This will be the most comprehensive review of the Segway Ninebot ES4 you’ve ever read. We will see exactly why this scooter is as popular as it is, why the biggest ride-sharing companies use it heavily in their fleets, and why it is the best solid-tire electric scooter under $1000.
Ninebot ES4 Review
The Ninebot ES4 is an established, tough, feature-complete solid-tire foldable scooter, that will never suffer flats, provide decent performance with 28 mi / 45 km of range and 18.6 mph / 30 kmh top speed, 3 light systems, dual suspension, electronic and foot brake, and an IP54 water resistance rating.
It is the latest and greatest model coming from the proud Ninebot ES lineage. It has learned a lot from the mistakes of its predecessors, and it has ironed out a lot of their issues.
Ninebot ES4 summary
You know we’re talking about a scooter that is tough as nails when it is trusted by the most popular scooter-sharing companies in the world as one of the main scooters for their fleet. The Ninebot ES4 is the main model used by Lime, which means there are literally thousands upon thousands of ES4s sustaining major abuse in all sorts of road conditions and by all sorts of negligent users at this very moment.
And guess what? They continue to work!
Make no mistake, the Ninebot ES4 is a sturdy, rugged, high-quality scooter, that has built upon the previous experience of the other Ninebot ES models, both by building on their existing features, and fixing their mistakes.
The last generation in the Ninebot evolution brings us a foolproof, feature-complete scooter, that ticks every box and covers every base, and continues to bring joy to millions of riders around the world every day.
Should you get the Ninebot ES4?
Well, if you’re looking for a durable, reliable, well-made scooter, great for both commuting and pleasure rides, that has proven itself in millions of rides worldwide, and is trusted by tons of owners and big ride-sharing companies alike, then yes, you should get the Ninebot ES4.
The Segway Ninebot scooter line and the Segway brand
Most of the people that have heard of electric scooters, have also heard of Ninebot and Segway as well.
In short, Segway was basically the brand that started this whole electric scooter craze in the late 90s, and Ninebot is a Chinese startup that bought Segway and adopted the brand.
Today, they are best known for the Ninebot ES line, which is probably the most famous series of electric scooters, with 4 versions so far, each better than the previous one.
The Ninebot ES4 is the final iteration in that chain.
Ordering, shipping, discounts
The current price of the Ninebot ES4 is around $769, although it can go up to $799 at times.
Warranty and return policy
If you buy the Ninebot ES4 on the official Segway store, through Amazon, or through another certified reseller, you will get a fair warranty policy that will include a full year on most parts, half a year on the battery, and even 3 months on the wear-and-tear parts, which is actually quite rare to find and a nice little bonus. Modifying the scooter in a significant way, or damaging it through improper use, will void the warranty
The return policy is also very customer-friendly, and you can return the product in 30 days if you are not satisfied with it, although it’s possible you are required to pay a restocking fee. If the scooter arrives damaged, you should get a replacement for free.
Unboxing, assembly, user manual
The Ninebot ES4 arrives in a sleek, nice-looking branded Segway box.
The package contains:
- Ninebot ES4 scooter
- Allen key
- user manual
- warranty card
The assembly is quick and simple. The only thing you need to do is connect the handlebar to the stem. You do that by:
- connecting the cables from the two parts first
- insert the handlebar into the stem
- screw it tight with the tool that came in the package
Make sure to charge the scooter fully before the first ride.
I know you will not read the manual, but in case you do, you will find it to be pretty short, to the point, and with lots of illustrations. It will have some information on maintenance, but not a lot on troubleshooting (the Segway Youtube channel may be of more help with that).
Segway Ninebot ES4 101 – how to use and ride
The scooter needs a light kick off the ground to start, and that’s always great for thumb throttle scooters as you will never set the wheels spinning by accidentally pressing the throttle when you shouldn’t.
While turned on, pressing the power button once toggles the light on or off. Pressing the button twice will change the speed mode.
There are 3 speed modes on the ES4:
- beginner – 9.3 mph / 15 kmh
- standard – 17 mph / 27 kmh, gradual acceleration, conserves battery
- sport – 18.6 mph / 30 kmh, fast acceleration
All in all, this is a very simple, very beginner-friendly scooter, that is easy to master in just a matter of minutes, and that’s one of the reasons why Lime has chosen it to be one of their main scooters, as many beginners would have to ride it for the first time and still have a great experience on it.
