— Cycleboard Editorial Team
So you've made the decision to invest in a personal electric vehicle for daily commuting and weekend fun. Great choice! This will not only save you a ton of money on gas, parking, and the depreciation of your car. But, personal electric vehicles are also better for our planet. The less carbon emitted on the road, the better!
But - you've arrived at a crossroads. What type of personal electric vehicle is right for you? You have two main options: electric scooters or electric bikes.
While these more or less do the same thing, they are very different. The right choice for you will depend on factors such as your desired use, your budget, and more. To help you make the right decision, we're going to take a deep dive into the difference between an e-bike vs e-scooter. By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of which personal electric vehicle is best suited for your needs and preferences.
Let's begin with some quick explanations of electric scooters and electric bikes.
The earliest electric scooter was designed back in 1915 - but these weren't made popular until the mid-90s. These were designed as a fun toy, with every youth in the nation wanting their own e-scooter.
But - electric scooters aren't just for kids anymore. These days, an electric scooter is a practical electric vehicle for adults, too. You'll hear these referred to as either e-scooters or motorized scooters, too. They come equipped with either 2 wheels or 3 wheels - with the latter offering more versatility and stability.
To operate these, you stand on the platform and use a throttle control on one of the handles. There is typically a break on the other handle. While companies like Bird and Lime have popularized these as rental services in major cities, owning your very own electric scooter offers a myriad of benefits.
Now that you know what exactly electric scooters are, what are electric bikes? You're no doubt familiar with traditional bikes. These are the exact same thing - but they're powered by an electric motor. Some electric bikes still have pedals on them and can be considered "hybrid bikes" that are capable of being powered by pedaling or the motor.
Electric bikes are great for those who have a long commute and don't want to get hot and sweaty on their way to work by pedaling a traditional bike. But, are electric bikes better than electric scooters? What are the differences between these personal electric vehicles? Without any further ado, let's compare and contrast the two so you can gain a better understanding of which one is right for you.
The decision between an e-bike vs e-scooter will come down to a balance of personal preference and your specific needs. While electric scooters are certainly more fun and versatile than electric bikes, you'll have to consider other factors like battery range, comfort, cost, and more.
Don't worry - we're going to look at the most important criteria you must consider in your own shopping journey. Let's get started by talking about everyone's favorite features on electric scooters and electric bikes: speed and acceleration.
While these personal electric vehicles won't hit a top speed over 100 as your car might, they're pretty quick these days. In fact, e-bikes and e-scooters alike can reach top speeds of up to 30MPH! This of course depends on your battery level and the specific manufacturer/model you go with. But now comes the big question - which is faster?
In general, electric bikes have a higher top speed. In some cases, they can even exceed 30MPH. Most electric scooters, on the other hand, cap out at less than 25MPH. With that said, certain electric scooters can reach a top speed of 27MPH. As such, this is a minor difference. But when you have a long commute of 10+ miles - every bit counts.
However, we want to warn you against shopping based solely on speed. The top speed matters far less if you're commuting around city streets and frequently have to maneuver around other bikes, cars, pedestrians, and stop lights/stop signs. Take into account how much smaller and more nimble the average electric scooter is. With an e-bike, you're forced to slow down and potentially come to a halt as you wait for other people to get out of your way. With an e-scooter, you'll zip around with ease.
With that said, those riding in rural areas with minimal city traffic will gain the benefit of a higher rate of speed that the e-bike offers. Consider how you'll use the scooter when evaluating the need for speed.
If you plan to use your electric scooter or electric bike as your daily driver to and from work, then speed may not even be the most important factor: battery range. If you have an 8-mile commute, that means you need a form of personal electric transportation rated for well over 16 miles to be safe.
But the more battery capacity, the better. With a longer battery range, you won't have to plug your e-bike or e-scooter in every single night when you get home. And in general, electric bikes have more battery range than electric scooters. Some electric scooters come equipped with long-lasting batteries that can get you 40 miles worth of range. Conversely, there are e-bikes that boast a battery range of over 70 miles.
However, you have to ask yourself - what makes e-bikes so much more efficient in terms of battery capacity? Most of the time, the e-bikes that boast a crazy range like this are the hybrid style we mentioned earlier. While they are electric, they'll require you to aid in pedaling. Pedal assist may not be something you mind - after all, working up a little sweat never hurt. But let's face it - nobody wants to step into work stinking and displaying pit stains or back sweat.
You should also consider what is more comfortable for you - sitting or standing. While many e-scooters can be outfitted with a seat, this is not the standard. Most electric scooters are stand-up rides. E-bikes, on the other hand, come equipped with a seat.
