CityRider Review: 10 Things You Need to Know (December 2021) Leave a comment

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Design

Handlebars

The CityRider sports slim, straight handlebars coated in rubber at the ends for grip. While they don’t fold – like other models of the CityRider’s ilk – this pays off in the enhanced stability and sturdiness that the handlebars provide. While the thumb throttle and brake lever are ergonomically positioned for comfort, the grips are reverse-threaded, meaning they don’t come loose mid-ride.

Adding to the CityRider’s sense of uniformity and design is its centered LCD display, which is embedded into the handlebars. The screen flashes up your speed and riding mode (for more detailed insights, you’ll need to head to the app), while conveniently-placed buttons on each side of the display offer the additional functionality of turning the turn signals and lights on.

Frame

In an electric scooter industry that’s full of big names and bombastic branding, it’s refreshing to see the CityRider adopting a quieter, more understated look and feel.

Composed of a flowing, tubular stem design, the CityRider eschews hard edges and straight lines for a curved, tapered aesthetic. With its wooden, grip tape-clad deck, the CityRider also borrows heavily from the world of skateboarding, while its rear foot brake and straight handlebars hearken back to the retro scooters of yore.

I also love the noticeable lack of logos and branding, which offers a welcome injection of class and humility. The CityRider doesn’t need to show off – it lets its specs do the talking.

Deck

With its wooden, grip tape-coated deck, the CityRider shows it’s not afraid to break from traditional styling and incorporate elements from contrasting design schools and styles.

Here, the CityRider’s slim, tapered deck – reminiscent of a skateboard – offers plenty to admire. It’s clean, cool, and since no contraptions are hogging valuable real estate, it offers enough room to place your feet in an “L” position.

Wheels

The CityRider sports a pair of 8.5-inch solid honeycomb tires.

Now I have to say, my feelings about these are mixed. While this type of tire is never going to provide the same level of shock absorption (and therefore ride quality) as its pneumatic counterpart, the honeycomb design does offer some benefits.

Built to emulate the brilliant blueprints of the bumblebees, honeycomb tires offer several positives, including being immune to punctures, which makes them low maintenance. They’re also designed to offer some insulation from the shocks and vibrations of the road – though again, this isn’t comparable to what you get with air-filled tires.

Finally, it’s also worth mentioning that, at 8.5 inches, the wheels have a smaller profile than those of its most fierce competitors, such as the Apollo Air Po, Turboant X7 Pro, and M10. Being 1.5 inches larger and filled with air, they mold to the ground more effectively meaning an increased contact patch with the ground for heightened traction when carving and braking. These tires ultimately make all three scooters more agile, nimble, and shock absorptive.

Build Quality & Durability

The CityRider shares a similar niche to the Apollo Air models, in that it’s not only cheap but extremely well-built.

After all, Fluid Free Ride – though it’s a name we associate with selling the industry’s top models, rather than producing its own scooters – is one of the most reputable retailers in the industry. It makes sense, then, that they’d produce a scooter of the highest quality – and they have.

The CityRider is made of sturdy steel with hard-wearing rubber for the handgrips and reinforced plastic for its rear fender/foot brake. I can’t fault it from a durability perspective.

From the build quality side of things, our only gripe comes down to the lack of a water-resistance rating. While it should be able to withstand light rain, the CityRider (unlike some rivals, such as the Apollo Air Pro) comes with no formal IP credentials. Considering water damage will void the warranty policy, it’s best to stay indoors when it’s wet out.

Still, there’s plenty of other stuff to love. The folding mechanism is secure and user-friendly, and there’s zero stem wobble. The solid tires are puncture-proof, and maintenance-free, too. Oh, and on top of all this, Fluid Free Ride has recently made improvements to the CityRider. Its formerly 300W motor received an upgrade to 350W, while its erstwhile 7.5Ah battery has been juiced up to a longer-lasting 10Ah.

Weight & Load

At just 28 lbs, it’s the perfect scooter for commuters. It’s comfortably light enough to use as part of a full or last-mile weekday journey, but not so light that it compromises on features or specs.

In fact, the CityRider is lighter than all the scooters I recommend as alternatives. Sometimes, that’s by a lot – the CityRider is a whole 12 lbs lighter than the comparatively bulky Horizon 10.4, for example.

Of course, lighter scooters typically come with modest payloads, which makes sense – the less a scooter weighs, the less weight it can support.

However, the CityRider isn’t content to play by the rules of such elementary physics. Supporting a maximum rider bulk of 265 lbs, its load-bearing capacities are surprisingly impressive. The Cityrider trump that of close rivals, the Turboant M10 and Apollo Air Pro, and is on a par with an array of higher-spec models, including those in the INOKIM, Manti, and Dualtron lines.