Folding and unfolding
The Ninebot ES4 has one of the simplest folding processes I’ve ever seen in a scooter. You just press the pedal lever on the front of the deck, push the scooter and pull the handlebars down, and connect the handlebar with the rear fender until you hear a click. You will be done in about 0.3 seconds.
When folded, the scooter can be pulled like a trolley by holding it at the handlebars and pulling it with the rear wheel on the ground, or even push it in front of you.
Unfolding is basically the same process in reverse, you just need to push down the rear fender a bit to unlock the fold, and push the handlebar up until you hear the click.
Build quality and lifespan
When thinking about the strength and build quality of the Ninebot ES4, we have to look at the context and the predicted use cases this scooter was meant to tackle.
The Ninebot ES4 was designed to be a ride-sharing scooter primarily. And there is no greater testament to its toughness and reliability than that – it is literally built to withstand all kinds of abuse and punishment, in any condition and scenario, by riders that don’t care about the scooter’s wellbeing even one tiny bit!
So, as any good hero, the Ninebot ES4 can triumph in the face of trials and tribulations, and is one of the toughest, sturdiest scooters of our day.
This is a well-made scooter that has a lot of experience – it has learned a lot from the mistakes of the previous ES models. The result is a more rugged, stronger, tougher scooter that doesn’t struggle to perform, doesn’t make too much noise when riding, and doesn’t have unnecessary moving parts, which may have been the case for the previous models.
You can safely expect at least several years of peaceful ownership with no major defects.
Materials and design
The ES4 is, in some ways, a form-follows-function type of scooter, with a minimalistic design, where not a lot of things can break or go wrong.
Usually, the color scheme is matte black with dark grey, with the traditional red details for a little touch of extra color.
The frame and the body are made from aluminum alloy, the tires are solid rubber, and the details and the finishes use plastic and rubber. Some parts will be made out of harder metals like steel.
Ride experience and day-to-day use
Surprisingly, the Ninebot ES4 actually handles uneven terrains and bad roads rather well for a solid-tire scooter. Usually, solid tires mean very bumpy and unstable rides, but that’s not that much of a problem for this scooter. The real hero behind this success is the dual shock absorption system, and the rides on most surfaces will be relatively smooth.
It probably makes sense when you think about it – Segway has been trying to build the perfect solid-tire scooter for 4 generations now, and it looks like they have either succeeded, or are very close.
Now, of course, the rides will not be as smooth as the rides with air-filled tire scooters. But they will be better than rides with other solid tire scooters.
You have the option to use the cruise control feature for truly care-free rides where you don’t even need to press the throttle to move. You can turn the cruise control on or off through the app, and also set its time interval before it activates.
The motor is in the front wheel, which means that turning and controlling the scooter will require less movement of the handlebar.
The scooter is meant for riders older than 14 years.
Terrains and environments
Since the ES4 is pretty well made and tough overall, it will handle some rough terrain and offroad rides.
However, that’s not how the scooter is meant to be used at all, and the preferred terrain for it is any sort of urban environment. But that really means any urban environment – the scooter is tough, reliable, and immune to flats, so you can ride it literally on every surface that even remotely resembles a road.
Range and commuting
The official range for the Ninebot ES4 is 28 mi / 45 km on a single battery charge.
Results from range tests for the ES4 vary wildly. Some users have managed to get a lot more than the official range, like 3 mi / 5 km more. Others have tested as low as 22 mi / 35 km. Segway is somewhat transparent about this and do mention that the advertised range may not be what you get, as it is obtained in perfect world scenarios, which means flat roads, no ups and downs, good weather and no unfavorable wind, and a rider with an average weight.
Realistically, you will likely get at least 26 mi / 42 km on average.
That kind of range, together with the scooter’s solid portability, make it the perfect commuting companion. It will cover pretty much every possible commute route, it will be easy to get into trains, buses, stations, elevators, and fit easily into office spaces. Plus, you will never get flats, which means you will always get where you’re going on time, as you will cruise around traffic jams with a big smile on your face.
Speed and acceleration
The official top speed of the Ninebot ES4 is 18.6 mph / 30 kmh. The top speed has been confirmed by countless speed tests and user testimonials.
