"It's better than sex!", ESM editor Marc Anthony was heard to exclaim during a test drive of a EGo scooter. I can't say that I agree there - after all, almost NOTHING is better than good sex - but I'll go as far as to say that it's better than bad sex.
But, there's no denying that while it might not beat a really good roll in the hay, driving the EGo is a lot of fun. A perky drive, a well designed chassis, good tires, good brakes, it's definately a fun way to get from point A to point B.
First of all, let me get one thing out of the way: The EGo is NOT a slow scooter. My first impression when I twisted the throttle was that I'd been rearended by a fast moving truck. No, that's just the EGo's 180 amp drive, doing it's thing. The dual belt reduction system was kind of noisy, especially at road speed, but seemed very stable and unlikely to slip, even if someone were to put more amps or more volts into the machine than the designers originally intended.
The second thing that struck me was the regenerative braking. Yes, if you take your hand off the throttle, the EGo will take power from the wheels and put it back into the battery pack. This not only helps conserve those precious watt-hours that move you around, it also helps save wear and tear on the brakes, and gives the EGo a much more stable feeling. In addition, it's a bit of a boon to new riders - when you open the throttle and panic because you're suddenly headed down the parking lot at 20 mph, you can then close it again and be regen-braked down to walking speed before you know it.
Of course, if you need to stop 110 lbs of scooter before ramming into a telephone pole or something, there's always the good old-fashoned mechanical braking system - calipers on the rear and a very nice disk brake on the front. The rear brakes aren't so hot - probably because the designers expected regen to be doing most of the braking on the rear - but the front brakes feel like they could stop a mastidon. Both brakes showed a pronounced tendancy towards locking in the hard stopping test, but the scooter remained stable even with the wheels locked.
The designers of the EGo put a commendable amount of time and effort into it's electronic fuel guage. Unfortunately, because of it's placement it's a little difficult to read in direct sun - but with 10 segments of charge state information, you're going to have a very good idea of how full your batteries are and how fast you're burning through the watthours.
With 37AH SLA batteries, you're going to have enough power to be scooting for a while - when drivin conservitavely, this scooter might very well be able to give you 20 miles. But who wants to drive conservatively when you have a 180 amp drive? Luckily, you don't have to rely on your own restraint - there's a current-limited keyswitch setting - that old 'Go Far'.
For the most part, the machine is amazingly solid. The taillight could use a little re-engineering in the solidity department, but aside from that, nothing seems too likely to fall off when subjected to the rigors of life on less-than-perfect roads. The EGo shows no tendancy to destabilize and leave you sitting a few feet behind it, even when hitting some pretty serious bumps. The low center of gravity and solid aluminum frame really help the EGo when the going gets rough, as does the front suspension.
When you have to stop and take a rest, the EGo is equipped with a very solid kickstand - even on sloping ground, it didn't seem likely to fall over when sitting on it's stand.
The final drive ratio on the EGo is pretty high - which gives it a nice perky acceleration from a standing start, but also gives it a very limited top speed. In a 4-mile 'real world' driving experience, the EGo only hit 20.1 mph. But boy, does it get there fast..
In my personal opinion, the best features of the EGo are the regen braking, the large, high amperage drive, and the fuel guage. The worst features are the noise, the low final drive ratio that limits the top speed, and the tail light that looks like it might fall off if you looked at it crossways.
All in all, though, this is the kind of scooter that I like to drive. It's quality constructin should [after you get done duct-taping the tail light back on after breaking it off] hold up for many years, it's drive is very controllable and yet powerful, it has good range - for many of us living in urban areas, this scooter could be used as a primary form of transportation. While it's a lot of fun to drive, it's not just a toy.