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Ninebot Segway ES4 electric scooter review: Worth the weight?

Ninebot Segway ES4 electric scooter review: Worth the weight?

You’ve probably ridden Segways – the popular self-balancing two-wheeled scooters made by Segway Inc. – and, if not, you’ll certainly recognise them. You might not, however, be as familiar with the company’s range of other electric vehicles.

Since its acquisition by Chinese firm Ninebot in 2015, the firm has introduced a swathe of products ranging from electric go-karts to robots; inevitably, a number of e-scooters make the grade, too.

The Ninebot Segway ES4 is its latest two-wheeled conveyance – the successor to ES1 and ES2 lines of e-scooters. While it comes at a higher price, it also has more advanced features, making it the best option if you’re planning to buy one.

Ninebot Segway ES4 review: What you need to know

The two main distinguishing features of the Ninebot Segway ES4 are its under-deck LED lights and a second external battery that’s permanently attached to the stem. The former is purely aesthetic but adds a nice touch to the scooter, especially when riding at night. The external battery, meanwhile, doubles the range but also make it awkward to carry around.

Other notable features include regenerative braking, a display fitted to the handlebars and built-in front and rear lights, plus a top speed of a scorching 19mph. Like the three other scooters in ES range, though, the ES4 has solid rubber wheels, which make for an uncomfortable ride on uneven surfaces.

Ninebot Segway ES4 review: Setup and design

Out of the box, setting up the Ninebot Segway ES4 is pretty easy. Just push the rear fender down and then pull the stem up until it snaps into place. Once upright, you have to attach the handlebar to the steerer tube using the four screws and Allen key provided.

Folding it away isn’t quite so easy. While the Xiaomi M365 Pro and the Unagi Model One have an easily hand-operated lever or button that you need to release or press to fold the e-scooter, with the ES4 you have to kick the small folding pedal where the deck meets the neck with your foot while pushing down the handlebar. At times, you need to kick it rather hard for the neck to fold which makes a loud, unpleasant sound that sounds like plastic cracking.

Another gripe is that the ES4’s kickstand can’t be used to prop up the scooter when it’s folded away, and it doesn’t work all that well when unfolded either, tending to fold under the scooter’s weight on inclined surfaces.

The ES4 is simple to operate, though. The accelerator control is on the right and the brake on the left. You can also brake using the mudguard at the rear when additional stopping power is required. Unlike other e-scooters, the ES4 doesn’t come with a bell or horn preinstalled, though.

To charge the scooter you simply connect the charger provided in the box to the battery on the external stem battery. A full charge of both the 374Whr batteries takes around seven hours and the range is up to 28 miles. The Xiaomi M365 Pro has the same range, but takes about 1.5 hrs longer to charge.

When charging, the ES4’s handlebar-mounted display shows you the battery charge as a percentage, which is great because other e-scooters only rely on the battery bars.

Ninebot Segway ES4 review: Features and mobile app

Apart from battery percentage, the display also tells you your speed and the mode you’re in while riding. You can choose from Eco (up to 10mph), Standard (up to 15mph) and Sport (up to 19mph) and these modes are all selectable with the power button, although for the latter two modes you need to pair the scooter with your phone first via Bluetooth. Thankfully, that’s easy enough to do after installing the free Segway-Ninebot app, which is available on both iOS and Android.

As well as unlocking the more advanced modes, the app includes basic instructions telling you how to fold and unfold the scooter and how to use the brake and accelerator. It also stresses the importance of wearing a helmet and protective gear while riding. When you first pair the app, you’ll also be prompted to update the scooter’s firmware.

The app also lets you access a number of other features. When you’re out and about, you can use it to activate cruise control and lock the motor as a deterrent against theft. When locked, the scooter is difficult to push and makes a loud beeping sound whenever someone tries to. In comparison, though, I prefer the Xiaomi M365 Pro’s motor lock because it has more resistance and a louder beep.

Last, but by no means least, the app allows you to customise the scooter’s under-deck LEDs. By default, these under-deck LEDs flash bright green but you can change that colour and even alter the way lights flash a bit like you can with a gaming keyboard. For example, you can choose two colours that slowly merge from either end of the deck. The app also lets you set the scooter’s tail-light to always remain on; otherwise it’s only activated when you brake.

Ninebot Segway ES4 review: Comfort and performance

To accelerate the scooter you kick-off to set it in motion (above three mph), then gently press the right acceleration throttle. This is more of a safety feature so that you don’t accidentally accelerate when walking the scooter, for example. The thrust you get depends on the mode you’re on, but this doesn’t compromise stability. Similarly, the left front brake control and rear mudguard footbrake are effective but take some initial getting used to.

The front brake has KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which means that whenever you use it, the vehicle will feed part of its kinetic energy back to the battery. It takes about four seconds to come to a complete halt at the scooter’s top speed but you can bring yourself to a halt quicker if you use the foot brake at the same time. Once you get used to safely controlling your speed, though, you may never need to use the footbrake.

The ES4 also has a silent motor, which is great until you whizz by people and startle them. That’s when you realise that the scooter could use a bell of some sort to warn people of your approaching presence.

The close proximity of the ES4’s handlebars to the power button makes it easy to switch between the three riding modes. As a general rule, you should select your mode before you start riding but it’s good to know that you don’t have to come to a complete stop to switch modes safely mid-ride.

On this note, it’s also good that the scooter automatically engages cruise control when you’ve been travelling at a constant speed for a few seconds. This means you can travel for long distances without having to keep constant pressure on the throttle.

As far as the various ride modes go, I preferred the middle, or Standard mode, because Eco felt too slow and Sport mode was scarily fast. And the sheer power of Sport mode coupled with the solid rubber tyres doesn’t make for a good combination, either, especially if you hit a sudden bump. Not only does this cause an uncomfortable jerk but it’s accompanied by a loud cracking sound because the tyres don’t have anything to absorb the impact.


Ninebot Segway ES4 review: Verdict

The Ninebot Segway ES4 is a good scooter that rides for miles but it has plenty of flaws, too. The fact that you can’t carry it easily because of the battery pack on the stem is a problem and that the solid rubber wheels don’t give much impact protection is another.

This isn’t a bad e-scooter but, for our money, the Xiaomi M365 Pro is superior. It has a similar range, is easier to fold and carry, and is more comfortable to ride. As an added bonus it costs a lot less to buy, too.

Note: E-scooters come under Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) and are therefore currently illegal on both roads and pavements in the UK. This is in stark contrast to other US and European cities where they have become a common sight on roads. That said, it’s unlikely you’ll be fined if you’re riding cautiously. We also recommend that you always wear a helmet while riding.








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