This kind of speed is sort of the ideal commuter and civilian speed for many reasons: it’s just right for the majority of us that don’t seek thrill rides, it’s very safe, and in most places, it is the actual speed limit for vehicles such as electric scooters.
Additionally, the top speed can be controlled through the app, and you can set it to a lower top speed if you need to (like, for example, if you’re giving the scooter to a younger child to ride).
The acceleration is one of the most loved features of the scooter, as it doesn’t waste any time and brings you to full speed in a matter of seconds.
The climb angle for the Ninebot ES4 claimed by Segway is 15%, or 8.5°. However, user reports and hill tests indicate that the scooter can climb a bit better, and the official climb angle may be under-reported.
Anyway, the ES4 will climb ok, and most of the averagely steep hills will not be a problem. The scooter will struggle with steeper hills, and may even completely stop moving on the steepest of them.
Motor, power, and torque
The BLDC motor will provide a real power of 300 Watts, with a peak power of 800 Watts. This is slightly above the average power we can see in most budget scooters.
The ES4 is a single-drive scooter, and the brushless DC hub motor is integrated into the front wheel of the scooter. Front-drive scooters will have better control and turning capabilities that rear-drive ones.
The batteries of the Ninebot ES4 are installed on the lower half of the stem, in the form of one battery in the stem and an external battery attached to the stem. This makes the scooter a little front-heavy, and it does take away some balance points.
With 36 Volts and 7 Amps, for a total capacity of 374 Watt-hours, the lithium-ion batteries of the ES4 are not your grandfather’s batteries that are often found in budget models. It comes with a smart battery management system, that protects the battery from overheating and overcharging.
In some ways, the Ninebot ES4 is very similar to the iconic Ninebot ES2, and while there are some differences, the biggest difference is the battery by far. In a way, the batteries of the ES4 is of the same size and capacity as if you would combine the original battery of the ES2 and then added the extra battery. Many owners choose that step, as it gave the scooter’s range and overall power an incredible boost. Segway had their ear to the ground and listened to the user feedback, so they made the right decision and simply made the ES4 battery the same as a double battery.
And the results of that are great. The ES4 now has some serious range, and the performance is much better overall.
Charging the battery to 100% with the original 42 Volt charger takes 7 hours. The charging port is on the top of the battery, and it’s protected by a plastic cap.
When the charger is plugged in, the indicator light will be red if the scooter is charging, and green if the charging is complete. The battery status will also be displayed on the screen.
How much does it cost to charge the Ninebot ES4?
Charging the Ninebot ES4 fully during off-peak hours costs 2 cents in the US, 4 pennies in Canada, 10 pence in the UK, and an average of 6 cents in the EU countries. During peak hours, the costs are 4 cents in the US, 5 pennies in Canada, 12 pence in the UK, and 10 cents in the EU.
Tires and wheels
The solid rubber tires of the Ninebot ES4 never go flat, and they are one of the main selling points of the scooter. If you’ve ever owned a pneumatic tire scooter, you will understand the frustration that replacing a flat can present, and you will gain a whole new level of appreciation for solid tires.
The front tire is slightly larger at 8 inches, while the rear tire is 7.5 inches in diameter.
The rear fender is a point that may use some improvement – a few owners have complained that it’s not long enough and they’ve sometimes got their backs dirty because of splashes.
Brakes and energy recovery
The Ninebot ES4 has brake redundancy, and it sports two separate brake systems, electronic and foot brake.
The electronic brake has a regenerative braking feature, or KERS (kinetic energy recovery system). It restores battery juice whenever you use the brake. It is installed on the front wheel. The level to which you want the KERS to be used can be set through the app.
You don’t need to brake to recover energy, it also works if you just push the scooter without using the throttle, although don’t expect a lot of juice to be replenished this way.
The rear foot brake is engaged by pressing your foot against the rear fender, and it will provide additional stopping power.
Both brakes are strong, and using both of them at the same time will stop the scooter very fast. You can even leave skidmarks on the road when using both of the brakes.
There is a bit of a braking technique you will need to master to always brake in the right way. It is very easy, instinctive even – if you’re going really fast, you will want to brake with the rear brake first for a bit, or lean back with your body and shift the center of gravity, before you engage the electronic brake. The reason for that is to prevent the scooter from tipping over, which is not likely to happen but still a possibility for lighter riders. Anyway, the braking technique is easier than it sounds, and you will get a feel for it after just a few rides, as the scooter literally becomes almost like a part of your body.
