Most of us know that the electric scooters we know and love today are the product of evolution. They are the direct descendants of the ever-popular kick scooter, and for those of you too young to realize this, the kick scooter has been with us since before World War II.
Naturally, being that the evolution begins with a known species, it is no surprise that the offspring of this process may look a lot like the original animal, and such is the case with our review product, the Xootr EX-3. The EX-3 is a direct relative to a family of kick scooters built by Nova Cruz, and these kick scooters are considered the “Cadillac” of kick scooters.
The EX-3, like the other Nova Cruz products, has some serious engineering placed into the design of the unit. It is comprised of mostly cast or machined aluminum parts, to provide a lightweight and strong chassis. The main chassis and deck is a single cast unit that is machine-finished to provide a slip-free foot deck on top.
On the bottom, the casting forms a slightly modified rectangular box to house the equipment inside. This box shape provides tremendous strength to the entire main chassis and deck design. A lip around the edge also adds more strength, and the result is a lightweight main chassis that can hold any full-size adult rider without a problem. An aluminum sheet plate is attached to the very bottom to enclose all the batteries and electronics within the chassis.
At the front, we find a bar stock aluminum steering head that also swivels down for transportation and storage of the scoot. A retaining pin holds the head into the folded or upright position with a positive lock. Where the head swivels in the chassis, the head appears to be bushed for smoothness and strength, a nice touch to the design.
At the front fork/gooseneck assembly, a steel swivel pin is used to mount the fork/gooseneck to the head, and it appears this is bearing mounted in the head. It is all very solid in design and application. The front forks are made from stamped aluminum stock, and then precision bent to shape. The gooseneck is an extruded aluminum tube with an aerodynamic shape to it.
The front forks are bolted to the bottom of the tube and at the top, and aluminum fitting is used to not only dress up the top but also allow the upper neck extension a place to be adjusted and fixed in position. A single cinch lever is used to lock the upper neck at the desired height of the rider, the neckpiece being made from chromed steel tube. The neck terminates at the top with a welded handlebar that has foam handlebar grips for the rider.
The front wheel is made from cast aluminum with a bearing supported axle, and the wheel measures some 5.75 inches across. The tire is solid rubber, bonded permanently to the rim. With the tire in place, the outside diameter is 7 inches. The rear wheel is driven by a single brushless motor pushed by a 24-volt battery pack inside the chassis. Power is transmitted to the wheel by a pinion gear on the motor shaft to the inside of the wheel rim, which is basically a big gear. With this, there is no belt or chain to wear out or adjust. The rear wheel also measures 7 inches in diameter and shares the same solid rubber tire.
Controls of the Xootr consist of a thumb-actuated throttle on the right side handlebar, and a brake lever on the left side. There is a single friction block brake for the front wheel only on this scoot, and pulling on the brake handle causes the block to cinch down onto the top of the front wheel. You may also add more braking power by pulling back on the throttle lever to gain dynamic braking from the motor at the rear. Suffice to say, you will need both brake systems in a panic stop situation. We were not really pleased with the amount of hand pressure needed to get effective braking power from the front brake, and so you will find yourself learning to use that dynamic brake very quickly, lest to care not to stop very soon.
The Xootr comes with a standard nickel-metal-hydride pack and rapid charger. Some very modest-sized charging connectors are found at the very rear of the scooter for plugging into the charger. The normal charge time is about 75 minutes from a dead pack. In our case, we tested the EX-3 with the extended range battery pack, and this means you have to charge two packs with a single charger. That’s easily done by simply switching the charger to the second charging jack on the other side of the scooter. The extended range version will double your traveling range on the EX-3. There is a small three-way switch mounted to the top deck at the very tail that allows you to switch battery packs when the primary pack is depleted on the run.
The fit and finish of the EX-3 are very high level, and you won’t find slop anywhere on it. Everything appears to be a precision fit, with craftsman-level finishing at all joints and junctures. It is a compact package, and if you look at the measurements we have recorded, you will find the EX-3 is not much larger than the kick scooters it is derived from. This also means it is pretty light. Our extended range model topped the scales at a mere 25 pounds, almost half the weight of the other scoots we have tested to date. Don’t let this lightweight stuff fool you, however, as the EX-3 can carry a 300-pound maximum load.
Editor’s Ride Comments: First off, if you think you are going to ride the EX-3 on all roads, forget it! With the solid rubber tires on this ride, you will find that anything rough will just about rattle your teeth out! The best way to ride this scoot when it gets rough is to bend the knees and take the bumps on your legs. Otherwise, stick to smooth surfaces when riding this one.
Acceleration is good, with the Xootr reaching top speed in about 5 seconds. The overall top-end speed is quite pleasing, which we recorded to be 19 MPH. At this speed and on a good surface, the Xootr is pretty solid and steady, although you will not miss the whine of the motor just under your rear foot. The deck is just large enough to set your feet, but you won’t have the luxury of moving around much. You will soon learn to avoid cracks, bumps and holes in the road like the plague. We found that cracks can make the wheels jump around pretty weird. Also, this scoot doesn’t have a lot of ground clearance, so tall bumps are going to be a disaster.
Handling of the Xootr is very quick, due to the short wheelbase and narrow tires, so maneuvering is not a problem. Speed is also not a problem, as the EX-3 zips quickly around town. The range could be a problem if you plan on staying out all day. Our distance testing found that the primary battery pack is good for about 4.7 miles. Just double that figure for the extended model range of distance. Going up the mild grades is also not a problem for the EX-3, and coming down a hill can be flat-out exciting as this one can pick up a good head of steam. There is no suspension system to the EX-3, and accordingly, this one is best suited for smooth surfaces and sidewalk cruising. Don’t even think about taking it off-road!
During our test of the Xootr, we had no mechanical breakdowns or items which came loose from their place. If I were to want anything from this scooter, it would have to be pneumatic tires and a better front brake system. It has speed, good punch, is very lightweight, well built, but just bone-jarring to ride on a rough street. At the recommended retail price for the extended range version, you will get a well-engineered scooter that will last and performs well for its’ intended purpose.
(The Editor’s Ride Comments made above represent the opinion of the individual making the evaluation and do not reflect the opinion of other members/editors. The opinion is based on the findings of this individual only and the singular machine involved in the test and is not meant to be satisfactory for everyone else utilizing this same machine or similar. Your actual results may vary.)