CleanTechnica Review: Hiboy VE1 Pro Electric Scooter

I’ve often wished there was something between common rideshare kick scooters, like something you’d rent from Lime or Bird, and larger forms of micromobility, like an e-bike or a motorcycle/scooter. It’s hard to take most e-bikes and carry them into an office or classroom, and the small kick scooters just aren’t that stable or comfortable for longer rides. Recently, Hiboy, a micromobility company, reached out to me to have me review their VE1 Pro Electric Scooter (disclosure: we get to keep the scooter after our review).

In reality, the word “scooter” is probably not the best term for what they’re offering here. It’s hard to get a sense of scale in most of the photos, and the scooter is much bigger that it appears in most photos. The wheels are actually 16″ in diameter, like you’d find on a child’s bicycle, and the rest of the scooter is large as well. Some manufacturers call scooters like this “kick bikes,” because they’re built with parts like you’d find on a bicycle instead of sharing more with rollerblades.

So, no, this isn’t a compact scooter that you can hide in a backpack, but it’s easy to put in the back of most cars and stash in a corner or a closet if you fold the handlebars down and put it on its end . While it’s bigger and heavier, there are some real advantages to that. Large 16″ wheels give you a lot more gyroscopic stability than you’d get on a tiny kick scooter with rollerblade wheels, and this makes the whole thing feel a lot more steady.

Before we get to riding impressions, let’s talk about unboxing and assembly.

With the handlebar folded and the scooter put up on its end, it really doesn’t take up that much space.

Getting Started With the Hiboy VE1 Pro

Like most e-bikes, the VE1 Pro shows up in a box with some assembly required. This helps keep the box small, which saves you on shipping costs. It’s not as big of a box as you’d get a fat-tire e-bike in, but it’s certainly larger than a regular kick scooter’s box would be.

The assembly process was very straightforward and almost completely self-explanatory.

After getting everything out and removing bubble wrap, you need to raise the handlebar/steering stalk and lock it into place, and remove two screws to put the handlebar in place. From my testing, I’d recommend tilting the handlebar slightly forward, so that the brake handles are lower than the handlebar. this makes it a lot easier to use the brake levers later when you’re riding it. The brake cables, electronics, and everything else should be ready to go and attached to the handlebars already, but look for anything that may have come loose in shipping and plug in or snug down.

The rear wheel is already attached from the factory, but you do need to bolt the supports for the rear fender into place. There’s not much to explain there. Next, do the same for the front fender (which isn’t attached at all from the factory).

With all of that done, you’re ready to install the front wheel. I’d recommend putting the scooter upside down on its handlebar so you don’t have to hold the scooter up while putting the front wheel into place. I had to RTFM (Read The Friggin’ Manual) for this step, because there are little bearing spacers and one is wider than the other. The manual tells you to put the narrower spacer on the side with the disc brake and the wider spacer on the other side (without the disc brake). There are good photos in the manual, so I won’t put any here. Once you’ve got everything on the skewer in the right place, snug the bolts down and tighten the front wheel in to place.

At this point, you should be ready to ride, but if you live anywhere with puncture vines or other thorns, I’d recommend at least adding slime to the tubes and if possible, take other thornproofing measures that you’d take on any e -bike. Also, wear a helmet and maybe other protective gear. You’ll see why in a minute!

How It Rides

Like an e-bike, the scooter has several power assist levels to choose from. Level 1 is the most tame and cuts out at lower speeds, while level 3 gives you the full 500 watts and lets you get as fast as 23 miles per hour. I’d personally recommend taking your first ride at the lowest level, because at full power, it can be a little scary at first. Ease into it at lower power levels and work your way up to full power as you get familiar with it.

The powerful and torquey 500 watt rear hub motor.

Honestly, at level 3, the scooter is a little scary. It’s got plenty of torque and takes off pretty hard, so I was grateful that it’s far more stable than most kick scooters, due to the comparatively large wheels and tires. I rode around my neighborhood, and as often happens, some small dogs were loose and were offended that I rode by their master’s house, and decided they were going to come bite my ankles. I quick press of the thumb throttle, and it wasn’t long before I reached the full 23 miles per hour and the dogs were left far behind me.

This isn’t something I’d normally recommend, though. At 23 miles per hour, it wouldn’t take a very big error to send you skidding across the pavement on your hands and knees, and you’re getting toward the limits of its brakes. So, I’d recommend either wearing additional protective gear (wrist and knee guards in addition to your helmet), or slow down to 10-15 miles per hour for a lot more stability and safety. In dense urban environments, you probably won’t get going that fast anyway.

Kids Love It

One important thing that deserves its own section: older kids (8-18) love it. I’d recommend safety gear, and make them use the lowest power level for their first ride, but my kids had a great time on it around the neighborhood. It’s a lot like the kick scooters they’re used to, but much faster and more stable. I had a hard time getting any riding time on it myself because getting the kids off of it was like pulling teeth!

If you have kids who can be responsible with the power this has, it’s great for them, too.

One Small Downside (For Some Buyers)

It’s generally not a great idea to leave a lithium-ion battery outdoors in the heat and the cold if you can avoid that at all. That’s why it’s a good idea to bring an e-bike’s battery indoors if you need to leave the bike outside or in a shed without heating and air conditioning. This greatly extends the battery’s life.

The VE1 Pro does not have an easily removable battery, so be sure you won’t have to leave it out much if you’re considering one. This isn’t a big deal, as the scooter’s handlebar folds and you can tip it up on its end to stick it in a closet or in an office corner. However, if you’re low on space, and can’t even do that, you probably need to get something smaller or with an easily removed battery.

All images by Jennifer Sensiba.


 


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