This web page contains and include my opinions.

 

Dualtron Mini Electric Scooter Review

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Including reviews for:

Dualtron Mini

Ninebot 08 Kick Scooter by Segway

Zero 10X

E-Twow Booster

 

This is a customer review of the Dualtron Mini Electric Scooter and the others shown above, purchased May 21, 2021 to June 1, 2021, from "Falcon-Go", in Bangkok, Thailand

 

I wanted an electric scooter all my life. They're cool.

Aren't they?

Quiet and smooth, small and nimble.

Convenient, yes?

Yes.

The epitome of convenience.

So I wanted one. Badly.

And more times than I can count, I decided to buy one, whether I happened to be living in the US, Canada, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong -- I looked at them and made the decision to buy one probably thirty times over many years.

Then, reality would rear it's ugly head as I researched my flavor of the month and found that the model I wanted to love was junk.

The failure rates were through the roof, the customer reviews gave them barely a star or two. The stars got better as the prices got higher on Amazon, but then you had to take into account the fake reviews as revealed by FakeSpot.com. For whatever reason, Amazon simply and steadfastly refuses to cull clearly fake reviews in any meaningful way. I suspect it has to do with PROFITS AND SALES. Before you buy ANYTHING on Amazon, check the product rating on www.fakespot.com, and the truth will set you free. Indeed, it's a world of bloody scammers out there.

In any case, time after time after time, once I realized the object of my desires was EFFING CRAP, I backed off the scooter thing for awhile, maybe a year, but then BLIND DESIRE would hit me again and I'd go through same damned process of elimination.

Finally I found myself owning a shop on a busy soi in Thailand, and behind me was a village of small, quiet, peaceful sois where most of my friends lived. We had about a dozen poor Thai kids hanging around our shop during every open hour, and they marveled at the cool junk I had, and so I thought, OK, now is the time for a scooter. I'll have fun. I can tool around and go visit my friends. I can find out of the way photo-op locales. It'll be cheap. It'll be quiet. The kids will love it. Convenient -- and all the crap I said above times 2. It'll be fun. And the kids will love it.

So I did the research AGAIN and found a model that SEEMED to be more or less OK. It wasn't blatantly and copiously HATED in most reviews. The price seemed a bit steep, but heck, I wanted at least a little bit of quality for the soi kids to enjoy and destroy. So I went on Shopee here south of Bangkok and ordered a higher-end Xiaomi scooter from a big Shopee seller. They seemed reliable and professional. But, having dealt with Chinese products and Shopee sellers far too many times, I was not only cautious, I was terrified. Somewhere around 100% of interactions with Chinese products or Chinese sellers turned out badly. Usually very badly.

We have a five story shophouse here that is positively overflowing with cool stuff. At least it all MIGHT be cool IF IT WORKED. It's all Chinese, because it's incredibly difficult to get anything here BUT Chinese. And it ALL fails. Usually it fails spectacularly, usually within a few months (sometimes hours or minutes, even seconds!), and usually in ways you could never imagine. To say Chinese goods are JUNK is an insult to the word JUNK. The Japanese used to make junk. Then they LEARNED. Now Japanese junk makes American junk look like real junk. But the Chinese never did learn and I'm convinced they can NOT learn. Their intelligence is capped by their faulty DNA. Bold statement? Yes, it is, and it's probably an understatement. I live with them.

So I'm beyond wary and weary of Chinese ANYTHING and I talked to this shop at considerable length about this product, and if they ACTUALLY had it in stock, and if they would ship it without SCREWING AROUND for a week or two or a month as is so often the case here. They assured me I'd be just tickled pink. So I pulled the trigger on my first electric scooter. They assured me in writing I would have it in my hot hands in 2-3 days.

After around a week they hadn't shipped it. I inquired. They replied with nonsense in Thai (now Thai, not English as before). I pressed them to ship it. More Thai nonsense which can't even be translated. I told them to ship it or cancel. More Thai nonsense. I told them to cancel. No reply (they had my money -- what did they care at this point?). Finally I went through the process of formally canceling it through Shopee. But it still wasn't canceled, nor was it shipped, nor was there a declared ship date. I got angry and threatening. They replied with more Thai nonsense. And then finally it showed in my cart as canceled. But no refund. I then began demanding a refund. No refund. I then filed ANOTHER dispute through the Shopee interface to EXTRACT a refund and promising to take them to court. Shopee said one had been issued, but I hadn't received it. But somewhere around another week later, it finally showed as a deposit into my Thai account. Good effing grief.

Another Chinese product.

Another Chinese disaster.

What else is new.

The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. That was me with Chinese products.

I got off the electric scooter boat again after that. Just too disgusted and angry to pursue it any further.

But time heals all wounds, and, dammit, I really, REALLY wanted an electric scooter. I really did.

I started researching again because, after all, I AM AN EFFING MORON.

I am a glutton for punishment. I am.

After more endless research, I settled on the Dualtron Mini from Falcon-Go in Bangkok, at about 37,000 baht, or around $1300 usd.

Expensive.

Yes.

But I was sick to the gullet of BULLSHIT and this dealer convinced me that with them there would be NO BULLSHIT. I dealt with a Singaporean gentleman there whose English was flawless and whose logic seemed, well, logical. That's exceedingly, impossibly rare in SE Asia, and that alone is worth it's weight in gold.

After long discussions, I pulled the trigger AGAIN and ordered it. I ordered it against my better judgment because I knew from long and painful experience that all things Chinese were junk and all scooters were suspect. I'd done the research for decades. I'd never found more than a handful of happy e-scooter buyers and those were probably fake Amazon reviews. So I was pretty sure this would turn out badly. Ask me about my purchase of two Chinese diesel engines and gearboxes to run a self-powered salvage barge in the US. Go on, ask me. Please. The brand was, "White and Blue Swan Flying Over Water." I punk you not. I've seen quality diesel engines run 50-80 years with maintenance and a couple of rebuilds. Think Atlas, Enterprise, etc. How long did my expensive WABSFOW pieces of shit last? Three months and they were both steaming masses of junk. Once removed from the engine rooms we pushed them over the side of the barge with a forklift.

My S.O. here had stupidly told the soi kids the scooter was coming and showed them pictures and videos of it, and they were just about tearing down this concrete shophouse in desperate anticipation of getting to see, and maybe touch, such a magnificent, unbelievably astoundingly cool device. They just couldn't BELIEVE that something like that would be tooling up and down their own sois, right in front of their own houses, a village where the average wage is about $3.50 per day (no misprint). And, they thought, wonder of wonders, if they were just exceedingly lucky, maybe they'd even get to someday ACTUALLY RIDE ON IT.

Holy crap.

That's just too much anticipation.

The shipping time was to be up to four days, but Bangkok (Bkk) is only 60 miles away. I can get anything i want from America to here in four days, but to travel 60 miles in Thailand is four days (or two weeks, depending). Go figure.

The shop sent me a video of my exact scooter that they had unpacked and were testing in every way, to make sure, SURE that everything was ready to go. They knew this whole village was abuzz with pure joy and excitement over this silly thing and this shop was determined not to disappoint. And they didn't. At least not at first.

I pulled the trigger again and told the shop to put it in a taxi and beam the damned thing down here pesto haste, and for $50, they did. It arrived about dusk.

And why did I go with yet another Chinese product? Because virtually no other scooters made today, at least not that you can get into Thailand, are made anywhere except China. Why can't you get good American quality scooters in Thailand? Because, quite simply, the Thais at Customs or UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL, Pitney Bowes, whatever, WILL STEAL THEM. They steal, or try to steal, nearly everything that people try to import. Google something like "Thai Customs Corrupt", or "Did UPS Thailand steal your shipment", etc..

We unboxed it, and everything looked OK. The handlebars and throttle and brake lever housing had to be mounted. No big deal. I have rebuilt aircraft and tugboats and devices on the bottom of the sea, and built computers from scratch, and I owned a dune-buggy manufacturing business for years. I once had to pull the panel off the belly of a turbine Alleuette helicopter as it hovered one foot above my head in a small clearing in a rainforest, as the rotor tips clipped nearby brush, deep in a wilderness logging operation, to repair a linkage that wouldn't allow the pilot to climb out over the trees to return to his landing pad. His only option was to hover there until he ran out of fuel, and crash into the forest, or have me try to fix it while he hovered. We didn't have radios, and after I noticed him hovering in the same place for ten minutes I finally climbed over to him. He had to communicate to me through pantomimes what the trouble was, and he couldn't take his hands off the controls. That took another frustrating ten minutes. How the hell could anyone ever diving what he was trying to get across? I had to pull the belly panel and repair the linkage while he hovered shakily above me, barely within arm's reach, always painfully conscious that his fuel was severely limited at 40 gallons per hour. I can do this kind of thing. I'm good at it. So I could SURELY mount a handlebar brake lever to a little scooter, right? Yes. And I could have, too, if they had included the screws. These are the kinds of things that INSPECTIONS are designed to find before the customer is annoyed by them.

Ah, China. Oh, China. You stupid, ignorant, pudding-headed Goddamned fools. Is there NOTHING you can't screw up? No. How did you ever figure out that sex thing, or cooking your food to prevent disease -- oops. That's a sore spot for you.

I was able to use alternate screws to get the handlebars mounted, and the rep at Falcon Go assured me he would sent the correct screws forthwith.

OK, well. Whatever. Not a big deal. But still annoying AFTER THE 10,000TH TIME with Chinese products.

Finally the scooter was ready to go. It powered up. Lights worked. Everything seemed in order.

.

I was ready for my first solo flight down a quiet soi. The kids were agog. Flashing lights, shiny new aluminum, wow. Let me preface by saying I have ridden around 210,000 miles on motorcycles in various countries -- every kind of bike, from Mopeds to Hayabusas to choppers to dressers, and I've gone down twice. Once was from being t-boned by the president of the local Harley Davidson club driving a cargo van on the way to his own birthday party at a biker's bar, and the other was when I slipped on some green slime while making a shallow turn in Denver, Colorado, age 16. I once rode exactly 500 miles on compacted snow on a dresser -- never went down. I once rode 1380 miles in 11 hours. I have flown helicopters and every kind of single engine aircraft, including 600 hours in ultralights and another 600 hours in some of the trickiest, most dangerous aircraft ever made. Never crashed. I was a commercial diver for many years, 131 shipwrecks raised from the ocean floor, and I was captain of a rescue tug with 321 rescues. No crewman so much as scratched in all those endeavors in all those careers in all those years. I am a careful, careful man.

I set off into the soi on this scooter using Mode 1 (slow), and got up to perhaps 10 mph, or whatever Mode 1 allowed, and all was well. I decided to test the brake (a rear wheel drum brake), in case one of the soi kids ran their skateboard in front of me for fun. I had not really taken all the slack out of the brake lever, or so I felt, when I was on the ground before I could even blink. I hit hard, harder than any fall on any device or contraption I've ever fallen from, including the wild horses I spent years training and being bucked off of in Nevada and New Mexico.

No helmet. Stupid fool. Hit my head badly, ruined my new jeans, broke my glasses. From riding, to seeing stars, seemed like one microsecond. Instantaneous.

(How did the Apple Watch survive? Apple Watches break just by being looked at, so that's a mystery.)

People came and helped me up, bleeding in about eight places. Kids found my glasses. Soi dogs tried to lick me. The rear wheel was frozen completely solid. Nothing would free it.

I carried the scooter the thirty meters back to my shop and put it on a stand and started taking pictures and videos, which I sent to the rep at Falcon-Go through the LINE app. He was aghast. He could see instantly that the rear hub had been assembled completely incorrectly and that first touch of the brake had bound the rear wheel solid in less than an instant. The scooter was completely unridable.

You can see in the above photo that the anchor-screw wasn't even installed. This is exactly as it came out of the bubble and shrink wrap. Oddly, it looks to me as though a screw was ONCE in there, but for some unknown reason, removed by the crazy effing Chinese, because this box had not been opened after it left China. Why in God's name would they install the screw, and then take it out and ship it? I live here with the Chinese, and I swear to God, they ain't got no brains. I really mean that. No, you don't understand: I really mean that. One of their favorite tricks at Bangkok airports is, while seated and waiting for the plane to depart from the gate, they like to open the emergency exits and stroll out onto the wings, even setting up little picnics out there. Absolutely true. And that KIND of thing is ten times a day here, all across SE Asia. So should we be pondering why they would install a critical screw, and then take it out again?

The fault was with the shop for NOT inspecting for faulty Chinese bullshit workmanship, which will always, always, always be the case. Always. They should have ridden this unit.

Most people in most developed countries would have simply filed a lawsuit for injuries after this.

I'm not like that.

The shop promised to send a tech down from Bangkok the next day, then they changed that to that night.

The tech did arrive about closing time for us. We fed the man and his wife at our expense in a neighboring shop.

The man was apologetic, and fixed the rear hub problem straightaway, and had also brought the proper screws to mount the handlebar and accessories. He tested the scooter for a few minutes at about 10mph, and everything seemed good. We thanked him and he left, and I put the scoot on the charger for its first full charge.

Next morning, all the soi kids were lined up like little birds on the telephone wires, just throbbing with excitement. Today was the day.

I wanted to get a much better feel for this thing, so I helmeted up (!) and took off down the main soi, then onto a quiet country road where I could stretch it out and see what it would do.

At about 18mph I realized that I couldn't see properly. The scooter was vibrating so pronouncedly that my eyes were actually impossible to focus, even with my knees bent to try to absorb that vibration from the scooter deck. I had experienced this once while flying an aircraft in Idaho that was a "pusher" configuration; the engine was mounted in the front, and it powered the pusher prop in the back via a long drive shaft. A bearing in that shaft failed and set up a vibration so horrendous that I literally couldn't see the airport. No matter how I positioned myself in the seat, I couldn't see anything clearly. The only solution was to shut down the engine and glide in, and that was easily accomplished. This was that same level of vibration.

