Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Matt
In this detailed Kugoo ES2 review, we will see why this super-budget model provides value that’s hard to match even by the established brands, why it’s one of the best scooters for beginners and first-time owners, and whether it might be a good fit for you.
The Kugoo ES2 is a scooter with “experience”, as it has included a lot of owner feedback about previous Kugoo scooters, and integrated it in the form of fixed issues and improved quality. This scooter provides a healthy mix of quality, safety, comfort, and ease of use, all of that for a very fair budget price.
Who should buy the Kugoo ES2?
The scooter provides you with more value than what you pay for, so it’s an excellent choice for value and budget shoppers, but also if you’re looking to buy a good gift for someone.
Since the Kugoo ES2 is very simple to use, and performs like you would expect a beginner scooter to perform, it will be a great entry-level scooter as well, perfect for both beginners but also ride-sharing riders looking to get their very own first scooter.
The performance of the Kugoo ES2 is good enough for commuting, in fact you may even get the sense that the scooter is holding back a little and the speed and power are somewhat limited to make it street-legal.
All in all, the Kugoo ES2 stays true to the tradition of the Kugoo brand, provides great value for the price, and is one of the best scooters in the $350-$400 range.
Where to buy the Kugoo ES2?
Buying, shipping, and discounts
The best place to buy any Kugoo scooter is always GeekBuying, and that’s of course the case for the Kugoo ES2 as well. Shipping is free and takes between 3 and 10 days. The scooter typically costs around $350, but the price can go up to $380 at times. Use the coupon code GKB226S to get $20 off the price of this scooter.
If you live in the US or Canada, chances are you will either not be able to find this scooter, or have a very hard time doing that. Luckily, you can rely on some excellent alternatives (see the Hiboy S2 Pro review for that).
Warranty and returns
The Kugoo ES2 has a full year of warranty on most of the scooter’s critical and electronic parts, except for the battery and charger which have 6 months. Wear and tear parts like the grips or the tires have 14 days of warranty.
You can return the scooter within 30 days after ordering if you’re not satisfied with the purchase. Also, if the scooter arrives damaged, you can either return it or request a new one.
The Kugoo brand and scooter line
When most people think “electric scooters”, the first word that comes to their minds is probably “Xiaomi”, or maybe “Ninebot”. Those two brands have definitely established a hegemony, and in some ways are the dominant budget brands all around the world.
Well, in the last few years, Kugoo is rocking the boat, and challenging the two giants with a lot of confidence. For now, they only seem to be available to the European market, but that may soon change.
Kugoo manages to compete on every front – price, value for money, performance, features, and even quality in the last year or two. Challenging not one, but two Goliaths at the same time, I believe they are giving a lot of people something to think about, and I see no reason why they couldn’t be considered a top-tier brand for budget scooters today.
Unboxing and assembly
The scooter will probably arrive in a plain brown box, but it will have enough protective layers that prevent damage on delivery.
The package contains:
- the scooter
- handlebar grips
- user manual
- warranty card
The only assembly required is installing the brake lever on the handlebar, and then screwing the handlebar grips onto the handlebar.
The Kugoo ES2 comes with a simple user manual with a lot of helpful details and illustrations. I know it’s not the most fun thing to do, but as usual, I recommend at least quickly checking it out, as you may find some important details that differ between versions.
How to use the Kugoo ES2?
To power on the scooter, press the power button for 1 second.
A single press of the button when the scooter is on changes the speed mode, while two presses will toggle the light, and three presses change the metric system for the speed display (mph or kmh).
A long press powers off the scooter.
Accelerating for 6 seconds will activate the cruise control (you will hear a “beep” to let you know). To deactivate it, either hit the acceleration again, or use the brake.
You can choose between whether you want to start the scooter with a kick or without one through the app (I always recommend the kick-start option because it’s safer and easier on the battery).
The Kugoo ES2 is a very safe scooter, both because of its solid quality and because of its standard power levels, but still, you should wear a helmet for an electric scooter all the time when riding.
Folding and unfolding
The folding mechanism is one of the main points of improvement this scooter offers compared to the older models. Folding is now both simpler and more secure.
There’s a small lever on the front of the deck that you use to unlock the scooter’s folding mechanism. You can then fold down the stem and lock it with the rear of the scooter.
