Evaluation: Levy electric scooter comes with a replaceable battery pack and thoughtful design, and costs $499
Electric scooters were finally legalized in New York earlier this month, but have been around for years.In some ways, they feel like the ideal tool for cycling around - as fast as a bike, but small enough to fit into a cramped apartment or take the subway.Some people want a scooter that can do what money can buy, but for this city dweller, it's just a matter of striking the right balance between the key parameters (performance, safety, design, range and price).
Few scooters achieve this balance like Levy's scooters.At $499, it is slightly higher than entry-level options like the Xiaomi Mi M365, but much lower than electric bikes or some high-end scooters.At that price, it offsets almost everything I want from the scooter, including the rare ability to instantly replace a new battery.
It looks the same.While it's not as unique as the Unagi Model One, the blue, green or red palette makes it stand out from the rest of the drab scooters - with both fashion sense and utilitarianism.Portable batteries are also hidden in thick rods, which means you don't have to worry about thieves with a chance to try to make money with lithium.
Scooters are one of the lighter types on the market, weighing 27 pounds.The folding mechanism is easy to use, although the thicker bars make it harder to grip than electric scooters of the same weight.Nor am I a big proponent of the stem-lock approach to the rear fender - if the scooter hits something, it dissolves more easily than I'd like.
The scooter comes with sturdy 8.5-inch inflatable tires.So far, I have only tested solid tires (like the Unagi above) or some form of suspension scooter, and have never used a scooter with "only" inflatable tires.I had previously assumed that solid tires with any type of suspension would be better than using inflatable tires alone, but after the test levy, I thought I would prefer the latter.
Not only do inflatable tires absorb tiny vibrations better, they also have better grip on wet roads.It can still be suspended for large bumps and potholes, but for most rides, inflatable tires make for a smoother ride.Riding Levy felt much safer than Unagi, and to my surprise, Unagi's solid tires were slightly smaller and had no real suspension.For the latter, I feel I am always alert to any distortion on the road.I feel different anxiety about the levy.
It's also more powerful than the 350W motor I expected.I was a big man, 30 pounds above Levy's 230-pound weight limit.But the scooter coasted and I had no trouble getting started quickly.It accelerates faster than the 500W dual-motor Unagi, although the latter was more successful at pulling me up the hill.The maximum speed is 18mph, but I don't usually like to go beyond 15mph on a city pedal car (technically, that's the legal speed limit in New York City).
Lighter riders should pay particular attention to keeping up with Levy's traffic, especially considering that the average cyclist is traveling at about 10 MPH.
As important as speed, the combination of electronic and mechanical brakes helped me to stop without a problem.I also appreciate the redundancy of using multiple brakes if one of them fails.
The scope will vary depending on your setup and terrain.Levy claims that you would gain 12 miles in environmental mode and 10 miles in exercise mode.With my burden, I got about half.But being able to carry extra batteries (or two or three) in your backpack means you can get ready for a longer trip -- replacing the batteries takes less than 10 seconds.
I'm sure most drivers will eventually want to cough up the $139 extra battery, but if you have a short commute, that's fine.And if you want more built-in mileage, the new $699 Levy Plus has 18 miles of ecological mileage or 16 miles of exercise mode.It also offers larger 10-inch inflatable tires.
There are few other good aspects to the whole process.The front brake is renewable.The scooters come with cruise control.There is a built-in bell.The screen displays your speed and battery life.The headlights make you visible at night.Levy sells replacement parts on his website.And if you want to try a scooter first, the company offers rental programs in New York City.
For $499, it's hard to find a scooter that looks, functions and feels good.For those looking for a fully functional, affordable electric scooter, this is a simple suggestion - just make sure you get the extra battery.