I make no bones about the fact that I want a scooter. Scooters are just plain FUN to ride.
So I really thought I was going to buy one Saturday but it didn’t happen. Very disappointing.
I would really like an electric scooter. They’re quiet, they don’t pump out poisonous gas, and the ongoing cost of operation is just about nil. So I was really pleased when I saw on craigslist an electric scooter for sale down in Castle Rock. The guy didn’t list an asking price, saying simply that he wanted it out of his garage because he needed the space.
I contacted him and arranged to come down and check it out. I also asked what ballpark price he was looking for because, as I told him, if he didn’t want to let it go for, say, less than $1,000 I would save both of us the trouble because I’m not looking to pay anything close to that. He was a bit cagey–a good negotiator–and did not cite a number but asked me what my range was. I said $400 to $800 and he said he might be willing to come down to $800.
OK, I wasn’t excited how that played out but when I checked to see what these scoots–an EVT America R30–sold for new I saw that it was around $2,000. This one had only 500 miles on it so I figured that if I paid $800 for it that would still be a bargain, even if I could have paid even less.
I went down and checked it out and took it for a test ride. All in all it seemed like a decent little scoot, perhaps a bit inexpensively put together, but you do get what you pay for. But the test ride showed issues right from the start.
I pulled out of his driveway, which has a Hollywood curb. A Hollywood curb, in case you’re unfamiliar with the term, is when instead of putting in a curb cut for your driveway, the entire curb is sloped so you have an bit of a bump going in or out. I went over the edge of this curb and hit the street hard. Whatever front shock this thing had was clearly trash. Fine, you can replace shock absorbers.
Taking off down the street the thing showed plenty of pep. I went zooming around and–as I keep saying–it was a heck of a lot of fun. But I did some esses back and forth and made some turns and the front end was raising some concerns. It didn’t seem very stable and gave what I took to be warning of steering head issues. I had no idea what it might cost to do work on the steering head.
Back at his place, pulling back into the driveway over the Hollywood curb, it was another severe thunk of the sort that could easily send you flying if you were going very fast. I told him about the front shock and the steering. He held the front wheel steady while I pushed the handlebars left and right and there was a noticeable click and shift that they made while the wheel didn’t move. No wonder the steering felt unstable.
I was torn. I clearly was not prepared to pay $800 for something with these problems, but you don’t see many electric scooters for sale so I was asking myself if there was a price at which I would be willing to buy it even with these issues. And I told him plainly what was going on in my head. He acknowledged the issues and said he would be willing to take just $500.
Finally I concluded that no, I wouldn’t be interested in this scoot at any price. I told him it wasn’t the shock; shocks can be replaced. It was the steering. I thanked him and left.
I got home to find that he had called saying he found the problem with the steering, it was just a nut that was loose, would I like to reconsider? I was interested but figured before I answered him I would check out what it would cost to replace the front shocks. I had to do some searching but finally found a website focused on electric vehicles and a page for this particular scoot. Here I found something very interesting. In the listing of features it mentioned “rear shock absorbers” but not a word about front shocks. I also found an owner’s manual and in the diagram where it points out the different features of the product it pointed to the rear shocks but not to the front end where something that seemed to be shocks were clearly visible.
My conclusion was that although there is something up front, some sort of piston, there apparently is only the weakest possible spring and it is perhaps not something that can be replaced.
So with no actual front suspension and no way to do anything about that, I was losing interest rapidly. Then the idea that a single nut was the only thing holding the steering in place didn’t inspire confidence either. I sent him an email saying no thanks.
Very disappointing. I still want a scooter, and I’d especially like an electric one. But I guess I’m going to have to keep looking.