In our opinion, getting the opportunity to stand while commuting to and from work is a huge benefit of e-scooters. If you work in the city, you probably sit at a desk all day. This sitting can take a serious toll on your hips, knees, and back. Standing for 30-60 minutes a day will help loosen up that tension you develop while sitting at work. Thus, the electric scooter has an advantage in comfort and ergonomics.
But, you also need to consider the suspension of your personal electric transportation device. The average electric bike doesn't come with suspension - these are street bikes, so to speak. Potholes and bumps in the road will take their toll over time. Many electric scooters, on the other hand, come equipped with heavy-duty suspension. You'll feel like you're gliding on air while cruising the streets in your electric scooter.
All this considered, we prefer the comfortable ride an e-scooter provides vs the more rigid, seated ride an e-bike offers.
The convenience and portability e-scooters offer simply cannot be beaten by e-bikes. An electric bike is far larger and bulkier - and thus, will take up more space in your garage. Not only that - but you'll have to park it outside if you aren't on the first floor of your building.
E-scooters, on the other hand, are highly portable. They can be broken down and folded up. This makes it easy to carry the e-scooter upstairs or put it in the trunk of your car if you're taking a trip. While the typical electric scooter weighs under 30 pounds, an electric bike can weigh up to 100 pounds! Good luck lugging that thing around your apartment building or office space.
It's also worth noting that there will be instances where you'll use your e-scooter or e-bike as temporary transportation to get you to your train station. Again - the portability of an e-scooter will really come in handy here. You can even call up a taxi if it's looking like you forgot to charge up your e-scooter and plop it in the trunk of the taxi. With an e-bike, you'll be stuck pedaling manually the rest of the way.
One aspect that often gets overlooked in the electric scooter vs electric bike debate is safety. When you ride them carefully, both of these are perfectly safe means of transportation. But is one safer than the other?
People generally regard e-scooters as a bit less safe than e-bikes. Why is that? It comes down to two reasons.
First and foremost, some people ride their e-scooters a bit more aggressively than they would an e-bike. That's because e-scooters are designed not just to get you from point a to point b - but to allow you to have fun doing it. As such, you may find yourself getting a bit carried away on e-scooters. E-bike riders are typically more careful - and just use electric bicycles as a way to get to and from their destination.
But it's also in the design. E-scooters are lower to the ground, and if you aren't an experienced rider - you can be more prone to losing control or balance. This is less of an issue when you buy three-wheeled electric scooters. While these are not as common as their two-wheeled counterparts, they are quickly becoming regarded as the preferred choice among riders. They offer far more stability and control, and thus, keep you safer. You should also factor in the wheels of your e-scooter or e-bike. An e-bike is sometimes regarded as safer because the tires are much larger. However, you can easily find an e-scooter with large pneumatic tires, too.
Another thing to keep in mind is the brakes on your device. For example, e-scooters these days come with electronic braking that helps you stop on a dime. With all this said, safety is a bit of a wash in the e-scooter vs e-bike debate.
You're probably going to greatly consider the cost of an electric scooter vs an electric bike before making a decision. Keep in mind that shopping based on price isn't the best idea - you typically get what you pay for. Trying to save some money with a cheaper electric vehicle will only cost you more in the long run as you have to shell out for repairs or a replacement vehicle altogether.
With that said, a high-quality e-scooter is far cheaper than a high-quality e-bike. When comparing the best in each class, you'll save much more money by opting for the electric scooter. You can get the best of the best for under $3k. On the other hand, a high-end e-bike can cost as much as $5K+! If you're looking to get the most out of your budget, e-scooters tend to be the right choice. Keep in mind - you have to get the best electric scooter possible if you're looking to gain the most value. Fortunately, we wrote up a guide to help you make your choice.
Sure - you want your e-scooter or e-bike to get you from point a to point b. But why not have some fun doing it? The reality is that an electric scooter is much more fun than an electric bike - plain and simple. To truly understand why you'd have to experience the sheer thrill of carving up a road on your electric scooter. It's unlike anything an e-bike can provide.
Furthermore, off-road e-scooters allow you to ride in any terrain. You can ride electric scooters on grass, on dirt paths, on the beach, you name it. Compared to the road-locked e-bike, an e-scooter is far more versatile. If you identify a shortcut on your way to work that takes you off the beaten path, you'll be able to take it - not a problem. However, most e-bikes are built for the street and the street only.
Well, that just about wraps up our electric scooter vs electric bike debate. At this point, all that's left to do is weigh the pros and cons each means of transportation provides. The average e-bike will get you to and from work safely, and an electric scooter can do that too - but while offering more fun along the way.
As such, most people prefer electric scooters. However, only you can decide which is right for you. If you're looking to learn more about electric 3-wheeled scooters, head over to the Cycleboard site and discover what makes us the right choice for your transportation needs.