An increasing number of adults are turning to the childhood favourite to speed up their commute and liven up those walks between meetings. But are adult scooters a boon to travel, or best left to the kids? Four brave volunteers tested the latest models
Programme manager, IoD
What Oxelo Town 7 XL, £79.99
My first impressions of the scooter were that it looks smart and sturdy, and the ride was very smooth, handling small bumps, kerbs and cracks well while the footboard had a good grip that made me feel comfortable and confident that I wasn’t going to slip off. I also didn’t feel nervous while riding through busy areas where there were a lot of people milling about. My journey is about six miles altogether and using the scooter halved the time it usually takes for me to travel from work to the station. The downside is that the scooter is heavy and carrying it on the Tube along with my backpack was quite difficult. I couldn’t drag it as there is no way to lock the wheel into place – but the addition of a carrying strap is useful. It’s a bit tricky to collapse and when you’re in a busy station with lots of people around you this process needs to be quick and simple. It fitted in the overhead compartment on the train, which is handy. Because my journey involves the Tube I wouldn’t personally use it, but for someone travelling from A to B I would recommend this as it does make the journey easier.
Karan Bawa is a member of IoD Hertfordshire
Co-founder, Young Brits Network
What Bopster Sport Pro, £44.99
My initial thoughts were that the scooter was bigger than I was expecting, but luckily it was lighter than I thought it would be. It was easy to carry when folded up and really easy to expand – you just click the handles into place and press a button on the base that allows the frame to pop up, which would be good on a cold day when your hands are stiff. The downside is that there is no suspension so the ride can be quite rough when going over bumps and dips in the road, but the bearings are good and steering is easy. It did make my journey, which involves walking and the Tube, easier and quicker, and I had no problems with carrying the scooter on the busy Underground. It was much cheaper than I thought, too – I asked my wife and some friends how much they thought it was worth and they all thought it’d be in the hundreds. I did feel a bit like I was trying to recapture my youth while riding it, and I’ve not seen many people using scooters so it felt a bit like a mid-life crisis, but overall I would recommend it.
Alex Mitchell is chair of IoD 99
Managing director, membership, IoD
What SwiftyONE, £599
This scooter is beautifully engineered with high-quality fittings including fast-rolling Kenda tyres with reflective sidewalls and a folding mechanism that is quite simple and only takes one or two goes to master. The downside is that it is very large – so large that even when folded I had to wait for less crowded Tube trains to get it in the carriage, and it is also slightly embarrassing and impractical when on pavements as it dominates the space with its wide handlebars. It rolls fast and manages bumpy roads and pavements well, and the orange colour is lovely but certainly draws attention. The front brake of the model I tested is on the left side of the handlebar (UK bikes have the front brake on the right) and there are no mudguards supplied so I got surface water sprayed on my work shoes and clothes, but I can see there are mountings for mudguards and possibly a rack, so it would be more practical with these. My 12-year-old loved it and begged to have a go at the weekend, and though it’s very tiring when going uphill it is fun downhill. Overall, it’s such a compromise that I would choose a fold-up bike instead.
Digital marketing executive, Institute of Directors
What Micro scooter, £174.95
The scooter is quite smart and I liked the black colour-way. It comes with a little kickstand that comes in handy, but it took several people to figure out how to collapse the handlebars and unfortunately I still hadn’t mastered it by the time I finished the review. The large wheels meant that travelling was easy and took little effort, though the absence of any suspension made the ride a bit bumpy and slightly uncomfortable and riding it on the pavement where hoards of tourists and pedestrians congregate was a bit of a nightmare. I think if I had a commute where no Tube or train was involved I would make the investment, however as it stands I would rather carry around a fold-up bike as this scooter doesn’t make the journey much easier, and at least riding a bike on the road means you don’t have to navigate around pedestrians as much. That being said, Micro does seem to be one of the more popular brands and the design is smart and unassuming, meaning I didn’t feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb on the pavement. I had a look on the Micro website and there are loads of other models with different features, so perhaps one of those would be more suitable to my needs.
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