Both folding and unfolding the scooter are very quick, but at the same time that doesn’t compromise the stability of the scooter’s handlebars while riding.
If you need to increase the portability of the scooter, you can also remove the handlebar grips. You simply need to unscrew them, and that takes just a few seconds, and what you get in return is a significantly reduced folded volume.
Build quality, lifespan, and defect rates
Overall, the build quality of the Kugoo ES2 is very good, especially for its price. The scooter has undergone several iterations already, and it has made great use of the feedback, and of the feedback of other Kugoo scooters. So today, it provides long usage and lifespan, low defect rates, and practically no serious issues remaining in its engineering or execution.
The design of the scooter is a bit more modern and slick, with curved lines and smooth finishes. The frame of the scooter is robust and the scooter has a heavy and reliable feel to it. The main build material is aluminum. The deck of the scooter is fairly large, and will be comfortable for the majority of people. The stem is thick and stable.
User experience and everyday use
Since the scooter is available with both solid and pneumatic tires, the ride quality and the user experience will be affected by this choice.
Choosing pneumatic tires will give you more comfortable rides, although the danger of a flat tire will always be there.
The scooter was likely designed primarily as a solid-tire scooter, and that way it will probably provide a better experience overall. In my opinion, the ride quality may suffer, but the general day-to-day ownership will be simpler and as the Kugoo team has imagined it.
Motor and power
The scooter comes with a single hub BLDC motor, placed in the front wheel. Its power is 350 Watts.
Kugoo doesn’t specify whether that’s the real or the peak power. Based on the scooter’s performance, it’s hard to estimate whether that’s the real or peak power, as the scooter’s top speed is rather limited, but the acceleration is pretty good, so it can go either way.
Speed and acceleration
The top speed of the Kugoo ES2 is 15.5 mph / 25 kmh. This official speed is based on ideal conditions, but a lot of owners have confirmed it through independent speed tests, and even heavier riders report that the scooter develops this speed without any problems.
The speed is in line with what you’d expect from a budget scooter, but the acceleration is a bit better and may exceed your expectations, as the scooter quickly reaches its top speed, and does it in a gradual way.
The official climb angle of the Kugoo ES2 is 15°, and that puts it among the top budget electric scooters for climbing.
And that somewhat high climb angle for a scooter this cheap seems to be fully justified, as most owners report that the scooter climbs well. The 350 Watt motor seems to do its job well, and it even looks like the top speed may be limited. Plus, the motor is in the front wheel, which increases the torque of the scooter and improves its climbing power.
The advertised range of the Kugoo ES2 is 15.5 mi / 25 km.
The majority of user tests confirm this range. A few lighter riders report getting even more, and a handful of heavier scooterists, or people riding uphill, or stopping a lot, or constantly riding at the fastest speed, report smaller ranges, but all of the reports are very close to the specified range.
The lithium battery of the scooter lives in the deck, and has 7.5 Ah and 270 Wh of capacity, with a voltage of 36 V. The battery is also an important point of improvement in the last few versions of this scooter, as owners of previous versions sometimes reported the battery degrades very quickly, and that seems to no longer be the case.
How much does it cost to charge the Kugoo ES2?
During off-peak hours, charging the Kugoo ES2 fully will cost 6-8 pence in the UK and Ireland, and 4-5 cents in the rest of Europe. During peak hours, the prices in the UK and Ireland are about 7-9 pence, while in Europe they rise up to 6-7 cents.
Charger and charging port
Kugoo says that the scooter takes between 4 and 6 hours to charge, but most user reports suggest that the actual charge time might be closer to 6 hours.
The charging port is on the deck, and it is protected by a rubber cap.
The dual braking system on the Kugoo ES2 makes it a very safe scooter, and the braking distance is very small, especially if both of the brakes are used at the same time.
The brake lever on the right handlebar engages the rear disk brake, while the brake thumb throttle on the left handlebar engages the electronic brake in the motor.
Tires and suspension
The Kugoo ES2 comes with solid rubber 8.5-inch tires by default, but it’s possible to order the scooter with pneumatic tires as well.
The solid tires can never go flat, and you don’t need to maintain them, except for a quick visual inspection to make sure they are not damaged or worn out every now and then.
