Rider Guide’s Editor-in-Chief is a seasoned expert in the electric scooter industry. With a wide-ranging background that includes managing scooter warehouses, selling thousands of motorcycles, and restoring high value (+1M) European sports cars, his expertise is unmatched. Having personally tested more than 100 electric scooters, he offers invaluable insights and recommendations to our readers. We are fortunate to have him as part of our team, as his diverse skill set and extensive experience ensure top-notch reviews.
Segway Ninebot Air T15 Summary
Our Take: Poor Performer with Innovative, Diminutive Design
The Air T15 is remarkable as the first of its kind, representing risk-taking innovation with this signature design. It’s built from cast aluminum that’s so seamless it feels like a perfectly-pieced puzzle, with no exposed wires, bolts or gaps in the build. This is the opposite of a Frankenscooter, which is what we call scooters that feel bolted and mishmashed together from spare parts.
Although it doesn’t set the standard for performance, it does set the bar for cohesive, streamlined construction, giving the entire scooter a snag-proof profile free of sharp edges and angles. Imagine Dyson built a last-mile scooter for TRON, and you’ve got the Air T15. We can’t think of anything that represents that collab better, with its futuristic, ultraportable, streamlined design that doesn’t take you very far, very fast.
The Segway Ninebot Air T15 takes first place for last-mile commuting, but last place for nearly everything else. It’s super lightweight at 23 lbs and if you need to stow it, it’s smaller and faster at folding than most entry-level electric scooters. The rear fender is cleverly designed and multiuse, but not very user-friendly. The fender switch powers the scooter on and off, turns on the lights, and switches riding modes, which means if you accidentally hit it there’s a few things that can go wrong.
The T15 delivers a stable ride, with a surprisingly roomy deck, and slow 12.4 mph top speed. Along with a tiny size, it’s got tiny wheels, and a tiny 4.2-mi range to match. Spoiler alert: It failed our hill climb test, so don’t expect it to go up anything more than a 6% grade.
Even on sale for $769, the Air’s range-per-dollar ratio is… the worst. The Air’s really only made for between 0.5 mi and 3 mi round-trip. For round-trips longer than 5 mi, you won’t make it there and back without charging. However, if you need to go a very limited distance and want the ultimate in portability, we can’t think of anything that does it better than the Air T15.
Is It Good for Bigger, Heavier Riders? – No.
Big Dawgs are larger riders that are over 200 lb and 6 feet or taller, often favoring oversized decks, tall handlebars, pneumatic tires, and suspension.
Barely Moves with a Heavier Rider
Although the Air T15 boasts a solid weight capacity, its performance when someone of that weight actually rides it proves otherwise.
The Air T15 has futuristic good looks and eye-catching lights, especially the color-changing stem, but it simply can’t carry Big Dawgs on those teensy wheels, and barely moves when loaded with a rider over 200 lbs.
The Ninebot Air T15 is (resoundingly) not Big Dawg approved.
Segway Ninebot Air T15 Review
|Top speed||12.4 mph|
The Ninebot Air T15 has comfortable acceleration, which rolls on automatically. It’s very easy to ride. As a kick-to-start scooter, you have to kick it up to around 2 mph, then apply the thumb throttle. It took an average of 13.9 s for the T15 to get up to its 12.4 mph top speed.
We generally measure acceleration in 5-mi increments starting at 15 mph speed. Compared to the next slowest scooter, which has a 13.5 mph top speed, the Gotrax GXL V2 got up to speed in around -.
First let’s talk about the Ninebot Air T15’s top speed, which is not top (it’s actually at the bottom of all electric scooters that we’ve tested).
The good news is that the Air T15 is very stable at its 12.4 mph top speed, which is a tad slower than the average shared scooter (around 15 mph). However, that’s limited to riding on really flat ground; otherwise, you might not reach this speed in the first place.
The Segway Ninebot Air T15 has the shortest range we’ve ever tested, going only 4.2 miles and forcing our rider to do the dreaded walk of shame pretty quickly. Even the Unagi Model One (E500), the previous shortest ranged scooter, has more than double the T15’s range.
As with all of the scooters that we test, we place the scooter in its highest performance mode — which for the T15 is sport mode (with the lights off).
Learn more about how we perform our testing of electric scooters.
When we attempted our usual 200-foot, 10% grade hill climb, the Air T15 simply replied, “Yeah, I’m not doing that.” Within 10 s of attempting to launch up the hill, the Air T15 barely got up to 5 mph before coming to a halt with our 165-lb rider. Watch the T15 fail our hill climb test up this quaint Berkeley, California (USA) street.