I pulled over and propped up the rear wheel and turned it by hand. The tire was completely and grossly out of round.

Well eff me.

The joy of owning ANYTHING Chinese just never ends. It really doesn't.

I had gambled on this CHINESE product because I was assured it was DESIGNED by NON_CHINESE, and that although it was manufactured in China, like iPhones, which usually work well enough, that manufacturing process was closely monitored by intelligent beings from other countries. I didn't WANT to buy Chinese -- but I was assured this was a completely reliable scooter and that the Chinese manufacture was just sort of incidental.

Here's a vid of the precision Chinese tire, inflated to 47-49psi, with less than a mile on it:

It doesn't really matter if you're not mechanically inclined; you KNOW any wheel shouldn't do this. For those who ARE mechanically inclined, you can see clearly that the problem is not with the wheel, it's only a faulty tire. This actually does happen sometimes, even with good quality tires (not Chinese). I ran an MG Midget car a few lifetimes ago that was SUPER sensitive to out-of-round tires. I even put a brand new set of the highest end Michelin tires on it, hoping to correct it, and we balanced them every way there was, by machine and by hand, and STILL they vibrated the hell out of that car. In the end, we had to put each tire on a special machine which actually shaved rubber off the tread until the tires were perfectly ROUND. Then, and only then, the car ran right.

In the case of this scooter tire, it would be impossible to shave the tire because it's SO out of round that the tread would be cut clean through to the tube before you got the high spot down to round. It's simply a faulty tire. It's a grossly faulty tire and that's clear even to the soi dogs here. It's a faulty tire. Plain and simple. It's not a big deal. It's Chinese. What would you expect? When this happens, the dealer merely steps up and says, oh, sorry -- we'll send you a new tired forthwith. It's easy to put on. I would have had no problem doing it. You have to expect things like this when you're messing with weird devices, especially CHINESE ONES. It's just the territory you're in.

So I messaged the dealer as follows, quote:

"I took this out this morning and got up to a little bit of speed for the first time. It just about shook my eyes out. [I sent him this video]. You can see the rear wheel is out of round. Honestly, i think the problems with this will never be completely solved. I’m at my limit on it. If you want it back, just come and get it. If you can fix it once and for all, OK. But it must start being useful without any (any) further BS."

And here's the reply from the shop:

"....pls do try it at lower PSI" [to 35 psi].

I took that to mean that was their total resolution of the problem.

OK.

Here we go. You EXPECT to go to war with Thai businesses, because, quite often, you must, so you tend to be "pre-sensitized" to problems. In the US, when a deal goes bad, you have all kinds of remedies. You have the Better Business Bureau, the Consumer Affairs division of the Attorney General, the FTC, Small Claims Court, lawyers and lawsuits and credit card disputes (the best option of them all). There's not a lot of reason to get too worked up over things like this in the US because you KNOW you'll be ok in the end. But in SE Asia, there are NONE of these remedies; not even a hint of them. They barely even accept normal credit cards here. There is nothing you can do. So, here, you are scared to enter into any purchase, and you're not surprised when it goes bad. You tend to be "pre-stressed".

I was slightly stunned by that reply.

Now, I thought, we're off the tracks and into la la land.

Yes, lowering the psi from the manufacturer's spec of 45-50, to 35 psi, might reduce the vibration. But not eliminate it. And then what? You're supposed to ride this until the rear tire blows out, because it will, and very soon. It has a weak spot which has allowed it to balloon in one area, and that will only get worse and worse, very quickly, until that area ruptures. It really won't take long. As a poor and stupid teenager I ran all of my tires on my cars until they literally blew up. They all looked just like this right before they did. The threads and cords inside this tire are broken and that's all there is to it. Reducing the pressure is like putting a band-aid on a severed artery. It ain't gonna work for long.

Yes, you can accomplish things by playing with air pressure in tires. I used to reduce the air in the landing gear of my Lipscomb 8-A to about 20 psi to make it easier to land on paved runways. But that also made it harder to take off because the tires were squishy and had a lot of drag, and if, unlike an aircraft, you had to keep running on partially deflated tires, you'd build up so much heat that the tires would fail prematurely.

Since this dealer had acted properly with regard to the improperly assembled scooter I was shocked by this 90 degree turn in logic.

We argued about the tire pressure for awhile and I sent them the manufacturer's specs on pressure, and in the end they said they would replace the tire, but they'd rather just take it back and refund, as though all of this might be somehow my fault. By that time I had no confidence remaining in ANY of this fiasco and I just wanted to cut my losses and get the Hell out of it.

The shop agreed to take the scooter back, but read on.

The problems I experienced were somewhat minor -- however the instantaneous freezing of the rear wheel could easily have been a deadly oversight. Had I been coming up on a cross-traffic situation and gently touched the brake it would have catapulted me directly into the paths of semi trucks and tuktuks. The faulty rear wheel was a somewhat smallish thing which, as I said, sort of goes with the territory with these kinds of devices. But the shop's reluctance to instantly and cheerfully replace the tire was the final straw. I won't deal with that.

I'm done [read on]. We're waiting for the shop to pick up the scoot, and I think they will, and I think they're properly refund. If not, I was lucky enough to buy it on an American VISA card, and chargebacks are a snap. But I do think this is an honorable, reputable dealer, and they did do the right thing initially. But they did the exactly wrong thing with regard to this tire. Really, truly, the wrong thing.

Waiting to be picked up by the shop:

Am I sorry to see the scooter go?

Yes. And so are all the soi kids. I swear, some of them are on the verge of tears and that saddens me.

I did see a number of details on this scooter that lead me to conclude that any number of things might or will fail prematurely. There are strange, almost bizarre design decisions in the engineering. I come from a background of rescue tugs, deep sea diving, and aircraft, all situations and environments where things MUST work, and when they don't, people die. I know this is true because I used to recover their bodies. Engineering decisions must be CAREFULLY thought out, discussed, planned, tested -- not just cobbed together to get stuff out the door.

The following was pretty-much my last message to the dealer:

"At some point we must just say enough is enough. If you had said immediately, OK, we will swap out the wheel, i would have been borderline, but i would have agreed. But when you try to say to reduce the tire pressure, that’s like a doctor telling a patient that if he can’t see out of one eye, well, heck, just look out of the other eye. That does not address the problem. Its just a workaround. Yes, i can deflate the tire and it will ride a little smoother, but the tire will still be grossly out of round. You will have to replace this tire when you get it back anyway. I’m sorry you didn't want to replace it while i was the owner."

I'm very saddened to lose this device, assuming it could ever be made to work well and reliably. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced it could be. But even then, when a dealer sees a video of a wildly out of round tire, clearly and demonstrably faulty and defective, and suggests reducing the pressure, then you know there's really no hope for continuing that relationship.

What if you bought a new car, but second and third gears didn't work, and the dealer just said, "well, drive slowly then". What would you do? That's where I'm at on this.

Sad.

-------------------------------------------

UPDATE:

The dealer's position is that they never intended not to replace the tire, just that they were trying to find a way to reduce the vibration from the bulge until the tire could be replaced. Ok. I'll accept that.

Before the blowout, we did play with the scooter another few minutes, at very slow speeds; then the tire blew out completely. Shop has convinced us to try it (the scooter) one more time, so they are sending a new tire, which I have to install. Now the one-day old scooter is unusable until the turtle-slow shippers in Thailand send a new tire. The $60 taxi fee to get the scooter here quickly was an utter waste. A complete and total waste of money. Sure is fun, eh?

How will this saga end? Stay tuned.

 

UPDATE:

RECAP: We had continued to ride the scooter, slowly, around in our alley, for a few minutes. As predicted, the bulge in the rear tire blew out. I advised Falcon-Go immediately. That was yesterday afternoon. They promised to send a new tire and tube, plus, I BELIEVE, two MORE tubes to compensate for my ruined jeans, glasses, cuts and contusions, etc. We'll see how that works out.

Today, Sunday, May 23, I was hoping against hope a new tire and tube would arrive. It didn't. So I inquired at the shop and was told they would send one out TOMORROW (they hadn't even sent one out yet!), with a delivery of MAYBE Tuesday or Wednesday.

I've said that this shop was good. I'm now reserving judgment on that. Were "I" in their position, and I have been many hundreds of times as a retailer of some significance in the US, I would have had a new tube and tire in a taxi within 30 minutes of first being informed of the bulge. That would have put the new tire to us no later than yesterday.

I remember once we bought a hard-hat diver com unit in Seattle and then ran the rescue tug to another city about six hours away. Once we arrived, we hooked up the com unit to do a job and it was dead as a doornail. We called the dealer and explained the problem, and 30 minutes later a Grumman Goose on floats landed in the bay and taxied to the tug. The company owner stepped out with a new com unit and hooked it up. Did it work? No. He refunded our money on the spot. Of course that left us on the job site with no divers' coms, but the dealer had done the best he could.

Was this "great" or "amazing" service? No. It was merely what a company must do when it screws up. I did this and more in my own retail businesses.

This is a BRAND NEW MACHINE with 30 minutes on it give or take. We paid a very premium price (much higher than competing shops). Regardless of the efforts, strong or weak, of the dealer, the experience with the machine itself has been crap. It has been reprehensible. It's been a joke. It's been physically painful (and will be for a few more weeks). It's been supremely disappointing. It's been BAD, and every resident here has seen that. The manufacturer shouldn't have screwed up the build, but of course China screws up EVERY build of EVERY product and they always will and that's the end of THAT story. And the shop should have tested the unit. The shop was GREAT at addressing the faulty brake, but is WEAK at addressing the faulty tire.

The question is, of course, what else will be faulty. I'm guessing, a lot. Hopefully I'm wrong.

At this point, they get three stars. But this isn't over. Let's see what happens next.

There is a possibility we can get a tire locally from a Covid-ruined scooter dealer. Maybe he has some old stock. So far we can't contact him. BUT WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO. A really good dealer would have had a new tire and tube in our hands YESTERDAY. NOT NEXT WEEK!

Stay tuned. This is Thailand. Absolutely anything can happen.

Let's break this down briefly though, just so we know where we're at.

The basic question is, is this a "good" scooter?

We have no idea because it won't run long enough to find out.

Is this a "good" dealer?

Yes and no, with equal parts of both.

Is this scooter "fun".

Sort of.

It lacks power. I didn't expect much, but it delivers less than I expected.

It handles....abruptly, meaning that it is too quick to turn. I understand that small (tiny) wheels contribute to that, but that can be compensated for greatly in the geometry of the front end. This won't be ridden in a grocery store. You'll seldom need to do a 180 in the space of a store aisle. It needs to be more stable at higher speeds and for longer distances.

The braking, now that the brakes actually work, is, well, adequate. Honestly, most things that have only rear wheel brakes, brake hardly at all! Try riding your motorcycle around, only using the rear brake. I once owned a semi-tractor (big rig) that only had rear wheel brakes. It was designed that way and it was designed stupidly. Most all tractor-trailer rigs from long ago only had rear wheel brakes, because they didn't really expect you to go anywhere without a trailer weighing down the drivers (rear wheels). In that case, you had excellent brakes, but without a trailer (bob-tailing), you had almost no brakes at all. In the rain, you TRULY had no brakes at all. At 30mph you might need 50 yards (meters) to stop. Maybe even more. They were about as effective as dragging your foot on the pavement out the car door. Down a steep hill, you HAD NO BRAKES AT ALL. So I expected this rear-wheel-brake-only scooter to have horrible braking action, but it's much better than I expected. I'd sort of "like" to also have a front brake, but I suspect the majority of people, especially people who've never flown tail-dragger aircraft, would sooner or later get into trouble by using the front brakes incorrectly, especially in a panic-stop situation. On SE Asia real scooters, they equip them with front brakes of course, but they are quite weak, and unlikely to get you into trouble. That could be done on electric scooters as well. So why isn't it? Cost? No. It's merely lack of intelligent thought.

Ease of riding / foot position? I'm 190cm or something, or about 6'3", and I wear size 12 shoes. I'd like to have a longer foot board. But it's OK, and no one else will have a problem.

Handlebar position? At first I thought I'd never be able to adjust the handlebars to be where I want them, but after only a very few minutes, I realize they're perfect. Shorter people complain, however. They want them much lower and they can't be lowered.

Throttle control: It's a bit jerky, honestly. It's not completely nor smoothly linear. I want more graduated and predictable control. You get little micro-bursts of power while carefully and slowly squeezing the lever. Ten minutes of test riding should have told the engineers this. It's ridable, and I wouldn't throw this scooter away over that. I just wish it was somewhat better. It could have been for no expense, just intelligence.

Lights? The soi kids love them. I turn them off because they attract snarling soi dogs and on this scooter I can't outrun them. A remote dedicated to nothing more than the light array? Stupid and wasteful. The remote needs a battery. It will get broken, lost, and people will quickly forget what buttons do what. Stupid and wasteful (yes, I said it twice).

A manual? This came with NOTHING. Not even a shred of rice paper with some crappy Chinese chicken-scrawl on it. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Not even an invoice! I had to go look the manual up online. At least it was in English. Sort of. The manual isn't as bad as some translations, but it's pretty bad. For most of what I want to know I must go Google around to find other users' experiences, because the manual is 70% useless. Typical. So many cultures live in a bubble. How many countries speak English? About 93. How many countries speak, say, Thai? One. How many countries speak Mandarin? Not even one whole one. When the Thais make something destined for foreign markets, will they spend a single damned Satang on professional translation of the all-important manual? Nope. And neither will the Chinese. They live in a bubble where they think the entire world revolves around them and they don't bloody care.

