On April Fools’ Day, 2022, we published an article about Segway’s new 43 MPH scooter, which despite everything odd about that pairing was not an April Fools’ joke. The first comment on our Instagram page was, “I was just thinking of what I might like without teeth.” That’s exactly why I’ve steered clear of any open-air electric transportation device, and why my family and I ride Razor’s lightweight, kid-friendly, colorful kick scooters everywhere–half a mile to school, 2 miles to art class, and even 5 miles to our favorite ice cream spot.
And here I am, three weeks later, telling you I’ve changed my mind. Razor’s E Prime III is a reliable, cheap(er) electric scooter option if you’re not 2 Fast 2 Furious and don’t have to go more than about 7 miles away. I felt extremely safe riding this thing; safer than I’ve felt on a Lime or a Bird, which admittedly is the extent of my electric scooter riding experiences. I was pleasantly surprised that, given the $425 price (it’s got a $580 MSRP but is rarely sold for full price), there was no handlebar shaking or concerning deck rattling, an issue I consistently have with sidewalk rentals. And based on the head turns I got toting it around for weeks, its design is as timeless as the OG scooters the brand is known for.
The E Prime III has a few major caveats. The first being that you’ll need to mind the elements–wind and hilly terrain in particular. The resistance caused by wind and hills eats up the battery and affects speed significantly. Second, this scooter is for a short commute, and that’s going by the strictest possible definition of short. Razor claims the E Prime III lasts about 50 minutes and a maximum of 15 miles. That time limit is on par with my tests, though I was only able to go 9 miles before reaching an extremely low battery. Once the battery reaches about half capacity, the scooter slows down significantly from 18 MPH to about 12 MPH tops.
The first time I stepped on an electric scooter was in Santa Monica in 2018. It was a Bird, and like many folks, riding it was my first experience riding an electric scooter of any kind. I thought it was fun. I thought it was dangerous.
I wove between tourists. It felt like if I hit a bump the wrong way, anything could happen. The wiggle of the handlebars was anxiety-inducing. The clanking of the deck going over bumps was a constant reminder that I too could hit the pavement. I kept thinking “When was this last serviced, anyway?”
I didn’t feel any of that anxiety when hopping on the E Prime III. As a proud adult owner and active rider of Razor’s regular kick-scooters, it all felt very familiar. I felt almost as safe on the E Prime III as I do riding the kick scooter. At 24.2 pounds, its aluminum body is light enough that I could (if I needed to) toss it aside if I were in any real danger. I was able to lift the E Prime III up and over curbs with ease.
Acceleration on the Razor Prime III is thumb-activated and is a “slow and steady wins the race” experience. Razor offers two options for slowing down, a thumb-activated handlebar brake as well as a foot brake on the back wheel. The foot brake in particular is great for gradually coming to a stop from high speeds.
The 8-inch pneumatic front tire is a good shock absorber, and the tire is big enough that I know it can make it over larger cracks in the road. Minor bumps did not interfere with my grip on the handlebars. While I’m still cautious and hesitant to ride at night, the LED light on the front of the scooter, reflective decal on the rear, and brake-activated tail light helped me feel as safe as I could riding near cars at night.
There is an opening to lock this scooter with a bicycle lock or chain, though I did not feel comfortable locking this up in a public place to test it out.
Here’s where deciding whether to buy the E Prime III gets tricky. If you’re looking for a scooter to use on a long commute, this is not it. If you want to go fast for long periods of time, this is also not it. Now, if you’re still reading this after hearing that, here are a few more specifics about the battery.
Quick disclaimer, I wish I could be more precise, but unfortunately the E Prime III has no visual interface that shows speed. I used a speedometer app on my phone to calculate the speeds I mention below. This isn’t a dealbreaker for me personally, as I’m not looking to break any scooting-records, but it’s good to keep in mind if you’re putting the E Prime III up against another budget scooter in the $400-$500 range from TurboAnt, GoTrax or Segway.
The E Prime III has a 5-stage LED battery indicator; at full charge, three lights are blue, one is orange, and one is red. The battery takes 6 hours to charge. A nightly charge was absolutely necessary when I was using it daily.
On my first test ride, I went 7 miles on city terrain; a mix of sidewalks, poorly paved streets, and a couple stretches of slight inclines. The scooter blinked to one red light remaining as I walked up the steps to my apartment. The entire journey took me about 40 minutes, so this was on par with Razor’s claim that the device has up to 50 minutes of ride time.
On my second test ride, it was quite windy, so I chose a flat bike path for half of the ride. When I wasn’t on the bike path, I was navigating city sidewalks and waiting at stoplights. I went 8 miles total, which took me about 40 minutes. The battery dropped down to its last red light about 3 minutes before I arrived home. I decided to continue riding until battery depletion, so I went on a mile round-trip to the post office. The battery was completely drained by the time I got home. I used the opportunity to test the E Prime III out as a regular kick scooter. It was a hell-ish workout on my knees and using it without power is not a realistic option if you get stranded somewhere.
On both rides, the scooter hit its top speed of 18 MPH easily when the first two blue lights were on. As the battery decreased, the top speed also decreased. When the battery indicators were red, the scooter topped out at 12 MPH.
The E Prime III is a two screw setup job. The handlebars attach to the frame with a clamp that requires two screws, and an allen wrench to tighten them is included. It was very easy. You’ll also need to connect two wires for the accelerator and brake, a process that was extremely intuitive. All together, it took me under 5 minutes to assemble the scooter. Keep in mind, you’ll want to make sure the tire is filled up to 50 PSI before using it. I did this each time I rode, for the sake of accurate testing.
The scooter has a sturdy build, so collapsing it does take some strength. I only collapsed it to tuck it away in a corner at destinations with limited space, such as the dentist’s office. To collapse the scooter, turn the knob at the bottom of the frame all the way to the left, then pull the knob up as you pull the handlebars down. The process is smoothest when you have one hand pulling up on the knob and the other pulling down on the handlebar at the same time. It’s difficult and frustrating when your two hands aren’t working in tandem, a challenge I’ve had with Razor’s non-electric kick scooters as well. That said, I’ll take sturdiness over ease when it comes to portability.
I do not have a car, so riding this scooter to the grocery store, coffee shop, or food truck a couple blocks down the street was a delightful time. It’s so easy to maneuver and I felt 100% in control riding it over and around obstacles on the road. I even tried to convince my mom to ride it, though she did not oblige (or appreciate the request).
A lot of the cheaper electric scooters in the E Prime III’s price range ($425) are either heavier or max out at top speeds of 12-15 MPH. Segway’s Ninebot Kickscooter ES1L, for example, costs $489 and has a top speed of 12MPH. GoTrax’s XR Ultra ($449) has a top speed of 15 MPH. Turbo Ant’s M10 ($449) weighs just about 30lb. HiBoy’s S2 is $424 and weighs just about 32lb.
If you’re looking for a light, relatively fast scooter to sprint 2-3 miles at 18 MPH, this is a standout option. As someone who was just weeks ago apprehensive to get on the electric scooter bandwagon, this was a reassuring entry point. Short commutes are best for this budget pick; I’d recommend 7 miles roundtrip, tops. Spend a couple hundred dollars more on a scooter that can go faster for longer if you have a long commute.