Review: Citybug2 Electric Scooter vs Ninebot Mini Pro (video)

I have always wanted to own a Personal Electric Vehicle (PEV) or Personal Mobility Device (PMD). Thanks to Citybug SG and Ninebot, I can actually review my two favorite categories of PEV, the e-Scooter (Citybug2) and the Hoverboardish PEV (Ninebot Mini Pro).

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I have been scouting for one that can meet my basic needs since 2013 (yes, I am that choosy when it comes to PEV). I have tried Electric Bike, Electric Scooters of different sizes, hoverboard, Electric Unicycle and the recent Ninebot Mini Pro. there are always Pros and Cons about them.

Do note that I am a novice when it comes to PEVs and because of that, I believe I can make fair comments about them. My review is based on a few criteria: Learning Curve, Distance, Comfort, Mobility, Price.

Introduction

Ninebot Mini Pro

I have actually done a number of blog posts on the Ninebot Mini Pro. Check out my first encounter and my unboxing video on the Ninebot Mini Pro.

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Here are my thoughts on it:-

The Mini Pro is quite easy to learn. It takes a few minutes to get comfortable on it. The stem that acts as a control may need a little getting used to but it has its merit (I will discuss later). It has a battery life of 30km which is quite decent. Because your hands are free and you control it by shifting your the stem using your knees, riding it is very comfortable and relaxing. When it comes to enclosed area or shopping centres, it may hinder your movement but still manageable because of its built-in balance assistant function. Pricing wise, it is a expensive (S$1290 from official Ninebot Asia) in my opinion.

Learning Curve: 3 (1 is easiest, 10 is most difficult)

Distance: 8 (1 is short distance, 10 is long distance)

Comfort: 8 (1 is NOT comfortable, 10 is most comfortable)

Mobility: 7 (1 is NOT mobile, 10 is most mobile)

Price: 6 (1 is least expensive, 10 is most expensive)

Citybug2

I have not introduced Citybug2 on my blog before. I am going to spend some time here to introduce it properly. Actually, I got the review unit during Sitex 2015. I hesitated to write a review because I wanted to wait for the Ninebot Mini Pro for comparison. Finally I have both of them together.

There are many e-Scooters in the market nowadays. What attracted me to the Citybug2 is that it looks like an ordinary skate scooter with its minimalist look. It doesn’t have a throttle or lever to accelerate and it does not have a handle brake to decelerate like most e-Scooter.

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It has that very clean look and if you are not observant, you might mistaken it for a non-electric skate scooter. It has the usual step brake for the rear wheel. It does not have a kickstand but it is able to stand on its own when you slightly release the fold lever and pull the handlebar inwards as shown below.

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This is the fold lever with the battery indicator and a power on/off switch.20160113_232856m

Using my hand to pull the fold lever.

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If you pull the handlebar further, the Citybug2 can be fully folded. It has a catch mechanism to lock it into place.

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Below the handle bar, it has diagrams to remind you what NOT to do. for example, not to use your leg to turn on the Citybug2. I admit, I sometimes do that. And the other diagram, it tells you not to power on the Citybug2 with one leg on the platform. The reason is very simple. It is an electric device and always Safety First!

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The Citybug2, like any other e-scooters or skate scooters, has an adjustable stem to cater for different height.

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Extending the stem.
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Here is the handle bar.

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One of the features of the Citybug2 is that you can use a bicycle handle bar on it. It has the same specification of a bicycle handle bar. Here is a variation I saw during Sitex 2015.

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The Citybug2 is powered by the rear wheel. Just above the rear wheel is a mechanical brake that you can step on it. BTW, when you step on it, it will automatically cut off the power.

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Here is a close up of the rear wheel. Do note that the wheels are all rubber. Rear wheel is 7.2-inch while the front wheel is 7.6-inch.

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Riding the Citybug2 is actually quite simple. First you will need to give it a psuh or two to move it. Then push the handle bar forward and the power will kick in. Maintain the forward position and it will accelerate. The maximum speed is up to 18km/hr and the maximum distance is around 15km to 20km (subject to road conditions and weight of the rider).

To decelerate the Citybug2, you can either step on the back foot brake to disconnect the power (and at the same time apply the brake pad to the rear wheel), or you can pull the handle bar towards you and it will decelerate (not cut off). In the event that you cannot react to the situation, step off the Citybug2 and the power will automatically cut off. There is a “deadman” switch on the foot platform.

Here are my thoughts on it:-

The Citybug2 is easy to learn. If you know how to ride a bicycle, you can ride it immediately. It has a battery life of 15km to 20km which is ok but I would prefer a longer range. The Citybug2 feels a little more sturdy and secure because you are riding it with both hands on the handle bar. When it comes to enclosed area or shopping centres, it may hinder your movement unless you fold and carry it. With a weight of 12.kg, it is not easy to lug it around for long time. Pricing wise, it is expensive (S$1,399 but now offering at S$1,099) with its specs and so many competitors in the market to choose from.

Learning Curve: 1 (1 is easiest, 10 is most difficult)

Distance: 6 (1 is short distance, 10 is long distance)

Comfort: 7 (1 is NOT comfortable, 10 is most comfortable)

Mobility: 5 (1 is NOT mobile, 10 is most mobile)

Price: 8 (1 is least expensive, 10 is most expensive)

Comparison of Ninebot Mini Pro and Citybug2

In order to compare them, I took them on the same route (uses the same pavement and Park Connector). During the comparison, I dismount at all traffic lights and push the PEVs across the roads. The pavement consist of some obstacles due to construction and the park connector is linked to bridges and slopes. Total distance is around 5km.

