Since the dawn of motor-powered vehicles, “speed” was the single feature that most enthusiasts obsessed about. It is a feature that would either make or break a vehicle newly-introduced to the market. Generally speaking, the “top speed” of anything was just as important fifty years ago, as it is today.
With the tremendous popularity of electric kick scooters, more individuals are looking to buy one for their own use. One of the questions they ask before buying is: how fast can an electric scooter go? Still others may be curious as to which is faster, an electric scooter or a bicycle?
There are many factors that ultimately determine the top speed of electric scooters and bicycles. For this reason, there is no single and straightforward answer to these questions.
There is significant variability in the maximum speed of different e-scooters available on the market today. However, taking into consideration the most common models, we conclude that electric scooters and bicycles are equally fast.
Consider the following:
- An average bicycle rider can ride at speeds of around 12-14 mph (19-22.5 km/h)
- A reasonably experienced bicyclist can go as fast as 15-19 mph (24-30.5 km/h)
- Pro cyclists, such as those competing in the Tour de France, ride at average speed of 25 to 28 mph (40-45 km/h)
As far as electric bicycles are concerned, their speed is capped at a maximum of 20 mph (32 km/h). This is largely due to US laws that prohibit electric bikes from going any faster. Some models may go a few miles faster in the pedal-assist mode (meaning the electric motor is running and the rider is also pedaling at the same time).
How fast are electric scooters?
- Razor E100 – 10 mph (16 km/h)
- Swagger Pro 3 – 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
- Swagger 5 Elite – 18 mph (29 km/h)
- GoTrax GXL – 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
- Xiaomi MI 365 – 15.5 mph (25 km/h)
- Qiewa Q1Hummer – 34 mph (55 km/h)
- NanRobot D5+ – 43 mph (69 km/h)
The Razor, Swagtron’s Swagger and Xiaomi M365 are some of the most popular models on the market today. Of those, the fastest one will go 18 mph (continuous speed), while an average bicyclist will max out at 19 mph (but only for a limited distance, before getting tired). So for all practical purposes, I consider both modes of transportation equally fast.
The fastest electric kick scooter that I found is the NanRobot D5+ which, according to the manufacturer, can reach speeds of up to 43 mph! I have not had a chance to ride it, but even if I did get hold of one, I seriously doubt that I would try to go that fast. I’ve always been more of a safe player, rather than a thrill seeker.
Even if you happen to own one of the fastest scooters on the market today, chances are you will be unable to test its speed capability, because many metropolitan areas throughout the world have introduced measures that limit the speed of electric scooters at 15.5 mph (25 km/h). This means that going anything faster than that is simply illegal and you will get fined, if caught.
The fastest that I have ever gone on my M365 was 20.5 mph (33 km/h). This happened while going downhill on a smooth, dry surface with only me (167 lbs (76 kg)) on it, no backpack or extra weight of any kind, battery 90% charged.
If you’ve never ridden an electric scooter before, you should know that riding them at well below their top speed, say 12-14 mph, still does seem fast for the rider. In addition to that, scooters tend to have a very nice acceleration that gives the user extra adrenaline rush. Just keep in mind that it only takes a medium-sized rock laying in your way for you to wipe out on the concrete while going 18 mph and having virtually zero protection.
Having said all that about the speed of electric scooters, I’d like to make one point clear. After about 2 years of owning and riding a scooter in a rather semi-regular fashion, I can honestly say that the “speed” is not what makes electric scooters practical and fun. Most of us use them for short distances, about 2-3 miles. With such short distances, the actual time saved by going at top speed vs at a reasonable speed of 12 mph or so, will not be big.
Additionally, most of us use scooters for commuting in the metropolitan areas. This is means that you would not be able to go at top speed, even if you wanted to.
For these two reasons, I believe that as far as electric scooters are concerned, the “top speed” is a feature of secondary importance.
When discussing the speed of a scooter, it’s important to say a few words about safety in general.
Electric scooters are not toys, they micro mobility devices that happen to be fun to ride. Many people take that for granted and assume that nothing bad can happen while riding a scooter. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Based on the limited study data available today, electric scooter users are at an increased risk of accident and injury. Furthermore, the risk appears to be quite high. To give you a better perspective, for every 1 million miles travelled, there will be nearly 146 collisions involving electric scooters, but only 6 car accidents.
Obviously there are many confounding factors that make it nearly impossible to directly compare the statistics with those of cars or airplanes, but the raw numbers are still quite astounding.
These are for the most part common sense, but still may be forgotten or overlooked.
- Know your e-scooter. Become familiar with its handling, braking and acceleration to get a better idea of its capabilities.
- Always wear a helmet! According to some reports, less than 5% of e-scooter riders wear a helmet. Obviously, if you have other protective gear, put it on, it will minimize the risk of injury in case if an accident.
- Always obey local traffic laws. This one is tricky because many metropolitan areas still do not have specific rule of the road for eScooters. If that’s the case in your area, just use your common sense and ride safely.
- Never listen to music on your headphones while riding a scooter.
- Never ride a scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never take passengers for a ride. Most scooters are made for single person occupancy. Carrying anything more than that will simply increase your risk of accident.
E-scooters became popular because they are a fun and practical means of transportation. Unfortunately, many of us still regard them as toys and treat them as such, despite their top speed capability being much higher than that of toys. Unfortunately, a fall from a scooter travelling at 25 or 30 mph with limited safety gear, puts the rider at a very high risk of injury that is preventable in many cases.
I would encourage everybody to treat electric scooters as fun and practical modes of transport, rather than toys capable of reaching the speeds of an average city car.