Even the Segway Ninebot ES2, which has the slowest recorded hill climb time of 36.9 s and an average speed of 3.7 mph, made it up the incline, however slowly.
Riding the Ninebot Air T15, you almost don’t need brakes. During the range test, the regen brake was used maybe once, as it slows easily on its own. Even on the lowest energy recovery setting, the T15 applies a large amount of drag anytime you let off the throttle, so it’s pretty easy to come to a complete stop without using the brakes at all.
However, if you want to use the rear regenerative brake, it is very easy to use and applies a gradual, comfortable slowing even from its top speed. You can use the brake thumb throttle or the rear fender to activate the regen brake. The brake throttle is preferred to using the fender, as the fender also controls the headlight and power.
The Ninebot Air T15 is designed to ride on super smooth, level pavement, and pretty much nothing else. If it climbed inclines better (or at all), it might be ideal for a spry valet parking attendant in a large, multi-level parking garage — but the Air’s not actually built for that.
The narrow handlebars are as comfortable as they can be, being – from the deck to handlebars (a bit low for riders over 5’10”). Although it rides pretty nice on pristine roads, the range is very short, even too short to be used on some college and business campuses — and it can’t handle hills or rough terrain at all. The Air T15 rattles continuously on rough pavement, even with bent knees. The brain massage can be buzzy enough to make your vision blurry sometimes.
You really need to watch out for obstacles like large sticks in the road more than you would on other electric scooters because of those small solid tires, large turning radius, and low – ground clearance. In fact, the Air T15 deck is closer to the ground than any scooter we’ve ever tested, which makes it very nice for stop-and-go riding — like pushing off after a stop sign.
Cruise control is a nice feature to have on this scooter, since riders will most likely be at full throttle all the time. You can enable cruise control in the Segway mobile app, and it takes 10 to 12 seconds to activate once held at speed. An audible beep and on-screen indicator let you know when cruise control is on, and you can disable it by tapping either the brake or throttle.
When parking the scooter, riders will notice that the Air T15 has a very large turning radius, due to the way the steering is designed. It doesn’t affect riding at all, but does affect maneuvering when you are pushing it. If the scooter were heavier this would be an issue, but, since it’s so light, it’s easy to lift and slide the front end if it’s not steering in the direction you want.
Rear fender step controls
Using the step controls on the Air T15 is pretty easy, once you know how many taps or steps does what.
Power Press once on the rear fender to power the scooter on, including the stem light. To power off, long-press the fender for 3 seconds.
Lights When powered on, a short press turns on the headlight and taillight.
Modes When powered on, double-press the fender to switch between modes (pedestrian, eco, standard, and sport). According to Segway, pedestrian mode limits the speed to around 4 mph, eco or energy-saving mode limits speed to 6 mph, standard mode limits speed to 9 mph, and sport allows you to reach its max speed of 12 mph.
Segway Ninebot Air T15 Features
The Air T15 is the most ultraportable scooter we have ever tested. It folds super fast, using one mechanism to fold the handlebars and release the stem from the upright to the folded position. It has a super slight folded footprint of 40 in long by 8 in wide by 9 in tall. It’s also super lightweight at 23 lbs.
It does not have telescoping handlebars but locks into place when folded for easy carrying and towing. You can use the front (non-driven) wheel as a dolly wheel if towing behind you, but make sure you grab the T15 between the handlebars rather than by the folding mechanism (or it’ll unfold). It’ll wiggle a bit as it’s balancing on a narrow width of tire, but makes rolling behind you possible without separate dolly wheels.
The flat rubberized hand grips fold seamlessly alongside the stem, and the handlebars lock down over the rear fender. The T15 is a great scooter to bring into a classroom with you or for covering your last mile into the office given its professional, streamlined design.
The T15 has an exceptionally clean and well thought-out cockpit, with absolutely no exposed cables and minimalist button controls and display. Since the rear fender acts as the power button, the only buttons in the cockpit are the thumb control for regenerative brakes on the left and the thumb throttle for acceleration on the right.
The Air T15 has a beautiful, super clean bezel-less dashboard, which is smooth and modern but not very easy to read (especially in direct sunlight). The speedometer is in the biggest font; the max battery level is 4 bars, which flashes when your charge is around half a bar. Many of the other indicators are difficult to read because the font size is tiny, and are all made illegible by the matte finish over the display. Although it’s intended to reduce glare, it makes it difficult to read details.
To activate the electronic horn, you press simultaneously on the brake and accelerator thumb controls. This is a bit of an awkward application, but a streamlined way of including a horn without cluttering the cockpit design with a separate button.
