Segway Ninebot F40 E-Scooter REVIEW

9/10

Summary

Segway Ninebot F40 E-Scooter REVIEW

PAT PILCHER gets off his rump and rides around on a Segway electric scooter. It’s a transformational experience.

$1300

 

Getting from A to B in Wellington has become significantly easier, thanks to Segway’s scooter brand Ninebot. Their F40 e-scooter transformed how I commute and made my commute fun again.

Being a Segway product, the build quality of the F40 is top-notch. Everything feels solid and exceptionally well thought out. Design-wise, the F40 is sturdy and feels built to last. It has a clever folding mechanism that allows you to flick a latch and fold the handlebars down, making it dead easy to pick up and stow away in a cupboard or under a desk when it isn’t in use.

 

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The use of 10-inch pneumatic tires also translated into a surprisingly smooth ride. Small bumps or rough roads weren’t a problem, and the tires provided a comfy cushion as I zipped about central Wellington putting the F40 through its paces.

Solid design and smooth ride aside, the F40 is also Bluetooth connected and can pair with a Segway App (IOS/Android). You can see battery levels or update the F40’s firmware with the app. The app can also deter thieves by locking the F40’s rear disk brakes. As handy as the app is, using a smartphone when scooting isn’t wise. Because of this, Segway added a small OLED display into the middle of the handlebars so you can see how the battery is doing or change the F40’s operating modes (more on this later).

Annoyingly, the app seems to have been created by marketing groupthink. These marketing “geniuses” bizarrely thought gamifying the whole experience would be cool. Trust me, it isn’t. In fact, it’s just plain annoying. As well as locking my scooter or upgrading firmware, I could reach different levels, earn points, coins, medals and other nonsense. None of this added anything meaningful to my scooting experience. The app constantly nagged me to watch videos and create posts to earn coins. Yeah nah.

App aside, the actual scooter is excellent. I particularly liked that its braking is regenerative. This helps extend the F40’s already impressive battery life by sending small amounts of electricity back to the batteries whenever you engage the brakes. For scooting about after the sun goes down, there’s also a built-in 2.5W headlight. Being an electric beastie, the F40 runs silently. The addition of a bell was useful for letting people know you’re nearby (it’s also miles more polite than yelling at unsuspecting pedestrians).

The 350W electric motor, located on the front of the F40 reaches a zippy 30kph. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of acceleration on offer. Combined with the plentiful torque available, climbing Wellington’s many hills was mostly effortless. Conquering hills saw me engaging in Sports mode (one of three different driving modes). While more demanding on the battery, it gives faster speeds, making hill climbs easier by building momentum before starting a climb. On the rare occasions I didn’t get enough steam when scooting up a particularly steep hill and the F40 slowed and stopped. I’d have to supply a few scoots before its motor was able to do its thing.

If range anxiety is an issue for you, there is also an Eco mode. With it, your top speed is restricted to 15kph, but battery life and operating range are extended. The third mode, Normal, balances speed and battery life. Depending on which mode you use, the range of the F40 is 40km, which is plenty for getting around central Wellington, and ample for a scoot from an inner-city suburb to a CBD office. As the charger is the size of a laptop power brick, throwing it in a backpack with other work stuff is not a biggie.

Being able to hit 30kph also means a helmet is a must (as are elbow/knee pads). Coming off the F40 or colliding with a car/person/inanimate object at that speed could lead to injuries (or put a serious dent in your day). Thankfully the rear disk brakes provide a tonne of stopping power and don’t lock the wheels, causing skids. I found this out while out on a scoot when I had to stop suddenly as a car door opened before I could take evasive action. Safety concerns aside, the F40 feels balanced, and if you play it safe and keep your wits about you, you should be fine.

The F40 may cost a cool $1300, but its real value lies in the money you can save on your daily work commute. Then there’s also the sheer amount of fun you can have pootling about with it on the weekends. With public transport costs or parking plus petrol costs skyrocketing (I won’t even get into traffic congestion), the F40 makes getting about both affordable and fun.

 

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