Electronic rides are not only more popular than ever but are now available in more kinds than ever before. These personal mobility devices are now tailored to so many different kinds of people that you are bound to find the perfect fit for yourself.
Whether you’re looking for an electric skateboard that will become your new favorite hobby or an electric motorcycle that will become your new main form of commuting, this article is designed to help you find the best fit of an electric ride for you. Sound good? Then let’s get started.
Buyer’s Guide for Personal Mobility Devices
This guide will be the perfect introduction for anyone who doesn’t yet know how to select the perfect electronic ride. While there are a lot of elements to consider, you will be able to figure out what the best customized device for yourself and your needs will be once you make it through this section.
Choice (Fun vs Utility)
The first thing you need to ask yourself when deciding to get a personal mobility device is why you plan on getting it in the first place. Do you want an electronic mobility device primarily for fun, for utility or both?
Different rides will cater to different needs and it is important to pick a ride that is best suited for either leisure or commuting. A couple of easy examples would be that you would want an electric kick scooter for fun or an electric folding bicycle with good battery life for transport or utility.
Portability and Size
The next thing you should be thinking about is portability. This is one of the most important factors to consider, especially if you live in a small place or need to have an easy time storing your device when on the go. For obvious reasons, folding electric bikes are a great choice for this, but many electric scooters have portable or folding mechanisms as well.
Portability and size are important when storing away your device as you are charging it overnight so that it causes little clutter in your home. You may not care much for this aspect depending on the nature of your own domicile so use your better judgment with this aspect.
When on the go, portability can come in handy if you need to park your mobility device outside or need to bring it indoors with you when going to work or school. Always keep the buildings and environments you enter on a regular basis in mind when thinking about the shape and size of the electronic ride you will buy.
Speaking of size, you may also want to keep a wheel size in mind when purchasing a motorized ride but not so much for reasons of portability. Wheel size will have an impact on how the device feels when in use. It is also important based on the kind of terrain you plan on using it on.
This aspect is especially important for electric mountain bikes. Mountain bikes are designed to be used on rougher terrain like mud and dirt trails. This means that taller and thicker wheels will offer a faster top speed on certain terrains but something like 26’’ wheels will be better for going downhill on dirt trails and that smaller wheels will offer slightly better acceleration.
It is also important to keep in mind that you should select wheel sizes based on your own height, as wheels that are too big may expand the size of your mobility device to a state too large for you if you are shorter than average.
The next factor we’ll be discussing is one that should never be taken for granted as it’s an area everyone will want to be in good shape: the battery life. Battery duration is very important to all electronic mobility devices, regardless if they are hoverboards or scooters, or meant for leisure or transport. The better the battery, the longer you can use it per day, the longer it will last without needing a replacement, and ideally, the faster it will charge.
Better batteries will generally make the price of the device go up considerably, but this higher price may be well worth it if you plan on using your device on a daily basis or if you need to use it for many hours at a time due to long trips. Lithium-ion batteries are generally the best kind.
Now that we’ve gone through several different aspects of what makes a good personal mobility device, we can finally get to the part you’ve probably been waiting for: what kind of ride to choose.
Type of Ride
Personal mobility devices can come as bicycles, folding bicycles, electric scooters (with or without seats), kick scooters, hoverboards, electric motorcycles, skateboards and unicycles. All of these rides operate differently and provide a unique experience.
If you want a device you can sit down on while using then that will pretty much limit you to bikes or motorcycles. If you like mobility devices that can offer a lot of potential for tricks and more active riding styles then you will want to get a skateboard or unicycle instead.
The next feature to keep in mind is by far one of the most important ones: safety. It is absolutely imperative that you select a motorized ride that has good safety features. Dual disc brake systems are particularly great, especially for bikes, but any mobility device should have gone through rigorous safety tests to make sure they are ready. That’s why you should only buy personal mobility devices that have the proper approval ratings.
One other feature you may want to keep in mind is the learning curve of the device in question. If you already have experience with the ride you plan to buy then this section won’t apply to you. However, if you plan on purchasing an electric unicycle and have never used one before, you may want to buy one that is beginner friendly. Ideally it should have a reduced top speed and also have some self-balancing technology that makes it harder for you to fall off.
Another handy feature your electronic ride should have are security precautions. Some devices have an optional smartphone app that can be downloaded. While these apps often have features such as a speedometer, they can also sometimes include a remote alarm that goes off if someone tries to tamper with or steal your mobility device.
You can also sync your device with the app so that you can have a GPS signal in the event that it gets lost or stolen. Keep an eye out for these apps if these features sound appealing to you.
The last feature you should keep in mind when setting out to buy yourself a personal mobility device is if it has any extra storage or carrying capacities. This feature may not be important to you if you are looking for a unicycle or skateboard to do tricks with, but it will certainly come in handy if you are looking for a bike or motorcycle that will primarily be used for commuting and transportation.
Some extra storage space will really come in handy if you are bringing materials to work or if you are heading back home from the grocery store. These devices should be as comfortable as possible and that can only be achieved if you aren’t lugging everything on your back using a backpack. Extra storage rarely if ever jacks up the price of the ride so feel free to get an electronic ride that has enough storage for your needs.
