Segway -- yes, that Segway. It's abandoned the mall-cop-looking scooters of its past and now makes some of the most interesting electric rideables on the market. The C80 is its first attempt at an e-bike, but it likes to call it an e-moped. "What's the difference?" you might ask. Mainly, unlike a gas moped, you don't need insurance to drive this thing around.
The Segway C80 has a maximum speed of 20 mph at full throttle and is not meant to be pedaled. The pedals and cranks on this bike are not like traditional ones, which makes pedaling uncomfortable. I literally can not pedal this bike without falling over. But you're told not to use them in the instructions manual. So why are they there? Segway says they're a safeguard for the rider if the battery dies, but since they're essentially unusable, I think they're there because removing them would classify this device as something other than an e-bike, with potentially more restrictions.
The 24-amp hour battery has a range of about 47 to 52 miles, which is one of the longer ranges I've ever tested, and definitely held up to the claim on my biggest ride. You can charge it by plugging directly into the bike, or you can remove the battery and take it inside like I did. Because at 200-plus pounds, this is not a bike you can easily store in an apartment.
My favorite part about this bike is how comfortable it is to ride. The front suspension and central shock absorber make bumps and potholes feel like gentle bounces when you're riding. There's also an auto cruise feature that will maintain whatever speed you're currently at just by pushing a button, so you can sit back, hold on and enjoy the ride.
The C80 has a dual antilock braking system with both front disc and rear drum brakes that can regenerate power for the battery. Plus, the seat is like sitting on a pillow. I don't know how well it will hold up long-term, but I've easily ridden for over an hour without stopping for a break. This is by far the most comfortable e-bike I've ever ridden.
Smart security features
One of my least favorite things about riding any bike is having to lock it up. I feel like it can really kill the momentum of a fun trip, and sometimes it's tough to find a good, secure place to tie your bike to. Segway really focused on making the C80 a seamless experience with its smart security features.
This bike does not need a key to turn on. There's a key to open the battery compartment if the bike has no power, but it uses an NFC card or the mobile app for everything else. Just tap one of the two included cards to the display and the bike unlocks and powers up. You will need to create an account and link your bike the first time you ride so the NFC cards are registered. Turning it off is as simple as holding the button on the right until you hear the chime. The bike can be locked by turning the handlebars to the left, until it clicks, keeping any would-be thieves from traveling in a straight line.
But that's not the C80's only security features. It has what Segway calls the RideyGo Intelligent System. This includes an alarm, an airlock system and a sensor in the seat that detects when someone is sitting on it. If the bike moves even slightly, the alarm goes off, the tires lock up and a notification is sent to the owner's phone. However, I should mention that these "smart" security features require the battery, so keep that in mind when storing it.
Everything is made easier with the mobile app. In addition to tracking your rides and battery range, it can enable additional settings and make the security features more seamless. The app connects to the bike using Bluetooth, and the bike will automatically lock if you walk away from it and turn on without the NFC card when you return.
You can also use the app to set the bike's push assist, auto cruise and regenerative power settings, which will create resistance in the motor to help charge the battery while coasting or riding downhill. I hated having that feature on though, because it made my downhill speeds so much slower and less fun. Plus, with a 50-mile range, there's no need to be stingy with the battery.
Even though I have full confidence in the bike's security system, it didn't stop me from feeling anxious about leaving it unchained while I ran inside a store or ate at a restaurant.
All right, let's talk about how the bike looks. I think you're either going to love or hate it. Personally, I think it looks really cool and futuristic. At first I wasn't that excited about being sent the yellow one, but after riding it on busy streets, I've come to appreciate the bright colors for cars to see me more easily. It's also available in three other colors.
The LCD display is large and bright enough to read outdoors, and doesn't overwhelm you with too much info. The built-in front LED lights can also get pretty bright, and there's a sensor to turn them on automatically when it gets dark.
Who's it for?
The Segway C80 comes in at a cool $2,200. Not a budget e-bike by any stretch, but it's not going to break the bank for many either.
Before you start typing in your credit card info though, let me tell you about some caveats. I've been riding this bike every chance I get. Any opportunity I had to take it out over my car was a treat. I love the idea of having a C80 to go grab a bite to eat or run a quick errand. However, the reality is that I didn't actually have that many opportunities to use it the way I envisioned.
The biggest reason: storage. There are currently no accessories for carrying multiple items, though the bike does offer a small hook to hold a bag. There may be some in the future, but this made my car the most logical option for running any errands where I had to bring back more items than would fit in my backpack, which was about 95% of the time.
It ended up only making sense to take the C80 out for food or leisurely rides. And if I'm going out riding for leisure, I prefer something with pedals you can actually use. Otherwise I get kind of bored.
Another downside is that, while this rides like an e-bike and can be ridden anywhere bikes are allowed, most people don't know that. So expect a lot of dirty looks from both pedestrians and drivers. Pedestrians will think you're illegally riding a moped on a sidewalk or bike path, and drivers stuck behind you on the road will get annoyed that you can't go as fast. So if you care about what others think, I'm not sure where you're supposed to ride the C80.
With all that said, I can't see myself owning the Segway C80. I think it makes the most sense for people that live in areas with less traffic like small towns or beach communities, but the roads in the neighborhood where I live are far too busy, and to be honest, I don't have anywhere to store a bike like this in my apartment.
I actually went against the instructions manual and left it in my outdoor parking space under a motorcycle cover to protect it from weather. But I only had it for a couple of months here in sunny Southern California, and it's going back as soon as I'm done with this video, so I definitely would not recommend that for a long-term solution.