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What makes a “premium riding experience”?

September 20, 2022
Filed in: Riding
Read time: 9 minutes

Our plans for Vig include eventually designing our own electric scooters from the ground up and contracting a manufacturer to build based on our own designs. Until then, like most other electric scooter brands (even including bigger brands like Apollo) we will only have minimal influence on e-scooter designs that we source from Chinese manufacturers.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of control over the products that carry our brand. There are so many different products available—we spent months researching and testing different models, and measuring each against the vision we had of the “perfect electric scooter”. This is a vision we had formed over 2 years of riding electric scooters, from our introduction via Lime shared scooters to privately-owned scooters of friends and acquaintances.

This vision was not rooted in cool looks, insanely fast speeds or ultra-portability. Instead, what we valued most is what we refer to as a “premium riding experience”. But just what is a “premium riding experience”?

One would think that ride quality something that is bought, and scales linearly with the cost of an e-scooter. This is not entirely true. An entry-level Costco or Amazon scooter will generally have a pretty crappy ride quality, and outrageously expensive electric scooters such as the Dualtron X2 or Kaabo Wolf Warrior generally have decent ride quality. Something like an E-Move Cruiser will be somewhere in the middle (with a pretty good balance between price and comfort). But even expensive scooters often overlook some important aspects of ride quality (display, throttle and adjustable stem height being commonly overlooked).

Ride quality is a multifaceted measure, with several factors contributing to it, but they can all be generally grouped into 4 categories.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, superior ride quality 4 quadrant

4 Categories of Factors Affecting Overall Ride Quality


Comfort during your ride is probably the most important factor contributing to ride quality. Comfort during riding is mainly governed by the e-scooter’s suspension. A great suspension system in an electric scooter means the difference between a smooth comfortable ride and an unbearably bumpy one. All other things being equal, an electric scooter with suspension is always a much nicer ride than one without. Good suspension also affects safety—the shock of hitting a bump at greater than 15km/h is the most common reason people wipe out.

Shock Absorption

While it’s true that pneumatic (air-filled) tires provide some level of shock absorption even without dedicated suspension (and much more than solid tires), it’s still no match for proper shock absorbers. Shocks on the front and rear wheel are better than just on the front or rear, and different types of suspension offer different degrees of smoothness of your ride. The infographic below illustrates the various types of suspension systems and where they fall on the ride quality continuum.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, e scooter ride quality is a continuum

Larger Tire Sizes Are Better

The last factor affecting comfort is the size of the tires themselves. The larger the wheel diameter, the more comfortable the ride. Larger wheels carry more momentum, roll smoother, and transfer the energy of bumps to the rider less than smaller wheels. The also offer greater ground clearance, suitable for a more aggressive type of riding. Using a scooter with 8″ or smaller wheels makes it tricky and unsafe to use on many non-paved surfaces.


Different Brake Systems Provide Different Levels of Stopping Power

What we’re usually talking about when discussing electric scooter safety is brakes. Most scooters have drum or disc brakes, whilst some use electronic braking (using the motor as a brake). Here again there is a continuum of safety, with the stopping power and responsiveness increasing as the braking technology (and also the price) goes higher.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, e scooter brakes continuum

Of course it should be noted that electronic and drum brakes are perfectly fine for scooters that don’t have particularly large motors or dual motors, since the speed that can be achieved does not necessitate the extreme stopping power provided by hydraulic disc brakes. Better brakes also require more discipline from the rider in terms of properly shifting body weight. If braking from a speeds greater than 25km/h, it’s important you shift your body weight to the rear of the scooter to avoid tumbling over the front of it.

Increase Safety with Steering Damper and Turn Signals

Other components have an effect on safety. Steering dampers help increase your stability at higher speeds. Turn signals eliminate the need to remove your hands from the handlebar to signal (another common cause of falling off a scooter) yet still signals to other riders, bikes and cars what your intentions are. It’s very important to signal in urban areas, and it’s important that other vehicles actually see the signals—which is why most integrated turn signals are fairly useless—they are too low to see unless at night and the vehicle is far enough behind you. High-mounted turn signals, especially ones on the ends of your handlebars like WingLights are far more effective. Even better are signals integrated into modern helmets (controlled by wireless Bluetooth controls mounted on your handlebar). And of course turn signals are also less useful (and potentially more dangerous) if you, the rider can’t tell when they’re on, so some type of indicator is a must.


This is the one comfort factor that many scooter manufacturers overlook. It’s especially important for those of us who are taller and/or heavier, and can mean the difference between feeling sore after a long ride or not. Good ergonomics means a handlebar that can be adjusted higher or lower to match your height (this also allows the scooter to compress into a smaller size when folded).

