The Levy electric scooter
Our review model is the Levy ‘Original’ which is the popular entry-level product priced at $499.
It has a claimed range of 8-10 miles (~13-16 kilometres), can charge to full in three hours and weighs 27 lb (12.25 kg). Let’s get stuck in.
Assembly is trivial – open the box, screw on the handlebars, and you’re ready to go. The first thing that strikes you is the premium build quality – everything feels solid, the aircraft-grade aluminium components are nicely machined, and the paint finish looks durable. The weight feels comparable to a bicycle, a large percentage of which is due to the battery, which lives in the chunky stem.
Speed is controlled with a thumb-operated throttle, which is easy to modulate with your right hand. The left hand operates the rear disc-brake and integrated bell. You can also brake in the more traditional scooter manner by pressing down on the mudguard if you prefer. You need to push off from a standing start before the motor kicks in, which it does very smoothly. The centrally mounted LED display is easy to read in the sunlight and provides charge level, speed and various options including the speed modes.
The motor is integrated into the front wheel hub – it’s smooth, quiet and surprisingly punchy for the size. There are three speed modes – beginner, eco and sport, and the claimed max speed is 18mph (29kph). We tested with a few different riders, and your weight does make a noticeable difference to the acceleration, but this doesn’t distract from the enjoyment. The 18mph top end is enough to keep up with cyclists and feels quick enough.
The rear cable operated disc brake grips a 12cm drilled disc. Braking is adequate with decent bite and can be supplemented with a press on the mudguard if required. Some braking assistance is provided by the motor when easing off the throttle. Hydraulic brakes would be a nice upgrade, but cable is a more sensible choice for the intended use case. Adjustments will be familiar to those used to tinkering with bicycles.
As with any mode of transport with small wheels, the Levy responds very quickly to steering input and most changes of direction are done by leaning. The posture is similar to a snowboard and becomes natural very quickly. Slow speed manoeuvres can be perfected with a little practise.
Unlike some models, the Levy uses air-filled tubeless tyres inflated to at least 50psi. They provide a smooth experience and take the jolt out of most bumps in the road surface. We didn’t hop any curbs, but the robust construction looks like it could take it comfortably. Gravel and puddles aren’t a problem.
The scooter has a simple folding mechanism, which hinges at the base of the stem and clicks into the rear mudguard to act as a carrying handle. When in the upright position, the hinge is secured with a reassuringly robust locking mechanism which is locked into place. This is usually the weak point for folding bicycles, but this has been taken into consideration with the design.
When folded, the scooter will fit under the seat on the train. The weight is nicely distributed and carrying feels natural, but you probably don’t want to be lifting it over long distances.
This is where the Levy shines – it’s always ready to go, small enough to fit in a cupboard or car and there’s even a hook to attach your shopping bag. It’s fast enough to make real progress and doesn’t seem phased by wet weather or uneven ground. We found ourselves making excuses to go outside just to have a play around.
Side reflectors and an integrated front and rear LED lights are included – the brake light flashes when pulling the lever, which is very noticeable. The front light is sufficient for night time illumination, but you’ll probably want to supplement it with a standard bicycle light if doing a lot of night time riding.
For nipping out to the shops or a short commute, you probably can’t beat the Levy – it’s compact enough to leave by the door, quick enough to chew up the miles and small enough to squeeze through any gaps. Most importantly, the riding experience is a lot of fun, and you’ll find yourself fighting family members for it every time you leave the house.