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Unagi Scooter Review: Sleek, Stylish, with One Main Problem

A great scooter with an even greater price tag

4.5 stars

The best scooter that a lot of money can buy

After enjoying one of the most lucrative Kickstarter campaigns to date, the Unagi electric scooter is officially available to everyday users, and it's about time. This sleek, admittedly expensive e-scooter has the strong frame, long battery life, useful features, and stylish design you need to truly take micromobility to the next level.

4.5 stars

The best scooter that a lot of money can buy

Design

5 stars

Performance

4.5 stars

Interface

4.5 stars

Value for Money

4 stars
Compare Unagi Scooter Prices

Pros

  • Beautiful, carbon fiber frame
  • One-click folding for simple portability
  • Intuitive, stylish handlebar-mounted dashboard

Cons

  • Hefty price tag
  • A bit on the heavy side

If you're tired of sharing e-scooters, you're not alone. While the convenience is undeniable, having to shell out a few bucks for every single ride isn't exactly a financially responsible plan for your personal transportation. Plus, with vandalism remaining a persistent problem and cities banning scooters in droves, purchasing your own electric scooter might be the way to go, and you can't get much better than Unagi.

Simply put, the Unagi electric scooter is one of the most popular, stylish, and positively-reviewed electric scooters on the market today. From handle bar to kickstand, this e-scooter boasts some of the highest quality parts — from the carbon fiber frame to the puncture-proof tires — and the most innovative features — from the built-in speed modes to the impressive battery.

We must admit though, all this quality comes at a pretty high price. The single motor edition will run you as much as $840, while the dual motor option tops out at $990. However, as you'll see, you absolutely get what you pay for when it comes to the Unagi electric scooter.

In this review, we'll walk you through the design, performance, interface, portability, and practicality of the Unagi electric scooter, so that you can decide for yourself whether it's the right transportation option for you.

In This Guide:

Design

If you're used to scooting around on ride-share e-scooters from Bird and Lime, the Unagi electric scooter is going to look like a dream. From top to bottom, the Unagi looks like a futuristic transportation device that you'd find in The Jetsons or Futurama rather than your neighborhood park.

For one, the Unagi is for personal use, so its design lacks the bulky tracking equipment of ride-share models, giving it the sleek body you'd expect from a high quality personal transportation device. The frame of the Unagi is made of carbon fiber, which gives it a stunning look from close and far, and its beautiful paint job (in blue, white, gray, or black) adds substantially to the luxurious appearance of the scooter.

Unagi Scooter Handlebars

Even the smallest features of the Unagi's design make it feel like a luxury product. The deck, for example, comes with an embedded silicon mat that is as comfortable as it is practical, and it won't get too dirty (my shoes are filthy and it's still relatively pristine).

The tires are also notably impressive, with a puncture-proof rubber build, and are futuristically built to add to the unique look of the Unagi. Even the kickstand looks like it's straight out of sci-fi movie, and it works as well as it looks (although it will scratch the paint off of your car if you're not careful).

Perhaps the most attractive feature of the Unagi's design though is the handlebar-mounted dashboard (pictured here). We'll delve deeper into how the interface of this dashboard works, but from a simple design standpoint, it truly takes the Unagi's futuristic feel to the next level. With a smooth, seamless build into the rest of the frame and a crystal clear display, you'll immediately notice the difference on your first ride. Plus, with a big in-laid button to activate a flush-mounted 47 lumen LED front light, functionality and fashion are truly combined in this small piece of technology.

Performance

When you're paying this much for a personal electric scooter, you better believe it's going to be reflected in the performance. The Unagi isn't going to top out at outrageously high speeds (15.5 mph, which let's be honest, is plenty fast) and it's going to have trouble going up hills, particularly if you get the E250 single motor model (the model we tested). However, if you're looking for a safe, well-built scooter that can move beautifully, this is it.

For one, the Unagi nearly half as heavy as ride share models, coming in at a mere 19.8 lbs (22.5 lbs for the E450 Dual Motor model) , as opposed to the standard 40 lbs of Bird and Lime. Combined with the thin but sturdy tires, the Unagi boasts a certain agility that you simple can't find in other scooters. Additionally, as I found out during my time with it, the Unagi is light enough to jump off of curbs without harming the device or snapping your dainty wrists.