Now that we’ve finally finished with the buyer’s guide, let’s take a look at the different kinds of mobility devices available to purchase today, including their pros and cons.
Types of Personal Electric Transportation to Choose From
1. Electric Bicycles
The electric bicycle is the original and quintessential electronic ride. It takes the classic bicycle format but adds a motor and a battery to create a type of bike that is faster and easier to use thanks to minimal, if any, peddling. It’s a great all-rounder that can be customized easily, comes in various wheel sizes, and can be used for both leisure and utility.
- Provides good exercise
- Can be easily customized and personally tailored
- Cruise control functions means easy, peddling-free rides
- Initial cost can be pricey
- Heavier than other electronic rides
2. Electric Folding Bicycles
Similar to the previous item on the list, electric folding bicycles come with the added function of improved portability. These are the kinds of bikes one needs if they have limited storage space in their home or constantly need to have their bike stored away when at work or school.
- Much easier to store in a car trunk or on a bus than regular bikes
- Takes up less space at home
- Weighs no more or less than non-folding electric bikes
- Will inevitably be slightly more expensive than their non-folding counterparts
- Some folding bikes feel more stiff
3. Electric Scooters without seats
One of the most popular personal mobility devices of all time has got to be the electric scooter, particularly the variant without seats. These are great items for those who want the feel and tricks of scooters but with less kick-pedaling and more power.
- Easy to learn to use
- Easy to park and store
- Tend to have solid battery life
- Great choice for those who like doing tricks
- Lightweight and easy to handle and turn
- Not the best choice for long distance rides
- Don’t offer the speeds of bikes or motorcycles
- Not the best choice for exercise
4. Electric Scooters with Seats
The electric scooter becomes a completely different kind of device once a seat is added. It feels less like a scooter and more like a bike but it still has a unique feel of leisurely relaxation that can’t be found elsewhere. Electric scooters with seats are one of the best choices for those who want a great combination of leisure and commuting.
Be sure to also check out our Top 5 Best Electric Scooter with Seats review for more info.
- Great leisurely cruising feel
- Very easy to learn and ride
- Often comes with extra storage
- Good maximum load capacity
- Seats are usually adjustable
- Not as portable
- Usually expensive
- Electric Kick Scooters
The electric kick scooter is the scooter variant for those who really want to bring out their inner daredevil. This is by far one of the best electric rides to get if you really want to get some exercise and blood flowing by performing a wide variety of tricks. They also offer the best of both worlds by allowing you to switch between kicking for movement and throttling for an easier boost.
- Great for leisure and exercising
- Cheaper than bikes and other styles of electronic rides
- Extra maintenance will be required to maintain the bearings
6. Electric Motorcycles
The electric motorcycle is similar to the electric bike except they tend to offer more power and speed. This makes them better choices for those who want to go as fast as possible.
- Excellent top speeds and battery life
- Excellent for long distance rides covering dozens of miles
- Good extra storage capacities
- Great load capacities
- Usually are low maintenance
- Tend to be quiet
- Great acceleration
- Very expensive
- Are very heavy
- Not portable at all
- Battery charge time will likely be very long
7. Electric Trikes
The trike is just like the bike but it has three wheels instead of two. This means they offer exceptional balancing which is great for those who want slow, easy commutes but they will not provide the speeds or tricks associated with other personal mobility devices.
- Great for beginners
- On the less expensive side
- Little maintenance required
- Not the best for tougher terrain
- Can’t go at fastest speeds
8. Electric Hoverboards
The hoverboard is arguably the device that made electronic rides a household name as they exploded all over the world and the internet. They have a bit of a learning curve to them but they are undeniably addictive once one gets the hang of them.
- Fairly cheap
- Not too difficult to learn
- Fun to use
- Short battery charge times
- Can’t be used for commuting or long distances
- Fairly bulky for their size
9. Electric Skateboards
Electric skateboards are another classic choice of personal mobility devices as they allow your whole body to feel the thrill of the wind blowing through you without the extra effort of kick pedaling. Be sure to also check out our review of the Top 5 Best Electric Skateboards for Adults for a more in-depth look.
- On the cheaper side
- Great for tricks
- Good choice for short and medium distance rides
- Relatively quick to charge
- Easy to customize
- Not known to be the safest or the fastest ride available
10. Electric Unicycles
While this may seem like a gimmick or novelty item to some, the electric unicycle can offer a very unique kind of balancing experience that is impossible to find with other electronic mobility rides. They can also offer speeds and safety features that makes them a viable option for mid-range commuting.
- Surprisingly fast considering the small size
- Cheaper than other rides
- Can be hard to learn how to operate
- No storage capabilities
11. Electric Single Wheel Skateboards
Last on our list is perhaps the lesser-known of the personal mobility devices, the electric single wheel skateboard. This is similar to the unicycle but your feet will be placed vertically rather than horizontally and offers its own unique take on a balanced ride.
- Riding gives a sense of freedom
- Portable and relatively small in size
- Surprisingly easy to learn, especially for fans of regular skateboards
- Don’t have the best range
- Limited to use on simple terrain like roads or asphalt
Electric devices are great fun. Not only that they’re practical and useful. Pick one of the devices from the above list that fits you best based on your needs and enjoy riding daily!