The pressure is on to get the very best gift — and get it in time! — for your loved one, be they niece, nephew, so, daughter, sibling or partner. And it’s common to still be in the dark when it comes to that “perfect gift.” We believe that the perfect gift gets you away from your screens and out exploring the world around you. And what better way to do that than with an eRideable — electric scooters, eBikes, hoverboards and more.
Now that we have the tech to juice up just about anything with wheels and with eco-awareness at the forefront of the international consciousness, eRideables are all over the place with no signs of slowing down. Which is likely what’s brought you here today in search of an eRideable education™ so you can find the perfect gift.
But first . . .
A BIT O’ HISTORY
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the first e-Rideables were the hoverboards, AKA self-balancing-scooters that burst onto the scene in 2013, but the first electric scooter boom was actually long before that. A LOT longer. Literally over 100 years ago. The electric scooter dates all the way back to 1915 when this bad boy was all the rage. The Autoped was popular with all sorts of folks, with everyone from suffragettes to postmen cruising along the old town roads.
Fast forward a century or so, the Autoped’s great grandkids are a lot sleeker and lighter and the eScooter is once again en vogue in a very big way. And the hoverboard and eBike are sharing a lot of that sheen as well.
The question is, which type of eRideable is right for the person or people on your list?
There are a lot of options out there and a lot of factors to consider. Don’t worry. We’ll walk you through it.
START WITH THESE QUESTIONS
- Do they ride for fun or to commute?
- Do they like to do tricks or just get from A to B?
- Where will they be riding? College campus? Neighborhood? Park? City streets?
- How old are they?
Answers to these basic questions will guide your choices as we guide you through the different types of eRideables.
There are two types of rideables, manual and electric. Manual rideables include everything from your standard bikes and scooters to skateboards and unicycles. We have some sweet stunt scooters here. But for this guide, we’ll be focusing on the electric models.
Electric rideables can be broken down into four main categories: eScooters, eBikes, eSkateboards and hoverboards (also known as self-balancing scooters) each with its own distinct set of strengths, features and uses.
An electric scooter is defined as a device with two wheels, handlebars and a small motor that is designed to be stood upon by the rider and is propelled by the motor or a combination of the motor and human power.
For the most part, eScooters all have pretty similar construction. You’ve got a deck, wheels, a motor and handlebars. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. When selecting an eScooter, you’ll need to consider the following variables.
- Motor size and power
- Top speed
- Kick assist or full power
- Does it have a replaceable battery?
- Aesthetics (style is important, after all)
- Does it have the ability to charge the rider’s phone?
- Does it have a companion app that enables more features?
- Weight limit
Technically, hoverboards are considered self-balancing eScooters, but for the purposes of this guide, we’ll refer to them as hoverboards to avoid confusion.
Electric bikes aren’t Tesla’s motorcycle. eBikes are basically regular bikes that have an electric motor. Just like electric bikes, eBikes come in a wide variety of body types designed for various purposes and lifestyles. Some eBikes are even pedal-less (these can be considered seated scooters as well).
There are commuter eBikes, off-road eBikes, pedal-less eBikes and kids’ eBikes.
Variables to consider include:
- Motor size and power
- Top speed
- Pedals or nah?
- Pedal assist or full power
- Does it have a companion app that enables more features?
- Weight limit
- Off road or on road?
- Does it have a cargo rack?
Unlike eScooters, electric bicycles come in a wide variety of frame and body styles. Commuter bikes range from cruisers with a vintage feel to modern city bikes. Off-road bikes come in fat tire and standard off-road tire sizes. Choosing the right frame is equal parts utility and personal preference.
Hoverboards first appeared in 2013 and they took the world by storm, becoming the hottest gift of the year, and inspiring a slew of classic Vines. While they don’t actually hover (We know, bummer. We’re working on it.) they are a ton of fun.
Unlike eScooters and eBikes which are used for commuting as often as they are for fun, hoverboards tend to lean toward the fun end of the spectrum. Not that you couldn’t use them to commute, they’re just more play than work, personality-wise.
