Designing a sleek, stylish personal electric scooter with just the right balance of range, speed, and weight involves some delicate engineering. Unagi “strikes a unique balance” between all three, writes Napier Lopez at The Next Web, “that makes it one of the easiest scooters to recommend.” But what are the trade-offs when seeking to build the best lightweight electric scooter on the market? And why might weight be such an important factor in choosing an electric scooter?
Lightweight can be strong.
First, we should note that lighter weight does not have to mean less sturdy. The Model One “feels built to last,” as many reviewers have noted. Its aerodynamic carbon fiber stem and machined aluminum deck makes its build quality comparable to that of some of the fastest, strongest, and lightest racing cycles. “Every design and component decision improves this e-scooters strength, boosts performance, or improves the user experience,” writes Digital Trends in a glowing review. This is one great reason to choose a premium brand.
Lightweight can be powerful. (and fast!)
Despite Unagi’s light weight, it handles all adult riders with ease. “While typical e-scooters state 225-pound weight limits for rider and cargo, the Model One can carry up to 275 pounds, a tribute to the e-scooter’s deck strength and motor torque.” Lopez was surprised at the Model One’s extended capacity in real world tests.
When carrying my camera bag, a heavy-duty U-lock, and some groceries, I’ve loaded the scooter well over its rated weight limit, but it still managed to get me up to the max speed of around 16 miles per hour on flat terrain. It also had enough power to pull me up slight hills at lower speeds.
This can be owed to the fact that the Unagi is the lightest dual motor electric scooter money can buy. With 1000W peak power and exceptional torque and hill-climbing ability, no less. A final step further, the Unagi is a very fast lightweight electric scooter, going 20mph instead of the industry norm of 15mph.
Why you need a portable, lightweight scooter.
So why should you care so much about a portable, lightweight folding electric scooter? Most trips made by electric scooters are short, under 3 miles. Unagi’s 15.5-mile range is more than sufficient for the overwhelming majority of uses, from grocery runs to local excursions. The Model One “excels at short trips around the neighborhood and multimodal commutes.”
You can buy electric scooters with a longer range, but this typically comes at the cost of a larger battery, and thus a heavier vehicle.
And as we’ve noted, heavier does not necessarily mean stronger or more powerful. Torque is especially important in a high-quality scooter for conquering hills and accelerating quickly, but it can also come at the cost of added weight, since generating more power requires a larger, heavier motor.
Unagi’s dual-motor design generates 500 watts per wheel for 1000 total watts, among the many reasons Tom’s Guide ranks Unagi “the best electric scooter you can buy today” in 2021. It “powers up hills with aplomb, zipping along twice as fast as other scooters with just a single motor” at a low weight of only 26.5 pounds. To give you an idea of how light this is, Marek Dziekonski writes at Wired,
“when the handlebar stem is folded, it's easy to carry with one hand. I don't struggle with carrying it in and out of my house or putting it in the trunk of my car.”
The Model One’s one-click folding mechanism and portability make it “much more versatile” than other scooters on the market. A lightweight scooter like Unagi excels at bridging the gaps in transportation options and is especially easy to fold and carry onto subways and buses or toss into a cab. “As a bonus,” Lopez writes, “the Unagi’s minimal weight and fairly low base height make it easier to actually kick than bigger scooters should the battery run out during your last few blocks.”
Running out of battery life is not really a concern with Unagi’s typical range and the typical electric scooter rider’s average trip. What is most of concern for riders is getting where they’re going quickly and conveniently, with minimal – or no – fuss over parking and vehicle security. A lightweight, portable, easy-to-fold electric scooter makes the most for the most riders, since it can be toted almost anywhere. Unagi even “fits in a grocery cart in a pinch,” Dziekonski marvels.
Scooters with slightly more range and power can weigh 10 to 20 pounds more than Unagi, making them difficult or impossible to carry them around when convenience is what you need most. Moreover, heavier scooters made of bulkier materials tend to fold into a triangular shape, which renders them harder to store. Part of the advantage of owning a folding electric scooter is the ability to slide it into out-of-the-way spaces when you don’t need it.
Let’s face it, if your needs are like those of most electric scooter riders – a balance of speed, power, range, and portability – you need a lightweight scooter like Unagi. The Model One combines all these qualities in a durable, lightweight vehicle that is as beautiful to look at as it is fun to ride. “Because it’s so compact,” writes Lopez, “I can bring it with me inside most venues without being obnoxious…. It’s had the effect of making my neighborhood feel bigger.” Unagi is the ideal way to expand your range, “from a few blocks to a couple of miles” outside your everyday routine.