What should you spend your next paycheck on? One of those popular electric scooters you always see in BGC and Makati or a trusty traditional bicycle everyone seems to have? Ah, a modern-day dilemma. Both modes of transportation have different benefits and it could be a tough choice choosing between an electric scooter vs a bicycle. Especially now that restrictions have totally eased up and it looks like we’re back to normal pre-pandemic programming. But if you’re confused about which one to choose, we’re here to at least make their differences clear.
Why should you consider getting one?
Aside from you’d look Pretty Cool cruising down the streets on an electric scooter or a bike, why should you consider getting one? One of the main reasons for getting either is freedom from horrible traffic. We’ve all been there before — hours on end sitting inside public transportation squished between fellow frustrated Filipinos. Electric scooters and bikes can breeze past on the bicycle lane and riders get to go home earlier or go anywhere they want without fuss.
Since you’re not tied down to public transportation or paying for gas, you save money. Yes, you’ll pay upfront to get your own electric scooter or bike but in the long run, you save a ton. No more Grab, public transportation, or dealing with the gas price hike every day. Lastly, you get to exercise, or at the very least, feel the wind on your face.
But in the modern dilemma that is electric scooter vs bicycle, which one should you get? Which one is better and gives you the best bang-for-buck? Let’s put them toe to toe in a number of categories starting with..
Regular electric scooters could go as fast as 25 km/h. High-end ones that come with powerful motors could even push to 50 km/h. They can obviously be faster than a bike whose speed depends on the rider’s fitness (ehem). Typically, an average bicycle rider can go anywhere from 16 km/h to 40 km/h once they’re used to the endless pedaling and the distance. Both options are faster than walking but electric scooters are preferable thanks to their motors which don’t require much effort on the rider’s part.
Winner: Electric scooters for effortless whizzing past streets and traffic.
Speaking of motors and effort, what about what’s more comfortable? Bicycles require the rider to pedal for it to work while with electric scooters, you just get on it and press that accelerator. When it comes to uphill roads,electric scooters can generally carry you to a specific incline. But at least you’re not pedaling and trying to catch your breath at the same time.
However, electric scooters are only comfortable on smooth roads. The minute you encounter potholes and bumpy roads, you’ll feel the shake everywhere. That’s because the suspensions and shock absorbers on basic scooters aren’t that good. Unless you go for a more expensive option that probably has better suspension, you’ll have to grit your teeth and ride through. Bicycles, on the other hand, can handle bumpy roads well enough. You could replace your tire thickness and pressure or shift to a higher gear. It’s not a completely smooth experience but it’s a noticeably better one versus with an electric scooter.
Winner: Electric scooters since you just have to stand on them and you’re ready to go. Granted, it gets bumpy, but you can simply choose another route.
When it comes to portability, spoiler alert, the electric scooter wins by a mile. They weigh anywhere from 7 kg to 70 kg depending on the make and customization but their main portability feature is that you can fold them. It’s convenient for when you can’t be bothered to find a parking space and want to take it indoors. Some park their electric scooters beside their desks at work and some malls even allow you to take it inside, granted you won’t ride it. Plus, you can stuff it in the trunk of a Grab ride if you’re too tired to ride home. Unless you have a foldable bike, you’ll always have to think of where to park it.
Winner: Electric scooters for being a literal Transformer.
Here’s where the difference gets a bit glaring between electric scooter vs bicycle. Electric scooters start at around P12,000 and can go upwards of P100,000 if you want better motors and other additional customization. You can get a traditional bike for as low as P2,000 if you visit Cartimar, Recto, or other well-known bike shops. On average, bicycles are priced around P12,000 too, the same as electric scooters. But think in terms of return of investment (ROI) here. You’ll pay the price upfront but you get to save so much money down the line.
Winner: It’s a tie! You’ll have to invest for both if you want to get a product that’s high quality and legit.
When it comes to safety, both the electric scooter and bicycle rank the same. Each is as safe on the road as the other. However, you do have to consider that accidents can occur on any vehicle. For rides like these, the driver is responsible for wearing the proper gear such as helmets and knee and elbow pads. They’re also responsible for reading traffic signals, staying in bicycle lanes, and staying alert at all times.
But there are a few safety features that already come with the electric scooter. You get a built-in lamp, brake light or tail light, and sometimes even LED lights at the rear, sides, and back. With traditional bicycles, riders might have to install these themselves.
Winner: It’s a tie once again! Even if the electric scooter comes with a few additional lights, both transportation options are generally safe on the roads if the driver practices caution.
Ease of use
Riding a bike requires lots of energy exertion, tough lungs, and a good sense of balance. It’s also easier to learn when you’re a kid but for adult beginners, it could be challenging. Some might also feel self-conscious about falling off every once in a while. On the other hand, with electric scooters, you just have to stand upright and let the motor do the rest. Anyone can ride an electric scooter — it doesn’t need the level of balance a bicycle requires. Besides, if you’re riding to the office, you’ll likely arrive with minimal sweating and heavy breathing on an electric scooter.
However, if you’re planning on squeezing a bit of exercise into your day since you can’t be bothered to go to the gym, go for a bike. It will be challenging to ride at first, especially on uphill roads, but over time you’ll notice your body gets used to it.
Winner: Electric scooters win. You get to work on time without a serious case of pit sweat on your shirt.
electric scooters run on battery so the minute that runs out, they’re pretty much burdens. They’re not recommended for manual operation and besides, they’re too heavy for that and you’ll just tire yourself out. You can always ride a bicycle since those depend on you, not on any kind of battery. So if you’re going home late at night and your electric scooter gets drained, you’re gonna have to ride public transportation. Bicycles will only fail you if you’re unfit to ride.
But don’t worry, electric scooter batteries don’t drain easily. You have an LED screen between the handlebars that will indicate how much juice is left and charging usually takes only three hours. A fully-charged electric scooter can take you up to 45 km.
Winner: Bicycles win this round. It’s a trusty mode of transportation that can get you anywhere anytime without relying on batteries or a motor.
Overall winner: Electric scooter
You know this was going to take the cake on speed, comfortability, portability, and pretty much everything else. No offense to bicycles but they’re best for weekend long rides with friends. When it comes to practicality and living in the city, an electric scooter would be a huge help.
So, what’s it going to be for you? Electric scooter vs bicycle? It’s totally up to you. Which one would you prefer? Cycling to work as a form of exercise although you’d run the risk of no parking and getting sweaty, or spending more for a no-frills, chill electric scooter you can bring anywhere? But one thing’s for sure, whichever one you choose, you get to spend a ton of money in the long run and you get to laugh in the face of heavy traffic.