The steering column -- it feels quite weak to me. I wish it was braced in some way. It feels like it will break. Maybe it never will. But the perception is that it could.

Collapsibility? It's a bad joke. No way you'll ever fold and carry this thing anywhere except to the trunk of a waiting taxi out on the curb.

Kick-ability? I mean, can you kick it along when (not if) it craps out somewhere? In a word, no. It's wide, so that makes it an ankle knocker, and it doesn't naturally freewheel well. And it's heavy. No, it's not a kick-able scooter. When it's dead, you ain't movin' far. Call a friend or a taxi or hook up some Husky sled dogs. And that, to me, defeats a great deal of the purpose of a small scooter. Helicopter rotors have a sprague clutch, so that if the engine or turbine ever freezes up, the blades will continue to freewheel until you can transition to auto-rotation mode. You can spin the blades with your hand, on the ground. But this scooter has so much drag, whether that's from the motor, or the old-tech drum brakes, or the tires, that it's unpleasant to push along. Higher tire pressures would help. This shop wants them at 35psi. Many guys run theirs at 80psi. The manual says 50. This scooter arrived at 47psi. I bumped them to 49 when I was bored for a minute.

Will you take this into a 7-11? No. Not once. Can you put it in the shopping cart at a grocery store? Well, technically you COULD, but it'll get nicked all to hell and will take up most of the space you thought you had for groceries. No, you'll lock this up outside, like a bike, and I really don't like that.

Ease of changing a tire? No, not a snap. It's not difficult, but it's not a snap, either. Could you do it alongside the road somewhere, or in a parking lot late at night? Yes, you can get that done, but it won't be, well, a snap. It'll be annoying, and you'll be wishing they'd designed things differently. A lot differently..

Kickstand? Works great. Perfect.

It needs longer inflation stems on the tires. Most air-fill fittings won't work. You can buy extensions as long as they're very short and don't hit anything when turning. Seriously, the engineers didn't notice this? Did they ever fill even one tire THEMSELVES? Probably not. Academia, you know, how its priveleges. And it's shortcomings. Like an almost total lack of real-world experience.

It should have a place to keep a tiny tool kit. EVERYTHING should have a place to keep a tiny tool kit.

The charger should have lights to show the state of charge.

Brakes. Why use a drum brake as opposed to discs? Cost? No, I don't think so. It's laziness and lack of real-world experience on the part of the engineers. Drum brakes worked on every kind of vehicle for a hundred years, but they don't work AS WELL as discs, they're not as SMOOTH as discs, and the maintenance is far higher on drums. They are a ridiculous choice for anything anymore, except, perhaps, semi-tractor trailer big rigs, and that's about the only place you'll find them.

Suitable for little kids? Not this one. --Except...in a case where the kid, say, age 10 or up, is sharp, and has had a good amount of training by a knowledgeable parent or whatever, and rides on private property away from vehicles. Smaller scooters, yes, OK. Turn 'em loose in private areas on smaller scooters.

Helmets: to wear, or not to wear?

I've ridden over 210,000 miles on every kind of motorcycle in multiple countries in countless types of regions, from mountains to deserts to, well, absolutely everything. I went down once when I was 16 because there had been a long-standing problem with water running over the pavement in a parking lot and it had set up a layer of green slime. I slipped in a turn on that stuff and went down, and hit my head hard. That was the day AFTER the helmet law went into effect in Colorado. No damage to my head, but the helmet was toast. Much later in life I went down on a big dresser, t-boned hard from the side, and slid, and slid, and slid, and impacted the curb and then some parked cars. It was a hard, hard hit. Never scratched my helmet. I had a helicopter crash literally onto my head while helicopter logging. Hurt me badly. And that was an environment where we never even remotely considered wearing a helmet, many, many years ago, but should have. Hell, maybe we ought to be wearing a helmet in bed.

I rode this scooter less than a minute and went down harder than that hit on the dresser, and hit my head quite hard. I was amazed at the impossibility of protecting my head. I mean, I knew I was going down, and the first instinct is to protect one's head, and I truly thought I had done that. I was shocked, then, when the back and side of my head hit that concrete so damned hard I saw Tweetie Bird and all his friends.

Wear a helmet? Yes. I just ordered one. Do they look stupid? Of course. Suck it up. Your bloody, frothy brain tissue on the pavement with the pigeons pecking at it looks stupid-ER.

Changes I'd look for in another scooter?

More power. By 50% at least.

Tubeless tires. I didn't check to see if the Dualtron had tubeless tires because I KNEW it did. It did, right? Of course it did. Everything has tubeless tires now. Except that they don't and the Dualtron doesn't either. And that's ludicrous. A flat on a tubeless tire is a 2-3 minute inconvenience. You "plug" it, pump it, and go. Done deal. Tube tires are absurd and are a reflection of lazy engineering.

More range. I ordered this one with the extended battery at a much higher cost, and the Falcon-Go website accepted that order at checkout. But I was later informed the battery that the shopping cart accepted wasn't available and if it ever would be, that was at least a month out. I was able to retire in SE Asia BECAUSE I made a lot of money in retail in the US. We had a thing, dating way back to about 1990, called a computer. A computer can create a shopping cart for an online purchase system. If that shopping cart is told that an item isn't available, it can prevent the sale of that item, thus avoiding the inconvenience to both customer and staff. Pretty cool concept, eh? Amazon can do it. I could do it even in 1990. Any Thai business can do it. But they won't. And I don't know why. The shop cheerfully refunded the over-payment and gave me the battery that WAS available. OK, well, not a big deal. But it's an annoyance. I researched and ordered what I WANTED. Not some other thing. Too many annoyances can ruin a business. I wanted the big battery. Had I known it wasn't available before checkout, I might have looked at another scooter that DID have a bigger battery. Maybe I would have bought a more expensive scooter. Maybe that better scooter wouldn't now be a nightmare of BS. The shop will never know, now.

I'd like a braking system that's been standard now for, what, forty YEARS? Disc brakes. Embrace the concept.

I'd like a steering column that could be raised or lowered depending on the height of the rider.

I'd like WEAK front wheel brakes.

I do NOT want front wheel drive. Too many reports of so-called "electronic braking" locking up the front wheel accidentally and the rider gets to pole-vault into oncoming traffic from 25 miles per hour. No front wheel drives, please.

Lights? Give me a USEFUL headlight and a VISIBLE stop light and if I want anything more I'll go buy stick-on LEDS to be pretty. Which I won't. The kids can stick anything they want on it LATER.

Better shocks. One of the biggest and most common complaints about e-scooters, other than unreliability, is the rough ride. Forget hard wheels. Absolutely forget them. Inflated tires only, and put some damned engineering and thought into the suspension system. The more comfortably these can be used in real-world conditions, the more people will USE THEM, and the more people who use them, will bring MORE SALES. Get it? It ain't rocket science. One thing follows the other. It's like dominoes. Leave out a crucial domino, and the cascade stops. Put some TRAVEL into the suspension. For God's sake, and inch of travel is a joke. More travel will add to the overall cost by....what? A DOLLAR? For God's sake, engineers: let your greed take hold here. Sometimes greed is good. You want to make money? Give the customer a better experience. That will make you money. Can't grasp the concept? Then get out of the making-stuff-business.

The Dualtron Mini has the cutest horn. I like the sound of it. I ding that little sucker relentlessly. It's a pleasing, tinkly little sound, about as loud as a cat pissing in the sand. Why, a canine can hear it from a colossal ten inches away! Imagine that! The best ears on earth can barely hear it! GIVE US A WARNING DEVICE! It's doesn't have to be a police car horn. The little bell is cool. Keep it. But give it just.....a teensie bit of volume SO IT'S USEFUL. Many people in SE Asia outfit their scooters with two horns. The factory horn says GET OUT OF THE WAY NOW! But they add a dainty little thing that just says, "Hi. Just to let you know, I'm nearby and I'm coming your way and I want to be careful and polite. Have a very pleasant day." But even that one is FIVE TIMES LOUDER THAN THE MOUSE HORN ON THE DUALTRON MINI!

Give us an easily swappable battery. I don't want to stress my expensive battery pack with a fast charger. Just let us swap batteries. Everybody rides the sucker for an afternoon, and the battery is dead. Then what? 7-10 HOURS to recharge. That means scootering is done for the day, and that's patently absurd. It's EASY (I promise, it is) to design in an easily swappable battery. It's not hard. I guarantee this with my very life. So do it. You'll sell more batteries too. And you'll sell more scooters. Remember, greed is good. Greed should be (should be) creating better products, but greed is way too often canceled out by LAZY and STUPID. Lazy is the antithesis to greed. Get rid of lazy. Embrace the greed. Give us what we want and your greed will automatically be sated. I can't really help you with stupid. Your DNA has capped you where it has capped you.

Waterproofness? Of course. What a thoroughly stupid idea to not make a scooter water-PROOF. The commuters must love this feature! In the real world, guess what happens? It's an odd phenomenon -- maybe other planets don't have it. BUT EARTH DOES. It's called RAIN. And rain makes (oh the horror) PUDDLES OF WATER. It's just part of real life. Suck it up for God's sake. Any damned thing that travels must sooner or later contend with RAIN and WET and WATER. A device that can't handle this is just plain stupid. AIR is as common as WATER. Would you design a scooter that can't handle AIR? No. You'd be a moron.

That's my list to date.

We're still scrambling, trying to find a tire and tube locally, because the shop didn't see fit to ship one out yesterday. Or today. How about tomorrow? We don't yet know. But we can NOT find one within 50 miles.

 

Updates to come? You bet.

 

UPDATE:

We don't know for SURE if the tire and tube will come from the dealer, or when, so we've ordered another set from an online shop here in Thailand, and if we're exceedingly lucky, that will arrive in four days. But right around 50% of the things we order from the likes of Shopee and Lazada either never show up, or they get back-ordered to China, or they're the wrong item, wrong size, or in some cases, we receive only an empty box, which is why every single arriving order is videotaped in hi-rez from the carrier's hands to our hands and to the table where it is carefully opened in front of the cameras. So, who knows when we'll ever get a tire for this BRAND NEW SCOOTER THAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE REQUIRED ONE FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF MONTHS. Tomorrow we'll try to find yet another one locally. That's the way it is here in SE Asia. In hopes of actually receiving one thing, you must really order about five copies. Sometimes you get lucky and three of those will show up. Then you have spares. Sometimes you never get a single iteration of the five things you ordered. Crisply professional businesspeople, the SE Asians and most particularly the Chinese, who actually run most of SE Asia, are decidedly NOT.

Thanks again, China, for all that you do to continuously and relentlessly butt-fu** the world.

 

UPDATE, May 24, 2021:

There are at least two shops in Banglamung which purport to carry tires for this scooter, a very standard 8.5 x 2 inch, and inner tube with the 90 degree valve stem. They're about as standard as they get.. But we can't get ANY shop to respond to ANY message or to answer their phones. Typical Thailand. They whine and moan that they are poor and can't make money, but they don't seem to grasp that before you can make money, YOU MUST OPEN YOUR BLOODY SHOP. That's a mystery to SE Asian businesses.

In any case, in PREP for getting a new tire SOMEDAY, I went to loosen the nuts and screws on the rear wheel, just so it would be ready if and when a new tire ever arrives.

Here's what I found:

The main axle nut on the left was finger tight. That means I didn't need anything but my fingers to unscrew it.

The main axle nut on the right was not even finger tight. It was backed off half a thread and was on its way to simply falling off.

The hub lock screw, which was installed by the service man from Bangkok, was properly tight, however the official video calls for two washers in one place (between the frame and the hub), and one washer under the head of the allen screw. There was one washer where there should have been two, and no washer where there should have been one.

I really have no words. Clearly these people have never worked on an aircraft. Yes, yes, it's just a silly scooter, and the world ain't gonna end over this, but my God.

But let's put this in perspective.

For the first third of my life I rode Harley Davidson motorcycles. I thought they were state of the art. Well, they sort of were, for awhile. But little by little, I eventually learned my HD lessons and I gave it up, just like I gave up smoking.

Once I bought a particular Hardly Ableson brand new, and rode it home without incident, about 100 miles. Next morning, the electric starter didn't work. The battery was charged fully, but the starter only clicked. Ok, so, well, whatever. I asked the dealer about it and he told me not to replace it because the new one wouldn't work either. Guaranteed. It was easy enough to kick start and that's what I had been doing all my life anyway. I kicked it over and had to make a run to Seattle to pick up a product for my business -- distance about 100 miles over two car ferries. I had a number of problems on the way down, such as one cylinder cutting in and out, clutch issues, a wobbly front wheel, etc. Sort of normal stuff for a Hardly.

I picked up the item and headed back home, now in the dark and rain. Within a few miles the entire exhaust system had fallen off and went skittering down the freeway. I was lucky enough to get it before a semi-truck ran over it. It couldn't be refitted on the road in the rain and without tools and nuts and washers, so I strapped it to the back seat once it cooled and continued onward towards home.

\Within 20 more miles the entire headlight assembly vibrated itself completely off the bike and went dangling and swinging and banging by its wires, and the headlight failed. It, too, could not be repaired on the road. For most of the way there was enough ambient light to be able to drive (of course no other vehicles could see ME), but in dark areas, I had to set one turn signal and follow the line in the road by that flashing light at 15 mph.

Halfway home one foot-peg fell off. Never did find it.

The seat bracket broke.

The stoplight stopped working.

That one cylinder cut out and never did come back so it barely had enough power to keep moving (turned out later to be a stuck valve).

The speedometer quit.

The wobbly front wheel turned into a shimmy and became almost unridable.

And there were a handful of other things I've forgotten.

I made it home, and eventually got everything repaired, but keeping it running was like pushing a peanut up a hill with your nose in a hurricane. It was junk. Were the pot-head owners at Harley Chinese?

I was in a Hardly dealer many years later to buy a new Yamaha dresser and they were trying to sell me on the "new and improved" Hardly Ablesons with the bullet-proof Evo engines. I listened, and decided to go take a harder look at them upstairs. Maybe the hapless druggies at Hardly really HAD turned the corner and started to produce something useful. After all Reagan handed them enough cash to do it, if they had the will and the brain cells.

So I was kicking Hardly tires up on the second floor of the dealership, and commenting to my son how shoddy the fit and finish was compared to, well, compared to EVERYTHING else, and I was looking at the chain guard, and something just sort of caught my eye, and I knelt down to look more closely. There were several electrical wires that came from the engine area, and traveled back along the outside of the black shiny metal guard, probably en route to the tail light assembly or something, and with one finger I just barely moved that little bundle of four or five wires to the side, and underneath it was bare, unpainted metal. I looked more closely, and it was clear that the Hardly factory had installed this little wire harness on the outside of this guard, and THEN spray painted the guard while the bike was completely assembled, never even bothering to move the wires aside as they did so. They just sprayed right over the wires and the metal underneath didn't get any paint at all. In a matter of days, outside, it would rust. I showed that to the salesman and he just shrugged and I went back downstairs and bought the Yamaha.

So the point of this boring aside is that it's not only the Chinese who screw things up. Drunk, drug-addled old hippies can screw products up just as thoroughly, even after a president bails them out for their "bad luck" in suffering declining sales. Reagan was a great guy, but not immune to bouts of rank effing stupidity. The distinction is that while some US companies and manufacturers really ARE this stupid sometimes, the Chinese are this stupid, and worse, ALL the time.

 

We checked with Falcon-Go in mid afternoon on Monday. They had not yet shipped out nor arranged to ship out any tire or tubes. They promised they will get to it today. But even if it does ship this late in the afternoon, the odds of it arriving tomorrow are slim and slimmer. It's only 60 miles. But it's Thailand, and nothing, absolutely nothing, moves with any haste or even a remote sense of timeliness. Nothing. My own business would have had these items on the truck by 10:00 a.m. as a same-day or at the very worst, an overnight delivery, period, no excuses, no exceptions. Really, it's more and more difficult to live here. My first few years in Thailand were fine. I lived in a managed condo overlooking the sea and interacted really not at all except when I went to eat in some restaurant or lounged on the beach. Now, I have a big, complicated life, with a complicated girlfriend and many vehicles and five stories of junk I've collected, and two shops out front that rent from me, and that means that I necessarily have a lot of interaction with Thai businesses. And that one thing, alone, has made this a somewhat miserable place to live. Interacting with Thai businesses, even at the lowest levels, will drive you insane. Notice I haven't mentioned interactions with the Thai government because that's eleven orders of magnitude another dimension of abject horror. I try hard not to think about it.

I'm regretting this purchase. It sounded like fun at the time, kind of like my last Harley motorcycle, but it's not fun and hasn't yet been fun and I find it hard to imagine it's going to ever BE fun in the future. The village is amazed that this damned thing can't be made to work. None of them would ever buy one now. I regret this purchase. I should have accepted the offer to return it.

 

UPDATE:

The dealer says they shipped the tire out late on Monday afternoon by Express. I think that means they travel by e-scooter, instead of skateboard, from Bangkok. We have two others en route from Shopee and Lazada, ordered on Sunday. We'll see which one arrives first

 

UPDATE:

Nothing arrived from the dealer on Tuesday, even though they shipped via express, and it's only a 60 mile trip on one of the best major highways in Thailand. As TV's Gomer Pyle used to lament in an exaggerated Southern drawl, "Well suhprasse suhprasse suhprasse."

But the tire we ordered via regular shipping showed up overnight. Welcome to Thailand. Unfortunately, although the numbers on the existing blown tire and the new tire match, the sizes are vastly different and the new tire would not even remotely fit on the hub. Return it? Oh silly boys and girls. This is Thailand! You don't return much here and if the food you ordered in the restaurant is utterly unpalatable or even the wrong thing, well, just eat it because you ain't gettin' no stinkin' refund or discount. These are terminally stingy people.

The shop knew I was trying to buy tires elsewhere and they knew this tire (50-134) wouldn't fit; it's apparently a common mistake to order this tire, thinking that although the numbers (8.5 x 2) match, the tires are the same. I wish they had warned me with something like, "Oh, by the way, since you're looking for another tire, be advised that 8.5x2 tires that also have the numbers '50-134' on them won't fit. Just a head's up." I would have said, "Thanks very much." And ordered the correct tire.

The growing crowd of soi kids was devastated. Again. Still. No one, not even the village Thais, who exist immersed in bitter disappointment (largely at the hands of their government) can believe that ANYTHING could ever be this screwed up.

I put about 600 hours in ultralight aircraft and endured maybe a dozen or fifteen dead-stick landings due to various failures and malfunctions. Absolutely every single thing to do with them was absurdly haywire, unprofessional, shoddily manufactured, stupidly designed, and idiotically thought out. Once I tried to get involved in an ultralight manufacturing business with a friend. We built one, following the "How to Build an Airplane" book meticulously for fear we'd screw something up. We got to the point of attaching the fuel line from the tank, to the fuel pump on the engine. Normally you stick that sucker on the nipple and gently tighten down a hose clamp. That's what you do with hoses and nipples. So we were flummoxed when the How-To book said, "Under no circumstances use a hose clamp on the hose-to-nipple installation." It said that exactly. It's burned into my memory. But we couldn't believe it. So we checked it again. Not only did it say exactly that, it was in all caps and underlined. Underlined! But we STILL didn't believe it. So we went and asked several certified aircraft mechanics to come and give us their opinion. Of course on real airplanes you don't have hoses and nipples at all, so they were at a bit of a loss. But they all told us, look, if the book is THAT ADAMANT, then follow the book. We concluded that this must be some kind of weird new fuel line and this was some kind of weird new nipple fitting that wasn't supposed to have a hose clamp. So we didn't put one on. We eyed that sucker for the whole next week while we worked on the rest of the plane, but there was the book. What can you do?

On the day of the maiden flight, my friend took it up. He was over the end of the runway at about 300 feet, climbing, when we saw him point for the ground and do a corkscrew, and then come gliding in for a safe landing. We went over to him to find him drenched in gasoline. The hose had popped off the nipple, killed the engine and soaked him all the way to the ground. Lucky there were no sparks.

Ultralights were junk.

And they crashed with uncanny regularity. Sometimes the wings even fell off. Hell, pretty regularly the wings fell off. For some reason, the sport of ultralights and powered para-gliders attracts the absolute dumbest engineering minds on earth. It's as if they failed at their job designing forks and spoons, so when they got fired and granny died and left them a nest egg they just ventured out on their own with that Liberal Arts degree and started engineering THINGS THAT COULD KILL PEOPLE.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the entire e-scooter thing is just about like that.

 

UPDATE:

The promised tires and tube arrived on Wednesday afternoon. So that's overnight for plain old no-frills shipping, and THREE DAYS for Kerry Express from the same location (within a kilometer).

The tires and tubes were the correct size, and they very graciously sent one tire already installed into the split hub because they said those particular tires were incredibly difficult to put on the hubs. Ok, thank you.

I had removed the six allen head screws from the original hub and placed them in a little cup, not paying any attention to them.

Now, the job was to use those same screws to reassemble the new and identical split hub. Monkeys can do it, just not the Chinese. It's as simple as it gets.

I screwed in four screws, barely finger tight, and then, on the fifth one, the screw wouldn't reach any threads in the motor-hub assembly. I puzzled over this for a few minutes, and then finally pulled all the screws back out. Lo and behold there was one long one and five normal length screws.

Huh?

There was one hole which required a longer screw?

No. That wouldn't make sense from ANY engineering standpoint.

Here's what happened at the factory:

When the Chinese MORONS screwed the two halves of the split hub together on the rear wheel, they stripped out one hole. Typical Chinese MORONS. This is what the Chinese do. This is ALL they do. This is all they CAN do. This is all the Chinese will EVER do. A goat can't fly an airplane.

When they stripped out the one hole, they SHOULD HAVE thrown that one side of the split hub away (really, like INTO THE TRASH) and put a new one on. But they didn't. Why not? Because they're CHINESE.

So what did they do?

They installed a longer screw.

What did that accomplish?

It grabbed a few threads that weren't stripped out in the bottom of the hole.

That allowed that one longer screw to get a tenuous grip, so they could shove the piece of Chinese shit out the door.

I reassembled the two halves and very gently used that one longer screw in that one stripped out hole. I barely tightened it. It felt very soft and I'm worried it's in the beginning stages of stripping those last few threads.

I advised the shop of all of this in real time. The suggestion is to helicoil that one bad hole. But it's a blind hole I think, and I don't have a helicoil set nor the tool to install it, and I have no idea if there's enough "meat" in that aluminum housing to accept a helicoil without punching through the sides of the hole into the motor compartment. And where in God's name will you find a backyard mechanic in Thailand who can PROPERLY install a helicoil? And if you break a helicoil going in because it's a cheap Chinese helicoil, you're really screwed because you can't drill them out. Forget it.

I reassembled everything and the scooter rides very nicely. All vibration is gone, brakes work properly, etc. It was fun. For ten minutes.

At about 8mph, and 83% battery, on a straight and level road, with NO changes in hand position, the scooter stopped and went dead. Indicator blank.

I was beyond words. Again.

I powered it on normally, and it started and rode OK, except that then there was no speed readout.

I got it home (50 meters) and started fiddling with the settings on the indicator. The manual on this is nearly indecipherable. Somehow I must have entered a wrong setting, because now the scooter won't move at all.

The shop feels it's not a wrong setting and says there's no way to "reset to factory" anyway. They feel the controller has crapped and they want to send me one.

I'm at my limit on this. Anyone would be. Jesus Christ would be. Mother Teresa would be. Gandhi would be.

At this moment we're printing the manual PDF to try to sort through the settings, but that looks dubious.

Thank you China, for all that you do for (to) the world

 

UPDATE:

The spontaneous shutdown is this: Something in the controller brain fried. It now thinks there is no input to the controls. In that case, it simply enters auto-shutdown at however many minutes are set in the controller. The default from the factory is 5 minutes. After resetting to the max of 30 minutes, we can now ride up to 30 minutes without an auto-shutdown. Still no speedometer reading. The shop says it has already shipped a new controller.

 

UPDATE:

The shop wants to take back the scooter and fix everything definitively. I'm only semi-ok with this, because I'm not convinced this scooter will ever run. I can't remember ever having more problems with any mechanical device since those two Chinese barge engines and gearboxes. They were worse. No, there was one ultralight aircraft I owned called a "Weed Hopper" (aka weed-eater). It was slightly worse than this pile of concentrated evil.

We are discussing whether to send this back to Bangkok for a week of repairs, or to just send it back period, forever, or to send it back and get another brand. The Ninebot comes highly recommended, though I have not even looked at their higher end machines. I just ordered a small Ninebot for the soi kids, but it's a crap-shoot as to whether or not any Thai seller will actually ever ship it. This will be the fourth try on a small scooter that Thai sellers simply can't ever get around to shipping. This time it's COD. Let's see if that helps.

People ask me if Thais are just simply crazy. Answer: Yes.

Where did most Thais originally come from? Northern Vietnam. Where did the north Vietnamese originally come from? CHINA.

 

UPDATE, May 26, 2021:

After much discussion with the shop, the Dualtron Mini is going back for good. There's no point in sending it up there, waiting a week, getting it back, only to be plagued by endless new problems. There's something wrong with this brand and that something is China.

I've chosen a Zero-10X from the same shop. Yes, yes, it's Chinese too. Hell, WATER will soon be Chinese, and it'll be as unpalatable as everything else Chinese. If that Zero 10X has stupid problems, I'm done with e-anything. It's simply not ready for public consumption and given the number of DECADES they've had to get this crap right, and failed, it never will be ready. It's beyond human capabilities.

Yes, this has been a nightmare, and yes, the shop has dropped the ball slightly once or twice, but you would be hard-pressed to find overall better service anywhere. After the switch, I'll give them a star rating.

The soi kids will miss those Christmas lights..

I'll update how the switch goes.

The Dualtron Mini is officially slated for REMOVAL and that delights me. Enough is enough. We'll still play with it a little until it's gone, as long as it continues to sort of run.

But I want to wrap up my impressions and opinions of it now.

Yes, I think it's a hunk of steaming junk. Mechanically and electronically it is, well, junk. There's no other word for it. It's garbage. I wouldn't pay more than $100us for one going forward, and I'd expect it to be broken 80% of the time.

But let's talk about ride ability and fun factor.

I did become more comfortable with scooters in general during the kilometers I put on the Mini and several hours, but they're not what I hoped for -- at least not this one.

I STILL find the Dualtron too quick to turn.

The braking is STILL clunky old imprecise drum brakes. Truly, it's time for drum brakes to go. Seriously. It's twenty years past time for them to be GONE, as in off the planet. Just say no to drum brakes and be happy. There's a reason they got replaced. Embrace that logic.

I still find the throttle (controller) on the Dualtron to be slightly imprecise. You might be cruising along at, say, 12kph, and you want to go to 15 because the conditions allow it. You barely give it the gas, and nothing happens. You give it a teensie bit more. Nothing. You give it a teensie bit more and BAM you get a jerk and you're doing 19. I played with the "battery saver" setting. On NO battery saver it's quite peppy but imprecise. On medium it's less peppy and imprecise. On 3 (most battery saving) it's sluggish and imprecise, though you won't feel it as much because there's just no power to do anything with. There's a setting to make it start off with more or less punch. I couldn't tell the difference in any setting and the manual was completely unclear about it. I gave up. I don't like the throttle. Period.

I got more used to the high foot-board, but would still prefer it a little lower.

I did use the lights at night -- I mean the silly weirdo scrolling led crap. Not because I thought it was beautiful, but just as more protection from getting hit. The headlight is worthless. I don't know if anyone can see the brake/tail lights. They're nearly at ground level.

Battery life was sort of OK. We just messed around within half a click of home on residential streets but we could eat up a battery in a short day without really going anywhere. I still pray for a swappable battery.

The steering column still feels too weak and wobbly.

The suspension is barely, barely adequate for our Thai streets. Off road? You're joking.

I did have to push and carry it a few times. You won't be going far.

I STILL want a longer foot plate.

And of course, it would be so cool if it would run for more than ten minutes without breaking down.

Would I buy another Dualtron product? No. Never. Not in this lifetime or the next. How many stars does Dualtron get? One or less. They ought to go away.

Would I buy again from this dealer? Yes, and I did. How many stars does this dealer get? The jury's still out as of this writing. Let's imagine they do swap out for the Ninebot Zero 10X, and they get it here pretty quickly (it's Wednesday now -- I really want to see it by Friday), and it WORKS OUT OF THE BOX and it ACTUALLY KEEPS WORKING FOR, SAY, A WHOPPING MONTH, then, well, at that time, I'd be inclined to give Falcon-Go 4.5 stars. But a lot can happen between then and now. And that scares me.

NOTE: We did get the controller to work enough to show the total miles -- or at least what it had racked up before it died, and that was 51 kilometers. It doesn't seem to advance now, however..

 

UPDATE:

As noted above, the dealer has agreed to take the Dualton back and I have purchased from him two more scooters, a Ninebot E08 for the kids in the soi, and a Zero 10X with 23ah battery and hydraulic disc brakes for me and that swap will take place tomorrow (Friday) as I'd hoped. It's now signed and sealed and paid for -- just waiting.

I know someone who rode the Dualtron Ultra for 3.5 years, and I believe that was every day, and says he suffered NO malfunctions except one that was self-caused (riding in water). Obviously that experience is vastly and confoundingly different from my experience with Dualtron. What I saw of how the factory treated my iteration of this machine tells me that the factory is full of utter and rank imbeciles. Perhaps even the mentally handicapped. Perhaps even the clinically insane.

We've continued to ride this Dualtron and it's been fun. The handling is still an issue for me. I don't want something that handles like it was never designed to leave the kids' basement. I don't want something that handles like a plastic Fisher-Price toy scooter. To me, this does.

Still and all, it's been fun, and the soi kids have loved every minute of it. Dropping doggie snacks and making a particular doggie sound as you pass through the rough doggie sois has an amazing, almost magical effect on the soi dogs. I have several dozen reformed killer doggie friends now.

Turning off battery saving mode has given it a bit more pep, though it struggles very badly on hills that I felt it should take with relative ease. I'm down to walking speed on hills whose grade percentage I don't know, but which truly don't feel steep at all. I am on the verge of wanting to assist it by manually kicking. That's ridiculous. I'm 88 kilo (around 205-210lbs). Tires are at 47psi. I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.

I still don't feel comfortable riding one-handed except for brief periods on the smoothest and most predictable surfaces. 99% of everything here is rife with ridges and holes and bumps and gravel patches and oil spots.

The sidebar lights look patently ridiculous, as I've said, but I see more and more value in them for riding in low light. Licensed drivers are blind, as we know.

Throttle still sucks. Brakes are still imprecise. I swear after a few charge cycles, the battery life has improved dramatically.

As an aside, we have now ordered a total of four small scooters to be used by the soi kids; two from Shoppe, and two from Lazada. None of the four were ever shipped. The sellers advertised them as in stock and ready to ship, and I confirmed that with them in chats every time. But they'd get the order, and promise to ship within, usually, about 1-3 days, and then a week after that had never shipped and refused to reply to say why. Then began the one or three month fight (fight) to get a refund. This is 100% typical of Lazada and Shopee in SE Asia. They are both the scummiest of the scum-suckers in the entire world, regarding online shopping. I wish to God we had a choice. We did have a choice up until a couple of years ago -- we just swallowed hard and paid the shipping and the import taxes and ordered from Amazon in the US. The shipping was usually equal to or exceeding the price of the item (often three times as much), and the import taxes were often three times the price of the item, even though Thai LAW (as if that meant anything here), said otherwise. But a couple of years ago Thai Customs and particularly UPS/Thailand dropped all pretense of being anything but rank thieves, and they appear to work together now to either steal your order outright, or make it absolutely impossible for you to ever get it through Customs no matter what you do -- even if you bring in attorneys. We tried. We tried and failed. Over the past year or two we've lost every single Amazon order to UPS/Thai Customs, and those missing items are never shipped back to Amazon. They just vanish into thin air, meaning into some Thai home in Bangkok. And Thais wonder why the world doesn't trust them. It's a multi-billion baht business. So we can no longer order from Amazon

 

UPDATE, Friday:

Shop messaged to say they won't deliver the 08 until Saturday. Of course you know that already, BECAUSE THIS IS THAILAND.

 

UPDATE:

Both scooters showed up today, Saturday, May 29, 2021.

It appeared (appeared) to me that neither scooter had been unpacked nor tested, despite promises to do so. If they did unpack and test them, the re-packaging was a work of master art. I don't believe either was looked at at all (read further to see just how stupid I am).

We put the Ninebot 08 on the charger and waited for green, and when it was charged we took it outside. It was instantly clear that it was far smaller than we thought and never suitable for my 150cm girlfriend.

We powered it on and got only two flashing lights, indicating an error of some type, and no power to the rheostat. Back to the manual. The manual told us NOTHING, or if it did, we're all blind and we didn't see it. Messaged the dealer. Dealer said it had to be "activated" first. Huh? We followed his video. Still got the two flashing lights and continuous beeping. We did it again. About five of us tried. Same result each and every time. Power off, power on, then hold the brake and throttle at the same time, then wait. Waiting a full minute produced no result. We tried again and again and again. We were ready to ship it back. Finally we tried one last time, and after about five seconds it set up properly and went into default driving mode. We stepped onto the foot board and gave it throttle, and, of course, nothing. Dead as a doornail. No response whatsoever. We went through that twenty times, and finally gave up and messaged the dealer yet again. I have no doubt he hates our guts by now. He didn't have an answer, but he suggested we try "kicking" it. Not literally kicking it, though that was next on the list. But getting it going (kicking it along), and then hitting the throttle. First attempt, nothing. Second attempt, nothing. Finally, after everyone had given up, I got on it (like Bigfoot on a tricycle) and gave it a few really hefty kicks, and hit GO, and it maintained speed. It didn't speed up. It just kept going. At that moment I realized this was a complete toy, suitable for no one over the age of 5.

Still, the soi kids had a blast with it all day, at little more than walking speed. Still, walking speed was better than no speed. It entertained them all afternoon on one battery charge and it was never, ever idle. It was the very best ride at the carnival. It performed flawlessly all day. The brake was close to worthless, so the kids all used the back foot (fender) brake, since they were used to that anyway. Finally the battery died and we put it on the charger for its "3 hour charge", which has been going now for 4.5 hours. The little ankle-biters will be banging on our door at daylight. Once again, I cannot possibly understate this: SWAPPABLE BATTERIES. Really. I mean it.

Unfortunately, this leaves girlfriend looking for a scooter. The 08 is fine for a big cat or a small dog -- not much more than that.

And now we come to the feature performance, the Zero 10X.

It was perfectly sealed in the crate. If it had been removed and inspected and tested, I don't see how it was possible to get it back into the crate in exactly the same way the factory must have done it. I didn't ASK if it had been tested because honestly I didn't want to know. Blood pressure and all of that (read more to see how utterly stupid I really am).

It went together easily enough. It's heavy and it's big. I had huge, heavy off road tires mounted -- and that line just caused me to eat a whole bunch of words. Clearly, if they mounted special off-road tires, they frikkin' unpacked it and tested it. So, my deepest apologies to the shop. I could easily go back and edit that out about the dealer never having unpacked it, but I figure I deserve to have it stand in this document for all eternity, so people can see that I'm a complete moron. I eat my words of earlier, and yes, I'm choking on them, and they taste bad. And I deserve no less. Sorry again to the shop. This is a real-time review, NOT a cut and polished one, overflowing every paragraph with cheesy, annoying Google ads (but maybe later on that -- heck, we can all use an extra ELEVEN CENTS PER YEAR, RIGHT?

I found the rear brake hydraulic line to be twisted and crimped. That was done by whoever installed that brake line. Factory or shop? I will try to very, very gingerly loosen that line and turn it a bit to nu-crimp it. I give it a 50-50 chance of working without the line cracking. If it cracks, it leaks, and it will need to be replaced, and it is routed down through the steering column and clear back through the battery compartment to the rear wheel, so that will be annoying. Then the system must be bled. I have a five story shophouse here in which all fixtures and devices are CHINESE, and they break at least daily, and I'm dog tired of fixing stuff. I had hoped to get a couple of years out of an expensive scooter before I had to start wrenching on it. I now realize that's not possible with e-scooters. You're going to wrench from day one and you will never, ever stop. Suck it up or don't buy one.

Above, exactly as it came to me.

 

I took it out for a spin -- well not really a spin, because it would only go in a straight line.

Astoundingly, there is an "indent" in the steering that wants to lock it in an exactly straight-ahead position. You can overcome it by forcing the handlebars to turn, and then it pops out of that detent and will steer to the left or right, but as soon as you cross that detent again to turn the other direction, even very slightly, as in just doing the most minor corrections to even go straight ahead, it will try to lock into that position again such that you have to use some force to turn beyond exactly straight ahead and correct your balance. Of course driving or riding almost anything you never go exactly, precisely straight ahead. You are constantly correcting slightly left, slightly right, and on this scooter, every time you do that, maybe once every two to three seconds, you must pass through that detent, and you'll very soon just stop riding.

This symptom is a problem on motorcycles from time to time. I've experienced it maybe eight times, and about three times on the same bike. It happens quite a lot on salengs (backyard sidecar setups) here in SE Asia, because these goof-balls will literally weld a homemade sidecar to any motorcycle frame with no adjustment possible, and when the front wheel of the motorbike wobbles VIOLENTLY, or pulls one way or the other, which it WILL, you can't rearrange the geometry of the sidecar/bike setup. What they do then is clamp down HARD on the yoke (steering) bearing to try to damp out all that misbehavior. It can help, a little, to mask the symptom, but never cure the problem in geometry. But what it will also do is tend to crush the yoke bearings. In these cases, sometimes the rollers themselves get crushed and flattened, and/or the bearing races get indented. Since they do this with the front wheel directly straight ahead, that indent is placed in that exact position. Forevermore, after that, you will feel your front end try to STOP as the bearing passes through that ruined area, and you must FORCE the handlebars to go past that. The ONLY solution is to dismantle the yoke and put new bearings and races in, and then NOT OVERTIGHTEN THEM! From then on you get to deal with a horrendously wobbly and/or veering front end because of the stupid job they did attaching the sidecar. If a bike sits a very long time, like years, not on blocks, this can manifest itself also. In some cases, it's just that the grease has hardened and stuck the bearings into a certain position. In this case, you can usually work it free by riding it and moving the handlebars left and right, stop to stop as many times as you can. Maybe a few dozen. Maybe a few thousand. But often enough this is caused by rust in the bearings and races from sitting in storage, and in that case, it's a new bearing job. Moving the handlebars will never cure it.

In any event, this is EXACTLY what this problem feels like on this Zero 10X. I've tried completely backing off the big allen bolt on the bottom of the yoke, until the entire steering column was completely loosey-goosey. No effect. I've tried backing off their two little allen set screws, which they actually suggest -- no effect. I've tried forcing every kind of oil and grease known to mankind into that suspect area. No help at all. Unfortunately, I don't yet know if this yoke has used actual ball or roller BEARINGS, or only some kind of BUSHING. If they used bushings, then there a better chance this can be resolved without disassembly. If it's bearings, it might need new bearings, which will need to be pressed out, and then in, and I don't have a press, and I don't want to go around trying to find a shop that can competently press bearings because my region is now in " dark red" (not just red) Covid territory. We're labeled "deep red". How effing bad is that, and how many people do YOU want to go conversing with when things are at this state? And also because the shops in my region can't do ONE THING even remotely correctly. Seriously.

This all means that I will have to forgo all the projects in this shophouse and with the two shops out front, to deal with yet another scooter malfunction. And I bloody shouldn't have to.

The front hydraulic disc brake works perfectly. The rear one needs to be pumped several times before it works AT ALL. If you don't pump it up, the first pull goes straight to the handlebar. Zero braking effect. Is that related to the crimped hydraulic line? Maybe. Or maybe it's just a faulty little master cylinder -- two unrelated problems on the same brake system.

Yet another problem. And I'm tired.

We put about 12 kilometers on the 10X today, and it is FAST. Stupid fast. All the power I dreamed of.

The braking, if it were to work correctly, would be just as good as I hoped.

The suspension is superb. Just peachy.

The headlight is so worthless it's a bit insulting.

