The rechargeable, foldable, electric scooters from EcoReco are designed and built to accompany you from home, through your otherwise foot-pounding commute and to your destination — folding up on arrival and juicing up out of any common wall outlet.
It’s up to every would be male buyer if the function, economy and environmental friendliness of the gadget is worth the unavoidable damage it can do to a man’s masculine identity.
I tested out the M3 version of the EcoReco for several weeks, in different seasons and on distinct terrain. Under all of those circumstance — and right out of the box, in fact — it’s clear that the EcoReco is well engineered and durably built to stand up to the rigors of longtime use. It would have to be if intended to serve everyday commute duty. That’s a lot of folding, unfolding, running over sidewalks and streets, charging and repeating. If it was made as flimsy as a kick scooter might be, it wouldn’t last more than a couple months.
That functionality and toughness has its cost as the introductory M3 runs $999, while the more rugged M5 comes in at $1,250. For that, you get the scooter, a carrier and the wall outlet charger. Whether you choose the entry or enhanced trim level, the ride’s aesthetics remain largely the same. It’s a black/red, two-wheeled scooter. No frills. The EcoReco looks like a bulked version of that simple aluminum, handlebar’d kick scooter you road around in your youth when you figured you didn’t want or couldn’t ride a skateboard.
The EcoReco is made of aluminum and steel, while carrying a small electric motor. So, it’s not a lark to lug around. Still, EcoReco did a nice design job cramming that weight down to no more than 34 lbs. A lot of us schlep briefcases or computer bags that weigh that much, and those don’t save any wear and tear on your feet.
The controls are as simple as a two-wheeled scooter from Yamaha or Vespa you’d sit on to ride, even if they’re laid out a little differently. The left hand sits on a handle brake that cuts power and grabs the rear wheel, while the fingers of the right hand manipulate a trigger throttle. Open that tap up all the day, and you’ll do 20-25 mph, depending on the terrain and incline.
EcoReco promises their scooters will roll about 20 miles on a single full charge. After testing it myself, I was never able to ride it far enough in a single day to kill off that charge. Still, I would recommend any buyer to keep it charged and plugged in while it’s idle overnight.
So you don’t have to worry about how much life you’ve still got in the battery, the EcoReco includes a gauge with your speedometer indicating remaining power.
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While the scooter is built street tough, it lacks any significant supporting suspension — except for smaller spring shocks on the M5. The M3 doesn’t even have those. You feel the street beneath you on this scooter, and you have to ride it with very active attention to anticipate bumps, inclines and other topographical obstacles. Not only will you get a shin-shaking jolt if you catch the wrong paved imperfection, too big of a bump or crack will send you tumbling.
As vehicles go, this is a short distant travel aid. It’s not meant to be as comparatively safe or passively interactive as a car. That means you need to be more aware of your surroundings on it and realize those around you probably haven’t seen an EcoReco before and might not be looking for you to come humming by on an electric motor.
Of course, the only other problem with using a scooter like this to get around the city is that you could end up looking like the wispy bachelor modeling for EcoReco just above this text. That’s an adult male. I checked. He’s probably a decent guy, too. How he lives is none of my business since I don’t live in Indiana.
But, you put any would be man in a little helmet like that and send him down the street on a scooter, and he’s going to get the kind of sideways looks he’s getting from the passersby just to his left. (The purse doesn’t help.) And, it’s fair to assume even this model, with all of his Owen Wilson-i-ness, would have a tough time pulling the females from the back of this scooter — unless they’re the tattooed, stubble leg types one finds wandering the aisle at Whole Foods with dangerously low blood sugar. And, those ladies reek of Pachouli and white guilt.
Those cosmetic quibbles and social stereotypes aside, the EcoReco scooter in its M3 or M5 incarnations does exactly what it’s designed to do. It’ll slide you along through several of your daily pedestrian commutes, folding up neatly for transport into the office or your home. It charges easily and feels durable. If you can put up with a rough ride across urban asphalt — and the fact that you’re a grownup on a scooter — its economical function will justify its four figure price tag.