IconBIT Smart Kick Scooter review: battery powered transportation could save the city commuter

On a recent trip to San Francisco , I was able to experience first-hand the current phenomenon of rentable electric scooters.

Much like rentable bikes, these tiny two-wheelers are scattered about the streets and can be unlocked by scanning a QR code through an app that holds your payment details.

Once scanned, the scooter is unlocked and can be ridden around the city at speeds of around 15mph. There are three start-up companies currently trying to make this idea work.

While it allows people to quickly cover ground without breaking a sweat or having to pile onto a bus or metro carriage, it has drawn criticism from authorities who are suddenly finding their streets are swamped with scooters. In fact, I actually had to go to Oakland to ride them as they’ve been banned in San Francisco proper.

The idea hasn’t made it over to the UK yet, but that doesn’t mean you won’t see someone zipping about on an electric scooter now and then. In fact, electric transportation is growing though a bit of a surge – I’ve already tried out an electric skateboard and an electric bike this year.

The iconBIT Smart Kick Scooter is a German-made scooter with a 350-watt motor attached powered by a lithium ion battery. It can be had for £500 from Currys , although at the time of writing it was currently out of stock.

Design

The IconBIT Kick Smart Scooter

What you get for that is a nippy little portable vehicle that is made out of carbon fibre (it weighs 7kg) and can be folded down for storage when you’re not using it.

There’s a small LCD display with three buttons on one of the handlebars, one of which powers up the scooter once it’s charged. From there, it’s just a case of flicking up the kickstand and pressing down on a small paddle-style accelerator on the right handlebar.

The equivalent paddle on the left handlebar is the regenerative break – which will recharge the battery slightly as it kicks in to slow you down. It takes a bit of practice to do this smoothly but there’s also a traditional step-down break on the back wheel that you can use if you want.


The other two buttons on the LCD display are effectively “gears” which let you go up to higher speeds. The scooter tops out at around 25kph (15.5mph) which is as fast as you’re allowed to go on electric transportation without having to get licenced. On an electric bike, that’s not nearly fast enough but on a scooter it’s pretty serviceable.

Riding experience

It has a range of 25km on a single charge

The real problem is that UK roads are not particularly friendly towards scooters or skateboards thanks to potholes, speedbumps, manhole covers, gravel and other road-users. You have to be very aware of what’s beneath you and will have to put up with plenty of juddering coming up through your shins. That’s no fault of the product (the 5.5-inch tyres do their best to offset it) but it is something to bear in mind.

Still, a particularly handy feature of the iconBIT is that the steering tube folds down flat to the deck, so you can haul it onto a train or stow it under your desk. It’s made out of carbon fibre as well, so it’s reasonably light.

I wouldn’t choose it for a 5+ mile commute but if you need it to cover a mile and a half from the station (or car park) to your office, it’s perfect. Especially because you won’t get sweaty using it like you do with a traditional pedal bike.

However, you have to understand that no matter how impressively designed the product is, there is no feasible way for a grown adult to look cool while riding a scooter. You’ve been warned.

Range and power

The scooter folds down to be more portable

The quoted range is 23km (14 miles) on a single charge – which I fell just a bit short of. Probably because I just kept it on the highest speed setting which drains the battery quicker.

I will also say that the iconBIT will manage a slight incline – but don’t expect to be powering up any hills with this – it’s just doesn’t have the juice for it.

Inside the scooter is a Samsung lithium ion battery stored in the front steering tube for, the company says, better heat dissipation and a more even weight distribution.


Along the front of the iconBIT is an LED strip of light for riding in the dark. It’s pretty good at keeping you visible but my honest advice is to accentuate this with some lights of your own. Strap them to every possible place as you’re a much smaller presence on a scooter than on a bike so you want to make yourself as visible as possible.

Conclusion


I absolutely loved my time with the iconBIT electric scooter – just as I did with the electric bike and electric skateboard. There’s nothing better than zipping around a city without breaking a sweat and not having to rely on public transport.

And the scooter is probably the perfect mid-way point between the bike and the board. It’s more portable than the former and easier to ride than the latter. If you need a quick get-about that can be stored away without a problem then you should be looking at this. It might be a bit dear now, but I’m sure the price tag will come down in due time.

If anything, the problem with this kind of product is that the UK (or, at least, London) isn’t really configured for it at the moment. Unlike San Francisco, the roads and pavements are narrow, uneven and swamped with construction barriers, prams and tourist groups. Sticking to the bike lanes is the best option but be prepared to be constantly overtaken by lycra-clad cyclists.

Still, I had a blast riding this around for a few days and I really hope this kind of personal transportation becomes the norm in UK cities in the future.

You can buy the iconBIT Smart Kick Scooter here .

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