Yet, while the CityRider supports up to 265 lbs, I’m reluctant to recommend it for riders over 200 lbs. The heavier the load, the more this scooter will struggle for speed and power – particularly when going up gradients. For a full roundup of scooters built for heavier riders, check out my full list.

Folding & Portability

It folds quickly and easily at the base of the stem, via a straightforward locking lever and plastic collar that wraps around the folding mechanism when locked into place.

You simply push the small red ‘buckle’ in the center of the lever to release it, then unfasten it by pulling it down, and finish by folding the stem. Once the stem is parallel to the deck, there’s a small hook located on the handlebars that loops into a latch on the rear foot brake. This helps ensure the scooter remains folded in one piece whilst you’re on the move, making it easier to lift, store, and travel with on public transport.

It is worth noting though, that although the stem has a tapered design, it is fairly thick and not easy to lift if you have small hands.

Assembly

Like most budget models, one of the benefits of the CityRider is its simplistic design. There are no fiddly, finicky elements or tricky components – everything’s intuitive.

There are just a few simple steps to get the CityRider ready to ride.

First, screw the handgrips into either side of the handlebar post while making sure that the brake is positioned on the left side. It’s important to remember that the grips are reverse-threaded so make sure you screw each one into the correct side.

Secondly, fasten the brake lever into a comfortable position. Generally, I find that pointing the lever down at a slight angle makes for the most enjoyable riding experience.

Thirdly, charge the battery, grab your helmet, and you’re ready to ride.

Ride Quality

Is the CityRider Comfortable to Ride?

While the CityRider performs well above its price bracket in almost all categories pertaining to build quality and specs, its lack of suspension serves as a stark reminder that – sometimes – you get what you pay for.

Of course, the CityRider’s absence of suspension that we see on models like the Apollo Air and Air Pro is exacerbated by its solid tires. Unlike the Turboant X7 Pro and M10 – which offset their dearth of conventional suspension with shock-absorbing pneumatic tires – the CityRider offers neither. Consequently, it’s not able to compete with the majority of its closest rivals when it comes to plush ride quality.

However, where the solid tires are concerned, it performs to the same standards as the rest of the scooters that share this attribute. For instance, I tested the CityRider alongside the Hiboy S2 Pro and Unagi Model One – both of which also have solid tires – and found no discernable differences between the three. In this light, especially when we consider the “superior” design of Unagi’s air-pocketed solid tires, the Cityrider performs well against similar models.

Aside from the tires, the CityRider’s hand grips stay firm while you’re riding, and the thumb throttle and brake lever are smooth. The scooter’s controls are also positioned for maximum convenience, while its feathery weight and compact, collapsible frame make it easy to remain nimble.

Performance & Safety

Top Speed

While the CityRider has a strong skill set, speed isn’t at the top of the list. It maxes out at 18 mph – so let’s take a look at how that compares to the competition.

Speed vs Price Comparison

When we analyze the CityRider alongside the 20 comparable models in its price class ($249-$749), the scooter’s average top speed credentials are laid bare. The CityRider languishes in mid-table, sharing its 18 mph maximum pace with the Apollo Air Pro – the best-built scooter for riders on a budget.

Dominating the rankings here is the 25 mph top speed of the Horizon 10.4, which is 39% faster than the CityRider. Of course, it was never going to be a close contest here – the Horizon’s 500W 48V motor comfortably outstrips its 350W 36V counterpart on the CityRider, while the 10.4’s nominal power output outclasses the CityRider’s by a damning 43%.

Closing up those vaunted podium positions are the 20 mph speeds of the GoTrax G4 and a couple of Turboant models, respectively: the M10 and X7 Pro. While all of these are excellent options, the X7 Pro – with 30 miles of range – offers the most longevity, and comes with a handy detachable battery pack to boot.

Alternatively, the M10 is a great pick if you want to save a few bucks – at $450, it’s the cheapest of the lot. That doesn’t mean you’ll be sacrificing power, though – the M10 comes with a punchy 36V 350W rear-mounted motor which makes it the second-fastest accelerator of the bunch. But more on that shortly.

Speed vs Weight Comparison

This time, let’s take the 16 models in the fluid CityRider’s weight bracket (that is, all the scooters that sit within 5 lbs on either side of its 28 lbs weight).

