and has had consistently received positive reviews. This means that the manufacturer will not hesitate to honour the warranty, should you ever need to use it.
Buying e-scooters from an authorised distributer also means that when you send in your e-scooter for repairs or parts replacement, it goes only to a manufacturer-approved repair facility. We’ve actually come across a handful of horror stories. People who had a minor fault with their electric scooter ended up sending it all the way back to China. This is not only time-consuming and very costly, but also there are no guarantees that you’re going to get it back in the same condition.
With us, you’re purchasing only from top-notch manufacturers that are well-known. Not just across the UK, but the US and the rest of the world where e-scooters are frequently used.
Out in the middle of traffic, you may not be overly concerned with the amount of noise your scooter makes. But when you’re riding down a quiet street or, say, inside a mall, you definitely don’t want to have people staring at you because your e-scooter is making a rather audible (and annoying) whistling noise. Think The Jetsons , but only turned up to a 10!
We’ve seen people returning their e-scooters due to the amount of embarrassment it caused them, courtesy of the excessive noise level. It’s understandable that photos are not the best way to determine noise level. However if there is no noise level indication in ‘decibels’ on the specifications page, then simply send the manufacturer a quick query. They’d be happy to share that information with you, perhaps even share an audio clip with you or ask you to visit their website where you might find videos of the e-scooter in action.
The “it” factor
We understand that most people look at electric scooters in the UK as a mode of transport. They want ot be able to get safely and reliably from point A to point B. But with that said, we can’t speak for every consumer. Some are more conscious about looks and styling than others.
Just to give you a quick example, some manufactures have done a good job of keeping costs down as low as possible, and it shows: the scooter may not be too eye pleasing and may even have ‘economical’ parts borrowed from bicycles. This may not affect the reliability of your e-scooter, but for some consumers, looks and styling do matter a lot.
No matter how you look at it, electric scooters UK are here to stay. As the lockdown eases, you’re probably going to find more of these useful ‘contraptions’ than any other mode of transport on UK roads and sidewalks.
Find our selection of electric scooters on sale here
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