Hoverboards consist of a platform for your feet mounted on two wheels and powered by a pair of small motors. They’re controlled by the rider shifting their weight.
You can get both on-road and off-road varieties and some come with cool features like LED wheels and Bluetooth. Important variables include:
- Top speed
- Weight limit
- Does it have a companion app?
- Wheel size
- Aesthetics (again, back with the style)
Hoverboards take some practice to master. So rider experience and skill are important. They come in varying styles designed for beginner or advanced riders and some are specifically designed for kids. Most product listings will include information about skill level and age.
|SWAGBOARD TWIST PHANTOM|
Be legendary with one of our top-selling hoverboards, remixed to keep the party going. The TWIST PHANTOM hoverboard for kids is perfect for beginner and advanced riders alike. Dual 250-watt hub motors pack a powerful punch, letting you cruise up to 7 mph and easily conquer 30-degree inclines.
The TWIST PHANTOM charges fully in just under 5.5 hours and stays juiced up enough to travel up to 5 miles on a single charge. And thanks to its built-in Startup Balance feature, which automatically balances the board when it’s powered on, you’ll be riding like a pro in no time.
But the hoverboard isn’t just fun and games. When it comes to rider protection, the TWIST PHANTOM doesn’t play around. Unlike other kid’s hoverboards, the TWIST PHANTOM is powered by a lithium-free battery that goes above and beyond UL2272 compliance. Because the TWIST PHANTOM also houses our patented SentryShield® Quantum battery protection and an ultra-durable impact-resistant frame makes this self-balancing scooter tough enough to handle epic adventures like a boss.
Looking for the best hoverboard for kids? Your search stops here.
The rider’s lifestyle plays a huge factor in which eRideable is right for them. How and why they ride should influence every part of your choice.
FUN AND EXPLORATION
If your rider is in it more for the thrill of the ride and exploration than commuting, a smaller battery and motor are probably OK. If you’re looking at eBikes, you can also go with a thinner, lighter frame. You should consider range and speed but it’s not quite as important to max out on those as it is for the commuter set.
Hoverboards are still hugely popular gifts with this crowd. Hoverboards — or self-balancing scooters — are fun, especially when they add features like light-up wheels and Bluetooth speakers. Stunt scooters and kick scooters, although not electric, are also great options.
For those who’ll be using their eRideable to get from here to there, you’ll need to make sure the machine you choose can perform in a way that suits their needs. People who are using an eBike or eScooter to get around campus or to and from work will need something light enough to carry upon arrival (or on a bus). Foldable rideables are a great choice. A 200-watt motor will generally suffice for light use such as running occasional errands. For consistent, daily use, you’re better off choosing a model with a 250-watt motor. Range, speed and battery life are big factors for commuters. The coolest looking scooter or bike in the world isn’t worth much if it can’t get them there and back again. Make sure the model you choose has enough range to meet your rider’s needs. A model with an easily swappable battery might be a good option as well to make sure they’ve always got a backup.
Suspension is another consideration. An eRideable that will be used daily on roads and paths needs to be able to stand up to heavy use while offering a smooth ride at the same time. Before you make your purchase, make sure to check local laws and/or campus rules concerning eRideables.
People who ride to get fit are typically best suited to an eBike. (Obviously, a pedal-less bike isn’t a good option here.) It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can get a great workout with an eBike and it opens up a whole world of options beyond what you get with a standard bike.
For people who are starting their fitness journey, the eAssist is especially helpful. You still have to work, but you can go farther, faster. Most eBikes have an option that let you adjust the boost so it can be set to match the rider’s needs.
You’ll want to choose a bike with a larger weight capacity and actual gears, especially if you live in hillier areas, like San Fran or Asheville, North Carolina. Choosing a model with little or no suspension also gives the rider more of a “real feel” experience. In other words, it feels more like a standard bike.