As with any decent solid-tire scooter, the ES4 comes with good dual suspension. The rear suspension is a spring built into the deck and the wheel (you can see it at the bottom of the deck), while the front suspension is a spring between the stem and the wheel. They both do a good job of absorbing the shocks from all the challenges of the road, and will help a lot in making the ride smoother.
Waterproofing and IP rating
The Ninebot ES4 has an official water resistance and ingress protection rating of IP54. That means it will be protected from water splashes from all angles.
Still, common sense applies, and as with any scooter, you should avoid riding in the rain as much as possible. That said, there have been quite a few rebels here that have gone ahead and ridden in the rain several times, and the scooter has handled the wet environment rather well.
You should know that there’s always a risk when riding in the rain or wet weather. But as a scooterist myself, I’m perfectly aware that sometimes you simply have no better alternative than to go through some light rain and take the shot. If that happens to you, you can expect the IP54 rating to do a good job of keeping your scooter safe from water damage.
Weight, dimensions, and portability
The ES4 weighs 30.8 lbs / 14 kg, which puts it right in the middle between very light and average scooters. That kind of weight makes it fairly portable for most people.
When folded, the dimensions of the ES4 are 45 x 17 x 16 in / 113 x 43 x 40 cm. That kind of folded volume is pretty standard.
Both the weight and the volume make the scooter decently portable. It earns some extra portability points because of several other things:
- very simple, no-frills build, with no weird parts sticking out and getting stuck into things
- natural center of gravity close to the center when folded
- it can easily be pulled or pushed by holding the handlebar
Weight limit and use by heavy adults
As with most similarly powered scooters, the Ninebot ES4 comes with a pretty standard official weight limit of 220 lbs / 100 kg.
Unofficially, there have been quite a few reports of riders even heavier than that using the scooter without any drastic drops in performance.
Anyway, for heavier riders, it’s still a safer bet to look at scooters for heavy adults.
Lights and night riding
The headlight is on the top of the stem, which is always the ideal choice as it will cast light for a longer distance, and still light the road properly even if you run into bumps. The light distance is around 7-8 meters, and the light is pretty strong.
The rear sides of the deck have red taillights that start to flash whenever you use the electronic brake. The rear fender has a red reflective sticker that glows in the night.
The sides of the deck feature additional LED light strips that are activated during the night or through the app, and they make it impossible for anyone to not see you. You can choose between 20 different light settings and configurations.
Stem and deck
The extra thick stem of the Ninebot ES4 not only gives it its trademark look, but also contributes a lot to making the scooter robust and secure.
Right above the battery, there’s a hook that is used to lock the scooter with the rear fender when it’s folded. The hook is very useful for hanging your shopping bags on it while riding.
Since the deck does not contain the battery, it is actually quite thin compared to most scooters, and it has a higher ground clearance of around 3.5 inches. Couple that with the solid tires, and it means that you don’t really need to even slow down that much to cross small curbs and lower sidewalks.
The deck comes with a bumpy rubber cover on the top to prevent slipping.
When riding, make sure to push the folding pedal all the way to the stem, to prevent accidentally stepping on it.
The kickstand is something I don’t fully comprehend. It is obvious that an extra inch would have made the scooter a lot more stable when standing on it. Why Segway has decided not to make it so is beyond me. The scooter will not be that stable when leaning on the kickstand, and I recommend only leaving it leaning on the kickstand if you have no other choice.
Handlebars and control
The handlebar covers are made from solid rubber and are very grippy, so your hands will not slip even if your palms get sweaty.
The thumb throttle is very ergonomic and user-friendly, and it is placed on the right handlebar, as usual.
The left handlebar hosts the brake thumb button.
The only thing the handlebar is missing is a bell or a horn (check out the guide for the best scooter accessories to find a bell or a horn that will suit the ES4).
Dashboard and screen
The screen is small but bright, and the color contrast is sharp so that you can see the display in all sorts of weather.
The screen will display:
- current speed
- speed mode
- battery level
- bluetooth status
The battery indicator has 5 bars. While charging, the screen will also display the battery percentage.
Customizations and accessories
The great thing about all Ninebot scooters, ES4 included, is that many of the accessories come from Segway and the scooter can be customized with many original parts that fit the scooters perfectly.
