By Jeffrey the Barak.
My fifth electric scooter, a Turbowheel Dart, is so far proving to have been a very good choice. The “Turbowheel Dart” is mostly the same as the “Falcon PEV Zero 9” and also the “Sonic 600w 48V”.
Once an extremely rare and eccentric choice, an electric scooter today is something that millions of normal people think of as ordinary, thanks mainly to the shared scooters on the streets of many major cities. And today’s new designs and technology have made older scooters seem quite primitive.
Let me start by explaining why I chose the Turbowheel Dart as my fifth and newest electric scooter.
For months I was looking at the monster class of scooter, that is scooters that can go very fast, with long-travel front and rear suspension making up for the small tire size.
I was looking at the expensive but highly rated Dualtron models, Thunder, III and Spider, and I was looking specifically at the Falcon PEV Zero 10X, also alternately branded as a Turbowheel Lightning.
I had selected the Zero 10X /Turbowheel Lightning to be my next scooter because for me, a good suspension is key to comfort and safety and the 10X has really great suspension.
If you are coming from the world of skates and skateboards you may not appreciate this feature as much as I do because you just subconsciously jump, or ollie over things that can be lethal to small-wheeled vehicles going fast, but in the scooter world, fast scooters without suspension rely entirely on their tires to keep the rider alive and comfortable. I became obsessed with the Zero 10X suspension.
But what redirected my choice from the 10X to the 9, was the factor of speed. Not wanting to wear full body protection in the hot temperatures of where I live, I wanted to self-limit my speed to under 20 MPH to somewhat decrease my chances of serious injury while riding in helmet, tee-shirt and shorts.
Yes I could have placed a 10X/Lightning in speed mode one and turned off one of the two motors, but that would have been a waste of money.
And yet I was hesitant to buy the Zero 9/ Dart with it’s 8.5” diameter tires, and less spectacular suspension features, because the tires just seemed so small, and therefore more dangerous. But I ultimately did.
So why did I buy a Turbowheel Dart from eWheels rather than the almost identical Zero 9 from RevRides?
Two reasons. One was a much lower shipping cost to Hawai’i, and this will not really apply to buyers in the lower 48, and the other was the selling point that the Dart contained LG batteries, and the Zero 9 allegedly had Simpower batteries, which seem to inspire less confidence among online battery-fanatics. I am confident that Zero 9 is just as good, but this is why I have a Dart.
I need not have worried, because the Dart on its 8.5 inch tires provides a smoother ride than my last scooter which had 11 inch fat tires. This is all due to the superior suspension.
It may not be the astounding suspension of the Zero 10X, but it is still almost impossibly smooth for its size, and the ride feels like flying silently a few inches above the road most of the time.
I avoid badly potholed surfaces and do not ride on unpaved surfaces, and I do not attempt to risk riding up and over big surface elevation changes such as the infamous Hawai’i gutter curbs, but other reviewers have demonstrated in videos that the Dart/9 can handle such direction fairly well.
I basically remind myself that my tires are small and I just avoid hazards that I could probably easily ollie over etc. And the Dart does ollie nicely. The tires do not fly above ground when I do a little body jump, but the gross weight probably drops to a few pounds so the tires can sail over most short obstacles without drama.
Of course one of the first things you do on a new scooter is see how fast you can go, so with a full face helmet, but a lot of bare leg and arm skin, I pushed up to the mid-twenties and then throttled back. The scooter handled perfectly, but it was faster than I wanted to go on 8.5 inch tires. It will probably do 29 MPH in ideal conditions, but they promise 25 MPH and I did see that on the screen.
My intentions are to ride at speeds between 12 and 20 MPH and hold that extra power in reserve for more range. I don’t want to protectively dress as a sweltering hot motorcyclist just to ride a bit faster on a scooter in Hawai’i.
The quality of the components and the construction all seems to be of the highest quality so far. I initially had a small throbbing vibration due to the new tires not being balanced, but as I add mileage on hot asphalt, this is diminishing and that issue is vanishing. Perhaps the included Slime was just all on one side or something!
Now this is not a full technical road test review such as one you may see on YouTube or read on a dedicated online electric scooter website such as https://electric-scooter.guide/.
What this article is, is a demonstration of why you should not buy a scooter that can deliver more than you need or less than you need.
The Turbowheel Dart costs about a thousand dollars (2019). For a lesser amount you can get what the ride share companies use, something like a Xiaomi Mi 365 or a Segway Ninebot ES2, but then you will not have suspension, or stable wide handlebars, or any of the many other sophistications that the Dart provides.
You will still get there and enjoy the ride (unless you chose a very bumpy route), but unless you very much need to save a few hundred dollars, your electric scooter life will be much more pleasant on something like a Zero 9 with its fabulous smooth ride.
Looking in the up direction, if you spend much more to get major suspension upgrades, larger tires and dual motors, but do not want to ride very fast, then riding at under 20 MPH on a monster scooter is not getting you value for money.
Some of the best scooters cost several thousand dollars and frankly if you want to ride at 40 MPH, you will be safer on a larger-wheeled road-going motorcycle or scooter, electric or otherwise, which might even cost less money than something like a Dualtron Thunder.
Of course you have to ride sitting down on a proper motor scooter, which for me is very undesirable, as is having a noisy and smelly combustion engine, but my point is, think about what you want out of your scooter and do not overbuy or underbuy.
Another feature of the Turbowheel Dart/Zero 9 is that it folds up easily and quickly, into a very compact package. It will slip into a car trunk, so you can transport it somewhere for a destination ride.
My previous scooter was big, heavy, and not able to fold, or fit inside a car, so all rides centered on my home address. Now I can take the Dart to another part of the island for a nice cruise in different scenery.
eWheels also gave me a trolley kit so I can pull the folded scooter along and not have to carry its weight. These trolley wheels at the front of the deck do not obstruct any function of the scooter and they work very well.
For a very nice video review of the Zero 9 version of this scooter, compared with the smaller Zero 8, and done with a very clever 360 stick camera, look at the video by AuthenTech / Ben Schmanke here: https://youtu.be/PcvP-qb80KE. But please also search on YouTube for more and more new videos regarding the Zero 9 scooter and the Turbowheel Dart.
So I think I made a perfect choice here. I am pleased I did not spend more to go faster, or spend less and have less isolation from the road surface. I have enough experience to ride within the capabilities of the tire size, and to take full advantage of the suspension with my riding technique.
The Dart / 9 performs and feels like a bigger and more expensive ride and compared to everything else, it is a great deal at $999 in 2019.
Update September 2019. Observations after 75 miles.
I still love the scooter, and I am still glad that I did not get a faster one, or a heavier one. In practice, I usually ride at around 15 MPH, with the occasional 22 MPH on very well maintained roads in full daylight. I do all I can to avoid taking a spill.
Observations: The scooter’s performance noticeably varies according to the charge level. While I have not ever tried to measure its maximum range by depleting the charge to where the controller shuts it off, I have experimented with letting it run down to a partial charge, and this makes a huge difference in speed and acceleration.
The Dart has a more powerful motor and a 50% greater promised range than my last scooter, and weighs much less too, so I am a little surprised that it slows so much on hills, when the old one did not. When the battery is full the Dart is as zippy as I need it to be, but with a partial charge it feels sluggish.
Battery buffs will advise you to maximize battery lifespan by only charging to around 80%. I tried this, but it is that top level of charge between 80% and 100% that has all the go! I have gone back to allowing the charger’s light to turn green before unplugging. Most of my trips are 4 miles each way, and with a full charge I have a fast scooter all the way there and back. With a partial charge it is not the same scooter.