Read about one of our employees, Nate, and his journey to fitness with his EB8 Electric Bike — “More Than Fun: Boosting Your Fitness with an Ebike”
eBikes are fantastic for trail-riding for a lot of the same reasons they’re great for fitness. You can go higher, farther, faster than you can on a standard bike. Kicking up the boost can help the rider tackle big hills and explore farther and longer than they would otherwise be able to.
For your nature loving giftee, you’ll want a bike with a larger weight capacity, durable frame and tires that are specifically designed for off-roading. You’ll also need a motor that’s at least 300 watts, even 350 watts. It’s also important to consider the suspension and gears. Bumpy trails require better suspension but they’re also harder on the suspension than a smooth asphalt road, so you want a bike that’s built to take some punishment.
Battery life and range are super important for trail riding. There aren’t a lot of power outlets in the great outdoors. Make sure you select a model with great battery life and extended range. You might also consider a bike that has an easily swappable battery they can carry in a backpack and switch out if they get low on juice.
Who your rider is plays a huge role as well. The eRideable that’s right for your 8-year-old nephew who likes to do tricks and ride to his friends’ houses probably isn’t going to be the same scooter that’s right for your college-bound son who wants an easier way to get around campus.
Different strokes for different folks. Different bikes (and scooters and hoverboards) for different tykes.
TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS (2-5 YEARS OLD)
Toddlers already have motors in their feet; they don’t need one in their rideable toys. Plus, they lack the proper coordination to ride safely at speed. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get in on the fun!
A tiny human’s first scooter can also be a balance bike. There are 2-in-1 scooters for toddlers that convert from a three-wheeled scooter to a three-wheeled balance trike. It’s almost like having two gifts for the price of one — more bang for your buck. But it doesn’t stop there! There are also 4-in-1 models that transform from a three-wheeled scooter to a two-wheeled scooter and can be converted to two-wheeled scooter or two-wheeled balance bike. This offers even more opportunity to grow with the child as they grow, develop and learn.
Toddlers might be even harder on their toys than a bumpy trail so make sure you select a model that will stand up to whatever the kiddo throws at it (or wherever they throw the scooter, let’s be honest.) You’ll also want to choose a model that will grow with the child, so it isn’t useless after a single growth-spurt.
SWAGTRON K3 BALANCE BIKE
Learning how to ride a bike is one of the first adventures we embark on as kids. And with the K3 Balance Bike from SWAGTRON, learning to ride is easy as walking. The K3 comes with all the tools necessary for assembly. In a matter of minutes, your kid will be up and running, improving their balance and hand-eye coordination in no time.
The K3 lets your kids get the true feel of riding a bike. Its air-filled rubber tires hug the pavement better than the solid foam or hard plastic of other brands. The result? A riding experience that’s smooth, fluid and lets your kid get the true feel for riding a bike. The seat adjusts to make riding a more comfortable experience.
The seat’s height ranges between 12 and 16 inches, which means it will accommodate inseam lengths between 13 and 17 inches. The seat’s padding is supportive and soft enough to prevent chafing. Kid-friendly grip handles are made from soft yet firm rubber, perfect for young hands. The ergonomic design helps make the K3 easier for learners to handle and control.
The K3 comes with all the tools necessary for assembly. In a matter of minutes, your kid will be up and running, improving their balance and hand-eye coordination in no time. Every child remembers when they first learned how to ride a bike. Make those memories count.
A note on balance bikes vs training wheels: It turns out the training wheels we all learned to ride bikes with are actually not so great for teaching kids to ride a bike, in fact, some experts believe that training wheels significantly delay a child’s ability to ride a bike.
Balance bikes eliminate the need for training wheels completely. And they help kids start riding real bikes much younger. They’re lightweight, move more safely over even surfaces, provide independent play, and ease the transition to a real bike with pedals.
YOUNGER RIDERS (6-10 YEARS OLD)
A school age kiddo might want an electric scooter before their parental units are ready to give them that much speed. Luckily there are several options that help parents and offspring meet in the middle.
Some kick-scooters come with LED wheels that light up when they ride. So the child is getting some electric flair without the extra zoom.
