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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Small, compact design
Bright front light for night riding
Easy to steer
Only six-mile distance at top speeds
Height not adjustable
Forward only, no reverse option
Battery takes two hours to charge
The combination of lightweight, durable carbon fiber and a compact design makes the Sawagtron Swagger great for urban dwellers on the go. However, the battery easily depletes at the top speeds, so it’s better for a shorter commute.
For those living in the big city, finding a new, more eco-friendly option to commute to work can be a necessity. Thankfully, electric scooters are being seen more frequently in cities as a fast way to cut down on commute times. Some brands offer budget-friendly options, and at around $200, the Swagtron Swagger aims to fill this niche. Over the course of a week, we test drove the Swagtron over a wide range of road conditions, checking for design, performance, and battery life. Read on for our thoughts.
At 10 by 42 by 6 inches (LWH, folded), the Swagtron compacts easily to store anywhere around the house or in an office. The scooter comes in three colors: black, white, and hot pink. The model we received was hot pink, and was also fairly light, at 17 pounds. The shiny, sleek design is great for taking a beating in all weather, as the shine hides the dirt. The footpad, however, left something to be desired, as, after one use, the “Swagtron” words were already beginning to fade.
The Swagtron scooter is a great scooter for zipping around short distances in town or around a college campus.
One large drawback to the Swagtron is that the handlebar height isn’t adjustable. If you’re a taller person, we recommend looking elsewhere. When we took the Swagtron for an initial test spin, we had to hunch our shoulders to accommodate the handlebars. However, the acceleration and deceleration buttons (black and bright red, respectively) are located on the handlebars, within reach of thumbs, making for an easy grip for both small and large hands.
The display is located to the left of the accelerator. If you struggle to see small letters, we recommend looking elsewhere for a scooter, as the display is difficult to see when you’re riding 15 miles an hour.
Two important aspects to note about this model is that you need to not only finish assembling the scooter, but you also have to charge the battery. Assembly is fairly easy, as the scooter comes in various parts: the scooter body (folded and partially assembled), the handlebars, the kickstand, five axel screwdrivers, and a handy instruction booklet which demonstrates how to put things together. We began by using one of the screwdrivers to set up the kickstand, and simply unscrewed the sole screw, inserted the kickstand into the slot, and tightened it back up.
Once that had been completed, we pressed the lever located at the bottom rear of the scooter’s neck, which allowed us to easily unfold it to a standing position. The only other time we used the screws was to readjust the handlebars’ position against the scooter’s neck. For the handlebars themselves, they’re labeled left and right, and it’s easy to screw them in and tighten them, and no other equipment is needed.
Finally, the scooter does not come charged. We had to plug the charger into a wall outlet, and let it sit there while it juiced up. One important thing to note is that it’s going to take around two hours to charge, not the advertised 90 minutes.
We tested the waters with the Swagtron by taking it onto our unused, residential sidewalk for a spin first. Turning on the Swagtron was easy, as the LCD comes with a power button. Pressing this button turns on the power and the display.
Since this was our first time on an electric scooter, we steadied ourselves and pressed down on the throttle. What we didn’t realize is that the scooter begins on the highest gear setting—five—and so we jerked forward. However, this was a simple hangup, and once we got past this brief and quick learning curve, we found the controls easy to maneuver.
While it does come with a front suspension, it does not hold up well on bumps and cracks. We drove it over an old road that needs repaving and could feel every bump and crack.
There are five gears on the Swagtron, ranging from 4 miles per hour (mph) to the 15 mph the scooter promises. The Swagtron begins on the highest setting and we found ourselves zipping up and down the street on the 250-watt, eco-friendly motor. If you want to lower the speed, there are up and down buttons on the display that corresponds to the gear settings. Tap one or more times to slow down the gears. We found that this was a really nice feature as we sped around town, especially as we neared heavy traffic.