Adjustable Handlebar Height

Your handlebar height when riding should be just below your belly button, so that your arms are at an angle of 100° and 110°. This will keep your arms from getting tired, provide you with the best balance and stability, and prevent you from slouching in order to reach the handlebars and all controls easily and comfortability.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, ride posture

Similarly, there’s a proper handlebar width (although it’s rarely adjustable). While not as important as height, it also has an effect on your control and comfort. Handlebars that are too narrow (which is our main gripe about the uScooters GT) will make steering difficult. Even small turns of the handles will result in bigger turns of the front wheel. Your overall control of the scooter will suffer as a result.

Deck Size Should Fit Both Feet Comfortably

Another important aspect of good ergonomics is the size of the deck—especially if you have large feet. When the deck is not long enough to comfortably place your feet behind one another (or if there’s an annoying folding latch mechanism in the way) it is not a comfortable ride.

Is the Display Large Enough and Can You Read it in Direct Sunlight?

A scooter’s display definitely contributes to ergonomics. The display provides important feedback including your speed, battery charge level, current gear, and often your controller, battery and motor temperature. If you can’t read the display in direct sunlight (which is what there will be unless you’re riding at night) it’s pretty much useless. If it’s too small, you may be able to see that there are numbers but not quickly read them. Look for a large (3+ inch diagonal) transflective LCD/LED or bright TFT display for good ergonomics.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, blade display closeup

Hydraulic Brakes and Grips That Are Grippy

Finally, ergonomics are better with hydraulic brakes (makes it easier to apply the brakes with less force) and good quality handlebar grips (those that can lock in place so that they don’t rotate) with a comfortable rubber or leather material (stay away from plastic ones!).

Motor Sound, Stem Wobble and Frame Creaks

Don’t overlook the noise that the scooter emits. A rattling sound as the scooter is in motion or going over bumps can’t help but make the scooter sound cheap. And noisy motors just don’t have an elegant feel.


The last factor of ride quality is one that is very binary, meaning it’s not a factor until it is. I’m talking about flat tires, which is the one drawback to pneumatic (air-filled) tires, and the one area where solid tires have a definite edge. Given the many other advantages like better battery life, better traction, and better bump cushioning, we always prefer scooters with pneumatic tires. But there is that risk of getting a flat tire (and potentially anxiety about going for rides far away from home).

It should be mentioned that most of the time flats are caused by an innertube being pinched against the wheel motor, and the easiest way to minimize the risk of that is to maintain the proper tire pressure.

Tubeless Tires

There are a couple ways to increase reliability (and therefore ride quality) while still keeping the advantages of pneumatic tires. The first is to use tubeless tires. Tubeless tires (most common used on cars), consist of only the tire that forms an air-tight seal around the tire rim (the tire rim houses the valve stem). Tubeless tires tend to be more heavy duty, puncture resistant and durable. If a puncture does happen, it can usually be repaired without having to remove the wheel or tire.

Self-Healing Tubeless Tires

A step above tubeless tires is puncture-proof, self-healing tubeless tires. These tires have a 1.25cm (1/2″) thick layer of gooey gel that fills the hole made by sharp objects that manage to puncture the tire, keeping the air in (at least until you can get the tire replaced). All Blade scooters have self-healing tubeless tires.

What makes a "premium riding experience"?, puncture proof tires

Innertube Sealant

For tires with innertubes, sealant products like Flat-Out, Armor-Dilloz help avoid flats caused by many punctures in a similar way to the self-healing gel. These products are not as thick or goopy but work by rushing in to fill holes when air starts escaping, blocking the hole like a dam.

We use Flat-Out sealant in all Aesir scooters (we pre-apply the product before it is shipped). We have found Flat-Out to be the best, but in truth they are all roughly the same and many people swear by the Armor-Dilloz product.

Final Thoughts

Ride Quality is a multi-faceted measure of the overall experience riding an electric scooter. Comfort and ergonomics affect ride quality the most, but safety is important (because lying in the middle of the street in pain does not a quality ride make). Reliability should also be considered, because when you’re walking your electric scooter home several kilometers with a flat tire, you are not technically riding and therefore the ride quality is zero.

It could be argued that other factors also affect ride quality such as power of the motor(s). The ability to go up any hill at any speed you wish means a quality ride and the needs to get off and push does not. And of course there’s the overall build quality of the scooter, with stem flex, an audible motor whine and constant rattling of parts while riding translating to poor ride quality.