Many owners choose a seat as their first accessory, and rightfully so – the seat is sometimes a part that turns the scooter from not more than a toy, to a tool and an ally.
The proprietary Ninebot trunk is also very useful and comes in handy for day-to-day experiences.
Other than that, things like a phone holder, the carry strap, a bell, and many other accessories, are all available on the official Segway accessories page. You can also take a look at the electric scooter accessories guide for all the ideas on how to enrich your scooter.
Spare parts and maintenance
Since the ES4 is very reliable and defects are not common, you will probably spend a lot of time on it before you have to worry about spare parts. If that time comes, you will find everything that you may ever need on the official Segway store for the cheapest price possible.
The advantage of solid tires is that they cut the maintenance routine for any scooter in half, which is already short.
Your only job will be to make sure there are no loose screws every few weeks, make sure the brakes are functional, and lubricate the folding mechanism and wheels once every few months or if it starts to make squeaky sounds. You can also use some Loctite to tighten the screws.
Cleaning the scooter is best done with just a cloth, and as little water and soap as possible. I prefer to try using no water, and only use a bucket of soap water if I absolutely have to.
Mobile phone app
Since the app is full of features, you can customize and change the settings to try out different riding configurations. The app can control and show you:
- current speed
- mileage (current, remaining, total)
- average speed
- riding time
- scooter temperature
- cruise control
- energy recovery level (regenerative brake level)
- pedestrian mode
- turn tail light always on
- lock the scooter
As you can see, you can customize and control a lot of settings about your scooter from the app, in a clean and simple way.
Honestly, it feels like the ES4 (and the other ES scooters) deserve a better app. The frequent bluetooth and connectivity problems that the app presents have resulted in several poor user experiences – just imagine impatiently waiting for your scooter to arrive for days, and then not being able to use it because of the app! It’s no wonder the app has poor ratings on both app stores, and is one of the most common sources of user complaints.
To be fair, as a mobile developer myself, I’m aware that bluetooth is one of the hardest features to implement correctly. The fact that this scooter has maybe sold millions of units and the app works well for most of them, is not a small feat. Still, I’d hold a company the size of Segway to a higher standard.
It’s also weird when you think about it – making a good scooter is much harder than making a good app, and Segway have already done the hard part. So, other scooterists and I hope they will improve the app soon.
Anyway, even though the ratings are not stellar, chances are the app will work just fine (nobody reviews apps that work properly).
In addition to the Ninebot app, I suggest you check out the Universal Scooter App by EScooterNerds. The app has more than 30 features that will complement the regular app like checklists, guides, hacks, calculators, tools, etc. The app is available for iOS and Android.
Custom firmware and hacks
One awesome thing when buying a very popular scooter is that it will have custom firmware available for it, that will unlock its hidden superpowers.
The best-known hacks will increase your top speed, and substantially so! The ES4 custom firmware can be set to unlock speeds of up to 25 mph / 40 kmh! You can find more detailed instructions on the exact steps here.
It’s not just the top speed that can be changed, but many other things can be hacked too, although many of these are accessible through the official app as well, which means you’ll probably only consider the custom firmware if you want higher top speeds.
Keep in mind that installing custom firmware does come with a tiny bit of risk, as you are modifying your scooter in a way that is not predicted by the manufacturer. You may even void your warranty in doing so. Still, many users have chosen this path, and I haven’t heard of any real issues.
Security and locking
The Ninebot ES4 can be locked through its app.
Even though this does not prevent someone from simply lifting your scooter and walking away with it, it will make a thief’s life miserable, and the app will also notify you on your phone if your scooter is being moved (you do have to be close to the scooter though, close enough for the bluetooth to connect).
To fully secure your ES4, you will need an additional lock. Something like the Via Velo U-lock on Amazon will work great, or you can check out even more secure locks in the full guide on scooter locks.
Price and value for money
I want to consider myself a value shopper primarily, and I always look for great value in the products I buy. Even though I like and respect the Ninebot ES4 model, I can’t honestly say it’s great value. Sure, it’s a good scooter, very tough, very robust, extremely useful, and fun. But for a price of around $750 – $799, it is not the best bang-for-buck model out there. When you buy the Ninebot ES4, what you’re paying for is the experience the scooter carries with it, all the engineering decisions and customer feedback integrated into its design that has been carried over from the previous models. No other brand can claim that kind of legacy.