The Ninebot Air T15 has a headlight, wraparound taillight, and really nice swag lighting down the stem. The headlight isn’t very bright, but is mounted high.
The swag lighting extends most of the length of the stem, and in the Segway app can be set to solid, color changing, or breathing (an effect where the light glows and fades from one color to the next).
To activate the headlight and taillight when the Air T15 is on, you have to step on the rear fender once. The swag lights, however, are active once the scooter is powered on.
The solid tires are both small with different diameters. They are narrow and very hard, with a rear solid 6 in tire that’s even smaller than the front 7.5 in tire.
Given its tiny tires, we were impressed with its ride stability. Bravo to Segway for developing this safe-enough-for-your-mom design with small tires that allows it to be more portable than most.
The deck has a rubber surface with tread that appears easy to clean. Its traction is not very high but at this speed, you don’t need much anyway. The – long by – wide deck has a reasonable amount of space.
We found it was very easy to accidentally find your foot resting on the rear fender, which can result in powering off the scooter or accidentally switching modes. It’s the sort of thing that would be bothersome for the first couple days, and then you would get used to keeping your foot off of the fender.
The build quality of the Ninebot Air T15 is… confusing. To look at it, it’s gorgeous and feels like it was built 5 years in the future compared to other entry-level electric scooters.
It uses a surprising amount of cast aluminum. All of the metal parts are special castings made just for this scooter and not bolted together extrusions. The outer shell is an absolute puzzle to get inside of if you need to make adjustments, and it’s easy to break tabs off of the plastic bodywork, if you get it wrong. Once you’re inside, though, the way all the parts go together is gorgeous and looks really well engineered.
But is it? The stem folding mechanism on our Air T15, which releases the handgrips and the stem with one pull, failed on the second day of using it. Also, this scooter produces a surprising amount of rattle when riding for a design that looks so well put together. That said, the stem is very solid, and has no noticeable flex while riding.
The hand grips are interesting, with a parallelogram cross-section that feels a little awkward but not terrible. The grips themselves have a tendency to slowly work themselves loose while riding and can begin to slide off of the handlebar. This happens very slowly and doesn’t feel like a safety hazard, but is a little disappointing.
It feels like its durability lives up to its IPX4 water resistance rating and it should be able to handle wet roads, but would probably result in slippery travel on those small wheels. Although it looks and feels like it’s built from one piece, that slightly rattly sound and penchant to send vibrations over even small bumps up your legs would be frustrating on longer rides (but you can’t take those on the T15 anyway!).
The kickstand works well and holds the scooter upright at just the right angle when parked. The kickstand recesses into the side of the deck and smartly conceals the charging port, when it’s folded. Ensure it’s folded when riding, as stubbing the kickstand mid-ride can break it off.
Segway Ninebot Air T15: Review Conclusions
The Segway Ninebot Air T15 is the first choice for ultra-short trips needing ultraportability, as the most portable scooter we’ve ever encountered. However, it’s best suited to specific conditions, like a rider under 200 lbs and flat, obstacle-less roads.
With its slight build, small wheels, very short range, limited top speed, and inability to climb hills, it’s the last choice for pretty much everything else. It’s not made for everyday commuting anywhere further than 5 mi round-trip. Given its price and performance limitations, it’s unlikely you’d select the Air T15 unless you really fell in love with the innovative, futuristic design.
The Air T15 is a true marvel when it comes to innovation in scooter construction (even if not super durable long-term). It has a sleek, completely original design with stunning lighting all around, including a wraparound taillight, awesome swag down the stem, and a bright headlight. The rear fender operation is novel, well-constructed and forward-thinking, however it’s not a user-friendly design given a rider’s habit to accidentally tap the fender, resulting in riding mode shifts or powering off the scooter.
If nothing else, the Segway Air T15 represents a new direction in electric scooter design, and we’re happy to see a reputable, recognized company trying something new — even if it’s not a home run.
If the Segway line doesn’t fit your needs, check out our RG Editor’s pick of best electric scooters.
Segway Ninebot Air T15 Manufacterers Specifications
|Model||Ninebot Air T15|
|Folded dimensions||40 by 8 by 9 in|
|Motor power, continuous||250 W|
|Top speed||12 mph|
|Battery capacity||144 Wh|
|Battery recharge time||4 hrs|
|Max rider weight||220 lb|
|Brake type||Regenerative + Foot|
|Tire type||7.5 in Solid + Solid|
|Built-in lights||Front + Rear|