Despite the change in the metric of comparison, the CityRider again winds up floundering in mid-table anonymity. This time, it’s the INOKIM Light 2 that tops the rankings, and for good reason. Thanks to its ultra-compact frame – made possible by its folding handlebars, telescopic stem, and slim 30 lbs profile – the Light 2 is exceptionally good for city riders. Light by name, light by nature.

Snapping at the Light 2’s heels are four 20 mph models – two from Unagi, and two from Turboant.

Of the lot, it’s the Model One E500’s motors that have the biggest peak output (1000W) and, therefore, the fastest acceleration rate. Plus, the E500’s pair of 250W motors make it the only dual-motor scooter in the lineup (the E250, for comparison, has just a single 250W motor), so it has a natural advantage here.

Elsewhere, the Turboant models at the summit of these rankings both have the same size motor – and voltage – as the CityRider. However, dig deeper and we see that the M10 is the fastest of the bunch. This is thanks to its rear-wheel-drive (the X7 Pro’s motor, by contrast, is mounted in the front). It’s also worth noting that, unlike the CityRider, both Turboant models have air-filled – rather than solid – tires, as well as wheel profiles that are a full 1.5 inches bigger than the CityRider.

Through this lens, then, the M10 isn’t just faster than the CityRider but it provides superior ride quality, and for $49 less, it’s the best pick if you’re looking to save money.

For more info, check out my review of the Turboant M10.

Acceleration

When ranked alongside all the scooters I recommend as alternatives, the CityRider’s acceleration rate places joint-last.

Killing it at the apex of the rankings is the Horizon 10.4, which can reach 15 mph in just 4.7 seconds – a scintillating 2.6 seconds (or 37%) faster than the CityRider.

So what’s the reasoning for the CityRider’s slower performance here? Well, there’s a key factor at play.

Namely, that’s the issue of the CityRider’s front-mounted motor, which naturally affords it a slower acceleration rate than its rivals that flaunt rear-mounted motors. For evidence, look no further than the Turboant X7 Pro, whose front-mounted motor means it shares last place with the CityRider in the acceleration stakes.

The impact of front motor positioning is so big, in fact, that, on average, it results in an acceleration rate that’s over a fifth (22%) slower than scooters with their motors in the rear. This is why the Apollo Air Pro and M10 – despite having motors of equal strength to the CityRider – both manage to outpace it for acceleration.

Maximum Mileage

The CityRider is made for relatively short, simple A to B commutes – not lengthy inter-city rides. Hence, it sports a modest 15-mile range. But how does that stack up against its closest rivals in the price and weight departments?

Mileage vs Price Comparison

To find out, let’s revisit the $249-$749 price bracket we established earlier, and the 20 models that occupy it.

As the table demonstrates, the CityRider’s 18-mile range places it towards the tail end of the pack, with only three scooters – the Ninebot E22, the Apollo Air, and the Hiboy S2 Lite – performing worse.

While this doesn’t look too good for the CityRider on paper, it’s worth mentioning that this is one of the few scooters of its ilk that doesn’t rely on bloated mileage figures in its marketing. Instead, Fluid Free Ride has cut out the fluff and tells you straight up what you can expect from the CityRider. So, despite its ignominious placing in the rankings, it’s likely the CityRider would fare far better in a more ‘honest’ assessment of these scooters’ distance credentials.

For instance, the Turboant X7 Pro (which, with a manufacturer-stated range of 30 miles, is double that of the CityRider) is actually only capable of around 14-16 miles in practice. This is on par with the CityRider – despite the two scooters occupying opposite ends of the table. However, it’s worth noting that, of the two, the X7 Pro will be more suitable for longer distances, thanks to its removable battery that you can swap out for a new one to double your range, and enhanced ride experience as a result of its plush 10-inch air-filled tires.

So which scooters come out smelling of roses? Well, if we discount the Turboant X7 Pro’s inflated figure, the GoTrax G4 and Hiboy S2 Pro are the next best contenders, with ranges of an impressive 25 miles apiece. However, long rides aren’t just about the amount of range on offer, but the levels of comfort you can expect.

For this reason, I’d lean toward the Apollo Air Pro as my top pick here. Blending a real-world range of 18 miles with a dual-pronged fork suspension that flanks either side of the front wheel for maximum cushioning, the Air Pro is a supremely comfortable ride.

Mileage vs Weight Comparison

Things don’t get any better for the CityRider when we compare its mileage to the other 15 models in its weight class. Again, it’s the caveated 30-mile range of the Turboant X7 Pro that comes out on top, with the INOKIM Light 2 and GoTrax XR Elite making up the rest of the podium positions.

Hill Climbing

Small, single motor scooters always tend to struggle up hills, and the CityRider is no exception.