For younglings who are just starting out with electric, a kick-start motor is an excellent choice. The motor on kick-start scooters doesn’t kick in (ha ha) until they reach a certain speed manually. Then the throttle can b be used to maintain a cruising speed.
SK3 GLIDE FOLDABLE eSCOOTER W/ LED WHEELS AND BOOST & CRUISE MOTOR
The traditional kick scooter riding experience you know, amped up for modern adventures. That’s the promise of the SK3 GLIDE — and it more than delivers! It’s a dynamic folding kick scooter for kids with an LED front wheel and an electric kick-start boost. Perfect for when you want to give your kids the exhilarating freedom of an electric scooter, but you’re not quite ready to let them go full throttle.
The SWAGTRON® SK3 GLIDE sits in that happy middle ground. Kids can ride it like a traditional kick scooter. After reaching a certain speed, the rear motor automatically kicks in and boosts the speed and sets the cruise. The SWAGTRON SK3 GLIDE is the perfect option for the parents that want their kids to stay active, and for the kids who love to zoom-zoom.
Pre-teens and younger teenagers are ready for some oomph but are usually still beginners, so safety features are extra important.
Choose a model that has both a standard mode and a beginner/learning mode that restricts speed and increases responsiveness. This is especially important for hoverboards and scooters. Many hoverboards are specifically designed for and marketed to this age group but make sure those safety features are, in fact, present.
There are plenty of kick-to-start models available like the ones mentioned above that are good options for beginning riders. Kick-to-start also boosts battery life so the kid gets more playtime per charge. Charging time is another consideration as are extra features like Bluetooth speakers and light-up wheels.
K5 THREE-WHEEL SCOOTER FOR KIDS
The K5 is an ideal first kick scooter for younger kids and pre-teens. It doesn’t have an electric motor, but it does let them show off with LED wheels that light up when in motion. The wide-low profile deck and dual front wheels provide extra stability. A rear footbrake and intuitive lean to turn design makes it perfect for first-time riders.
The more kids love a toy, the more they’re likely to beat it up. That’s why we made the K5 weather-resistant, scratch-resistant, and impact resistant. It’s also out-grow-resistant, with three height options so it grows with your child.
The K5’s frame is constructed from reinforced aluminum alloy can support riders up to 100 pounds, weighs just 5 pounds, and assembles in seconds so you can get them cruising right away. It’s perfect for kids who have outgrown the K2 but aren’t quite big enough for the Metro SK3.
OLDER TEENS AND ADULTS/COLLEGE STUDENTS
At this age, hoverboards, eScooters, and eBikes with all the bells, whistles, bling, and power are on the table. It’s still important to pick a model that matches their skill level though, especially with hoverboards since they take some time to master.
For those who’ll be using their eRideable to get around a campus, portability is a big factor. You’ll want a choose a model that’s lightweight and easily foldable. Choose a model with headlights if there’s any chance they’ll be riding at night. It’s also important to make sure it has an efficient battery with a quicker charging time since this lot often doesn’t stay in one place for very long.
Extras are a nice perk for this age group. Bluetooth connectivity, a port to charge their phone from the rideable, and a companion app that opens up extra features are features anyone would like.
SWAGGER 3 PRO
Introducing the Swagger Pro 3 electric scooter. With a lightweight, folding design, smooth, powerful motor and intelligent features like cruise control, rear suspension and built-in USB charging, getting around just got better.
Thanks to a 250-watt eco-friendly electric motor, the Swagger Pro effortlessly cruises up to 15.5 mph and can roll up to 14 miles on a single charge. Effortless one-click folding and a sleek easy-to-carry design make it the perfect travel companion, whether it’s getting to class or exploring new zip codes.
Engage cruise control with the push of a button. The built-in, backlit display shows essential information at a glance, including current speed, battery life and cruise control status. An LED headlight guides the way and keeps you visible when daylight ends before your ride does.