It’s typical for solid tires to not provide the best ride quality, and there’s a bit of that going on with this scooter, but luckily, the tires are of the honeycomb type, which contributes to making the rides much smoother.
Also, if you prefer comfort and vibration-free rides, and are willing to take the risk of the occasional flat, you can simply go with the pneumatic tire option.
Personally, I prefer pneumatic tires, as I’ve never had a flat and I like the better ride experience. However, for this scooter, I believe solid tires are the better choice, as the entire scooter is basically designed around that feature, and it’s how this scooter was envisioned to work in the first place.
The scooter has a front spring suspension between the stem and the front wheel, which further helps in absorbing the shocks and impacts from bumpy rides.
Screen and controls
The cockpit of the Kugoo ES2 is set up in a very user-friendly way, and even a complete beginner will figure out how to use this scooter in a matter of minutes.
The right handlebar has the acceleration thumb throttle, while the left one has the electronic brake thumb throttle. The brake lever is also usually on the right, but you may install it on the other handlebar if that suits you better.
As usual, the middle of the handlebar has the dashboard, with the small round LCD screen and a single button.
The screen can display:
- current speed (you can set your metric system)
- battery level (4 bars)
- speed mode
- lights status
- bluetooth status
The screen is pretty bright, even unusually bright for a budget scooter, and should be visible on everything except the sunniest of days, when it may not be so visible.
Weight, dimensions, and portability
The Kugoo ES2 weighs 35.3 lbs / 16 kg, which makes it slightly heavier than the average scooter.
When folded, the scooter doesn’t occupy that much space, and it can be considered a relatively compact scooter in general, although it’s still more spacious than many other budget scooters. Also, when the scooter is folded, it has an even distribution of weight, and isn’t awkward to carry.
One portability triumph of this scooter is the ability to unscrew the handlebar grips if you need the scooter to occupy less space when folded or stored away. This is not such a common feature, but it sure is useful, and in some ways even better than the typical foldable handlebars, as those tend to get wobbly over time.
In general, the Kugoo ES2 is somewhat portable, but not the easiest scooter to carry around.
The Kugoo ES2 can pull up to 220 lbs / 100 kg on its deck without any problems, according to its specs.
In reality, the scooter may even be capable of a bit more, and Kugoo might underreport this to stay on the safe side. As we covered a few times so far, it seems like the top speed doesn’t truly reflect the motor power, and carrying capacity is one of those specs that depends mostly on the raw motor power, so it’s quite possible the scooter can pull a bit more weight than advertised.
That said, I don’t recommend taking that chance, and if you need a scooter with a bigger weight limit, check out some of the best scooters for heavy adults.
The handlebars of the scooter are not adjustable. Their height will be good enough for anyone except extremely tall people (who may want to check out the guide on the best scooters for tall people).
IP rating and water resistance
The official IP rating of the Kugoo ES2 is IPX4. That means the scooter is water-resistant, but not entirely waterproof.
Riding in the rain will almost certainly not damage the scooter in any way, unless riding in some very heavy rain perhaps. Still, it’s best to avoid riding in any kind of wet environment, as that’s the common best practice for any electric scooter (even a fully waterproof one).
Lights and riding at night
The Kugoo ES2 is well-lit and visible at night, but if you plan on riding in the dark a lot, you will probably want to get a stronger headlight just to stay on the safe side.
It features three light systems – the front LED headlight, the rear brake light, and the LED light strips on the sides of the deck.
The front headlight is pretty strong (which, surprisingly, is something that very few scooters provide). You may even get away with not having to buy a stronger light. The blue LED strips on the sides of the deck further increase your visibility at night, and make it impossible for anyone to miss you.
App, bluetooth, USB
The scooter has a USB port on the top of the stem, which you can use as a charger for your phone while riding.
You can connect the scooter to the Kugoo app via bluetooth. The app is available for both iOS and Android.
You can set various settings through the app:
- current speed
- battery level
- trip distance
- maps and navigation
- metric system
- cruise control
- zero-start or kick-start
- run a diagnostics check on the scooter
- update firmware
- other scooter information
The app has quite a lot of features, and it’s pretty good overall, but some users have complained about it not being able to find the scooter via bluetooth. Sadly, this is the case for pretty much every scooter app today.
