If you’re living in a neighborhood on the top of a hill/mountain (the view must be nice btw) and you’re thinking about investing in a kick scooter, you’ve certainly asked yourself whether it’ll be able to go uphill on the way home. Short answer: yes, of course you can !
However, you’ll need to get yourself acquainted with the right technique in order to achieve your goal. Keep reading what will follow if you want to know more details about it !
How to ride a kick scooter uphill?
Riding a kick scooter on steep hills is a very good exercise, even though it is physically demanding. But we’re here to help you!
To be able to do so, you’ll need to use the same kicking technique you usually rely upon on straight terrain, but with different thrusting frequency. You’ll indeed want to use small and frequent kicks. In order to manage fatigue, do not hesitate to change your kicking leg every few thrusts (three is a good number) and avoid putting too much effort in your thrusts. Make sure to keep your pushing leg straight by placing it in front of your supporting leg (a distance of one foot is recommended), keep pushing until you reach a distance of about one foot behind your supporting leg.
During your climb, we highly suggest using non-slippery (and comfortable) shoes.
All you need to ride your scooter downhill
Going downhill on a kick scooter is easier than going uphill mostly because you’ll need much less physical effort. Nonetheless, you’ll need to be twice more careful downhill.
As a matter of fact, most people associate a physical task’s difficulty to the physical effort required and let down their guard, that’s when most accidents occur.
We highly recommend checking your kick scooter before every use and especially when traveling downhill (safety first!):
- Your braking system: whether handbrake or back wheel brake, make sure it’s in a good working condition
- Check the height of your handlebar and that the handlebar in not loose
- Check the tightness of quick release levers, nuts and bolts
Now let’s move to serious matters!
Make sure not to position your body weight too forward, this way you prevent your scooter from going out of balance, knowing that most of the force will go forward as gravity pulls you down. This tip is even more important when the hill is steeper.
When kicking is not necessary, many people switch to a position as if they were traveling on a skateboard with their feet pointing perpendicularly to the direction of travel. This way, it’s possible to ride in a more relaxed fashion and with a more aerodynamic body orientation!
Do not forget to keep your hands firmly on the handlebar and your fingers ready to pull the brake or your foot to push on the back wheel brake if your scooter is equipped with one. Keep your eyes on the road. And most of all, remember to have fun!
Can electric scooters go uphill?
Let’s go straight to the point: the answer wouldn’t entirely be yes, so let’s say you can go uphill under certain conditions!
To put things as simply as possible, and from a physics point of view, the ability of a scooter to move forward uphill is simply a matter of defeating weight and gravity for the most part at a given steepness.
Perhaps the most primary concern is the climb angle when it comes to going uphill with an e-scooter. Many cyclists experience the frustration of trying to climb a hill and having to dismount and walk as the only means to reach the finish line. Some electric scooters are not equipped to climb at a 10 degrees angle, whereas some more premium ones are even capable of traveling at a gradient of up to 30 degrees!
Power: motor and battery
When it comes to moving your scooter forward, torque is responsible for making your wheels rotate. This means that the more torque your scooter disposes of, the more capable it is to rotate its wheels against the forces hindering its progression uphill (mainly gravity and weight). And because torque depends directly on the power output of your scooter, this means that the more powerful your scooter is, the easier will the climb be.
Power output is measured in Watts (W). An e-scooter of 500W motor will be able to climb steeper hills than one with a motor of 250W, but keep in mind that more watts means more dollars as the motor and battery capacity need to be technically more capable.
Different materials are used in tires, from solid tires (full rubber, or polyurethane) to inflatable ones (pneumatic with inner tube), and they also come in different shapes and sizes, that’s why we recommend using grooved treaded tires with a bigger radius:
1- no matter what they say but size does matter and with larger tires you’ll be able to climb steep hills!
2- another important factor to be considered in tires in their grip: no matter how powerful your e-scooter is, with a tire lacking grip you won’t be able to push forward as your wheels will keep spinning!
Having a suspension system in your electric scooter will definitely help you make your ascents more efficiently. As a matter of fact, as you go uphill, your weight shifts gradually on the rear wheel as the incline increases, which will decrease performance. In worst case scenarios the scooter’s deck will be pushing against the wheel in question decreasing performance even further. The poor wheel will also be more subject to wear and tear and will need to be changed sooner.
Weight is by far the factor that contributes the most to your hill climb performance. Usually when an e-scooter is designed, the appropriate weight load is included on the product specifications and is considered one of the starting points on which development teams base their calculations and make a choice for the components of the scooter: the motor, the battery, the suspension system, the tires, etcetera. You should be careful when choosing an e-scooter especially if you live in an area with many hills. If your ride pains to support your weight on a flat surface then there’s a big chance it will struggle pushing forward when traveling uphill.