HEIGHT AND WEIGHT
This kind of goes hand in hand with age but obviously there are plenty of large children and small adults out there as well. Make sure that whichever eRideable you choose is rated for your rider’s height. Many models are adjustable if you aren’t sure or if they’re still growing.
A lot of eRideables limit their rider’s weight capacity. This bit’s really important. A rider that exceeds the weight capacity may damage the rideable or find that performance, like max. speed and distance-per-charge, is severely diminished. They might find themselves crawling along at a snail’s pace or both. The most common categories are:
- 300-420 (for some all-terrain eBikes and off-road hoverboards)
Electric bikes are a fantastic option for people with limited mobility. Motorized bikes can open up the world to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to ride a bike for any number of reasons.
When choosing an eBike for someone with limited mobility, make sure to choose one with low step-through design. Pedal-less eBikes are a good option if they have knee or hip issues that make pedaling difficult.
EB9 STEP-THROUGH ELECTRIC CITY BIKE
Smooth. Casual. Joyful. A vintage design with modern sensibilities. A return to comfort. The EB9 townie-style electric bike delivers comfort that outclasses other more traditional road bikes when it comes to comfort. From the wide, swept-back beach-cruiser handlebars to the cushioned, coil-sprung saddle, riding around the city on the EB9 is a dream. The upright design lets you ride with relaxed shoulders, neck and back. And the low step-through construction makes mounting and dismounting a breeze.
While we focused on comfort with the EB9, we didn’t skimp on the power. And the EB9 cruiser eBike has plenty to spare. Its electrical system is in perfect balance, calibrated to maximize the output between the 36-volt battery and the high-torque, 250-watt motor. The results are a city road bike that’s able to go more with what it’s got. On throttle alone, you can cruise as fast as 16 mph for up to 28 miles on a single charge. Need to go faster and farther? Activate pedal-assist for that extra push when you need it, or when you simply want to ease into the ride.
And with its removable battery, you can always have an extra battery on-hand, charged and ready to go, when you need it. Swap out the old battery with the new, fresh one without having to wait for a charge. The compact, lightweight battery pack fits in most messenger bags and backpacks with room to spare.
How much muscle your motor needs depends on the rider’s age, the surfaces they’ll be riding on, and how often they’ll be riding. Motor power and battery efficiency directly affect battery life, top speeds, and travel distance per charge. Pedal-assist on eBikes and kick-start motors on eScooters will help boost battery life.
- For kids, a 100-150W motor is plenty.
- For errand running or general fun, you’ll want a minimum 200W motor.
- Consistent riding, like frequent or daily commutes calls for at least a 250W motor.
- Off-roading or trail-riding needs extra oomph for the rougher terrain. So you’ll want to go with a 300-350W motor at minimum.
TOP SPEED CONSIDERATIONS
Insert obligatory “Need for Speed” joke here. But really, one of the reasons a lot of people choose an electric-powered rideable over its traditional non-powered counterpart is because they can go faster. Riders love the “zoom-zoom.” And who can blame them?
For most teen and adult riders shoot for a rideable that goes at least 10 mph. Between 10 and 15mph is generally the sweet spot where functionality and battery life converge. Keep in mind that any performance-based specs are variable depending on the rider weight, pavement conditions (or lack thereof if off-roading), surface incline, and so on.
Make sure to check local regulations. Some cities regulate eRideable speeds.
There are six basic brake types on eRideables, all with their own benefits and advantages — and disadvantages. It can be a little confusing. Here are the basics you need to know.
E-BRAKES AND REGENERATIVE
With a press of a button or a twist of a handle, the electric scooter comes to a halt. That’s the power of a electronic braking systems. A scooter with just e-brakes might have a more streamlined design, with less actual parts exposed, like brake calipers and such. But that streamlining could come at a cost. E-brakes tend to be the weakest of all the brake types, on average. If you’re traveling any faster than 15mph and need to stop quickly, these alone won’t do the job. Regenerative brakes help keep the battery charged but not by a lot.