In addition to the official Kugoo app, I recommend checking out the Universal Scooter Helper App by EscooterNerds. You can use it alongside the primary app if you need some extra features like cleaning and maintenance checklists, guides and recommendations, tips, hacks, and much more. The app is also available for both iOS and Android.
There has been some chatter online about a possible speed hack for the Kugoo ES2, that would unlock speeds of 18.6 mph / 30 kmh. While the motor is likely capable of those speeds, there is no such hack yet, or at least not a very widely-known one. This has simply been just a rumor because the Ninebot ES2 has a hack for it and the model versions of the two scooters are the same, so the alleged hack is just a misguided theory.
Accessories and customizations
There are just a handful of proprietary accessories for this scooter. Chances are, you will likely get a better deal by looking at some generic scooter accessories, as the Kugoo ES2 comes with a fairly standard frame and build, and a lot of common accessories will fit it.
It’s a little disappointing that the scooter doesn’t come with a phone mount. To be fair, no scooter ever comes with a phone mount, but the Kugoo ES2 comes with a very convenient USB port to charge your phone, and a phone mount would be a really sweet deal. Anyway, you can get the phone mount after-market for just a few bucks, and it will be a good investment.
Security and lock
The scooter is very affordable, and a simple lock of medium security will deter pretty much any thief. You probably don’t need to spend more than $30 – $40 on a lock (see the guide on the best electric scooter locks for some great budget picks).
Issues and tradeoffs
It’s not that the Kugoo ES2 is this perfect scooter that doesn’t have any downsides to it, but we have to hand it to it, the number of problems, defects, and tradeoffs this scooter has is surprisingly low, considering the price. It has been through several revisions and upgrades that have ironed out a lot of the issues found in the previous versions, and today, it mostly involves just strategic tradeoffs that basically no other scooter ever has found a way to eliminate.
For starters, the scooter is available with both solid and pneumatic tires, which means the choice is left up to you and you can decide based on your use cases. As I said before, I’m usually for pneumatic tires, but I believe that this scooter has been designed to work with solid tires, so the only use case where choosing pneumatic tires would make sense is if you really hate flats, or if you’re certain you’ll get a lot of them.
One issue that still remains is the rotating stem when the scooter is folded. This makes the scooter difficult to carry and takes away a lot of portability points, which given the scooter’s weight are not that many, to begin with. Kugoo seems to listen to owner feedback closely and successfully includes the good ideas in the new versions of the scooter, so maybe they will also fix the stem rotation as well, but for now, we’re left with a general awkwardness when carrying the scooter, and not-so-good portability in general.
Besides the portability downside, I believe the fact that the inability to turn off the deck lights while keeping the other lights on may be annoying to some owners. Personally, I have no issue with that, and I believe they’re a great safety win, but some may disagree.
Those are some of the bigger issues with this scooter. Most of the other common issues have been successfully addressed and are not present in the latest versions of the scooter.
Kugoo ES2 vs other scooters
The Kugoo ES2 is commonly compared against other budget (and sometimes not-so-budget) scooters, and it generally makes a good case for choosing it over other models.
Kugoo ES2 vs Ninebot ES2
I guess the Ninebot ES2 is the biggest rival of the Kugoo ES2. I don’t want to assume anything, but I’m pretty sure Kugoo has “borrowed” the ES2 version name, which clearly throws a glove in the face of the Ninebot ES2 and challenges it with impunity.
And boy, what a job it does at that…
The top speed and the range of both scooters are the same, as well as their climb angles, carry loads, and water protection standards. Both have solid tires and suspension, too.
But the Kugoo ES2 is about $200 cheaper!
Plus, it also has bigger tire diameter, and it can climb much better! Those are some heavy blows from the underdog.
The Ninebot ES2 has the advantages of smaller weight, better portability as a result of that, and better brand recognition (although that may change very soon as Kugoo grows as a brand).
I’d probably recommend the Kugoo ES2 to most people, especially if you are budget-oriented. Go with the Ninebot ES2 if you’re looking for a scooter that’s easier to carry, and comes from a better-known brand. You can see the Ninebot ES2 review to find out more.