When we tested the speeds on the Swagtron, we found that the scooter the gears' max speeds were the following: 4 mph, 6 mph, 8 mph, 12 mph, and 13.9 mph (an odd number), and not the 15 mph the Swagtron promises. While it didn’t match up to the speeds that the Swagtron advertises, 13.9 miles was still a really fast pace, and a lot easier to handle than faster scooters.
One nice feature that we really liked is that whenever we sped up, the display showed how much battery power the accelerator took to increase to the speed. It visibly depleted the battery at first, and when we reached cruising speed, it jumped back up. This was great when we accelerated or when we raced it up and downhills. It’s important to note though that if the battery goes down or remains the same, you really are losing battery life. We found this out the hard way, so be sure to keep an eye on it should you choose this model.
The Swagtron, as we discovered, performed fairly solidly on hills, especially in comparison to other models we tested. The max degree angle recommended is 20, and so we tried it on the steepest hill we could find—we guessed it to be between 20-25 degrees. Thought it considerably slowed, it managed to get up the hill without any major jerking in the throttle. While we wouldn’t recommend the Swagtron on San Francisco’s hills, it would be great for less hilly cities or bike paths.
One huge detractor from the Swagtron is the front suspension. While it does come with a front suspension, it does not hold up well on bumps and cracks. We drove it over an old road that needs repaving and could feel every bump and crack. Worse yet, we felt that we struggled to maintain control with its small wheels as we maneuvered the damaged street. The diminutive wheels meant we couldn’t get it safely over large debris like sticks without seriously risking injury. This is definitely a more city-oriented scooter, and we don’t recommend taking it out on anything but smooth surfaces.
The diminutive wheels meant we couldn’t get it safely over large debris like sticks without seriously risking injury.
Another concern with the Swagtron is the height. For tall people, it mostly works just fine. However, it’s not adjustable, and so the height you see is the height you get. If you want a taller scooter, we suggest looking elsewhere.
Impatiently, we waited for the battery to charge under the 1.5 hour time frame Swagtron promised us. However, the 90-minute mark passed by and the little red dot shined at us until the two-hour mark. This is definitely something to note if you need to be somewhere quickly.
The battery itself was a little disappointing. The Swagtron claims it will last up to 15 miles, but on the highest gear setting, the scooter barely made it six miles before the lithium-ion battery died and we were left huffing back home. It lasts longer under the lower gear settings, but realistically, the scooter will only last the advertised 15 miles on the lowest gear. That’s great—until you realize that it’s faster to walk than it is to ride the lowest gear. We would have liked to see a stronger battery in this scooter.
At around $200, the Swagtron is a mid-range yet budget-friendly price. For the cost, you get a lot with this scooter: easy controls, a great gear system, and an easily understandable LCD screen. If you’re looking for something that can handle rougher roads, we suggest you look elsewhere. On the other hand, if city riding will be the main focus, then the Swagtron Swagger strikes a good balance between price and features.
We pitted the Swagtron scooter against the GOTRAX Electric Commuting Scooter to see how each of them compared to the other. For the Swagtron, we really liked the motor’s five gears, making it easier to control the top speed of 13.9 mph as we zipped across a college campus. We felt it was the better choice for traveling to and from various college buildings.
However, the GOTRAX serves as a long-distance commuting scooter due to its top speed of 16.2 mph. Whereas the Swagtron’s battery lasts for barely six miles, GOTRAX’s massive 36V battery lasted over twelve miles zipping around town. Both come with great front lights for night driving, as well. If maneuverability and a quick journey around small parts of town is what you’re looking for, the Swagtron is better suited for you. However, if you want speed and long battery life, the GOTRAX is for you.
Good, but not great.
The Swagtron scooter is a great scooter for zipping around short distances in town or around a college campus. With six miles of runtime, five different gear speeds, and a solid design, it definitely serves its purpose. While we would have liked to have seen a much longer battery life, especially with other models on the market serving this purpose, we still think it’s a solid starter scooter.
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