Smooth and sturdy • Good grips and easy controls • Sitting and standing options • LCD screen shows speed and charge • Comfortable seat
Short range • Slow acceleration • Heavy
If you’ve got a short commute, and are willing to lug 40 pounds around, Ancheer’s e-scooter for women is a great ride.
All over the country, but particularly on the West Coast, e-scooter startups are descending. From “Spinning” to “Birding,” electric scooters are all the rage these days, and it’s not hard to see why. They don’t get stuck in traffic, they’re faster than walking, they smell better than the bus, and bikes are so last century. So when I received an email asking me to try the newest “e-scooter for women,” I couldn’t help but inquire further.
What makes a scooter feminine, you ask?
To be clear, this isn’t being marketed as a scooter exclusively for women. In fact, all the press photos include male-looking riders, and I’m sure there will be buyers of all genders. Still, the company spokesperson insisted that the scooter had several qualities qualities that my gender, especially, would like. They gave me three:
It’s light. Fair enough — I technically have a Planet Fitness membership, but I also make a habit out of pretending it doesn’t exist, so the lighter the better.
The unusually wide deck makes it safer and more stable than competitors. Ah, yes, we must keep our women out of danger.
It’s easy to assemble. Makes sense: If there’s one thing we know about women, is that they can’t assemble things. 🙄
I took it for a spin to see for myself.
The company spokesperson wasn’t wrong about the setup. The manual was very helpful, and I was able to unfold and assemble the product in about 10 minutes (yes, me, a female!). It only took about three hours to fully charge.
Getting the assembled scooter outside, however, was another matter. This bad boy (er, girl) is just under 40 pounds. That means it’s not as hefty as some of its competitors, but it’s hardly light. Lugging it onto the bus, for example, or lifting it into an overhead rack, is quite a chore for an un-athletic individual like myself. After carrying it several blocks, my weak female arms were so sore that I settled for wheeling it like a bike the rest of the way.
The build, however, pays off in sturdiness. The Ancheer can carry up to 330 pounds, which, as a large woman whose weight often excludes her from cool-looking rideables, I found to be a welcome relief.
My unit has a white deck with black edges and two black vertical stripes. The logo is bright green, and a couple of the screws are pink. The color medley allowed me to feel a tad more fashionable than the other scooters I encountered on New York City’s streets, which were mostly solid black. Take that, patriarchy.
Finally, the Ancheer features a built-in headlight and horn, controlled by easily accessible buttons on the left handlebar. Most scooters don’t have these, and they’re very convenient, especially for city driving. Don’t press the horn unless you need to — it is very, very loud.
Fun, in short bursts
Ancheer touts its feminine scooter as sturdy and safe, and I have to agree. With a 9.5-inch-wide deck (about the widest one you’ll find) and 10-inch pneumatic tires (on the larger end of scooter tires), I never felt in danger of falling.
I rode Ancheer over a number of urban environments: sidewalks, cobblestones, and regular streets as well as paved and unpaved park paths. I could hardly feel the difference going from terrain to terrain — it was consistently a smooth, smooth ride.
The scooter went over potholes, speed bumps, and grates with nary a hitch. The handlebars never jerked (a common occurrence on smaller products), and I never came close to being thrown off.
Best of all, without having to brace myself or shift my weight when going over bumpy terrain, I found I was able to wear all sorts of unconventional scootering footwear (sandals, flats, and even heels) without worry.
Given my weight (I’m in the high one hundreds), the Ancheer did an acceptable job on the hills around Union Square Park. It probably won’t make it past a 10-degree incline for even the lightest riders, but that’s typical of e-scooters.
I could get the scooter up to 20 miles per hour. That’s pretty speedy, but not quite up to par with some of its better competitors, which can reach over 25.
The acceleration isn’t great (it took about 20 seconds to reach top speed on a straightaway), and I’ll admit it was a bit frustrating to watch bikers zip past me on the road as my scooter hemmed and hawed its way up to 20. That said, the acceleration was also incredibly smooth, to the point where I barely noticed it happening.
But my favorite element of this scooter is the suspension seat. Some other scooters have this, but I’ve never seen one as wide or as cushioned. My behind was in heaven.
You can ride the Ancheer while sitting or standing, and there’s still enough room to stand on the deck while the seat is up.
This is another feature that makes this a great option for less practical footwear since you can go from sitting down to standing up while the scooter (and back) is in motion. If your feet (or legs) get tired, that can be a lifesaver. It’s also a nice way to rest at long red lights.
The most disappointing part of this scooter was the range: I got just over five miles on one charge. In fairness, I was driving at top speed about half the time. But if a scooter can only get to 20 miles per hour, I’ll need to be taking most of my commute at top speed. That means, for me, Ancheer will be fun for spinning around the park, but impractical for journeys of any consequence.
That said, the scooter’s built-in LCD display (a rarity among scooters) shows you your remaining battery power (as well as your speed). So it might die on your commute, but at least you’ll have some warning.
Scooter for all genders
Overall, most of the reasons this company claimed this scooter is great for women are a bit silly. Its size makes it impractical to carry for the average rider (and that goes double for the average woman). Yes, it’s easy to assemble, but that’s hardly a uniquely feminine characteristic.
However, there are three features I think female riders are (on average) will appreciate. The first is a larger surface for your gluteus maximus. No, seriously. Men may laugh, but as someone who finds just about every unisex bicycle seat painful, Ancheer’s cushioned one is sublime.
Second, the suspension seat really helps when you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes. Yes, I too hope we one day get to a place where all genders are wearing heels, flats, and sandals equally often — but we’re not there yet. And in the meantime, this scooter is far more comfortable for riders in heeled shoes than any other rideable I’ve tried. Given its stellar performance on rough terrain, I’d even take it over a bike.
Finally, the scooter is clearly geared toward first-time or inexperienced riders. Given that I’ve seen plenty of men riding e-scooters around New York City, but have never once seen a woman, it I would guess a female rider is less likely to be a veteran scooterer (a word I just invented).
Female-centric marketing aside, that’s who this scooter is great for. It’s steady, sturdy, and smooth, so rookie riders don’t have to worry about being jerked around or losing their balance. With the easy assembly, helpful manual, and intuitive controls, it only takes minutes to get comfortable riding.
The scooter is heavy, and the range leaves much to be desired. But if you don’t mind those tradeoffs, it’s a great ride — for all genders.
Read more here: http://mashable.com/