The Segway-powered Ninebot ES1L bucks the trend of low quality, high volume scooters in favor of a well-built vehicle that’s packing a few unique features up its sleeve. Like many electric scooters these days, the Ninebot Kickscooter ES1L is designed as an adult scooter for private use. It features a handy lever right at the base of the stem that enables quick and easy folding for transport and storage.
Disclaimer: Segway sent us the Ninebot One S1 free of charge for the purposes of this review
Pushing the lever at the base of the stem down unlocks the hinge, allowing the vertical tube to fold down onto the deck. The stem itself clips onto the rear fender for easy carrying. Because the pivot point is at the front of the deck instead of on the vertical tube itself, the entire front wheel folds back with the stem. This nifty design results in a more compact folded footprint and the ability to easily roll the folded scooter along on the front wheel.
Hopping on the ES1L for a ride reveals a few surprises as well. First and foremost, the ES1L doesn’t have a traditional lever-operated friction brake. At all. Instead, it boasts an innovative electric front braking system that feels a lot like regeneration braking in an electric vehicle. Pushing down the black braking lever on the left, the scooter gradually slows the down. The rear fender can also be pushed down onto the rear wheel to slow the scooter.
On the right, the red throttle button opens the floodgates, enabling the flow of power from the onboard 5.1Ah battery to the sprightly motor. It’s able to push out a rather standard 250 watts continuous, with 500 watts of peak power output for short bursts. As a larger than average adult human, I’m often underwhelmed by electric scooters designed to haul around averaged-sized people. This baby was up to the task.
With a battery on the smaller side, it comes with some compromises. The top speed is limited to 12.4 miles per hour, saving a bit of juice by cutting back the top end a bit. That alone could be a deal breaker for those looking for a scooter that can support longer commutes, but for those looking for a last mile commuter that’s more than capable of a few miles per trip, the ES1L is a solid option. Its range is impressive considering the battery size at just over 12 miles of range per charge. As with any electric vehicle, real world range will vary depending on how much you’re laying into the throttle, rider weight, and terrain.
The scooter tips the scales at just under 25 pounds, making it a lightweight in its class. That’s a result of an extremely well-designed scooter and the use of advanced materials like aerospace grade aluminum for the frame. It’s easy to carry or wheel around while still managing to feel stable underfoot. I’ve been on a lot of rideables and many smaller ones like scooters don’t always feel up to the task, but the ES1L does.
Up front, a set of narrow handlebars seeks to strike a balance between compact for travel and utility with mild success. With their foam grips, the bars are very portable, but when it’s time to get on for a ride, their diminutive size makes the steering feel a bit squirrely when traveling at top speed on uneven terrain.
The airless tires, on the other hand, are impressive. They shirk the traditional tire and inner tube combination in favor of a rubber tire comprised of a handful of air chambers. The result is a lightweight tire that won’t leave you stranded with a flat, while still providing a significantly more comfortable riding experience over solid rubber tires. A small front shock smooths the ride out even more for an overall package that’s rather pleasant to ride on, whether it’s down to the grocery store or from the bus to your high school campus.
Segway is a name customers around the world know and respect for its mastery of engineering, design, and technology. The ES1L lives up to these high standards and delivers a very capable, compact, and lightweight commuter. At $489.99, it’s one of the better values in the space today.
For all the fun tech and specs on the ES1L, head over to its online home in Segway’s domain.
Ninebot ES1L Scooter Specs
- Motor: 250 watt continuous, 500 watt peak power brushless motor
- Battery: 5,1o0 mAh, 184 Wh IPX6 water resistant lithium-ion battery pack
- Range: 12.4 miles
- Charging Time: 6 hrs
- Riding Modes: Safety, Standard, Sport
- Top Speed: 12.4 mph
- Weight Capacity: 220 lbs
- Lights: integrated 2.5W front LED light
- Weight: 24.9 lb
- Price: $489.99
All images credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica