Should You Get an Ebike or an Electric Scooter?

Portrait of Mitchel Anderson, Rider Guide's Editorial Lead
Josh Jones
August 31, 2023

A devoted road and gravel cyclist and all-around gearhead, Josh has been riding and writing about electric scooters for the past five years. He’s generally happier on two wheels than two legs. When Josh isn’t writing or wrenching, he’s usually out on the road….

split image with electric bike on the left and man riding an electric scooter on the right

Benefits of Personal Electric Vehicles

Maybe you’re already convinced that buying a personal electric vehicle is a smart, practical thing to do. But let’s just look at a few of the benefits – besides the enormous fun factor – of owning your own e bike or electric scooter.

Personal Electric Vehicles (PEVs) like e bikes and e scooters eliminate the need for

  • Gas

  • Parking

  • Sitting in traffic

We could go on about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, such as the fact that when you own an e bike or scooter and live in an area where it’s safe to ride, you could potentially replace around of half of fossil-fuel car trips, around 50% of which are under three miles. That translates to huge carbon savings the more it’s scaled up…!

Just one e bike or scooter won’t save the world, but the simple fact is that a personal electric vehicle will definitely save you money and maybe even preserve your sanity if you’re a daily commuter.

Maybe the only question remaining is which one should you get, an electric bike or an electric scooter?

Overview of E Bikes and Electric Scooters

Electric bikes (e bikes) and electric kick scooters have become increasingly popular as alternative means of transportation. They can be a great choice for commuting to work or running errands, providing a way to get around town without the added expense and pollution of a car. They both rely on electric power to move, making them relatively quiet and emissions-free.

The differences, however, are in the details; e bikes are essentially bicycles with an electric motor, while electric scooters have a completely different design and performance. Popular e bikes like the Lectric XP 3.0 Long Range E Bike offer the rider a range of pedal-assist levels, allowing them to get some exercise while still relying on the motor for assistance.

Electric scooters, by contrast, are propelled solely by the motor, making them a better choice for shorter distances or those who are unable to pedal. Ultimately, it will depend on the purpose of your chosen vehicle and your specific needs and preferences.

solar-eq-cornering-2

Main Differences Between E Bikes and Electric Scooters

Wheels and Seats

Two of the biggest differences between e bikes and electric scooters are to be found in the size of the wheels and the comfort of a seat. Unless you are specifically buying a seated electric scooter (and there are good reasons to do so), you’ll find that most folding electric scooters do not come with seat attachments.

Even when standing electric scooters have attachment seats, these will never be as comfortable to ride as an e bike. This is because of the size of the wheels: electric scooters tend to have small wheels, somewhere between 7 and 12 inches, depending on the model. A seated scooter might use wheels up to 20 inches in diameter.

E bikes, on the other hand, tend to have much larger wheels, with a majority using standard-size 29 in diameter (or 700c) wheels that you’ll find on a regular road or mountain bike.

When you aren’t standing up on a kick scooter and using your legs as additional shock absorbers, the difference in wheel size between the two vehicles can be noticeable with every bump, even on scooters that have adequate suspension for rougher roads. 

When seated, at least, larger wheels provide a more comfortable ride, although it’s really on longer rides that you’ll most feel the differences in ride quality between scooters and bikes.

Pedal Power

Whether you’re looking for a commuter vehicle, a leisure ride, or something in between, e-bikes and electric scooters offer an eco-friendly alternative to traditional forms of transport. E-bikes provide an efficient way to get around without having to break a sweat. On the other hand, scooters are generally lighter and simpler to use, making them a great option for short trips around town.

While both e-bikes and electric scooters are powered by electricity, they offer completely different experiences. E-bikes are equipped with a traditional bicycle frame and require the user to pedal, while electric scooters are operated without pedaling, using a motor instead.

As a result, e-bikes can be slower to take off and require more physical effort than their e scooter counterparts. E bikes are usually more expensive than scooters, but they offer a great workout and an efficient way to get from point A to point B. Ultimately, the decision of which form of transport is best for you will depend on your lifestyle and budget.

E Bike Advantages

Versatility

E-bikes offer an amazing combination of versatility and convenience that most electric scooters can’t match.

Whether you’re a daily commuter looking to reduce your carbon footprint, an outdoor enthusiast searching for an exciting way to experience nature, a parent transporting kids and groceries every day, or a combination of all three, an e bike might be the perfect fit for you.

Thanks to their powerful but lightweight motors, e-bikes are capable of navigating all kinds of terrain, from city streets to trails in the countryside. With an e-bike, you can navigate your day-to-day life with ease or chart a course into the great outdoors and back.

You can also do something with a bike that you can’t do on an e scooter: carry kids and cargo with a larger bike like the Lectric XPedition Cargo Bike, which has dual batteries for double the range and power.

The versatility of an e bike makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable form of transportation they can also take on weekend adventures to the mountains or the beach.

E bikes with fat tires, for example, can typically handle most challenging environments with ease, where electric scooters will get stuck in mud, sand, or snow because of their small wheels.

Fitness Riding

Electric bicycles, also known as e-bikes, provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the benefits of healthy, sustainable transportation that remains affordable and convenient. These bikes incorporate battery-powered motors, which make pedaling easier and faster for riders to get to their destinations.

