Are you unsure whether to buy an Electric Bike or an Electric Scooter?
We will help you decide, based on your needs and your own circumstances.
For those not familiar, a scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with a handlebar for steering and a deck (or underbone) for the feet. Scooters are propelled either by the rider pushing off the ground with their leg (kick scooter) or sometimes with a motor (electric/motorized scooters). Bicycles, on the other hand, is also a two-wheeled vehicle with a handlebar for steering but instead of being propelled by pushing off the ground, bicycles have gears and are propelled by pedals to spin the wheels. For kick scooters when you lose momentum, you reapply motion by kicking the ground to move forward. For the bicycle, when you lose momentum, you don't need to reapply force to the ground. Instead, you push down on the pedals which are attached to the gears on the back wheel, which turns the wheel and propels you forward.
But there are now many bicycles, such as the EUY Electric bikes, which also have built-in motors to assist you in pedaling and propelling your bike forward. This means, that both scooters and bicycles have motorized versions and more specifically: Electrically powered motorized versions of each other. This is where we get the term Electric Scooters (a scooter with a motor powered by an electric battery) and electric bikes (a bicycle with a motor also powered by an electric battery). If you want to learn more about pedal-assisted electric bikes, we have a detailed article on this earlier.
If you could only afford one, which is better between an electric scooter and an electric bike?
Not surprisingly, the answer to this question is, "it depends."
Limiting Motor Power for comparison (400-500 W)
First of all, there are so many types of electric scooters and electric bikes. The size of the engine, top speed, and feel of the road differs from brand to brand. Electric scooters with motor power of 500W have a top speed of around 16 to 20 mph. There are even faster versions of scooters with bigger engines but those are more for road use as a motorcycle than for micro-mobility. If you plan to use the scooter for use on the sidewalks or shortcuts, you should first check your local city's traffic rules and regulations. That can inform you of the top speeds of motorized vehicles on the sidewalks (if it is even legal at all.) For electric bikes, specifically from the EUY brand (400W), the top speed of a pedal-assisted motor is around 20 mph. So, if the purpose of your vehicle is to weave in and out of traffic, the top speed and engine size shouldn't be a consideration because of all the limiting factors such as 1. The traffic of the roads themselves (you can't ever go full speed on a busy street), 2. Rules of the City and 3. Safety of the rider and pedestrians just to name a few.
If we were to compare a 500W electric bike and an electric scooter, the benefits of an electric scooter are the following:
- Better Maneuverability - Scooters generally have a smaller turning radius than a bicycle, which gives them increased agility to turn and weave in and out of crowds or buildings.
- Easier to prevent self-accidents - By design, the positioning of your feet on a scooter is so much closer to the floor than a bike. This means whenever you are about to fall or tip over, it is easier and faster for the average person to react to catching themselves when on a scooter compared to when on a bicycle. This does not, however, make scooters safer when it comes to accidents or damages to people or things bumped by the scooter. This simply means that it is easier to balance yourself from a falling scooter compared to a falling bike because your feet are not positioned on pedals unlike on a bike.
- Easier to learn - If you don't know how to ride either a bike or a scooter, it is easier to learn how to ride a scooter than it is to learn how to ride a bike. As mentioned earlier, since your feet are closer to the floor, it's easier for you to catch yourself when falling from a scooter than from falling from a bike so for beginner riders of both modes of transportation, the learning curve for scooters is much lower.
The advantages of a 500W electric EUY bike compared to an electric scooter with the same battery capacity are the following:
- Better resistance to uneven roads. - By design, wheels of a bicycle even and electric EUY bicycle are bigger than average scooter. Generally bigger wheels allow for better movement over uneven roads. If you ride the EUY fat tire F6 electric bike, this feeling will be more obvious.
- Easily convertible to be allowed on parks and other pedestrian locations due to its removable batteries. - the Electric bikes EUY X6, EUY K6, the K6 Electric Mini bike and the F6 all have detachable batteries to make them allowable in areas where typically motor vehicles can't go. But make sure you check with your local government traffic agency if that applies to your area. Even when the battery is detached, the EUY bicycle still has gears to give additional leverage and allow you to move. This is a lot more difficult for scooters as even if you find a model with a detachable battery, the weight of the motor on the scooter makes it so much harder to move compared to a bike.
- Easier to move during floods or rainy days - Another advantage of the detachable battery is its ability to allow you to move when the roads you travel are filled with water (like my city). Even when the EUY bike's motor isn't working, the gears allow for movement even through a flooded street. You can't do this with battery-powered scooters even if you detach the battery because usually, you can't even get a good grip on the ground to push when moving through the rain. It would be much easier to carry the scooter above the water and walk than to push it through the water.
- Better climbing ability - Note that this is on the list simply because we limited the engine capacity of the scooters and bikes since we can't use bigger engines on the sidewalks and parks. Typically, if the electric scooter's motor has the same capacity as the electric bike, it's harder for the scooter to climb because all of the load is left to the engine/motor of the scooter. EUY bikes are pedal-assisted which means the motor only engages when you start to pedal, a lot of the force necessary to climb is split between the motor and the gears of the pedal. This makes climbing much more consistent on the EUY bike than on a scooter. Of course, you can still kick the ground to assist the electric scooter, but the force applied is less because of the leverage made by the gears.
Subjective factor to consider:
- Comfort - Generally with electric kick scooters, you're standing up and with the electric EUY bike, you're sitting down. Remember that too much of doing one position will have negative effects on your body. Too much sitting down or standing up is both bad and if you will be doing this daily twice a day, you should consider for yourself which position would you prefer to spend most of your time in. Maybe you should also consult your doctor to get a better idea of your physique and your capacity in either position.
Deciding whether to get an e-scooter or e-bike is dependent on a lot of factors such as government regulations, road conditions, distance to destination, comfort in riding, etc. Its best if you test both modes and see for yourself which gives you the best overall experience. Personally, I prefer riding a bike over using a scooter, but this is because I was taught to ride a bike by my grandfather which gives it a sentimental meaning to me. You should pick what works for you.