The bell is a nice bell that can be heard by real human beings at six feet.

The electronic throttle is, to me, quite smooth and predictable in normal mode. But turn on the "turbo" and there's a definite high spot in the torque curve. It doesn't feel linear at all. Well, what would you expect in "turbo mode". Just be aware of it and be careful.

The same rubber axle nut protectors that fell off the Dualtron within, literally, 20 seconds, are used on the 10X and fell off after about twenty minutes. Truly, an upgrade in quality.

I don't think the footplate is any bigger than the Dualtron, but for some reason my feet are significantly more comfortable on it. No idea why. Angle? Relation to the steering column? The foot-board is higher than the Dualtron, but for some reason I don't begrudge that height on the 10X like I did on the Dualtron.

Tail lights are the same: Cartoonish.

The computer on both Dualtron and 10X are straightfoward.

The 10X HAS AN IGNITION KEY! It's not screaming, "Steal me, steal me, because clearly I DON'T CARE!"

Kickstand is perfect.

Bigger wheels are THE WAY TO GO, but tube tires WILL be regrettable, I guarantee it.

Battery life is, well, from I think 5ah to 23ah, there's nothing to talk about. It never moved off 100%.

Price is half again higher.

I actually feel as though, once the PROBLEMS are sorted out, I could GO SOMEWHERE.

Weight is much heavier than the Dualtron.

Girlfriend wanted to go to the store and she didn't have a chain or cable lock and I wouldn't let her just leave it outside the huge two-story Wal-Mart type place (a Tesco Lotus mall, here in SE Asia). So she put two 8 year olds on it (total weight 70 kilos), all helmeted up, and rode the two or three kilometers there, and then rode into the mall, and around the mall, and bought all kinds of crap, and then up the escalator (!) to floor two, and into the sporting goods store, and around the sporting goods store, and then into adjacent Tesco Lotus, and up and down the food aisles, and bought a bunch more crap, and then down the escalator, through the mall again, loaded it up with donuts, and then home, two or three more kilos. And the ONLY comments she got were, "Where can I buy one?" Security didn't even look squinty at this spectacle. I was slight aghast, but she pulled it off so what can I say.

And the battery never left 100%.

Tomorrow is another day. We'll see what horror manifests itself in either of these contraptions. I'm reminded of the thing the Flintstones built in their backyard to fly. If I can get even a few days of fun, I'll stop writing.

 

UPDATE:

The "catch" in the straight-ahead steering is greatly reduced this morning; that tells me it wasn't crushed bearings. They don't heal themselves. I have been squirting various kinds of penetrating oil into various parts of the steering knuckle. Maybe that is helping. The steering is a bit looser after this treatment as well. But now the handlebar column is quite loose (the stick, not the steering) and a quick Google search shows everyone else having the same problems, all inclusive. What in TF is wrong with the Chinese. I believe it's genetic. Others will argue it's culture. Nature or nurture. I KNOW it's nature. A more intelligent culture could help them use more of what little intelligence they have, but ultimately, a monkey ain't gonna land a 727.

I've noticed there is almost no motor noise. The Dualtron motor was always noisy but VERY noisy at low speeds (it startled a lot of people) and this enraged a large percentage of the soi dogs. Now, they're not completely sure I'm not just walking very fast. That confuses them but doesn't usually enrage them.

After a number of higher-speed runs in the middle of the night it occurs to me that a steering dampener would be very useful. I've had to install them on about half of the motorcycles I've owned and never regretted it. I approached the dealer about them and he said yes, of course, you'll need one. I wish that had been mentioned at the point of purchase as I would have just added it in (now it turns out the only one for this scoot doesn't work).

Thick inner tubes to help reduce flats? Can't find them. They don't seem to exist for this size tire.

I had to order a rechargeable headlight and tail light. When I asked if there was an easy way to tap 12vdc off the system I didn't get an answer, so I guess that means no. To reiterate, the stock head and tail lights are an insult to anyone's intelligence. Pathetic. Borderline criminal. Stupid. The headlight illuminates PERHAPS as far in front as half a meter.

 

UPDATE:

I've delved more into the rear brake problem. To describe it again in a different way, when you pulled the rear brake lever initially, the lever would go all the way to the handlebar with NO braking whatsoever. Shouldn't this have been found in an inspection? Yes. If you pumped the rear brake lever (it's hydraulic) about three times, it would pump up pressure in that tiny master cylinder and the lever would become fairly hard. There would still be no braking for a few seconds, but then BAM the rear brake would kick in hard.

We rode it like that for a couple of days but today was the day to get to the bottom of it.

The master cylinder did seem to do a "wear in" in which it started developing pressure on the first pull. But there was still a problem. I'd wrestled with recalcitrant hydraulic steering systems on tugboats and figured this was likely.

In examining the crimped part of that rear-brake hydraulic line, my theory was that it was barely letting any hydraulic fluid pass through it at all. INSPECTIONS, ANYONE!!?? MUST I SCREAM IT??

I gingerly backed off the fitting that screwed into the master cylinder, praying not to get any air into the system, and then very carefully untwisted that twisted line maybe a factor of about 60%. I was afraid to untwist it any further. The kink came out by about fifty percent. I then went to re-tighten the fitting into the master cylinder but discovered that the line itself, as it entered that fitting, wanted very badly to twist itself into a kink again, right along with the turning of the fitting. Clearly what had happened was that whoever put the brake line on initially had just wrenched right on down on that fitting without even glancing at the twisting and kinking brake line, or if they did, they didn't give a rat's ass and just kept tightening. And where was it assembled? China? Butt-Fu-- Mongolia? You know where.

I tried to hold the line from twisting using pliers as I tightened the fitting, but I didn't want to scar up the exterior of the plastic sheathing, so I had to fashion some stuff around the line and then get a bit of a grip on it without crushing it (at all!), and then I could tighten the fitting into the master cylinder without the brake line trying to twist and kink at the same time.

There remained about half of the original kink, but that was as far as I was willing to experiment. Then a test ride. It was like a brand new scooter. The rear brake was absolutely perfect in every way. Just peachy keen cool. Perfect. Brake fluid was getting past that kink.

The rear brake line still needs replacing. I'm afraid it will fail, and of course it will ONLY fail when you have a hefty grip on that rear brake, which probably means you're wanting to stop without delay -- and right then the line will pop and you'll have no rear brake at all. To replace that line looks like an ugly, ugly job. Too bad the original assemblers couldn't have simply had two tiny little brain cells to rub together and avoid all this bullshit.

The dealer (Falcon-Go) has offered to send a tech down from Bangkok to "help" me install a new brake line. Honestly, I don't want to touch another malfunctioning part on this or any other scooter ever. I don't want to be "helped". I want the people I paid to supply a good machine, to make it a good machine, while I sip my latte in front of the AC and say thank you when it's done.

Next was to address the weird crap going on with the front end.

The steering column had become very loose and wobbly. The turning was still too stiff. It turned out that the big allen bolt on the bottom of the yoke had come loose and was getting ready to fall completely out. If you make it too tight, the steering will be even stiffer. If you make it too loose, the steering will STILL be stiff, but the parts like the column will become loose and the steering column will flop around in a very untidy way. I tightened it medium tight, and I know it will back out again, so the next step will be to take it out and apply maybe one drop of Locktite Red, and then put it where it needs to be at medium loose.

Even when that big allen bolt is less than finger tight, however, the steering is still too stiff. I've been ramming liters of penetrating oil into all parts steering, and it is helping. The detent-feeling is nearly gone, and the steering is about 70% as free as it ought to be.

We did get in most of a day of riding. Praise be to The Great Pumpkin.

But now the lcd is randomly loosing parts of the numbers. .

And tomorrow is another day..

And all this while, the soi kids are beating the living daylights out of that tiny Ninebot 08, and it takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. It's indestructible. If it's not actually moving, it's on the charger (uh, swappable batteries anyone?). It's a pretty little machine, a simple little machine, a rugged little machine, and a perfectly reliable little machine. It's just plain delightful. What a dream come true that would have been for me in my childhood.

I had said I never wanted a front wheel motor -- so I got a front wheel motor (front and rear).

I wanted adjustable steering column. Didn't get it (but the lowly 08 has it).

Swappable battery? Perish the thought.

Tubeless tires? Nope.

A frikkin' useful headlight? No. That would be against the law or something, right? It's worse than the Dualtron if that's even possible. Had to order one. Can't find a suitable rechargeable tail light yet -- the first one I ordered never showed up. Shouldn't need one! But you do.

More predictable steering? A little bit, yes. I'm leaning toward a steering stabilizer. I used to run a Suzuki Hayabusa. I ran at 100mph pretty much everywhere I went (2nd gear). I ran at 150mph maybe ten times per week (3rd gear). I hit the top end around 216-225mph (top gear), depending, once or twice a week (some green-tooth, pot-head Harley Davidson jerk followed me out of a roadside cafe once to look over my stretched, turbo charged Busa, and asked me, confidentially, "Say, uh, you ever get 'er up to 100?" How do you answer that?).

Once at 170mph, at night, it SLAMMED into a violent front end shimmy. Steering stabilizer saved my life, utterly and literally. What had happened is that a wheel balancing weight, which is just a sticky hunk of lead, that is carefully centered on the INSIDE of the center of the wheel rim, had somehow, somehow (!) worked itself off of that exact center placement, and after it did, it slowly crawled its way to the edge of the rim due to the centrifugal force of running that fast, where it fell off. Except that it didn't just "fall" off. It came off at 170mph on Highway 99 in California, and went straight out through the top of the fender, and took some cables with it. It might have gone clean through my face and out the top of my head. I suppose you could calculate the velocity if you were smarter than I, but it was as fast as any bullet. That induced the vibration and resultant shimmy. I want a stabilizer on pretty much everything I ride or drive now, even a scooter, even a trike, maybe even my garden wheelbarrow.

 

UPDATE:

The third and last scooter (ETWOW) was shipped on Tuesday by DHL from Bangkok, 60 miles away. Tracking shows it arrived in our town at 08:31 this morning. It's now well after 19:00. No sign of DHL. We received all other deliveries normally today, including three that were ordered on Wednesday and arrived today. I have no explanation for the shipping problems encountered by this dealer. NONE of the big carriers are known for being even remotely reliable in SE Asia. They simply can't figure this logistics thing out. A Bulldog will never fly a jetliner.

The dealer reports that the one screw hole in the rear wheel of the old Dualtron Mini, in which the short (normal) screw had stripped out and was replaced with a much longer screw at the factory, was able to be tightened normally. I've stripped out so many threads in aluminum castings in my life, even though I was being super-careful and was way under the recommended torque value, that I am just too scared of aluminum threads to risk anything. I'm happy they were able to fit a new tire and tighten the over-length screw, but honestly, at the factory level, the hub should have been tossed and fitted with a new and proper, non-damaged part. This just goes to show you how fly-by-night these scooters are, but particularly those made in China, even under close Caucasian supervision. God only knows how one single functioning iPhone EVER gets produced in China.

Re the 10X, I'm noticing that the handlebars are just too short. I can ride it, but I'm always a bit hunched, even with one foot far forward and one back against the angled step. I'm 6'3". Anyone taller will be uncomfortable. I am, slightly. I wish I could raise it two inches.

The rear fender rattles appallingly, even though it's securely bolted. I can't yet figure out how to silence it. It attracts soi dogs.

In Thailand, you can beat and murder your wife and children and pay a little bit of money and get off. But hurt a dog? You'll go straight to prison. Consequently we have more wild and semi-wild soi dogs than you can ever imagine. I used to feed the dogs in my soi very well (about 7 of them, as permanent residents). I wanted them healthy. Not sick. Not weak. Not miserable. I wanted them to have the energy to BARK when bad people came creeping around and I wanted them to feel territorial about this soi. I didn't want them covered in sores because I like to pet them. I like dogs more than I like people. One of the shops that rents from me feels the same way and feeds them better than I.

Yesterday, one of the soi's Nasty Ladies (a misguided soul who WAS never happy in life and WILL NEVER BE happy in life, made the rounds after one of the dogs got tired of being teased and hit by her children and lunged at a kid, and the Mom made it known that whosoever shall be seen feeding a dog in this soi shall be responsible for hospital bills and punitive damages should one of the dogs ever bite the children who torment it. If you ever wondered about living in Thailand, that's a pretty common mentality, and much, much worse. Yes, there are good people here and I have many friends. But there are more of these witches and demons here than in the US.

In any case, we all talked about it and decided that we could no longer afford the liability of feeding the soi dogs. I don't know what they'll do. There is no animal control here to speak of. In Thailand, it's fairly well established that if a couple of people witness you feeding or otherwise caring for a soi dog, then you are that dog's defacto owner and master and you're responsible for any misdeeds it performs. Stupid? Yes. The Thais ain't the brightest bulbs in the Christmas light string. In fact, they're often not lit at all. --Voice of ten years. Ignore it at your peril.

The point of all this, is this:

I have made a vast network of soi dog friends by taking them treats. I'll stop in a soi that I might return to someday, and sit on the scooter, and let them come snarling. They can never figure out what to make of a man who doesn't run. They can't process it. So they approach, and lunge, snarl, bare their teeth, just praying for me to do something they understand, like run or hit them. But when they get within, say, a foot, depending on the breeze, they suddenly realize something inexplicable -- I SMELL GOOD! I smell like things a dog (mah, here) might want to, you know, EAT. That casts a little doubt in their demeanor, and within just a few minutes most of them are my quasi-friends. The ones who aren't outright friends because of the food, are trying to figure out why the rest of the pack likes me, so that dampens their bad behavior. Next time I come, they'll growl slightly, and run after the scooter, and we go through it again, though killing me is no longer in their hearts. On the third pass, we are friends. Works like a damned charm. It helps that I genuinely love them and care for them. They sense it. Usually haha.

