Review of the Minizum Battery Powered Kick Scooter

Minizum Battery-operated Kick Scooter

This article is adapted from posts by BayAreaKicker, a LetsKickScoot.com Forum member.

His previous article on Let’s Kick Scoot was on the Micro Suspension Adult Kick Scooter.

From Atom to Minizum: Initially, I purchased an Atom Sidewalker, which is a foldable, 12-inch scooter. After scooting on it for two days, I knew I loved it and wanted to take things to the next level. The next level meant adding battery power.

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I contacted the manufacturer to see what was possible. The main scenario would involve me sending back the Atom and having them retrofit it to become a Minizum. I could have potentially done the work myself, but they advised against it as there are some complex portions.

Since I had the Atom for a very short time, they offered to take it back and have me purchase a new Minizum. Of course, I absorbed the cost of shipping it back and a restocking fee, which was not that cheap, but I was obsessed and the total price was still a fair deal.

Minizum Time: The Minizum seems significantly heavier than the Atom Sidewalker, with a lot of this extra weight in the battery and the rear wheel gear assembly. Just as with the Atom, everything is assembled. Just take the scooter out of the box and it’s pretty much ready to go. Here is a picture of it without the battery installed:

Minizum Battery-operated Kick Scooter

There is a switch on the battery that turns it on and you can quickly check the charge level at the top gauge. Once the battery is on, you hit the red button on the throttle to make it fully operational. I was happy to see that the battery appeared fully charged and the wheels were also at optimum inflation so I was ready to scoot!

Deck: I kept the metal plate from my original Atom. The default wood deck on the Minizum is larger, allowing my feet to be side by side comfortably (I’m 5-feet, 11-inches, with size 10 US shoes). The wood deck does raise the kicking height, which is not as good for manually kicking, so it’s a tradeoff. On the Sidewalker Atom, it was metal plate all the way. On the Minizum, I’m kind of torn. It’s nice to have the choice.

Handling/Ride: Thanks to the large, 12-inch air tires, the Minizum rides smooth as silk over all kinds of terrain. This vehicle has no shocks or suspension systems, but you really don’t need any except for the roughest of surfaces. There is, however, extra resistance when scooting without power, but I didn’t find it unpleasant. The Minizum as a kick scooter does not “kick” as smoothly as the Sidewalker Atom, but still fun, nevertheless. If I wanted to use it as a kick scooter, removing the battery significantly reduces the vehicle’s weight.

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The throttle is a standard push lever and the tension feels about right. I wish there was some sort of cruise control or a way to limit the power. For long powered rides it can be a bit tiring holding it down.

There is a bell included. You pull back the hammer and it makes a single, loud ping, which is perfect for alerting pedestrians you are coming.

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Speed/Safety: At kicking and low powered speed, this scooter provides a super comfortable and carefree ride.

After you crank up the speed, however, you definitely need to raise your awareness of pedestrians, bikes, and cars. The stated max speed of the Minizum is 16 MPH, but it feels faster. You really fly on this thing, so a helmet is a must. I also recommend some type of light riding gloves. If you are going to be riding in the streets with cars, having additional protective gear is a good idea.

I had a small tumble due to the handlebar coming loose (totally my fault, forgot to fasten the secondary latch) and the palm of my hands took the worst of it. It wasn’t that bad, but gloves would have let me walk away completely scratch free. I was going maybe at quarter speed and I still flew a good deal past the scooter.

Another important thing to note is wind noise. When you are going full throttle or close to it, you are not going to be able to hear much besides wind, so take extra caution.

Battery Life: As I write this, I’ve completed three commutes and two neighborhood runs and the battery remained “full.” The battery, by the way, looks like a thermos bottle.

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Power: I haven’t tested the Minizum on steeper hills, but modest inclines were no problem. The rider weight load limit is 375 pounds, so the Minizum appears to pack power to spare.

Storage: You can fold the handlebars to make it more compact and there is an added strap to help you trolley the scooter. This isn’t like your average small urban scooter, however, where you can bring it into a store or eatery. This means you need to park and lock it outside. Even with the padded trolley strap, the Minizum is too heavy to trolley for an extended period.

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Kickstand: The kickstand is easy to engage and disengage with your foot. It can occasionally snag your foot when kicking, but you get quickly used to where it is and easily avoid it. The one tip I would give is that the plastic/rubber cap comes off very easily. I taped it down to keep it intact. Thank goodness I noticed it came loose before it became lost!

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Extras: There are two additional items included with the scooter. The first is a nice carry bag for the battery. When I lock up the scooter at the company bike locker, I pack away the battery in this case and pop it in my bag. You do not want to leave the battery unattended in public!

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Speaking of locking it, also included was this super cool looking uGrip lock. Folded up, it straps to the handlebar neck. You unlock it and thread it through the lock ring and tire. It seems very sturdy and the few reviews I’ve found online indicate that this lock is solid. It’s a good thing this was included as the U-Lock I use for my bike doesn’t fit.

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Why own the Minizum and a small urban scooter? As you may know from my other article, I also own a Micro Suspension scooter. For regular commuting, the Micro Suspension is smaller, scoots quickly, and is very convenient to carry around when needed.

The Minizum is a lifesaver, however, for rainy days like today. With slick ground and wet shoes, it’s much easier to rely on electric power than foot power. Its V-brakes do require a bit more time to slow down the scooter, but did so very well. The Minizum’s big wheels also provid solid traction and at no time did I feel unsafe in the rain.

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My comfortable rainy-day gear, by the way, consists of a Costco waterproof light jacket, Levi’s Commuter jeans (repels water, but are not completely waterproof), and some water repellant New Balance shoes.

Wishlist: There are a handful of items that I hope are in future versions:

  • More compact folding system, perhaps similar to some folding bikes
  • Self-fastening method when folding handlebar
  • More robust throttle with selectable power level and cruise control
  • Easier method to switch decks at will
  • Built in headlights and brake lights

Recommendations: The Minizum is not cheap as it costs $1250 to buy it direct from the manufacturer. You can find slightly better prices at other retailers, but I do not know if you have to pay for the “extras.”

Prior to purchasing the Minizum, I was in the market for an electric scooter and found prices ranged from $500 to $1,500 at the top end. Quite obviously, $1250 is a serious investment. I believe, however, that the price of the Minizum is a good value. Other high-end electric scooters may be more compact, but I selected the Minizum because I felt it’s design provided a very stable ride at top speed.

I also considered electric bikes, but those tend to feel like light-weight motorcycles. Frankly, I also enjoy the thrill and freedom of kick scooting, plus love having some electric assistance. If I need up-hill exercise, I’ll simply drag out my bike.

Here’s a picture I took today of my Minizum parked at work. After taking this picture, I removed the battery and carried it in to my office.

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Links

 

Article and photos by BayAreaKicker, a member of our LetsKickScoot Forums.  Posted December 1, 2015 on www.LetsKickScoot.com. Request permission to copy any part or all of this article from  “Scooter” – Karen@LetsKickScoot.com.