In a way, we may consider that as value, too. If you are after a very strong, durable scooter, coming from a trusted brand with lots of experience, then maybe we can say the ES4 is great value. But in the more traditional sense of the word, meaning, range, speed, performance, stuff like that, the ES4 is good but far from great value.
Certificates and awards
The ES4 is legit!
It comes with a lot of certificates about its quality:
- FCC (US)
- CAN ICES-3 (B)/NMB-3(B) (Canada)
- 2006/66/EC (EU)
- UL 2272 (CSA)
- UN/DOT 38.3 for the battery
- IP54 standard for ingress protection
Also, it has won numerous awards, including the Best Design Award in 2018.
Ninebot ES4 vs other Ninebot models
There is no rivalry like sibling rivalry. This is how the ES4 compares against its younger and older siblings.
Ninebot ES4 vs Ninebot ES2
The ES4 is, in some ways, the ES2 plus the extra battery.
Now, here’s the thing – the prices of all the ES models change quite a lot. At one time, the ES4 could be found for around $450 on some sort of a deal, and that made even the consideration of ES2 ridiculous to begin with. Other times, the ES2 has been discounted at around $400, and the ES4 has been close to its standard $799 price, and in that case, the ES2 is a better deal even though it’s less powerful.
Looking from a strictly price-wise perspective, the ES2 should be considered only when it’s significantly cheaper than the ES4. At the moment, with the ES4 costing $799, while the ES2 is around $649, I don’t think the ES2 makes any sense.
I would only go with the ES2 if it’s available for about $250 less than the ES4, and even then, I would not feel very good about the choice, since the ES4 is not just a performance upgrade, but it addresses a lot of other issues too. You can check out the full review of the Ninebot ES2 to learn more about it.
In short, just go with the flow, pick the ES4, and you won’t make a mistake.
Ninebot ES4 vs Ninebot ES3
We didn’t really mention the Ninebot ES3 so far, and I believe there is no real need to do so. Trapped between the ES2 and the ES4, the ES3 is actually the original ES1 with an extra battery. Probably the only thing that the ES3 has over the ES4 is the $100 you will save if you choose it. Power, range, speed, climbing angle, and fewer problems, are all on the side of the ES4, and very well worth the extra cost.
Ninebot ES4 vs Ninebot Max
Now here’s an interesting comparison.
Personally, I would choose the Ninebot Max 3 out of 5 times.
Both scooters cost about the same, but Max has a lot more range, more torque and power, better hill climbing, and better water resistance at IPX5. It also comes with large 10-inch pneumatic tires, and while this is subjective, I prefer pneumatic tires over solid ones.
The ES4 is more proven and more battle-tested, and possibly tougher as well. It’s also quite lighter in weight, more portable, and it will never suffer flats, so it’s a clear choice if you live in a place with very bad roads.
Both are great scooters, you just have to pick according to your needs. You can check the full Ninebot Max review here.
Ninebot ES4 vs other electric scooters
The Ninebot ES4 holds the throne for the most popular solid-tire scooter, and as such, it has many challengers, both with solid and pneumatic tires. This is how it compares against them.
Ninebot ES4 vs Xiaomi M365 Pro
This is somewhat a natural, instinctive comparison, as both of these models are similar in popularity and brand recognition.
The Xiaomi M365 Pro is significantly cheaper, but it’s also slower, slightly less powerful, and man, those flats… they are a real pain.
The two most popular scooters have the same IP rating, weight limit, climb angle, and weight the same.
I’d recommend the Xiaomi M365 Pro if you’re looking for a proven commuter but with pneumatic tires, and if your budget is closer to $600 than $800 (you can check the full review of the Xiaomi M365 Pro to see if it makes sense for you).
If you want the best air-filled tire commuter that $800 can get you, simply go with the Ninebot Max (review here), it’s significantly better than the Xiaomi M365 Pro.
But if you are tired of flats, or fear you may see a lot of them, stick with the ES4.
Ninebot ES4 vs Turbowheel Swift
The Turbowheel Swift is a bit more expensive than the ES4, but it is more performant overall, with better speed and range.
However, the ES4 is lighter and more portable, has better waterproofing, better build quality, and of course, comes from a much more established brand, carrying more experience with it.