But now that's over.

We can no longer feed the dogs.

What to do?

I'm working on a Scooter Flak Dispenser (SFD).

It will be some kind of little box or container thing, and as I pass near the soi dogs, I can flick a lever that just randomly releases a few ounces of tasty dog treats. They'll associate that with the sound and look of the scooter, and with me, and no stupid, ignorant damned bitchy Thai, looking ceaselessly for a grand payoff, will ever know I fed them.

Anyway.

The knobby off-road tires are noisy. I'll suck it up.

I'm finding the throttle control a little annoying. It's sometimes too "lurchy" in turbo mode, and I'm annoyed with it and I use it less and less except for big hills. It's bugging me more. Still, it's, well, turbo-mode, so, well, turbo mode is turbo mode. I once had a turbo jetski that, once the turbo kicked in (it did so suddenly), it just about threw you off the back. Yes, that was a real turbo and this is not a real turbo, but when you use it you'll get a burst of speed and the throttle in turbo mode isn't linear, like it should be. There should be more power in turbo mode, yes, but it should be predictable power.

Dealer promises to send a replacement rear brake hose soon. I hope.

I realize now that you can probably never buy a scooter off the shelf that simply works. It's not a ready-for-public-consumption product. I blame this mostly on China. China has made these so cheap that decent manufacturers can't even begin to compete. When, oh when, will the world learn about Chinese junk. After WWII the Japanese wanted to make stuff too, and all through my childhood we learned that if it was stamped "Made in Japan" you didn't get within twenty feet of it. It was laughable. But the Japanese learned, and now their stuff is at a par or surpassing US quality. Unfortunately the Chinese are incapable of learning -- except to learn how to be better thieves. That's it. That's their only talent. It's an utterly and profoundly honor-less society. Yes, I'm qualified to say that; I live with them.

I still wish there was a "stop" to prevent the steering wheel from turning too far. That's a minor accident looking for a place to happen (speaking of which, a week after I wrote this, a little girl here went down on the Ninebot 08 because she turned it too far. There should have been a mechanical stop. You don't ever need to be able to turn a scooter in its own length).

I still wish they came equipped with useful head and tail lights. Why in God's name would you not so equip them? I've had to add some.

The LCD is worthless. Parts of numbers missing, unreadable AT ALL in sunlight. The dealer says, well, they were never very good anyway.

The ECO-BOOST button does absolutely nothing. I'll have to check and see if it's even wired up. Complete blank. (Correction: It DOES do something. It does exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to do. It's wired backwards. I see countless others griping about the same thing. Zero quality control on the assembly line. Just absolutely zero. Zero. Zero. Zip. Nada. Quality is a joke in China. A bad and pathetic joke. Those people could screw up a wet dream.)

Suspension is still stupendous.

The nylon ribbon they used to wrap the wire and cable harnesses is mostly coming off. Will have to redo it all. How many kilometers on this now? 75. Just not ready for prime time. At least ONE PERSON at the factory MUST have ridden their own product AT LEAST 75 kilometers, but yet they never noticed ANY of this stuff?

Or they Do. Not. Care.

 

UPDATE:

We finally took delivery of the E-Twow today. Why can't DHL work on a non-holiday? Why does DHL do or not do anything? I gave up on them decades ago for my own corporate shipping needs in the US, just like UPS.

In any case, it arrived 53% charged (normal) and took 3.75 hours to charge to full.

Once charged we gave it a quick once over and took it out into the soi.

Instantly, with the slightest, most careful application of power, it wanted to jerk out from under me. I'm 6'3 and 215 lbs. Girlfriend tried it with the same result.

Ok, had to go download the manual because apparently a few pages of cheap paper are too expensive for a $1000 scooter sale.

It turns out the speed range, which was supposed to be defaulted at L-1, was actually defaulted at L-5 (no limit in power nor speed). Knocking it down to L-1 was too slow, as expected, but provided a better throttle function. Still, even at L-1, I wouldn't put younger kids on it. They'll end up on their asses with a cracked skull or helmet. We settled on a power setting of L-2, and that's quite jerky. I put a kilometer on it and didn't end up feeling comfortable. GF put a kilometer on it and felt slightly better than I did, but still not comfortable. Honestly, the throttle is absurd. It's far touchier than any other scooter here, even those with three or five times the power.

Is this the only one like that? Now I have to go research it. The shop has been made aware (Update: No, this isn't isolated. Many are angry and many call it "dangerous", as do I).

Beyond that, I like it. It's simple. IT CAME WITH A HEADLIGHT but an unusable horn. I miss a kickstand. The idea of partially folding it down to keep it upright when parked is silly. And they placed the cover for the charging port EXACTLY where your foot (toe) will hit it and knock it off half the time when you use the release lever to fold it down. Just not clear thinking on their part. As usual.

The E-Twow was touted as the one scooter in the world which would NEVER require fixing or bullshit maintenance, and maybe that's true. But the throttle alone largely ruins the experience for me. I have found that if I press my thumb solidly forward, against the back of the hand-grip on the right, I have better control, but not likable. If I try to just have my thumb free-floating out there, then every little bump will cause it to exert the tiniest extra bit of pressure on the throttle lever and cause a jerk. I owned and flew Columbus tail dragger aircraft for many years. They're one of the trickiest airplanes to fly (land, really), due to the sensitivity of the rudder and their penchance for ground-looping. I couldn't wear shoes to fly it -- I instead had to change into slippers because I needed that extra bit of sensitivity in the rudder pedals. This feels a lot like that.

Otherwise, the power is OK, speed is OK. The hard wheels aren't nearly as much of an annoyance as I was led to believe. The E-brake is weird. I use it, but am not fond of it. It's like using a Jake-brake on a heavy semi tractor trailer rig going down a mountain pass. It helps a little, not that much, and it won't ever stop you. They're used on tractor trailer rigs only to help spare the brake drums from overheating, and even then you must be careful. No real practical use for such a device on a scooter, but hey, all the equipment is already there, installed, and all that's required to make it work is a tiny bit of wire routing, so whatever. It will slow you down. But so will the brake..

The TYPE of throttle used on the E-Twow is the same as on the little Segway here (I am not fond of either -- they've used twist grips on motorcycles for 150 years for God's sake and no one has ever seen a need to change). But on the Segway it's absolutely, perfectly predictable. I had ZERO qualms about putting the soi kids on that. They were up and running fully in literally two minutes. Never a hint of a jerk. Never. On the E-Twow it's constant jerking and I won't let them near it. Again, just not ready for Prime Time. Certainly, CERTAINLY one of the engineers or their kids must have noticed this. There's no way you wouldn't.

As it stands now, the little Segway is the only one that just keeps on chuggin' without a single complaint from anyone at all. It's very nearly perfect.

 

UPDATE:

I've just now put a couple of kilometers on the E-Twow through tiny winding sois full of (way too many) home-made speed bumps (they use tugboat hawsers for God's sake), and soi dog packs, debris, etc., so constant stop and go at slow speeds. To re-state, I find that if you place your right thumb over the throttle lever, but also press it quite firmly against the back side of the throttle housing, and don't MOVE your thumb at all -- that is to say forget about pressing up or down with your thumb, but just roll your thumb very slightly and gently, you can attain some measure of control at slow speeds. At anything over about 6 mph the throttle is better -- it acts more or less as smoothly as any other somewhat crappy e-throttle. But at slow speeds, I'm sorry, it's dangerous. It's dangerous. There WILL be accidents if there haven't been already. Literally 20 seconds of test riding by an E-Twow engineer would have made this very clear, so once again we're left scratching our heads and asking DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE ANY BRAINS AT ALL? I'm starting to think NO.

Once again I'm asking WHY not use twist-grip motorcycle throttles on these? They make a dozen brands now that are electronic (no cables). So why not? 150 years of motorcycles all around the world can't be wrong!

I'm finding numerous references to this problem, also using the word "dangerous", online, even going back awhile, so this is something E-Twow has presumably known about but has CHOSEN not to address as of June, 2021 because they're still selling these units with no fix.

I think this scooter is something "I" could use, if I wanted to, but it wouldn't be relaxing because of the throttle, and one of its main purposes was to be used by soi kids, and there's no way in hell I'd put any of them on this. It's an accident looking for a place to happen.

I'm not sure what I'll do at this point. I can send it back, or I can hope E-Twow steps up and offers a firmware update or even a new throttle controller. They say the upgraded model of this one (the GT) is far, far touchier, and highly experienced riders are having issues with it. So why won't the company FIX IT? Indeed. Why won't these companies fix ANYTHING they've badly designed? Ever! Why? It's almost certainly a simple matter of re-coding the software for the throttle. So why can't they do that? Why didn't they do it long ago?

I hate, loathe and detest the likes of sleazy, ambulance-chasing personal injury attorneys. But maybe it's time they stepped up here in this industry and started holding these manufacturers to account. But who are they gonna sue? The Chinese? Laugh until your gut aches.

 

UPDATE:

I've tested the E-Twow more and I realize that it isn't so much a non-linear problem in the controller as it is an ON-OFF problem in the controller. At slow speeds, under about 6-8 mph, when you slowly, carefully, gently (and more carefully still) try to roll on the slightest bit of throttle, nothing happens at all UNTIL IT DOES. You kick it to start, and then want to add throttle to keep it going at the same speed, so you painstakingly push the lever every so slightly, and there is just nothing until BAM it adds a bunch of power. It's on or off. There's no hump in this graph curve. It's on or off. There is no graph curve. It's a light switch. Instead of getting power that goes from, virtually zero to 100%, you get like 10-100%. There is nothing under 10%. That's where the jerking is coming from. That could be mechanical but I'm more inclined to think it's software. Yes, I tried it in non-kick-start mode and it was the same. Nothing and then suddenly 10%. Every other scooter here can be used at any slow speed you want as long as you can balance, and I can maintain balance down to something far less than walking speed -- maybe .5mph (walking is 3mph). But with the E-Twow you're either not moving, or you're on your way to 6 mph, period. In order to maintain, say, one or two mph, you have to click the throttle on and off, and every time it goes on, it's going to jerk you. For a kid, in sand or gravel, especially if he's in a tight turn, he's almost certainly going to go down. It will jerk out from under him.

I'm actually pretty pissed about this. It's such a glaring flaw, and so many have reported on it, that the failure of E-Twow to address it is nearly criminal. It's sure as hell grossly irresponsible. How long has this problem existed? Have ANY steps been taken to address it? The dealer (Falcon-Go) apparently has an inquiry in to E-Twow about this exact thing, so we'll see what E-Twow comes back with. My guess is, they'll simply cover their asses and say they've never heard of such a problem, but maybe I'll be proven wrong. I hope so. I won't go out and ride this for fun because it's not fun. I choose a different scooter every time.

The 10X is a bit jerky in Turbo mode (a 70kph machine), but that's Turbo mode. This E-Twow is jerky in the lowliest of kid's modes with a fraction of the power and nothing even remotely approaching Turbo mode. The 10X is absolutely butter smooth on the throttle in normal mode. Just delightful. You have complete and precise control, AS YOU SHOULD. It's a simple electronic controller for God's sake. It is NOT, I PROMISE, that difficult to design and manufacture one that works properly and to make one properly costs them exactly NOT ONE CENT MORE. It really ain't rocket science. So why won't they do it? I have no answer beyond laziness and stupidity.

Incidentally, a ways up this page I mentioned a not-steep hill I had to climb on the Dualtron at walking speed, thinking I might have to kick it along to keep going. I went and climbed that same hill on the 10X, and it didn't even know there was a hill. 45kph all the way..

 

UPDATE:

Sunday, June 6, 2021, still waiting for news from the dealer, Falcon-Go, re the throttle. Maybe it can be flashed via firmware? There are NO after-market controllers for this. The dealer wants to send a new controller, but I want some smidgen of evidence that will correct it before I am put to the trouble of changing it. I'm guessing every single one of them is the same -- that's why the internet is calling the E-Twow throttle "dangerous", and it truly is. The dealer has asked for a video of the jerkiness and I've sent one (see below).

Just now received a reply on the throttle. Dealer says it looks perfectly normal. I say no. Here's my reply:

"No, it's not remotely normal. If it was normal, no one else would be complaining. If I want to ride at 3mph, I can't. You simply can't. You would have to jerk along endlessly like that. Ok, if this is not fixable, I must decide what to do next."

FROM THE DEALER:

"11:32 Falcon Go The thing is... no one rides at 3mph...
11:32 Falcon Go Its walking speed
11:32 Falcon Go I have never ridden at 3mph in my life...
11:33 Falcon Go I would just step off and push it
11:33 Falcon Go No matter which model of scooter."

FROM ME:

"I ride at 3mph all the time next to people walking. All the time."

We may be approaching an impasse here.

With any other scooter I can CHOOSE to ride at 3mph or 5mph or 1mph or any speed I want, depending on conditions and purpose. But not on the E-Twow?

Sorry. Not acceptable.

