Cars get stuck in traffic. Buses and trains don't get you all the way to your destination. Walking is slow, and bikes take up too much room. If you need to get from A to B in a hurry, a folding electric scooter can kick some serious ass.
I've been testing out folding electric scooters for nearly a year, and the Fuzion V-1000, a customized I-MAX model, is a pretty decent pick. It's for strong people -- due to its hefty weight -- who need to commute over bumpy roads and don't mind plugging in nightly. This $1,100 (roughly £900 or AU$1,450) scooter isn't the fastest or lightest ride, but it's built like a tank, with cushy handlebars and one of the best suspension systems I've tried yet. You can buy it direct from Fuzion here.
Why might you buy or avoid the Fuzion V-1000? Let's go in-depth.
- A comfy ride: A front shock and a rear coil spring, plus soft scalloped rubber handgrips and air-core tires keep things smooth on moderately bumpy roads. My teeth didn't chatter at all.
- Durable build: Extremely sturdy all-metal construction, with a beefy folding mechanism that completely eliminates any play in the handlebar column. (It feels like it could survive a bomb.)
- A wide deck gave me plenty of room for both feet, even side by side (instead of one in front of the other).
- Grippy tires make it easier to slow down and stop than its rival from EcoReco, and they're big enough to easily clear shallow driveway bumps.
- It weighs 36 pounds. It's way too heavy and bulky to bring on the bus, and I'm always afraid I'll smack someone when I get off the train. It can be a pain to lift, or to kick when you run out of battery.
- Relatively slow top speed. Fast bicyclists would usually pass me, as would scooters from EcoReco (the fastest) and Uscooters (aka e-TWOW). Fuzion says the top speed is 18 mph, but it felt slower.
- Short range. Fuzion quotes 13 miles on a charge, depending on riding conditions. I'm a heavy guy, riding up gentle hills maybe a quarter of the time, and I only get about 7 miles on average.
- Rear brake only. It's very hard to stop in an emergency without skidding -- extremely hard when the streets are wet. (Rear brakes are less efficient.)
- Slow to fold. You need to stoop down to disengage the locking mechanism, and it takes a while to untwist and twist the ring to bring the handlebars down. Tough if you're in a crowd trying to make your train.
- Too-big bike-style brake lever reduces grip. I've got normal-size hands, and couldn't reach for the brake without losing most of my grip on the left handlebar.
- Not great at climbing hills. It slows down significantly, and eats a chunk of battery life when you try. Other scooters did better.
- The three-dot battery life indicator is wildly inaccurate. A single red dot can mean anything from "I will carry you for miles at top speed" to "It's faster to get off and push."
- Long charging time. Fuzion quotes 4-6 hours, some others can charge in half that.
- Weak kickstand. Step on the scooter with kickstand engaged, and you might break it. (I did.)
- Wide handlebars provide easy control and offer a bit of extra room for mounting accessories, but also make it tougher to weave around pedestrians and cars.
- Smooth acceleration: While many electric scooters can be jerky to start and stop, the Fuzion keeps it under control with smooth throttle control. But that means getting up to top speed can take a while.
The Fuzion V-1000 definitely isn't as good as I could ask for, but it gets the job done. It's a comfortable, durable ride that feels like it'll last for years to come. If you have a short commute, can handle the 36-pound weight and don't plan to ride in the rain (it's tough to stop), it's not a bad pick.
But if you stay tuned to CNET.com, I'll be reviewing some other folding electric scooters you might like even better.