Obstacle on pavement (example)

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Obstacle on bridges (example)

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Citybug2 Road Test

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Pavement

On wide pavement, it is a breeze to ride the Citybug2. Accelerating it to maximum speed is no issue. However, when the pavement becomes narrower, there is a need to be alert because you might need to brake suddenly to avoid obstacles or pedestrians. In my case, when decelerating, I feel that the pulling in (to decelerate) needs some getting used to because of its sudden decrease in speed. And if you intend to use the rear brake, you have to be fast unless your foot is always there (which is quite tiring). When accelerating on a flat surface, it is easy. However, if you are on an uphill slope, it will be very difficult.

Because of the size of the wheels, you will need to be careful in trying to clear obstacles on the pavement. Usually, pavement is flat and nice. However, if there are construction nearby, the pavement might become narrower and filled with obstacles. In some obstacles, I actually stop and push it over. For narrow path, the Citybug2 actually performed well because it is very slim and it can zip through them easily.

Park Connector

Riding on the park connector is a breeze (Do note that current law in Singapore does not allow you to ride a PEV on park connector. I am taking my own risk riding one. And I ride it late in the night to avoid the people using the park).

Some park connectors have slopes linking to the bridge which are quite steep (around 30 degree approximately). The Citybug2 struggles a little to clear them.

Lifts and shopping malls

Pushing an e-scooter into a lift is challenging if there are others inside. You may need to reverse out when the door opens. In shopping mall, I did not even want to try to push the e-scooter to take the escalator. I know that the escalators are going to cause problem. And I am reluctant to fold and carry it every time I use the escalator. It will be too troublesome.

Ninebot Mini Pro Road Test

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Pavement

On wide pavement, it is a breeze to ride the Mini Pro. Accelerating it to maximum speed is no issue. Acceleration and deceleration is easy once you master it. With its balancing feature, I can even standstill on a spot while waiting for pedestrians to pass me in narrow pavement. Accelerating on an uphill slope is no issue.

Mini Pro has 10.5-inch size wheel. It is bigger than Citybug2 and should be more stable. Since there is no handle to grab, you will need to trust its balancing algorithm when crossing obstacles. Overall, I managed to stay on the Mini Pro to clear all obstacles although some of them are challenging and require better sense of balance. For narrow path, the Mini Pro might be an issue. As the wheels are side to side and not front and back, it takes out some space. I slowed down to almost a stop to carefully ride through those narrow pavement.

Park Connector

Riding on the park connector is a breeze (Do note that current law in Singapore does not allow you to ride a PEV on park connector. I am taking my own risk riding one. And I ride it late in the night to avoid the people using the park).

Some park connectors have slopes linking to the bridge which are quite steep (around 30 degree approximately). The Mini Pro has no issue clearing them.

Lifts and shopping malls

Pushing the Mini Pro is easy if the power is turned on. The Mini Pro is self balancing and it has a 3 segment extension rod to maneuver it. In my opinion, it is like pushing a luggage. Bringing it into a lift is OK even if there are others inside. You may need to reverse out when the door opens. In shopping mall, the Mini Pro has no issue with escalators.

However, it will be disaster if the Mini Pro is out of battery. I can foresee more effort needed to perform the same tasks.

Here is a short video that I posted on Snapchat: joeteh

 

Summary

Overall, there are pros and cons on both PEVs. The Citybug2 will excel if it is on flat pavement and park connectors. Because it has a handle bar, it can go at higher speed (too bad, it is now limited to 18km/h) without worrying about stability.

In terms of relaxation, I felt more relax riding the Mini Pro. Both of my hands are free. The Mini Pro balances by itself which means very little job is done by me. In fact, I can take pictures with my phone while riding the Mini Pro. I cannot do that without risk with Citybug2.

During the review, I tested both of them carrying my purchases (which includes a cup of hot take-away coffee) from nearby coffee shop. I spilled the coffee (even though it is covered) when riding the Citybug2. I did not have any incident when riding the Mini Pro. Nevertheless, the Citybug2 has something that Mini Pro does not have. It has accessories that can be attached to it.

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In another test, I requested experience and inexperience e-Scooter users to test the Citybug2. For experience people, they can ride it but are worried about the braking system. This might actually be a good problem because it deters the people from speeding on Citybug2.

For inexperience people, some gave up because they are not comfortable pushing the handle bar forward to engage the power, especially when they are on a surface that has a slight slope. I believe given more time, they can eventually master it. Some try it for the first time and like it because they felt safe that it is not going very fast and the speed is determined by their forward action (lesser chance of the e-Scooter going very fast using the lever or throttle type). And they see the physical rear brake as a plus point to stop the e-Scooter should be there be a problem.

However, based on my own experiences, I believe it is the matter of time that they will eventually master the PEVs. As I mentioned earlier, the Mini Pro with its stem acting as a control for turning, is actually a very good design. I tried on a hoverboard (with 10-inch wheels) on the flat surface. It is difficult to control or go at fast speed. The hoverboard control is super sensitive. I believe it will take more time for a person to be comfortable on a hoverboard.

On a final note, I believe the Citybug2 is suitable for people who just want to use it to travel from point A to point B with low risk. With its patented push/pull system, it seems safer for daily use. For Mini Pro, it is very stable and good for people who wants to keep their hands free when riding a PEV. With its app, it actually makes the Mini Pro more interesting, especially with the remote control feature.

For Citybug2, please click HERE.

For Ninebot Mini Pro, please click HERE.

I hope you enjoy my long post. Feel free to ask me any questions regarding these PEVs.

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