I’d say go with the Turbowheel Swift if you’re after more performance, but keep in mind that you’ll pay a bit more.
If you need a versatile, general-purpose scooter, or a proven commuter, stick with the ES4.
Ninebot ES4 vs Unagi Model One
I’ve seen this comparison made several times. Personally, I don’t see how the Unagi Model One can compete.
Except for the slight advantage in top speed, the Unagi has no other aces in its sleeve.
The ES4 has a better range, better battery, stronger motor, and better brand recognition overall. It’s also cheaper. It’s simply a better choice.
Ninebot ES4 vs Mercane Widewheel
This is an interesting comparison that I believe deserves some attention.
There are three Mercane Widewheel models, and we have to compare the ES4 to the cheapest one of them, the Mercane Widewheel single motor, since it’s the only one that has a comparable price to the ES4 (and it still costs more than $100 extra).
Both of these are great solid-tire options.
While the Widewheel has a more powerful motor, it still doesn’t match the ES4, neither in speed nor in range. It may climb a bit better and have better balance, but that’s about all the advantages it has.
Performance, water resistance, carry capacity, portability, and probably most importantly – market proof, are all in favor of the ES4.
I’d recommend the Mercane Widewheel if you’re after a great quality scooter that is a bit more exotic, especially in the way it looks. You can check out the review of the Mercane Widewheel Pro to learn more.
Ninebot ES 4 Specifications
|Top speed||30 kmh|
|Top speed||18.6 mph|
|Motors||single hub BLDC front drive|
|Power||300 W real, 800 W peak|
|Climb angle||15 °|
|Battery||374 Wh, 36 V|
|Charging time||7 h|
|Ingress protection (IP)||IP54|
|Weight limit||100 kg|
|Weight limit||220 lbs|
|Tire size||7.5 in|
|Seat||no (customization possible)|
|Trunk or basket||no (customization possible)|
|Brakes||anti-lock electrical + rear foot|
|Lights||front + rear + disco|
|Warranty||12 months (6 on battery)|
|Certificates||FCC, CAN ICES-3 (B)/NMB-3(B), EU e 2006/66/EC, UL 2272, UN/DOT 38.3 for battery|
|Folded dimensions (L * W * H)||113 cm * 43 cm * 40 cm|
|Folded dimensions (L * W * H)||44 in * 17 in * 16 in|
|Unfolded dimensions (L * W * H)||102 cm * 43 cm * 113 cm|
|Unfolded dimensions (L * W * H)||40 in * 17 in * 44 in|
|Deck to handlebar height||99 cm (est)|
|Deck to handlebar height||39 in (est)|
Issues, downsides, what to know
Compared to the previous ES models, the ES4 addresses the most important quality and utility issues. A few small things remain, mostly as tradeoffs for the benefits that the ES4 provides, but some are just small problems that Ninebot should address, and might do so rather easily (ES5 maybe?).
These are some of the issues that the Ninebot ES4 still faces.
Probably the only feature it misses is a bell or a horn. That is a pretty standard-issue item even on budget scooters, but it’s also important, as without it the scooter is not really fully prepared for serious traffic. While there are tons of loud bells and horns available as customizations for just a few bucks, it would be nice if the scooter arrived complete.
As we mentioned, the kickstand should be a bit longer, so that the scooter is more stable when leaning on it. Such a weird detail to miss.
Some owners have complained that the rear fender is not long enough, and they sometimes end up with the back of their clothes all messed up. A simple bandaid solution I’ve seen applied for this, that works surprisingly well, is just making a bit of an extra fender out of duct tape. Yes, duct tape! It sounds weird, but it will work as a temporary, and sometimes as a permanent solution too.
Probably the only true flaw in the design is that the scooter is a bit front-heavy. It packs two batteries in the front, and the stem is quite thick as well, which does shift the balance to the front a bit, and that’s not great news for braking.
Those are all of the issues I was able to identify.
As we can see, all of them are rather trivial, and luckily, the ES4 doesn’t have any critical problems like big quality issues or major defects happening after 4 days of usage.
Reviews and what owners are saying
The ES4 is a major commercial hit, and is seeing some true love shown to it by its owners, but also by people using ride-sharing apps as well.
It’s hard to say exactly how many units has it sold, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is in the millions. And the majority of its owners are very happy campers.
