Thursday, February 5, 2015

Razor Ecosmart Scooter vs. the Storm Ebike

How much do you like to gamble? Say you have $600 in your pocket - would you be comfortable plopping your money down on a gamble, or would you try to do something practical with it? How patient are you? How fearful are you of being accused of being a dork? If you are in the market for a low-cost electric cycle to get you around, you might spend some time answering those questions for yourself.

With all of the buzz around the Storm Ebike Indiegogo campaign, I have been thinking about other ebike options in the under $500 price range. The Storm has indeed created a storm - pledges have flooded the campaign. In a little over two days, more than $2.4 million has been pledged for the $500 fat-tired ebike - and that price is before shipping. If my math is correct, that means that 48,000 ebikes have been "ordered". The logistics of that many ebikes being built and delivered in 3 months - staggering! I imagine that a lot of people are in for either a long wait, a lot of disappointment, or both.

So let's say that you have been tempted but have been holding off. You really want an inexpensive option for scooting around on electrons instead of decayed dinosaurs. What can you do?

Well, here's an option for you to consider - the underrated Razor Ecosmart Metro Scooter. (See, I wasn't kidding when I stated that Razor is becoming one of my favorite EV companies.) I first became  aware of the Ecosmart when I started seeing a young lady in my neighborhood who has one as her sole means of transport. (That kind of thing is phenomenally rare in West Texas.) And she loves the ease and practicality of hers. For less than $400 you can have one sitting on your porch, and you could be riding it next week. Remember all those questions in the first paragraph? Go back and try to answer those again.

Honestly, the Razor is not as sexy (or fat-tired goofy) as the Storm. And it does not have the (advertised) range. While I have no recommendations for the making that beast sexy, the range issue can be fixed somewhat easily. Switching the lead batteries out for smaller-lighter-more-powerful lithium batteries could easily double or triple your range while making the scooter a bit lighter. And you can even save up for those during your first year of ownership. (Lead batteries generally show signs of degradation after a year or so.)  You can also go to larger or more lead batteries and have a big impact on range. There are several resources available for scooterists who want to up the performance of Razor scooters.

If you care to learn more, here are a few links for you to check out:

Razor EcoSmart Scooter Review - youtube Ecosmart page with link to owner's manual

Modified Electric Scooters: Razor Battery Options Forum

Do I think the Ecosmart is the best option for everyone? No. Do I think it offers a great deal for the money and will fill the needs of many consumers? Absolutely.

Subtopic: Recipe for Pimping My Ecosmart Razor (If I had one.)
Upgrade to a 48V lithium-ion battery
Upgrade the controller and throttle to 48 volts
Add some bigger brakes
Fuzzy dice and a fake fur seat seat cover
Some big Elton John shades (circa 1973)

May your commute be fun and clean, and may you be happy with your choice.