E-bikes offer a whole range of advantages compared to other modes of transportation, and they have become increasingly popular among people who want to stay fit and active.

With an electric bike, riders can use the motor assist to tackle hills, headwinds, and long distances with ease. This makes it much easier to stay active and fit without having to give up the convenience of biking.

E-bikes also offer the opportunity to connect with nature and explore trails and areas that would be difficult to reach otherwise. For those who want to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors, e-bikes are a great option.

Electric Scooter Advantages

Portability

Electric scooters offer advantages when compared to other forms of eco-friendly transportation such as electric bikes. A major advantage of electric scooters is their portability.

E scooters are relatively light and foldable compared to bikes, making them easier to store away and transport. Furthermore, their compact size allows easy maneuverability while riding in crowded areas like city streets or stores.

Additionally, electric scooters tend to be more affordable than eBikes, making them a great option for those with a smaller budget. For these reasons, electric scooters can be a great way to enjoy eco-friendly transportation at an affordable price.

While e scooters are more portable than e bikes, there are plenty of e bikes that fold up compactly and won’t break your back when you lift them in and out of the car.

The GOTRAX F2, for example, is a very manageable size when folded and will easily fit in the back of a large closet or an SUV. And it weighs about the same as the Fluid Vista at 58 lbs. It’s not light, but not much heavier than some of our most beloved electric scooters like the EMOVE Cruiser S

Cost

Electric scooters are a popular method of transportation, and they offer a variety of advantages over other electric transportation options. One of the biggest benefits of electric scooters is their cost.

Compared to the cost of an electric bike, electric scooters are usually much more affordable.

Furthermore, maintenance costs are also lower than those of E Bikes, making them much more cost-effective, since electric scooters have many fewer moving parts that need service and replacement. 

It is clear that electric scooters can offer great value while still providing an efficient and reliable method of transportation.

Electric bikes cost more on average than comparable scooters, but several companies, like Lectric and GOTRAX, offer very well-built, reliable e bikes at very competitive prices.

At $799, for example, the GOTRAX F2 runs about half the cost of the Vista electric scooter from Fluid.

Summary and Recommendations

Electric bicycles (e bikes) and electric scooters are two of the most popular electric vehicles on the market today. They both offer the convenience of electric-powered transportation over the traditional gasoline-powered options, while being affordable and more eco-friendly. However, there are some key differences between an e-bike and an electric scooter.

E bikes are a pedal-assisted form of transportation, while electric scooters don’t require the rider to provide additional effort to reach top speeds. Additionally, electric scooters are typically much lighter and more portable than an e-bike, making them easier to transport and store.

Ultimately, both e-bikes and electric scooters offer a great way to get around quickly and affordably, however, understanding the differences between them can help determine which one is right for you.

At one time, electric bicycles would absolutely be the way to go for longer commutes, but more electric scooter riders are choosing to commute with high-powered e scooters that can reach highway speeds, in some cases, although they should never be taken on the highway.

If you’re new to personal electric vehicles in general, we can recommend some excellent entry-level e bikes and e scooters to help you get started.

For a full list of 40+ electric scooter recommendations, all hands-on tested by Rider Guide’s expert reviewers, see our Best Electric Scooters 2023

Fluid Vista - $1499
Fluid Vista Electric Scooter full
Fluid Vista Electric Scooter Rear Suspension 2
Fluid Vista Electric Scooter Front Shocks
Air 2022Air 2023
PROS
Low Maintenance, Stress-Free Design
Great Speed And Range At The Price
Huge, Comfortable Riding Platform
CONS
Single Motor At Dual Motor Price
A Little On The Large and Heavy Side (Less Portable Than Other Commuting-Focused Scooters)
Technical Specifications
Tested Top Speed:
47.2 km/h**
Tested Range:
36.7 km**
Weight:
28.8 kg**
Max Rider Weight:
120.4 kg
Water Resistance:
IPX5
Acceleration:
4.2 s
**Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The Fluid Freeride Vista is not available in India.
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!

GOTRAX F2 E Bike - $799

Gotrax F2 E-bike riding on freeway
+7 more
Air 2022Air 2023

The Gotrax F2 is the exact type of e-bike to look at if you are wanting a solid first e-bike. Its relatively small size and folding capabilities make it just about as compact as an adult ebike can be, but still delivers the performance, quality and features to make it fun and versatile.

Will it satisfy expert e-bikers? No. This is a beginner-friendly bike from Gotrax. That said, the $799 price tag makes this one of the best values on the market for an electric bike with high top speed, long range, off-road capability, room for cargo, and a space-saving form factor.

pros icon of thumbs up
PROS
5 speed modes for all rider levels
Fat 3 inch wide tires cover all terrain
Long range
Room for cargo
Folding and compact
cons icon of thumbs down
CONS
Throttle a little jumpy
Braking could be better

Technical Specifications

top speed icon of speedometer
Tested Top Speed:
20 mph
water resistance icon of raining cloud
Water Resistance:
IPX4
Tested Weight icon of a scale
Max Rider Weight:
265 lb
weight icon of kettlebell
Weight:
58 lb
tested range icon of a path between to points
Tested Range:
22.1 mi
Based on our independent performance tests which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.
The GOTRAX F2 is not available in India.
Get $50 OFF with code RIDERGUIDE50
Our content is independent, but using our links supports our hard work!
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