REVIEW OF THE NINEBOT-SEGWAY ES2/ES4 ELECTRIC KICKSCOOTER
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
The Ninebot-Segway ES2 (sometimes called the Ninebot ES2 or Segway ES2, or indeed the Segway-Ninebot ES2) Kickscooter came to prominence in North American and the European continent when electric scooter hire companies Bird and Lime (along with others) started using them instead of the Xiaomi M365 (apparently due to the inability of Xiaomi to meet the increased demand for their M365 scooter). This first thing to address is the word "Kickscooter" in the name as this seems to imply it is not a powered scootered. Fear not, dear reader, as this is something of a misnomer. It seems the good people at Ninebot-Segway (or is that Segway-Ninebot?) decided that, because you have to "kick off" for the power to cut in (as with the M365 and others), it should rightly be called a kickscooter.
The second thing to address is the difference between the ES2 and ES4, as this review claims to cover both, right? Quite simply, the ES4 is the ES2 with an extra battery (the ES2 is designed so that a second battery can be added). I have seen one review site claim that the ES4 is not an official model, but this is not true. Segway sell the ES4 (which is just the ES2 with the second battery) as a separate model. However, we believe that it is better to buy the ES2 and see if it is powerful enough for you first; unless you already know you will be travelling further than 20-25 km at a time (the range on one battery). You can always buy an extra battery separately.
The Ninebot-Segway ES2 is a foldable electric scooter designed by Segway, the well-known American company that was bought by Chinese firm Ninebot (hence the variety of names) in 2015. Interestingly, Ninebot actually manufactures the M365 for Xiaomi, who invested in Ninebot, making the whole thing a little confusing. Segway had a headstart on both Ninebot and Xiaomi (and had claimed copyright infringement against Ninebot) when it came to personal mobility products, both in terms of technology and brand awareness (and it is a little odd that Ninebot feels the need to put their name on the ES2/ES4 in the West, as it cannot help sales).
The ES2 has a simple folding design, 25 km (16 mile) range, 25 km/h (16 mph) top-speed, 12.5 kg weight, and front and rear suspension. The extra battery (turning it into an ES4) extends the range to 45 km (28 miles) and the top speed to 30 km/h (19 mph). It also boasts cruise control, headlight, electronic and foot brake, spedemoter and a dedicated phone app (seen in the image below), called "Segway-Ninebot" just to confuse matters further. It comes in a snazzy white box (which is likely to be scuffed up inside the delivery van before it reaches you) and requires a small amount of self-assembly (or it would need an awkwardly large box for shipping).
The ES2's Li-ion battery is located in the handelbar stem (whereas the M365's battery is located in the base) and the frame itself is built from aluminum (or an alloy thereof). It feels very strong and the folding mechanism means it can be folded or unfolded in about three seconds. As with the M365, the sturdiness does mean it is reasonably heavy at 12.5 kg; but carbon fibre would make it significantly more expensive so this is as light as mid-range scooters come. Heaviness is of course relative and subjective: I am by no means strong and have carried the ES2 up and down stairs without too much effort. At the same time, and at the ever-present risk of coming across as sexist, I would not expect many women to want to carry this scooter around for long (yes, of course I realise there are many strong women out there - I frequently wrestle them). But electric scooters are not generally designed for carrying long distances. Instead, Segway (or was it Ninebot?) have devised the folding system so that you can pull the ES2 along like a misshapen suitcase.
The display on the ES2 is what sets it apart from the M365: it comes with a speedemoter as standard (whereas the M365 needs upgrading) as well as the battery strength and power mode. The accelerator (throttle) is a button/switch on the right-hand handlebar, while there is an electronic brake on the left-hand side (see picture below). I have to admit I like the more familiar bike-like brake on the M365, but the ES2 brake works well and I find I rarely have to use the brake anyway (being able to control your speed with the accelerator only). The ES2 has a headlight (seen below) and reflectors elsewhere. It does of course also have a kickstand.