Here's a clip of the E-Twow. The mission here was to make it as smooth as humanly possible. I don't have my thumb just hovering, unsupported, on the throttle lever; I actually have it pressed very firmly against the backside of the throttle body (more on that below), so that bumps won't affect how it presses on the throttle. Also, I don't push down on the throttle lever, I simply roll my thumb back and downward, as slightly as I am humanly able to do it, so as to have better control. Still, this is as good as it gets at low speeds, because under about 8mph, there is NO gradation in the throttle. It's either on, or it's off. You can NOT maintain a slow speed, such as walking speed over rough pavement, or through a pack of sleeping soi dogs, or to simply go alongside someone who is walking. It can't be done without jerking, jerking, lurching, and MORE JERKING. I'll post a vid of the 10X also, which has many times the power of the E-Twow, yet is absolutely, completely, supremely smooth and controllable with not even the slightest hint of a jerk or a lurch (except in turbo-mode of course). Yes, controllers CAN be made properly, and 10X has done it along with many or most or all others, but E-Twow apparently just flat refuses to. Or it's beyond them? Then for God's sake what are they doing in the making-stuff business? I've now ridden about 7 scooters here locally. None (NONE) exhibits the stupid JERK of the E-Twow. None of them. Not the more expensive ones. Not the cheaper ones. None of them. The E-Twow was to be for my girlfriend and for the bigger soi kids. I'm afraid to put them on it for their very first scooter experience. The 08 was a no-brainer. They OWNED it in under 2 minutes. No worries. No concerns. The E-Twow? No.

If your intention is to ONLY jump on a scooter and go straight to 12 or 20mph, fine. The E-Twow will give you one initial jerk, and then that's it. You're off and going and the throttle is perfectly fine. But to try to maintain a constant slow speed? It's a joke.

 

Below is a vid of the 10X. As you can see, it's perfectly smooth and completely and utterly controllable at ANY speed, even though it has many times the power of the E-Twow. Who in God's name would design a scooter and then tell you, well, you know, you can't go slowly? Insane. Just barking-mad. Only the dumbest minds on earth would try that one.

I recall once in an airplane with my very young son, out over the forests near Mount Rainier in the US. I wanted to descend a little so I pulled back power slightly and the engine just flat out quit. Hmmm... There was nowhere to put down, so I cautiously tried applying power again, and right up around where the throttle would be at 90-100% power, it suddenly came to life. You can't fly level at 90-100% power, and I didn't want to climb any higher, so I tried reducing power again. Again, dead engine. After about fifteen or twenty tries like that it was clear we had either full power or none. The only solution was to go to full power, and climb, and then once near the airport, shut it down and glide in, and that was easy enough. I had experienced so many engine-outs that one more was barely a yawn. We coasted to a stop out on the runway and a small crowd came out, and immediately accused me of running out of gas. I put the stick in the tank to show it was half full and threw it at them. Sometimes people suck. Anyway, the E-Twow throttle is a bit like that. On or off. Go or stop. It's supremely annoying and the design is unforgivable. It turned out to be a carb fuill of aluminum oxide paste; the "low point drain" in the carb, designed to drain out any accumulated water condensation in the carb bowl, was not really at the low point, so periodically draining the carb didn't drain the water as it was supposed to, and the water turned the aluminum inside the carb to aluminum oxide, which is a slimey, pasty kind of crap, like snot, and since we had been out doing aerobatics, that lump of gook had gotten thrown around and then sucked into the teensy ports inside the carb. It just had to be cleaned. Gee, sounds a LOT like E-scooters, EH? Stupid engineering bites once again, and this was a 52 year old aircraft at that time -- you'd think the problem would have been detected and corrected decades before.

 

Below is a shot of the controller on the E-Twow. Throttle is on the right and E-brake is on the left. E-brake is fine for what it is. Forget about it for now. To go faster, push the throttle paddle on the right, DOWN. Simple is as simple does. --Except that, on a sensitive throttle, which depends on ups and downs for control, think about this: What happens when you hit a bump? ALL masses go up and down, including your hand, your thumb, your belly, whatever. So why create a controller that is subject to being pushed up and down inappropriately by bumps? On a car, you don't push the gas pedal DOWN to go faster, you push it FORWARD. Your heel rests nicely on the floor and gives you the perfect control point and a brace against bumps, so you foot can move FORWARD to advance the throttle. If you had to stand up in a car, and the gas pedal was directly beneath your foot, and to GO you pushed DOWN, how often do you think you'd get an unwanted accelerator input when you hit a bump? Once every, oh, I don't know, THREE SECONDS perhaps? The car would be constantly lurching under you. The same applies here though to a lessor degree. But it's not just the positioning of the throttle or the type, it's that THE THROTTLE IS FAULTY. It is IMPOSSIBLE to make slight accelerator changes no matter how well your hand or foot is braced. I fully expect this explanation to be used in a personal injury lawsuit against E-Twow. It's only a matter of time. If mere mortals like me can see this problem crystal clearly in the space of about 60 seconds, why can't the "educated-beyond-their-intelligence" brainiac engineers at E-Twow figure this out in, say, DECADES of working with this design? It just makes you scratch your head. Invasion of the Body Snatchers? All the intelligent humans have been replaced by idiots?

Below shows how most people will initially approach the E-Twow controller. The thumb will be just hanging out there in mid air, resting on that paddle, and the slightest bump will cause the thumb to also bump the throttle paddle, and you'll get a lurch. This is exagerated due to the hard rubber wheels and very little suspension. But as I've said, even if not for the silly design, the throttle controller itself is faulty. At low speeds it's either ON, or OFF. There is no gradual application of throttle, exactly where there OUGHT TO BE gradual application of throttle. This makes me wonder mightily WHAT ELSE HAVE THE EFFED UP IN THIS DESIGN THAT I HAVEN'T FOUND YET????.

Below, you can mitigate this effect a bit by pressing your thumb solidly against the back side of the throttle body, and instead of pushing down to go slightly faster, just roll your thumb. It helps a little, but of course you shouldn't have to go through these gymnastics.

Video below shows a possible approach to this problem. My GF has an even better idea -- she wraps her entire thumb and forefinger completely around the controller, so she is pushing down with her thumb, but pushing up at the same time with her forefinger. It adds a little more stability. That's her method. But we shouldn't have to go through this.

 

I'm close to giving a final score on all four of these, plus the dealer, Falcon-Go.

Would I buy another scooter? Any other scooter?

No.

I don't have the time nor the patience for this bullshit, and that's exactly what it is.

These products ain't ready for consumption, and since they've had TWENTY YEARS and still haven't gotten it right, I doubt they ever will. Honda could do it. BMW could. Suzuki, Kawasaki, no, not so much. Yamaha could do it. Toyota/Nissan. Audi would screw it up. Rolls Royce would screw it up (we used to run Rolls Royce engines in certain tugs). But for whatever reason the good engineers won't get into it. Maybe they're smart.

Were it up to me, I'd send the E-Twow back to Falcon Go today unless they could come up with a proper throttle. I didn't get what I paid for. It's THE ONE SCOOTER they PROMISED wouldn't need ANYTHING. Yet it does. GF is borderline ok with it, but disappointed. She said today she wouldn't in a million years put a kid on it for a first time experience (duh), which defeats exactly half of my purpose in buying it. What a waste. What a bloody damned waste of time and energy and money, all because one company can't be bothered to design a well-functioning e-throttle. Others can! But not E-Twow. So WTFF.

As time allows I'll try to put a Comments section at the bottom of this. I used to have a good source of all sorts of Comment boxes and Voting apps, Polls, etc., but that source is gone. I'll have to start from scratch.

Interesting that this is a cut-and-paste straight from the E-Twow website:

BOOSTER V

BOOSTER V 36v and 10.5Ah battery, one of the most powerful ETWOW scooter. 

  • New controller: Booster V has been designed around the new controller, in which the central control unit has been updated. It allows accelerating smoothly and progressively and braking harder and at a shorter distance. Therefore, when the accelerator is acitvated, the thrust is progressive avoiding jerks. The maximum speed it's approximately 40km/h.

 

UPDATE:

Pursuant to E-Twow's above statement about the "new controller" for the Booster V (which is not mine), and this new controller not being, uh, JERKY, we're trying to see if that can be fitted to my model. First, though, we need to see if it actually IS not jerky. What a royal pain in the ass. The next few days will probably tell the story on this.

So how do all these scooters break down so far?

I can't rate any of them on long-term reliability because I've only had them up to two weeks. And look at all the myriad serious problems in that short time!

But I can rate my experiences with them so far, so here goes:

I didn't end up ever receiving any Xiaomi scooter because no (no) Thai business could ever get their acts together to ship one to me, even weeks after I paid. Typical Thais. Typically stupid. And they lament endlessly that they're poor. Gee. I WONDER WHY. Third World countries are Third World countries FOR A REASON and I've been saying that since the first time I waded the Rio Grande the opposite direction to Mexico as a wandering teenager. Thais often ask me why Americans have so much money?! I answer, simply, because WE WORK. I don't think a single one has ever comprehended that answer. They're just quietly thinking, well, we work too! But they don't; they work slowly and lackadaisically and make a mistake with just about every move they make. They have more holidays than any country I've ever seen. They come in late and go home early and lunch is as long as they please. They're sick ALL THE TIME, so they say, and they spend the day in the hospital for a hangnail. And they don't understand this AT ALL: If you want to sell things, you first must have things to sell! They are perpetually out of stock and can NOT figure out how to bring in new stock BEFORE the existing stock is gone. They have computers for this. Hell, phones will do it.

Ok, end rant, because I could go on forever. Suffice it to say I'm tired of their whining about being poor when it's fifty shades of gray their own fault.

I did end up doing more in-depth research on many Xiaomi scooters.

Let's give them one star. That's fair.

They don't deserve it, but hey. It's Christmas.

Next on the list is the Dualtron Mini.

It wasn't the most horrible scooter in the world. Had it not been Satan's frikkin mousetrap, I would have kept it. Ultimately, I would have been disappointed, but that would be another story. But the breakdowns and malfunctions were just about unlike anything I had ever seen. Just touch it and something fell off. It was like a 1959 Harley Davidson. Do you know what the RATED lifespan of the Harley Sportster top end (engine) was? RATED BY HARLEY! 10,000 miles! You rebuilt the engine every 10,000 miles. I came to see the Dualton in about that same light. I said before though, I know a guy who's ridden a Dualtron Ultra for 3.5 years with NO problems. So there's that. That just wasn't MY experience and my experience is all I can report on. Ok, I'll add a star to its rating just because of that one guy's claim, which I believe.

I personally give the Dualtron 1 star. It gets two because of the other guy's claim. That's it.

The little Ninebot 08 -- wow. What a change of scenery. I really can't find anything wrong with it. I just can't. If your kid wants a scooter for Christmas, buy it. You won't be sorry. I hope. 5 stars. Five shining stars.

The Zero-10X. Considering the mistakes made at the factory, and the very, very poorly designed front end and steering knuckle, I'll go......this is tough. Without the problems, I'd go 4.5 stars. A solid 4.5 stars. But factoring all the damned bullshit, I'll go-- there isn't even a rating for this. I'll go 3.75 stars. No, strike that. I'll go 4 stars. It's pretty close to what I wanted. I love the power and the beefiness. I hate the fact that my rear brake-line is STILL unresolved. I hate just about everything in the front end except the shocks. Yep. 4 stars is as good as they get from me. If it craps out more, I'll amend it here.

E-Twow Booster -- If not for the throttle, they'd be looking at 4.5 stars. Due to the throttle, they're at 2.2 stars. Less than average, which would be 2.5. The throttle is wholly inexcusable any way you look at it. Absurd. Ludicrous. WTF were they thinking. Porcupines have more brain cells than this. Embarrassing. Stupid. Close to mentally handicapped. 2.2 is absolute top dollar after a screw up like the e-throttle. Just sort of makes you queasy. How many iterations of this are out there, in the world, making people pissed and thwarting future sales? Who was in charge of this QC? I bought a sloop one time -- one of way too many times -- and I didn't look it over ALL that thoroughly because the seller was head of quality control for the Boeing aircraft plant in Everett, Washington. I KNEW this boat would be shipshape. Of course it was an unmitigated disaster of biblical proportions. Raccoons could not have effed that boat up any worse. And that makes me QUITE nervous about flying on Boeing airliners. E-Twow, same same. Now their entire line is suspect for me, and always will be. People ten years from now will be saying, hey, I think I'm going to buy an E-Twow scooter, and I'll be like please, I'm begging you, hear me out first.

This is a nice little scooter. But the throttle is SO odious and SO preventable that it just makes you wonder. Had I test ridden that very, very first controller off the factory line, I would have come back in 15 seconds and shut down the line and said oh, oh, oh, wait, wait, stop -- big problem here. Look at this. But these bozos apparently just kept on cranking this shit out for HOW MANY years? Good God. Give me a break.

You want a rating on the dealer?

Let's wait and see how some of these other issues ultimately play out:

The 10X brake line

The E-Twow throttle

And the 10X front end.

My hunch is that I'm on my own on the front end of the 10X.

It's still too stiff, but it's ridable. It's like when you don't REALLY like your girl/boyfriend, but they aren't QUITE.....bad enough to do anything about. Yet. I'll someday end up completely disassembling the entire knuckle and putting it back together with things tightened properly and with Locktite in the right places and the right greases in the right places and it will be fine. Still stupidly designed. But it will probably work. And I honestly shouldn't have to do that. Really. I PAID to not have to do that..

The other two things, I truly don't want to mess with. I paid for them to not be a problem also. But they're a problem. The controller is supposedly easy enough to swap, IF another will work properly. The rear brake line on the 10X just gives me a headache. I'd like to find that line by the roll, so I could snake it through the frame and body of the scooter with wondrous ease because it could simply follow the existing line as you pulled it through. Then you put ferrules on the ends, or whatever device they used to seal them, and bleed, and done. But I can't find that line anywhere. Somewhere in China there are semi-truck loads of it sitting in warehouses. But WHERE? I don't want to disassemble every screw and plate on the scooter to just replace a brake line.

I'll rate the shop last.

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