Testing the scooter on different surfaces – how to ride off-road


Is the scooter always only suitable for asphalt rides in the city? Is it possible to go off-road, ride on dirt roads or forest paths, fly through a puddle or get into the mud on an electric scooter? We find out the possibilities of portable transport using the example of a passable large-wheeled Kuggo Kirin M3.
This scooter model has already been described in detail in this review . For the lazy: this is a powerful scooter with 10″ wheels, which allows you to move both on smooth asphalt and on rough terrain. The scooter is protected from water and forgives some off-road conditions. Thanks to a well-thought-out design and front shock absorber, it should provide comfortable control and safe movement up to 40 km on a single charge Let’s check if this is so?

What is yours?
If you already have a scooter or you are just looking around, it is worth remembering a couple of key points that will decide whether your scooter can be safely ridden on a dirt road or not. It:

Wheel diameter . Scooters with relatively small diameters (6″. 6.5″, 8″) quickly pick up speed, quite comfortable for moving on sidewalks, parks and around the city in general. But! The small diameter does not forgive obstacles, even minor cracks or joints on tiles or asphalt can be fatal. Higher-weight scooters with 10″ and larger wheels are already noticeably easier to cope with bumps and obstacles on the way.
Clearance (distance from the bottom of the deck to the surface). The greater the clearance, the easier it is to overcome bumps and the tougher the requirements for the design and suspension of the scooter. A high center of gravity makes the scooter less stable.
Power . For Sunday walks in the park, a conditionally children’s scooter or basic models with a power of ~ 250 watts will suffice. But for moving on difficult routes with climbs, slides, with the need for sharp accelerations, you should choose a powerful model (500+ W).
Protection . To move outside the city sidewalks, you should prepare a scooter or choose a model with factory protection. We are talking about waterproofing the deck / battery / controller, as well as protecting wires and electrical connections. Light rain or a puddle on the way can not only disable the scooter, but also lead to sad consequences.

Thus, if you have chosen or independently prepared your own off-road scooter, then you should imagine what it does and what it does not. It’s rather unpleasant to get into a situation where you drove quite far, and the scooter “couldn’t”. And then you have to carry it back. And if in the urban cycle the requirements for scooters are lower, then for off-road it is worth choosing a “bigger” and more powerful model. If we take the Kuggo Kirin M3 as an example, then this is already 10 “wheels and a front shock absorber, waterproofing of the main components, as well as a powerful 600 W engine. By the way, we wrote about how to choose the right scooter here . And in this material – detailed depreciation guide.

For serious off-road, separate models of electric scooters are provided. As a rule, these are powerful and seriously prepared versions with large wheels and toothy tires. The deck and electrical connectors of such scooters are protected from moisture or dirt. Such models for off-road are much higher than ordinary urban ones.


On loose surfaces, you should be especially careful. Treacherous sand or fine gravel can instantly dampen your speed, but not your momentum. Having caught the road dust at the side of the road or on scattered sand near the industrial zone or construction site, you can easily lose control and fly off the scooter. Starting off on such a surface is difficult, especially without an additional impulse: the motor-wheel simply grinds the loose surface, digging deeper.

dirt roads
Trampled forest paths, dirt roads are also suitable for a city scooter. The uneven surface of such roads can fail if you choose a high speed. So you have to be careful. Avoid wet grass or dewy grass – you can slip along with the scooter. After driving through such areas, do not forget to bring the scooter in proper condition: wipe off dust and dirt, especially from critical structural elements.

Crushed stone or gravel
Be extremely careful when driving on roads with a lot of gravel, crushed stone or sand. Although the scooter has a decent wheel diameter, it can result in the effect of tipping over the steering wheel when it hits a more or less serious obstacle. And this is very traumatic. Also, small gravel tends to scatter from under the wheels when driving, damaging the deck coating. But in general, the scooter copes well with movement on these types of roads.

Scooters with two driving wheels or with a front electric wheel move much better on similar surfaces. And if the same Xiaomi Mi360 scooter, bogged down in the sand, can easily throw off the rider, then the Kugoo Kirin M3 simply starts to lose speed, allowing you to respond to changes in a timely manner.

snow and ice
A separate topic is movement in winter conditions, in particular at sub-zero temperatures (a critical mode for a lithium battery), on a snowy surface or on ice. On an ordinary city scooter, it is unlikely that you will be able to successfully move in such conditions, most likely you will fall right away. But a prepared scooter is quite capable of moving in winter. But the rider will need double attention and some experience in responding to slippery areas.

Uphill movement
A certain difficulty for scooters is long climbs. It should be noted that the load on the electric wheel increases in proportion to the mass of the rider, as well as the angle of inclination of the surface. Not all scooters can successfully pull uphill (~ 15 degrees) a mass of 80+ kg. The drop in speed is especially noticeable with a certain battery discharge (40% or less). So either help the scooter by pushing yourself, or choose detour routes without such climbs, or keep the scooter charged. As a rule, such climbs are not a problem for powerful models of scooters (500 W and above).

Traffic obstacles
A separate danger can be represented by various hidden obstacles – pits in puddles after rain, asphalt failures or traces of roadworks. It is especially unpleasant to get into such trouble at night. Here, even additional light does not help much. So just choose a speed of movement that will ensure your timely response to the obstacles that have arisen. Pay attention also to artificial bumps. Designed to limit the speed of cars, these obstacles can be a problem for scooters, especially at speeds of 20+ km/h.

Shock absorbers and large diameter wheels
Scooters equipped with large-diameter wheels with off-road tires are best at coping with small bumps. A separate moment is the presence of a front and / or rear shock absorber, which, due to the suspension travel, soften the blows and make the scooter more stable. Pay attention to this when choosing a model. The photo shows the front suspension fork of the Kuggo Kirin M3 scooter.

Let’s summarize the above:

Observe speed limits and pay attention to the surface in front of you while driving. Even small obstacles/bumps or puddles can lead to serious consequences.
Do not neglect common sense. If the scooter is not designed for off-road, leave it in the city or look for an appropriate off-road model (for rent or at all).
Do not forget about the maintenance of the scooter during hard use. If you like to ride through puddles or jump off a curb on a scooter, then periodically inspect structural parts that are subject to wear or corrosion.

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