Kugoo ES2 vs Xiaomi M365
The Kugoo ES2 clearly beats the Xiaomi M365 for some use cases.
With its solid tires, it will never suffer flats, which are the greatest weakness of the Xiaomi M365.
Also, it will come at a much lower price, usually about $100 cheaper, which makes it just two-thirds of the Xiaomi’s price and a better value, considering how both scooters perform similarly in almost every aspect.
The Xiaomi M365 still has ride comfort, smaller weight, and better branding on its side. The popularity of the Xiaomi M365 is well deserved, which means it may even be better in quality.
However, I believe it will not be of better value in almost any case, and the Kugoo ES2 remains the better budget option. If you still wanna cover all the bases and learn more, check out my Xiaomi M365 review.
Kugoo ES2 vs Xiaomi M365 Pro
It’s somewhat unfair to compare these two scooters, as the Xiaomi M365 Pro is a lot more expensive, and probably can’t even be considered a budget-category scooter. Understandably, the Xiaomi will have a lot more range (almost twice as much as the Kugoo), while also being lighter in weight.
However, the Kugoo ES2 will never suffer flats, and while the Pro version comes with better tires than the Xiaomi M365, flats are still a common occurrence. The Kugoo ES2 will also charge a lot faster, while matching the top speed of the Xiaomi M365 Pro, and maybe even climbing better by a few degrees.
Of course, the Xiaomi M365 Pro is an evergreen scooter, and you can never go wrong with it (you can read my full review of it here). But if your budget is below $400, then the Xiaomi M365 Pro will not be even an option, while the Kugoo ES2 will provide you with a very similar experience and quality.
Kugoo ES2 vs Kugoo M2 Pro
The Kugoo ES2 and the Kugoo M2 Pro are very similar in many regards: both have the same top speed, climb angle, and weigh about the same.
The main difference might be the tires, as the Kugoo M2 Pro comes with pneumatic 8.5-inch tires. But also, the M2 Pro has a slightly better range (18.6 mi / 30 km), a bigger weight capacity (265 lbs / 120 kg), and a slightly better ingress protection rating (IP54). For those small advantages, you will typically have to pay about $50 extra. If that sounds like a good deal to you, you can check the full Kugoo M2 Pro review.
Kugoo ES2 Specifications
|Top speed||25 kmh|
|Top speed||15.5 mph|
|Motors||single hub front wheel|
|Climb angle||15 °|
|Battery||270 Wh, 36 V|
|Charging time||6 h|
|Ingress protection (IP)||IPX4|
|Weight limit||100 kg|
|Weight limit||220 lbs|
|Tire size||8.5 in|
|Build material||Aluminum alloy + ABS + PC|
|Brakes||electric + disc brake|
|Shock absorbers||front spring|
|Lights||front LED + rear|
|Warranty||12 months, 6 on battery|
|Return period||7/14 days|
|Folded dimensions (L * W * H)||112 cm * 33 cm * 43 cm|
|Folded dimensions (L * W * H)||44 in * 13 in * 17 in|
|Unfolded dimensions (L * W * H)||120 cm * 51 cm * 114 cm|
|Unfolded dimensions (L * W * H)||47 in * 20 in * 45 in|
|Deck to handlebar height||101 cm (est)|
|Deck to handlebar height||40 in (est)|
Price, value, and savings
The current price of the Kugoo ES2 is $391 at GeekBuying, but you can get it down to $382 if you install their app, which is a fair deal in my opinion. Also, use the coupon code GKB226S to get an additional discount. With both discounts, the price of the scooter can be brought down to somewhere around $370.
For that price, this is one of the best-value scooters out there. If you live in a bigger city, this scooter will pay itself off in a matter of months by cutting your transport costs and time wasted in traffic jams.
The list of scooterist types that will find this scooter just right is very long:
- ride-sharing scooterists looking for their first private scooter
- young professionals and entrepreneurs
- anyone looking to cut transport costs
- anyone looking to save time being stuck in traffic
- anyone looking for a green and emission-free rideable
- anyone that wants to have some fun with a good scooter
Good quality, minor defect rates, almost no issues, decent performance, great safety, all make the Kugoo ES2 one of the best budget and value picks available today.
Where to buy the Kugoo ES2?
Europe: GeekBuying (discount code: GKB226S)