These are activated by pressing your foot down on the rear fender, causing it to rub against the rear tire, slowing it down. You get slightly more stopping power than electronic brakes, but they aren’t as effective as disc or drum brakes. Foot brakes are a good addition to an electric scooter but it’s best if they’re a secondary brake. It’s not something you’d want to rely solely on. Like the e-brake, foot brakes work best in tandem with other braking systems.
Drum brakes are enclosed within the wheel hub. They’re generally lower maintenance than other braking systems and perform consistently in wet conditions. On the flipside, they tend to be more expensive and aren’t especially common in today’s eBike and Scooter market.
These are the mack-daddy of brakes. You get more stopping power and they’re lighter than drum brakes. You’ll find these on higher end eBikes, especially mountain eBikes, but they’ll sometimes show up on more budget-friendly models as well.
Also known as linear-pull brakes or direct-pull brakes, V-brakes are usually found on eBikes, not eScooters. They’re decent but maintenance is a bit harder than other models.
SPECIALTY BRAKING SYSTEMS
This is when you have additional systems that work with the brakes such as a system that auto-disengages the motor when you press on the brake. It’s a great safety feature and creates less wear and tear on your brakes.
Tires area an important consideration. There are two types: air-filled (pneumatic) or airless. Air-filled tires offer a smoother ride, better suspension, traction, and handling. The downside is, they have more maintenance and can go flat. Airless tires are great for smooth surfaces and have virtually no maintenance required.
Tire inflation is important for optimal performance. That’s true of cars, motorcycles, traditional bicycles — and yes, electric scooters and eBikes. This FAQ on tire inflation for the Swagger 5 Elite also talks about the importance of proper tire pressure. Read it here: https://swagtron.com/faq/escooter/inflating-swagger-5-front-tire/
OTHER SPECIAL FEATURES
There are all sorts of bells and whistles available on eRideables. A.I.-powered smart sensors, Bluetooth speakers, smart connectivity with a companion app, LED wheels, even the ability to charge the rider’s smartphone are a few of the more popular options. Obviously, these features will run you a little bit more, cost-wise, so consider what the rider will actually use and enjoy.
NG2 ELECTRIC LONGBOARD WITH A.I. SENSORS FOR HANDS-FREE NAVIGATION
The joys of a traditional skateboard with none of the compromise. That’s the Swagskate NG2 electric skateboard from SWAGTRON® in a nutshell. Dynamic, intuitive and simple, with the options you need to have the absolute best riding experience possible. No gimmicks. Just pure, exhilarating fun.
Smart sensors let you control the NG2 like a traditional skateboard, by shifting your weight on the deck. No remote control required. Its massive 900-watt dual rear motor lets you cruise up to 18 mph and easily ride over 15° inclines. But for those that like using a remote, one is included for optional control over every aspect of the riding experience — change speeds, engage cruise control & more.
The electric-powered skateboard that rides like a traditional longboard. Just lean and go.
Motor muscle, fun features, and top speed are all fun to talk about and important to consider, but safety really must come first. Always. Safety features like a kick-start motor (rather than a full powered eScooter) for younger riders, a solid battery management system, and UL certification for battery-powered devices are all critical factors to check before you purchase.
Reflectors, head lights, taillights, and brake lights are all 100% needed if there’s any chance the rider will be riding at night.
While we’re on the subject of safety, there are a few accessories no rider should be without and a few that are just really useful and/or cool.
Non-negotiable: Helmet – Trust us. It looks great. It says, “I like my head.”
Need assistance finding the perfect size helmet? We have a guide for you.
- Knee and elbow pads to protect your joints (you’ll thank us when you’re older).
- A scooter or bike lock protects your investment.
- A phone holder keeps your device in clear sight. Really useful if you’re using a connected app or playing music. Plus, it keeps it from falling out of your pocket which is always a plus.
- Extra lights. If there’s a lot of night riding in your rideables future, you might consider adding extra lights to make the rider even more visible.
READY TO RIDE
Hopefully this guide has answered all your questions and given you all the guidance you need to select the perfect eRideable. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us at www.swagtron.com!