Unagi Model One Electric Scooter Review
Born on Kickstarter, the Unagi Model One electric scooter is hard to ignore. It has a unique construction, good range and speed, and great braking system. The company put thought into every part of the scooter, from the motor to the handlebar to the kickstand. If you have the budget for it, this is a high-end scooter to investigate.
Range and speed
The Unagi Model One has two versions: the E250 and the E450. The E250 is the more affordable model. It has a 250-watt front wheel motor and LG battery cells. The E450 also has excellent batteries, but it has two motors: a 200-watt motor in the front and 250 watts motor in the back.
With the single motor, you can get up 6-degree hills, while the E450 boosts the scooter’s power to 15-degree inclines. In terms of speed and range, it looks like both versions can get you up to 15.5 mph, and a 15.5-mile range. To get that top range, you’ll have to ride slower.
Speaking of riding slower, the Unagi Model One has three riding modes: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. These will control your top speed and acceleration, so if you’re new to scooters, start with the beginner mode at 9 mph to get comfortable.
The intermediate is 12 mph, while the advanced mode unlocks the top 15.5 mph. You control the modes on the scooter’s dashboard, where you can also see battery level, speed, distance traveled, and turn the headlight on or off.
If you have the dual motor model, you can turn the second motor on or off from the dashboard, too.
Braking on a scooter is often jerky. Unagi has tried to address that and uses dual electronic anti-lock brakes.
On both the accelerator and brakes, there’s variability, so as you push down further, the response increases. That means if you gently push the brake, stopping will be pretty gentle.
The Model One has a really impressive construction. The company highlights the handlebar, which is a lightweight magnesium alloy. The throttle, brake, horn, and headlight are all built in. The deck is made from one piece of machined aluminum.
It has embedded silicone on the top for better traction. At 22-24 pounds (depending on the specific model), the scooter is on the lighter side. It can hold up to 220 pounds. To fold the scooter, you just push a button, and it folds up using a stainless-steel hinge system.
What about the tires? They’re 7.5-inches and solid rubber, so they’re puncture-proof.
Since solid rubber tires often result in bumpy riding, Unagi has built-in air pockets that spread around the wheel, essentially creating shock absorption. The last little construction note: the kickstand was designed in-house and is sleek and sturdy.
The main safety feature on the Model One scooters is the monitoring system for the motor. Since overheating is a common problem, the system checks for that.
We couldn’t find anything about UL certification, however. Lighting is also important for rider safety. The Unagis have an LED front light and red rear LED light. The horn is another useful feature.
Unagi will let you try a scooter for 30 days, and if you don’t like it, you can return it for free. Their warranties are excellent. There’s a lifetime warranty for the frame, a 2-year (or 500 cycles) warranty for the battery, 2-year warranty for the electronics, and a 1-year warranty for the parts.
It’s also worth noting that on their website, there’s a handy quick start guide, where you can read about the components, assembly, folding, dashboard, and more.
Unagi got their start on Kickstarter, so they have a lot of experience directly communicating with customers.
There’s really very little to complain about with the Unagi Model One scooters. The price is probably the main one since it is a pretty expensive scooter.
For that price, we would expect a better range and speed, especially since there are comparably-priced scooters out there with better specs. If you really want a long range or zooming speeds, you might want to look elsewhere.
The fact that it was a Kickstarter project and fairly new might also give some customers pause, but this isn’t the story of a popular project that never got off the ground. People are buying and actually using Unagi Model Ones right now.
Who should buy the Unagi Model One?
A common description of the Unagi Model One scooters is that these are scooters for grown-ups. With such solid, thoughtful construction and attention to detail, these are scooters meant to last a long time and keep performing.
That’s what you’re paying for. If you want a scooter that’s more than just a fun way to sometimes get around your city or neighborhood, you’ll love the Unagi. If you’re serious about electric scooters, the Unagi holds up.
We’re giving the Unagi Model One scooters a 4.5 out of 5. Why the half-star deduction? The price. Even the more affordable one, the single motor E250, is almost $900 before shipping.
That’s a prohibitive cost for a lot of people, and the speed and range just aren’t quite worth laying down that much cash if you’re on the fence.
However, we’re really impressed with all the Unagi features, including the construction, motor system, and warranty. It’s a sleek, stylish scooter great for commuting or exploring, and customers really seem to love it.
If you’re interested in seeing how the Unagi Model One compares to other units, head over to our best electric scooters guide now. It also made the list of the Best Electric Scooters for Kids in 2020.