Electric Skateboards vs. Electric Scooters and Bicycles: Which is the Best Ride for You?
May 14, 2023
- Advantages of Electric Rideables for Transportation
- Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Electric Skateboards, Scooters, and Bicycles
- Electric Skateboards - Pros and Cons
- Electric Scooters - Pros and Cons
- Electric Bicycles - Pros and Cons
- Cost Comparison Between Electric Rideables
- Safety Considerations When Using Electric Rideables
- Best Electric Rideables for Commuting and Transportation
Electric skateboards, scooters, and bicycles have gained popularity as eco-friendly and recreational transportation options. They provide motor-powered riding without the need for gas, emissions, or traffic congestion like motorcycles or cars. However, each ride presents unique benefits and downsides, so choosing which is best for you depends on factors such as speed, portability, cost, range, and riding style.
Advantages of Electric Rideables for Transportation
Electric rideables provide compelling advantages for getting around towns and cities without a vehicle. They produce zero direct emissions, require no registration or licensing, are more space-efficient to store than cars, and provide the health benefits of moderate exercise. Unlike gas vehicles, maintenance costs are lower and fuel is inexpensive and sustainable. Despite upfront costs, electric rideables can save money on transportation in the long run.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Electric Skateboards, Scooters, and Bicycles
Several factors determine which electric rideable is best for you between skateboards, scooters and bicycles:
- Speed and power. Skateboards typically reach the fastest top speeds of 15-28 mph but have the least range. Scooters usually max out at 15 mph with moderate range and power for city riding. E-bikes support pedal assist up to 28 mph and higher torque for hilly terrain or cargo. Consider how fast and powerfully you want to ride.
- Range and portability. Skateboards have the shortest range on a single charge of 10-15 miles but fold very compactly for portability. Scooters range from 15-30 miles and fold but are larger than skateboards. E-bikes can exceed 30 miles range and can fold or dismantle for portability but least compact overall. Determine how far you need to ride and how easily the ride can be stored.
- Weight and capacity. Skateboards and scooters typically support 150-250 lbs, while e-bikes of 300 lbs or more can haul cargo or multiple riders. Make sure any weight limits meet your needs.
- Cost. Pricing varies significantly based on power, range, brand and features. Entry-level electric skateboards start around $300-$700, scooters $200-$1500, and e-bikes $1000-$5000 or more for high-performance models. Decide how much you can afford to spend on your electric rideable.
- Riding style. Skateboards may feel most thrilling but unstable for novice riders. Scooters provide the simplest riding experience. E-bikes balance performance and capability with natural pedaling familiarity. Consider how experienced, adventurous, or cautious you prefer to ride.
- Safety. Safety equipment like helmets, and elbow and knee pads are recommended for all electric rideables, regardless of speed. Additional safety considerations depend on your riding style and speed. Make sure any ride meets safety standards and your own comfort with speed and control. You can also refer to this blog, which guides you how to avoid hurting yourselves when falling off an electric skateboard.
- Recreation versus commuting. Determine if you primarily want an electric rideable for recreation, short-distance commuting, longer commutes, or a blend. Options excel in different use cases. Shorter-range skateboards and scooters work best for recreation while e-bikes handle recreation and longer commutes. Choose what suits your needs.
Electric Skateboards - Pros and Cons
- Fastest top speeds with quick acceleration for thrill riding. Some can reach 28 mph.
- Most portable and compact when folded for storage. Easy to carry and transport.
- Shortest range on a single charge, typically 10-15 miles. Limited distance capability.
- Least stable and maneuverable for off-road, hilly, or beginner riding. A higher center of gravity leads to more imbalance and a chance of tipping.
- No suspension, so a rough ride over uneven terrain. No shock absorption.
- Viewed as less mainstream and practical by some for commuting or transportation. Mostly recreational.
Electric Scooters - Pros and Cons
- Moderate speed of 15-28 mph suitable for city riding with quick acceleration.
- Decent range of 15-30 miles on a single charge for longer trips.
- Foldable but more compact than an e-bike when stored. Portable and space-efficient.
- Limited power for high performance, hill climbing, or off-road riding. Underpowered for heavy loads or cargo.
- Less stable at higher speeds due to small tubeless tires, shorter wheelbase and more centrally located battery weight. Some balance issues, especially on rough terrain.
- No storage for cargo or accessories without a trunk. Limited capacity.
Electric Bicycles - Pros and Cons
- Provides pedal assist up to 28 mph with high power and torque for any terrain including hills. Can handle cargo/loads and off-road riding.
