bumpy, pothole-out-of-nowhere rides. Some are also suited for off-road adventures. Fifth, how stable is it? This all boils down to your skill and whether or not the EKS uses air or solid tires. Air tires are generally stable, provide a smooth ride but are prone to flats. You will never get a flat with solid tires, however, these make for a bumpier ride (if not compensated with some form of suspension or shock absorption) and are prone to drifting (sliding) when braking at high speeds. Most EKS with rear solid tires are prone to fishtail when braking suddenly from high acceleration, especially on wet roads. So, consider going on speeds that you’re comfortable with. Many EKS models combine solid tires and air tires. There are also some models that have both air or both solid tires. As long as you are aware of what you have, riding on certain surfaces shouldn’t be a problem. Common sense dictates you slow down on wet roads and be mindful of potholes along your path no matter the kind of tire. Sixth, how much power do you need? 250 watt motors can give you speeds of up to 15-25 kph, 500 watts around 40 kph plus, and so on. However, you will need to consider your weight and how it affects the EKS which brings us to the next point. What’s your weight? Most EKS models can carry loads of up to 100 to 120 kilos. Range is reduced the heavier you are so consider eating a salad everyday if you feel like your EKS isn’t hitting its maximum distance. Lastly, check out the after-sales service. Having an electronic device that goes through the rigor of everyday rides, you’re bound to hit some issues and it pays to know that you can depend on the after-sales support for your valuable purchase. NO HELMET, NO RIDE One of the biking communities on Facebook that I’m a member of, whenever there’s a call for a get-together or meetup, attaches a standard tagline on the post: “No helmet, no ride.” That’s also the standard before you even think about riding your EKS out onto the road. Not wearing a standard bike helmet, no matter the distance, is probably the dumbest thing one could possibly do. Look for a bike helmet that uses a multidirectional impact protection system, Getting a kick out of e-kickscooters: Is the new and pollution-free soltion to mobility?
atlantamagazine.com
e-Kickscooters: No to pollution
Dandi Galvez (The Philippine Star) - January 20, 2020 - 12:00am

I grew tired of my daily commuteWhen worsening traffic and the mind-numbing logic of passenger jeeps started to pick at my sanity, I told myself enough was enough. Commuting in the city had become a punishing chore. That’s when the solution, literally, whizzed by me on the road one day. And after months of research and asking different people, I finally pulled the trigger.

I got an e-kickscooter.

Kickscooters have been around since the early 20thcentury. Starting out as a manual vehicle you ride by “kicking” on the ground to propel you forward (think of the Flintstones car), someone later on had the awesome idea of attaching a gas-powered motor to it. Then, by the late 1990s and early 2000s, electronic kickscooters or e-kickscooters started to dominate, ushering in a more convenient and eco-friendly solution to personal mobility.

Today, there’s a growing worldwide movement of e-kickscooter enthusiasts who use their personal electric vehicles in a variety of ways. Most ride for recreation, solo rides or meetups, and travelling in groups or as families touring popular destinations just for the heck of it. Some even use e-kickscooters for business, such as making deliveries.

Many, like me who live in highly-populated cities with major traffic issues, use an e-kickscooter, known locally as “EKS,” to get to work (or school) fast and in the most non-stressful way possible.

This never would have happened if I hadn’t seen someone on an EKS pass by me. It ran with a silent mechanical hum, looked compact enough to fit under my work desk when folded, and from what I’ve read, has very little to no carbon emmissions.

Traffic-wise, that’s one less car on the road. It made me think differently about my personal commute and the way I want to travel on a regular basis. What better way to answer both the traffic and environmental problem in one go?

After having my EKS for around a month now, I can confidently say the learning curve isn’t as steep as one might think. Having prior experience with a standard bike helps and even then, many shops are willing to let you have free test rides to familiarize yourself before purchasing.

To move forward, plant one foot on the deck and kick off with the other, then pull on the accelerator to engage the electric motor. Some EKS settings let you move the moment you engage the accelerator but that’s for advanced riders. Also, some models use a thumb-operated accelerator and brake system, while others use a trigger accelerator and brake lever system.

The power source is located inside the deck you stand on, made up of a set of rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The electric motor is located inside the hub of the rear or front wheel. An EKS with two electric hub motors – one in the rear, one in the front – is called a dual-hub EKS.

To charge, just plug the EKS into any normal wall outlet. Charge times are within five to eight hours depending on the brand.

Again, depending on the brand and your weight, an e-kickscooter can take you to a distance of 15 to 60 kilometers plus before running out of juice. Speeds also vary with the slowest being anywhere from five to 15 kph, and the fastest street-legal brand reportedly going up to a soul-separating 120 kph plus.

The right EKS for your needs

Right off the bat, you need to know that an EKS is, generally, not waterproof. It can be water resistant, meaning you can still ride through a light shower or moderately wet road but when it’s raining cats and dogs it’s best to find shelter somewhere quick because water can easily seep into the internals. Don’t even think about going through pools of water and flooded streets. Once water enters the motor hub, rust will set in and cause major damage.

Also, you do not need a license to ride an EKS, nor do you need to register one with the Land Transportation Office.

Aside from that, when choosing an EKS you need to consider a few points.

First, what’s your budget? Many low- to mid-range EKS can be had with a budget of P18,000 to P49,000. These are perfect for recreation or simple commutes with distances of seven to 10 kilometers. For those hitting the P50,000 to P100,000 plus range, expect the off-road speed-demon models that would have you grabbing on to those handlebars for dear life. 

