City dwellers are forever looking for a way to move around without cars or mass transit, and as much as I love being on my bike, it's never comfortable to show up somewhere on a summer day drenched in sweat. Over the last few years, we've seen skateboard and scooters equipped with battery-powered motors take over as the popular choice, with the latter dominating as a rental option in many cities. And while they get the job done, they're often clumsy and not always the most effective at getting you around.
EcoReco has been in the scooter space for years now, and their attention to detail and polish is the result of that experience. This latest offering, the L5+ scooter, is a love letter to distance scooter users who need to travel without worry. And after a few weeks with it, I'm finding myself more often than not choosing it over my bike to get somewhere quick.
Gotta go fast
EcoReco L5+: What I like
When most people think about electric scooters, the image conjured is usually one of those rental scooters you see piled up on sidewalks in just about every major city. While they serve a purpose, it's not the ideal experience for folks who want to commute regularly. On top of having performance-limiting software onboard to keep inexperienced riders from wiping out in the middle of a busy street, they're not exactly easy to collapse down and tuck away in an office. They're for tourists or people making a one-off trip. EcoReco scooters are designed for folks who need to be on them every day, for more than a few miles in each direction. And with a top speed of 20mph and a collapsible design, it's pretty easy to get where you're going and not broadcast to the world that you have a scooter.
20mph a little fast for you? No problem; you can easily change that to 12mph or even 7mph in settings without dramatically impacting battery life. EcoReco claims 14-28 mile range on a single charge, depending on how much weight is on the board and the hills you're climbing. At 210 pounds, I was consistently able to get 18 miles on reasonably flat terrain in a single charge, and that was at 20mph, which is really more like 22-24mph if you go uninterrupted for long enough. Though, fair warning, that top speed does drop a little after you lose about half of the battery.
I've ridden a ton of different scooters, and the EcoReco L5+ is one I've felt safer on than most, even at those top speeds. The wider tires and shock system makes it easy to navigate less than perfect streets, even in wet conditions. And with a safety plug for the charger, I was able to plow through puddles without concern I was going to damage my scooter. Its a fun, freeing experience to get from A to B safely and faster than I'd be able to do on most other things with two wheels without breaking a sweat.
Seriously, no headlight?
EcoReco L5+: What I don't like
For a scooter so clearly designed to get you to and from the office or college campus, with a battery capable of getting you at least eight miles in each direction, EcoReco doesn't do nearly enough to make this thing play nice in the dark. There's a red light on the back when you're riding, but a headlight isn't standard for some reason. Adding a battery-powered light is easy enough and not terribly expensive, but there's no good reason for this not to be a standard.
Headlight aside, the one gauge on the bike to give you all of the critical information about the ride only really works well during the day. This simple display shows you the remaining battery, distance traveled in multiple forms, and your speed. Unfortunately, seeing how fast you are going relies on you being able to see where the little tick marks line up with the numbers on the outer edge of the display, which you can only see in daylight. The bright blue of the display isn't enough to light up those number indicators, so once the sun goes down, this little scooter becomes significantly less safe and fun to ride, in my opinion.
EcoReco did a great job making this scooter collapse down so you can just pick it up by the bar and walk onto a mass transit system or hop into a cab when needed, but it's important to know this thing is heavy. You won't be slinging this over your shoulder with a strap or anything; it's going to require some focus to lift it and carry it around. To EcoReco's credit, the weight is well distributed, so it's not awkward to pick up, but unless you're comfortable lifting 30+ pounds plus the added weight of the power cable and its massive brick if you need to charge during the day, this may not be the scooter for you.
EcoReco L5+: Should you buy it?
In my opinion, EcoReco has delivered the best all-around scooter you can buy today. It's got great mileage per charge, plenty fast, charges pretty quickly, and the price is outstanding. While the weight may be a problem for anyone slight of frame, it's a perfect way to get around in a city without needing to rely on sweat or gas.
If you think scooters might be your thing, this is likely your first and last shopping stop.