- Long range of 30+ miles on a single charge for 100+ mile rides. Most versatile and capable overall.
- Natural and balanced riding feel from pedaling. Most stable and controllable handling of the three options. Suspension in front and/or rear reduces roughness.
- Storage for cargo, accessories, and passengers in baskets, trunks, or trailers. Highest capacity.
- Least portable when folded for storage due to larger size. Difficult to lift and transport folded.
- Often higher cost, especially for higher performance models. Can be the priciest of electric rideable options.
- Pedaling provides a workout that some view as less relaxing than riding as a passenger like on a skateboard or scooter.
Overall, the pros and cons depend on how, where, and why you want to ride. Electric skateboards and scooters emphasize portability, range, and lower cost but with limited performance. E-bikes provide the most well-rounded capability but less compact storage. Choose based on needs and priorities to find the perfect electric ride for your short or long-term use.
Cost Comparison Between Electric Rideables
- Electric skateboards typically range from $300 to $1000+ for higher-end models depending on power and range. Entry-level skateboards with smaller batteries provide a 10-15 miles range and cost $300-$700.
- Electric scooters range from $200 for basic models up to $3000 or more for high-performance versions. Most typical commuter scooters cost $800-$1500 with a 15–30mile range.
- Electric bicycles span $1000 to $10,000 or more depending on power, range, components, and brand. Commuter e-bikes usually start around $2000-$3000 with a 30-50 mile range. High-end performance e-bikes can cost $5000-$10,000.
While upfront costs are often higher than gas alternatives, total costs of ownership including fuel and maintenance expenses are typically lower over the lifetime of the vehicle. Electric rideables also retain value well and hold their appeal for recreational use. The right ride can save money versus car ownership for commuting in the long run.
Safety Considerations When Using Electric Rideables
- Always wear an approved helmet regardless of speed for any electric rideable.
- Electric skateboards and scooters typically reach lower top speeds so less safety gear is needed but still advisable. Elbow and knee pads provide protection from impacts.
- Faster e-bikes, especially those exceeding 20 mph, require more safety gear including padded shorts, gloves, eye protection, and reflective/high visibility clothing in addition to a helmet. Regulations vary in different areas regarding required safety equipment based on speed.
- Follow the rules of the road and any speed limit signs posted for your electric rideable and location. Be courteous to pedestrians and other cyclists/riders.
- Ensure proper weight limits are not exceeded for your specific ride and any passengers/cargo. Balance and maneuverability are impacted at higher weights. Stability and control are most important for safety.
Best Electric Rideables for Commuting and Transportation
- Recreation and thrill riding: Electric skateboards provide the fastest, most thrilling ride with quick acceleration for recreational riding. However, limited range, stability, and portability mean not ideal for commuting or transportation.
- Short-distance urban riding: Electric scooters are excellent for riding around neighborhoods, downtown areas, or college campuses. Moderate power and speed suit city streets while the range of 15-30 miles allows of longer rides. Foldable and lightweight options exist for easy portability. Best for 3-10 miles trips.
- General transportation and commuting: For distances of 3-50 miles or more, electric bicycles balance performance and capability with practicality for commuting or longer recreation rides. Options include commuters, fat tires, cargo, and high-performance e-bikes. It provides natural pedal-assist riding and suspension for comfort. Pedaling works muscles but is less strenuous than traditional biking. Best all-purpose electric rideable for transportation.
- Hilly or high-performance terrain: For riding rough, unpaved, hilly, mountainous, or surfaced trails, high-performance e-bikes provide advanced suspension and mega wattage for power on demanding terrain. Longer range options allow more remote adventures far from home. Full-suspension fat tire e-bikes also handle rugged conditions comfortably with limited maintenance. The sky is the limit for adventure with high-performance e-bikes.
- Limited mobility or storage: Scooters require little storage space but can be difficult to mount/dismount or carry/load gear for those with limited strength or mobility. Most e-bikes have storage on or under the frame in baskets, trunks, or saddlebags for passengers or cargo. Step-through e-bike frames provide lowered access. Cargo e-bikes have the largest capacity for high-volume gear or commercial business use.
In summary, determine what factors are most important based on your needs, priorities, and riding style. Compare options by speed, range, cost, portability, capacity, and purpose to find the electric skateboard, scooter, or bicycle that will get you riding happily and sustainably for life based on how and why you want to ride. The right choice will make every mile easy, eco-friendly, and enjoyable.