Riding The ES2
The ES2 feels well-balanced despite the battery being in the stem. My inclination is that the base is a better place for the battery but having the second battery option necessitates the ES2 battery be housed in the stem. By the way, if you are not used to riding scooters or skateboards, the first time you ride any electric scooter will be a little nerve-wracking. This is common and you should quickly lose any trepidation. Accelerating and braking are easy and effective. I only ever use the front electronic brake on the handlebar (rather than the back foot brake) and have not tested the braking distances supplied by Ninebot-Segway but other testers have corroborated them.
The ES2 wheels are 8 inches in diameter at the front and 7.5 inches. Whereas the M365 tyres are pneumatic, the ES2 tyres are solid. To make up for this, the ES2 has front and rear suspension (see picture above). Ninebot-Segway believe this is advantageous because it means the tryes will not get punctures and, in fairness, this makes sense. There really is nothing to choose between the ES2 and the M365 when it comes to the smoothness of the ride. The ride is smooth as long as the ground itself is reasonably level. I have ridden the ES2 extensively in Mexico City, where road repairs fall fairly low down on the "to-do list", and found that, as long as major potholes are avoided, and a comfortable riding stance taken, most road surfaces can be comfortably traversed. Unsurprisingly, cobble stones present something of a hazard (making it difficult to ride the length of the River Seine in Paris and maintain an air of coolness throughout).
We would always recommend wearing a helmet when riding an electric scooter. Most scooter injuries seem to happen when a pothole (or similar) is encountered and the smallish wheels are indeed susceptible to such obstacles. Please read my post Are Electric Scooters Safe? for more information and statistics on the safety of electric scooters. As we often point out, it is currently not legal to ride privately owned electric scooters on public roads (and pavements) in the UK, although we expect this to change in the near future.
The ES2 has a 187 Wh (Watt-hour) battery, which produces 300-700 Watts of motor power. This is quite an impressive conversion but what does it actually mean? Well, it determines two things: how fast you can go, and how far you can go. Of course, there are other variables, most notably the weight of the rider, but assuming you are not unnaturally large and your ride is over level ground, Ninebot-Segway stipulates a top-speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) and a range of 25 km (16 miles). As noted above, the extra battery extends the range to 45 km (28 miles) and the top speed to 30 km/h (19 mph). I have found these figures to be accurate although I rarely find myself in a situation where I want to ride above 15 mp/h. I think I must be a fairly cautious rider, especially when riding in Mexico City!
The efficiency of the ES2's battery means it has a relatively short charging time of 3.5 hours (though this is doubled if you are also charging a second battery). I think this is pretty impressive when you consider that, after being charged, the scooter can then take you 25 km at speeds of up to 25 km/h. My laptop takes about the same time to charge and yet, when I stand on it, it goes nowhere.
The ES2 is a very good, mid-range electric scooter but the big question is whether or not it is worth spending the extra money on an ES2 or buying the M365 instead. There is a full comparison between the ES2 and M365 here, but the essentials are this: which do you think looks cooler? How important is a speedometer and could you be bothered to upgrade the M365's display? Are you likely to puncture your tyres often (in which case an ES2 is preferable)? As noted in the introduction, both Lime and Bird have been hiring out the ES2 so it is clearly a reliable scooter. I could perhaps detract half a star for the lack of a rear/brake light: as electric scooter are, currnently, technically illegal to ride on public roads the fact that a rear light is missing is inconsequential but it is worth remembering that, should you ride your scooter after dark, you would need what the law refers to as a "rear position lamp". I solve this by attaching a light to my rucksack.
|Size (Unfolded)||102 x 43 x 113 cm|
|Size (Folded)||113 x 43 x 40 cm|
|Output||300 Watts (700W max)|
|Range||25 km (16 miles)
45 km with extra battery
|Max Climbing Angle||10 %
15 % with extra battery
|Shock Absorbers||Front & Back|
|Front Brake||Electric (Regenerative)|
|Braking Distance (20 km/h)||3-4 metres|
|Waterproof||IP 54: splash resistant|
|Ambient Light||Yes (via app)|