Second, do you want something light and portable? All EKS have a folding stem which can be brought down and sometimes acts as a carry-handle for easy transport. Some can even be attached with additional trolley wheels for even more convenience. Also, how light do you want an EKS to be? Are you comfortable with carrying one that weighs 12 kilos? What if the model you’re eyeing comes in at 24 kilos or more?

Third, what’s the range you want to cover? Check the kilometer or mile distance between your home and the places you need to go to on a regular basis.

You may also factor in a “bimodal” option which means the ability to bring your EKS on a taxi, train, bus or jeep, getting off, then riding your EKS on the last few kilometers or so to your destination.

Also, plan your charge stations. If a distance depletes your battery, know at which points you can plug in and charge. A safe way to avoid running out of battery power is to recharge the moment you arrive at your destination. If at work, at school, or at a friend’s, that gives you a few hours to charge up for the ride going home later.

Fourth, how would your EKS do on the road? On city streets, for example, the pavement may mostly be smooth but there will certainly be parts that are not so much. For this, you need an EKS with adequate suspension to smoothen out those bumpy, pothole-out-of-nowhere rides. Some are also suited for off-road adventures.

Fifth, how stable is it? This all boils down to your skill and whether or not the EKS uses air or solid tires. Air tires are generally stable, provide a smooth ride but are prone to flats. You will never get a flat with solid tires, however, these make for a bumpier ride (if not compensated with some form of suspension or shock absorption) and are prone to drifting (sliding) when braking at high speeds. Most EKS with rear solid tires are prone to fishtail when braking suddenly from high acceleration, especially on wet roads. So, consider going on speeds that you’re comfortable with.

Many EKS models combine solid tires and air tires. There are also some models that have both air or both solid tires. As long as you are aware of what you have, riding on certain surfaces shouldn’t be a problem. Common sense dictates you slow down on wet roads and be mindful of potholes along your path no matter the kind of tire.

Sixth, how much power do you need? 250 watt motors can give you speeds of up to 15-25 kph, 500 watts around 40 kph plus, and so on. However, you will need to consider your weight and how it affects the EKS which brings us to the next point.

What’s your weight? Most EKS models can carry loads of up to 100 to 120 kilos. Range is reduced the heavier you are so consider eating a salad everyday if you feel like your EKS isn’t hitting its maximum distance.

Lastly, check out the after-sales service. Having an electronic device that goes through the rigor of everyday rides, you’re bound to hit some issues and it pays to know that you can depend on the after-sales support for your valuable purchase.

No helmet, No Ride

One of the biking communities on Facebook that I’m a member of, whenever there’s a call for a get-together or meetup, attaches a standard tagline on the post: “No helmet, no ride.”

That’s also the standard before you even think about riding your EKS out onto the road. Not wearing a standard bike helmet, no matter the distance, is probably the dumbest thing one could possibly do.

Look for a bike helmet that uses a multi-directional impact protection system, or MIPS. Or at the very least, one that is made of polycarbonate (PC) or expanded polystyrene (EPS), or both (PC+EPS). This is especially important if you’re riding from speeds of 25 kph to 40 kph.

Going faster at 30 kph to 40 kph and above, it’s advised to wear a full face bike helmet, the type worn by downhill mountain bikers, which can protect your chin against crashes and similar impacts. At these high speeds you should consider wearing elbow and knee pads for added protection.

Invest in lights.Most EKS already have front and rear lights installed, with blinking lights to alert those behind you when you’re squeezing the brakes. However, adding more lights doesn’t hurt. In fact, it’s recommended. Get yourself a front headlight rated at 600 to 800 lumens which you can attach to your stem or handlebar. Also get some red taillights you can attach to the back of your EKS deck. Attach one taillight to your helmet or even an additional one on your backpack. The more the better you’ll be seen by oncoming vehicles.

When on the road and you’re not sure about the right etiquette, always think of bicycle rules: what you would never do with a bicycle, you should never do with an EKS.

Never go on highways or major roads. Never go on EDSA, North and South Luzon Expressways, etc. Although, you can cross major roads such as EDSA, just don’t ride along it.

If there is a service road off to the side, use that. Some major roads have a motorcycle lane and when in doubt, stay on that lane and let faster bikes pass you on your left.

Own the lane. Stay on the right lane (or bike/motorcycle lane) and no matter how fast your EKS, don’t be afraid to position yourself in the middle of it. But be aware of any vehicles that may want to pass you so you can slowly move off further to the right to let them by.

Never split lanes. It’s not cool to go between two vehicles travelling both lanes. Do this only when all vehicles are stopped.

When attempting to overtake and you think you have the speed to do it, follow the same rules that cars follow: always on the left, make sure to have plenty of space between you and the vehicle you are passing, and always make sure you can see the entirety of the overtaking distance.

Do not overtake when it is not allowed, never make a right or left turn when there are signs prohibiting you so, make a complete stop at stop signs and when the lights go red no matter what the condition, and never counterflow.

Always slow down when nearing an intersection and never stop over the line of the pedestrian lane. On the road, people are the priority.

And remember, safety will always be the responsibility of the rider. So, practice situational awareness. Always plan your route and never go to places that are not well-lit, for example. If unexpected roadblocks occur, find a detour that is safe and or well-lit and populated areas.

The Futuer of Mobility

It’s often said that we are now living in the technological era of human history. And like the fuel-combustion car of the previous industrial age, the electronic vehicle may hold the key to what the future may hold in as little as 10 to 20 years from now.

The exciting part about an EKS is that people are already starting to see that future right now on a personal level. And we are enjoying it.

E-KICKSCOOTER EKS
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