As far as battery life is concerned, the Unagi is pretty impressive. On a bit less than a full charge, I was able to travel a little more than 6 miles before the battery whimpered to a crawl. Uniquely enough, the battery refused to completely die, allowing me to travel a few extra yards at 13mph, 11mph, 9mph, and eventually 2mph, which means that when you're pushing the Unagi after the battery dies, you're still getting a bit of help. Fortunately, you'll only need to charge it for about 5 hours to get it back to full battery.

If you're just as concerned about braking as you are about accelerating, you're in luck. The Unagi doesn't feature an old-school bike brake like some ride share models, but rather an electric brake mounted in the same fashion as the accelerator on the opposite side. It won't stop on a dime, but used in tandem with the back wheel brake, you should be able to avoid any serious accidents without a second's thought.

Interface

Unagi Scooter Dashboard

The interface of the Unagi is what really makes it stand out amongst any and all competitors, ride sharing or not. It allows for a unique, customizable experience depending on what type of rider you are and, simply put, how fast you want to go. It's perfect for honest riders committed to safety, and for over-ambitious riders that needs to kept in check when they go for a ride.

This customizability comes in the form of the Unagi's ability to set up your scooter with various speed modes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Each one is denoted by a 1, 2, or 3 on the dashboard and comes with adjusted acceleration and limited top speeds (9 mph for beginner, 12 mph for intermediate, and 15.5 mph for advanced). The speed modes can be adjusted by double clicking the the small plastic button just above the accelerator, so you won't have to worry about you, or anyone you let try it, flying over the Unagi handlebars.

Again, for our safety buffs, the Unagi does come equipped with a horn that can alert others to your presence on the road. Found in the same location as the speed mode button on the opposite side of the handlebars, the small plastic button will emit a loud beep that should keep pedestrians and drivers out of your way.

Portability and Practicality

The Kickstarter behind the Unagi, and the subsequent marketing that has followed it to launch, has boasted about the electric scooter's portability, and for good reason. The Unagi has an incredibly simple, single-lever hinge system that allows the scooter to be easily folded and unfolded in a matter of seconds. Plus, at only 19.8 pounds (22.5 pounds for the E450 Dual Motor model), picking up and carrying the Unagi is hardly a Herculean task.

Unagi Scooter Frame

However, it's not nearly as easy as advertising would make it seem. Particularly given the awkward shape of any folded up personal scooter, lugging a nearly 20 pound weight to bus stations, retail shops, office setting and pretty much anywhere else is not just uncomfortable, but also a bit inconvenient, particularly considering the bevy of other, simpler options at your fingertips. And that's the one main problem with the Unagi: practicality.

The reality is that having to be responsible for your own personal electric scooter — particularly one with this high of a price tag — is an unnecessary burden. With more and more cities adding ride share e-scooter programs on a consistent basis, the undeniable convenience of leaving a scooter on the side of the road and forgetting about it dramatically trumps the stress of lugging around your own device and finding a suitable hiding spot in the office, bar, or home you've traveled to. Even if you were to consider locking up your Unagi like a bike outside of any given establishment, the notably luxurious appearance of the Unagi make it a prime target for theft.

To make matters worse, electric scooters are having their own taboo moment in the sun, with ride share programs drawing ire from bikers and pedestrians alike. This makes carrying one into your office, your favorite restaurant, or even a friend's home a potentially awkward interaction with someone that's possibly signed petition calling for the immediate destruction of all electric scooters. Suffice to say, scooter shame is real, and you'll have to get over it before you can consistently take the Unagi out for a spin.

Editors note: These are not problems with the Unagi scooter, but rather personal electric scooters as a whole.

The Verdict: Should You Buy an Unagi Scooter?

If you've been doing your bicep curls, can get over scooter shame, and have the budget for an $800+ dollar electric scooter, Unagi is undeniably your number one option on the market. Yes, some scooters are cheaper, go faster, and transport easier. But if you're looking for an all-around great e-scooter that performs more than impressively in all those categories, you won't find anything better than the Unagi.

Simply put, the sleek, stylish build, the stellar performance, the intuitive interface, and the relative portability (particularly compared to the rest of the industry) make the Unagi objectively the best e-scooter that (a lot of) money can buy.

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