While it’s rated at a manufactured-quoted 15 degrees, this type of incline can only truly be scaled by scooters that have motors that are almost triple the size.

Under realistic conditions, it can handle hills with a 15% incline rate (equiv. to 8.5 degrees), not 15 degrees. This means it’s good for gentle inclines, but where possible, I recommend sticking to the flats.

Shock Absorption / Suspension

One of the main drawbacks of the CityRider is its lack of shock absorption.

Lack of suspension is nothing new, of course. Many models in the CityRider’s class – such as the Turboant M10 and X7 Pro – don’t offer any ‘traditional’ forms of suspension, like swingarms or springs. However, those models do have air-filled tires, which provide an initial layer of insulation against bumps, potholes, and cracks in the ground.

Here’s where the CityRider’s solid tires let it down. With none of the leeway that air-filled tires afford – and no conventional suspension to speak of – the CityRider isn’t the most comfortable scooter on the shelves. For a vastly superior ride experience, you’re better off biting the bullet and paying $300 more for the Apollo Air Pro. Its pairing of pneumatic 10-inch tires with dual fork front suspension gives it best in class ride quality, and trust me – you’ll notice the difference.

Braking

85% of scooters in the CityRider’s price class rely on a single mechanical brake, and the Cityrider is included in this.

It comes with a rear drum brake – controlled by a hand-operated lever – that’s supported by a foot brake over the rear wheel. There’s also an electric regenerative brake over the front – a handy feature that feeds wasted energy from the stopping process back into the battery to prolong ride time.

In fact, the placement of the regenerative brake at the front – and drum at the rear – represents a savvy piece of engineering. Many budget scooters, by contrast, tend to concentrate all the braking power over one wheel, which can result in an imbalance of stopping power. As you can imagine, I love the equilibrium the CityRider’s braking setup provides.

From 15 mph, the brakes bring you to a stop in 5.1 meters. While this is perfectly reasonable for a scooter of its size and specs, you can find superior stopping power elsewhere. The Apollo Air Pro, for instance, comes to a stop in just 3.5 meters – a 31% improvement over what the CityRider is capable of. While the Air Pro utilizes a single drum brake, it draws better stopping power due to its placement over the front wheel, rather than the rear (as is the case with the CityRider).

Charge Time

The charging port, which is located on the neck of the scooter – rather than on top or side of the deck – doesn’t get in your way while you’re riding.

Plugging the charger into the port takes around 4-6 hours for it to juice up to the 360Wh battery.

Display

The CityRider’s slick, simple, and stripped-back design is exemplified by its central display. Built into the top of its tubular stem, the LCD screen showcases your speed in glowing blue nixie tubes that are always easy to read – even in direct sunlight.

Four buttons – set subtly alongside the display – allow you to activate your turn signals and headlights, as well as turn the scooter on. There’s also a button that allows you to toggle between the scooter’s riding modes: ‘Comfort’ (which caps your speed at around 9 mph) and ‘Sport’.

While the amount you can do with these buttons is quite limited by the CityRider’s minimal, uncomplicated design, you’ll unlock a whole new layer of customization through the dedicated mobile app that the CityRider pairs with.

Dedicated Android/iOS App

Pairing the CityRider with the MiniRobot mobile app – which is available on both Android and iOS, and can be downloaded for free from app marketplaces – unleashes a new realm of personalization.

From the app, you can enable (and customize) the cruise control function, specify the unit your speed is displayed in (mph or km) and set the top speed of your scooter’s riding modes. You’ll also get a complete breakdown of your CityRider’s technical and ride statistics, at your fingertips.

Headlight, Tail light, and Turn Signals

The CityRider’s lighting setup belies its affordable pricing point.

With a high-mounted headlight, responsive rear tail light, and surprisingly effective turn signals, the LED package goes toe to toe with scooters well beyond its modest price tag.

The CityRider’s lights look good, too. Its headlight is set in a triangular casing forged into the front of the stem, while the tail light (which lights up when you brake) is embedded aerodynamically into the scooter’s rear fender. What’s more, the CityRider sports lateral reflectors, giving you an extra touch of visibility when riding at night.

But the real piece de resistance here is the brilliance of the integrated turn signals. Located low on the rear of the scooter (rather than the sides, as we see on other, less well-designed models), the turn signals are easy to spot at night – though not quite as effective during the day.

Plus, the CityRider isn’t only the cheapest scooter to boast turn signals but also executes them better than most other scooters on the market – regardless of price. That’s because the signals blink for nine seconds, then shut off automatically. This helps you avoid inadvertently leaving the signals on; saving both your battery and you from public embarrassment.

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