A Far Better E-Scooter Is An Electric Kick-Bike
On the road to a more sustainable transportation ecosystem, the electric micromobility segment has really blossomed in recent years, and although some of the once-hyped products have been found to be wanting when it comes to mass adoption (electric skateboards and monowheels come to mind), others, such as e-bikes, have found their place and become (almost) mainstream.
Meanwhile, one kind of e-mobility option is still hanging on, even becoming the focus of several well-funded shared micromobility companies, namely the electric scooter. And although these tiny electric vehicles might serve as an appropriate choice in certain environments, they also have some drawbacks when compared to something like e-bikes, such as their relatively tiny hard wheels, which aren’t so great at navigating most surfaces that aren’t perfectly smooth (read: much of the aging and pot-holed infrastructure in the US), and which can serve to launch riders off the scooter when they meet with debris or obstructions on the road. That doesn’t happen nearly so often with bicycles and e-bikes, with their larger wheels and pneumatic tires (and suspension, in many cases), which is why a variation on the basic scooter design could be a path toward a much better micromobility future.
If you take some elements from bicycles, such as taller pneumatic tires and a more robust handlebar setup, and integrate them into a scooter, then you end up with a kick-bike, and if you add an electric motor to one of the wheels, then that kick-bike can become a more worthy micromobility contender than a traditional electric scooter. That being said, in my opinion an e-bike still has a big advantage over a kick-bike, notably the ability to haul more cargo with you, as well as the traditional and efficient pedal drivetrain (especially when going up hills), but since they are essentially two different animals altogether, comparing them to each other is an apples-to-oranges type of situation.
In any event, if you’re interested in exploring the electric kick-bike as a transportation option, there are a number of different companies offering their own take on this two-wheeled conveyance, and the option to build your own is always there if you’re handy and enjoy the DIY experience.
One of the kick-bikes that caught my eye recently comes from Tozz Bike, an Istanbul-based startup whose first kick-bike, the uniquely named Pipegun #1, was launched in 2021 at the price of about $2100. Its stainless steel frame and 20″ BMX-style wheels is propelled by a 250W (500W peak) hub motor in the rear wheel, coupled with a Li-ion battery pack said to be good for about 45 km (~28 miles) between charges. The next iteration of this throttle-based kick-bike is the Pipegun Original, which also features disc brakes and front and rear LED lighting, and appears to be available in two different configurations — a 250W motor with a 25 km/h top speed, and a 500W motor capable of 50 km/h — with a 60 km range. More info on the Pipegun is available at Tozz Bike, as well as info on the Joyce’90, an electric motorbike concept.
Meanwhile, there are kick-bike companies that have been around the block a few times already, such as the eponymous Kickbike America, which is said to be the home of “the world’s leading adult kick scooter.” According to the company website, the kick-bike was invented some 25 years ago in Helsinki, Finland, “as a way to train sled dogs in the summer months when the snow would melt.” But hey, you don’t need a sled dog to have fun on a kick-bike, and so these two-wheelers have become a thing all of their own (including a fat tire version), and now there is an electric option as well. The eCruise features a throttle-activated hub motor on the front 26″ wheel, powered by a 36V/10.4Ah battery with up to 35 miles of range, and retails for about $1500.
Then there is EUNORAU, an e-bike company that also sells the Jumbo, an electric kick-bike (they call it a scooter) with a 1000W rear hub motor paired with a 48V/15.6Ah battery said to have a 25-mile range and a top speed of 21.7 mph (oddly specific). It’s got disc brakes, a large LED headlight and a tail-light, fenders, and a rear rack, with a total payload capacity of 265 pounds. Regular retail price on the Jumbo is $1699.
Last but not least, Gravity Scooters, a Spanish company specializing in “electric mountain and urban scooters,” offers a few different designs starting around €1395. The company’s e-CORE AIR model features a 1000W rear hub motor with a 48V/17.5Ah battery, disc brakes, and a laminated beech board with a non-slip surface for the rider to stand on. Its range isn’t listed on the website, but the top speed is said to be 45 km/h, and the retail price is stated as €3,267.00 (VAT included). Other models are available.
And finally, the DIY option is explored by Standup Bike Adventures, which sells a few different models ranging from pedaled standup bikes to elliptical standup bikes. A video about converting a Crussis Cross kick-bike into an electric version with a 500W hub motor is available here. A budget version might be able to be built from Schwinn’s Shuffle, which retails for around $200.
I know there are other kick-bike companies out there, such as Glide, but it didn’t appear to have current info available, so if you’re interested in a different kind of electric two-wheeler, doing a thorough search on the web may give you some additional options to explore.
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