The biggest public listing where the Ninebot ES4 is reviewed is its official Amazon listing. It has a very good rating with lots of satisfied owners, which is a very good achievement for any electronic device, let alone one that is as complex as an electric scooter. At the time of writing, that rating is from more than 800 reviews, which makes it even more impressive.
Owners frequently describe their experiences as overwhelmingly positive, fun, but also say the scooter is very useful, especially for commuters and transport needs.
The Ninebot ES4 has been around for quite a long time now. We have a lot of owners that have had it for more than a year. The number of major defects suffered in the first year of usage is quite low, maybe not as low as some of the highest-quality scooters out there, but still very low for a scooter this popular.
All in all, the Ninebot ES4 is very well adopted by the market, and that wouldn’t be possible without its high levels of quality and attention to detail.
The Ninebot ES4 is very popular, so there are tons of burning questions about it. These are some of them.
Is the Ninebot ES4 street-legal?
With a top speed of 18 mph / 30 kmh and a motor of 300 Watts, the Ninebot ES4 will be street-legal in most countries and cities.
Is the Ninebot ES4 reliable?
The Ninebot ES4 is one of the main scooters in the fleets of Lime and Bird, and has been battle-tested and proven in millions of rides. It is one of the most reliable electric scooters ever made, with a very long lifespan and a very low defect rate.
Is the Ninebot ES4 waterproof?
The Ninebot ES4 has an IP54 rating, which means it’s water-resistant and able to withstand water splashes from all angles. It is not fully waterproof, and shouldn’t be submerged in water.
How fast can the Ninebot ES4 go?
Out of the box, the top speed of the Ninebot ES4 will be 18.6 mph / 30 kmh. However, it is possible to install custom firmware that will increase its top speed to 25 mph / 40 kmh. Also, it’s possible to reduce the top speed through the official app, and set it as low as 3 mph / 5 kmh.
How much range does the Ninebot ES4 have?
Out of the box, the Ninebot ES4 has an official range of 28 mi / 45 km. The range can be modified and either increased or decreased through the app, the custom firmware, and the riding mode.
Can I put pneumatic tires on the Ninebot ES4?
Installing pneumatic tires on the Ninebot ES4 may be possible, but it will not be worth it. It’s better to get a different scooter altogether.
Can I add an extra battery to the Ninebot ES4?
The Ninebot ES4 can’t support an additional battery. It already has two batteries, one in the stem, and one external.
How much does it cost to charge the Ninebot ES4?
With a battery capacity of 374 Watt-hours, a single charge of the Ninebot ES4 will cost just a few cents.
How long until the Ninebot ES4 pays itself off?
Assuming average monthly travel expenses of around $60, the Ninebot ES4 will pay for itself in about a year, as charging it is almost free.
Who should not get the Ninebot ES4?
A few categories of scooterists will not find the ES4 a good fit for their needs.
Obviously, if your budget is less than $800, you will want to look at different scooters. You should take a look at the best scooters in each of the other price categories:
Also, if you’re all about comfort, you will not find it in the solid tires of the ES4. I suggest you check out the Ninebot Max for that (full review here).
If you need an offroad scooter, then the ES4 will not be a good choice as well. Check out the Kugoo M4 Pro, or the Kugoo G-Booster, for similarly priced scooters that will have some offroad powers too.
Who should get the Ninebot ES4?
A lot of people will find the Ninebot ES4 just perfect.
As this is one of the most widely-used electric scooters in the world right now, especially by ride-sharing companies, it’s obvious that it will be the perfect first scooter. Anyone looking for a forgiving, beginner-friendly model, will not make a mistake with the Ninebot ES4.
Needless to say, commuters will also enjoy this scooter a lot. Masses of riders, both renting and owning, do so every day.
Anyone with a budget of under $800 can also safely pick the ES4. As a well-established scooter of good quality that has proven itself countless times already, it will be one of those choices that are almost impossible to go wrong with.
Riders looking for a solid-tire scooter should also give the ES4 serious consideration. It is easily one of the best solid-tire scooters under $1000.
In summary, the Ninebot ES4 is truly the regular gal or guy scooter. Unless you have specific needs that will likely require a very expensive scooter, you can’t go wrong with the ES4.
Where to buy the Ninebot ES4 from?