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. What should you try instead? I've found that when 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 over a year, and the Glion Dolly isn't bad. It's best for people who primarily use public transit, with a short last-mile commute on smooth, level pavement.
The $850, £699 or roughly AU$1,100 scooter can feel a little cheap and rough to ride, but it comes with two features you can't get anywhere else: a trolley handle so you can wheel it like a rolling suitcase, and the ability to stand up vertically all by itself. You can buy it direct from Glion here.
Why might you buy or avoid the Glion Dolly? Let's go in-depth.
- The fastest fold I've found. Two pulls for the handlebars, one flick of the quick release lever and one stomp on the big silver pedal, and it's ready to be carried. When it's time to unfold it again, the magnetic handlebar catches snap right into place.
- Stands vertically, all by itself. See the picture below? Smart! The only scooter I've seen that does this. Great for storage, or while you're waiting for a train. It's heavy enough that a breeze won't tip it.
- Pull-out trolley handle and luggage wheels. Again, the only scooter that does this. Drag it along like a piece of rolling luggage. The wheels are tiny, though. If you pull it off a curb, even a tiny one, it doesn't always stay upright.
- Rear electric brake. Slows the scooter down, rain or shine, without much risk of skidding out. But not very quickly, because it's a rear brake. (See Cons section below.)
- Bright headlight and built-in tail reflector. Want to ride at night? The Glion's one of the only scooters I've tried with an actually-useful headlight. (Just press the red button.) I don't know if I'd use it on a pitch-black street, but it's more than powerful enough to let cars see you.
- Nice big integrated fenders. The wheels won't kick up much water if you ride in the rain.
- Unobtrusive kickstand. It's tiny, it works, and it doesn't rip into your leg in passing.
- It weighs 28 pounds. It's not the heaviest folding electric scooter on the block -- check out the 36-pound Fuzion V-1000 -- and the weight is fairly balanced so it's not too awkward to lift. Still, it's bulkier than you'd think for the size. The weight means it takes some effort to pull around on those tiny extra wheels.
- Slow top speed. Glion says "it's faster than a runner at full sprint," which might be true, but the 15 mph top speed is definitely among the slower folding electric scooters I've used. Bicyclists would regularly pass me, unless they were using single-speed cruisers.
- Short range. Keep in mind that I'm a heavy guy, riding up gentle hills maybe a quarter of the time, but I only got about 7.2 miles on average. And that last mile is hit-or-miss, too: the Glion loses a lot of speed, and then abruptly stops giving you power.
- No suspension. While Glion claims the military-style honeycomb tires are enough to soften the ride, I respectfully disagree. Sidewalks are okay, but expect some teeth chattering on any road that hasn't been freshly paved.
- Rear electric brake is a little weak, and it's the only one. I nearly hit someone because I couldn't slow down fast enough. I prefer a front electric brake (fewer skids) plus a rear disc or friction brake for emergencies.
- Cheap, uncomfortable controls. Not a fan of the cheap plastic handlebars, with no cushion whatsoever, and really not a fan of the stiff, spring-loaded twisting throttle mechanism. No cruise control, so you've gotta twist and hold on tight to get anywhere.
- Not great at climbing hills. The Glion slows down quite a bit on inclines, perhaps due to its 250-watt motor. For that, I prefer the E-Twow/Uscooter Booster, which boasts 500 watts of power.
- The battery life indicator is wildly inaccurate. I've gone out with multiple bars of battery -- and had the Glion die before I could reach a destination less than 2 miles away.
- Easy to turn on accidentally. The big red power button can smack right into the wheel housing when the scooter's folded. I must have pulled the Glion out of my car trunk a dozen times and found it was already on.
- Short handlebars make it easy to weave around pedestrians and cars, but have no room for mounting accessories. My Glion review actually came with a bell, but it got in the way of folding so I had to remove it.
- Smooth acceleration. While many electric scooters can be jerky to start and stop, the Glion mostly keeps it under control. But that means getting up to top speed can take a while.
- Small deck. Enough room for two feet, but not one foot in front of the other or Goofy-style. On the plus side, it makes for a smaller scooter.
- Utilitarian design. It's not pretty, but it looks like it'd be easy to take apart. Maybe that's your style.
Like the Fuzion V-1000 (but less expensive), the Glion Dolly isn't remotely a perfect scooter, but it gets the job done for short commutes. Plus, it's way faster to fold and has a bunch of commuter-friendly features you won't find anywhere else. Just don't expect a smooth, comfortable ride or a great looking design. Me, I'd pay more for a decent suspension.
If you stay tuned to CNET.com, I'll be reviewing some other folding electric scooters you might like even better.