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Scooting in Style

March 29, 2001|JON HEALEY

For almost any transportation mission you can think of, a scooter is not the right tool for the job. It's all about style, not speed or ease, and how stylish can you be when you're kicking the sidewalk for power?

Unless, of course, you strap a motor onto that bad boy.

The leading maker of kick-powered scooters, Razor, plans to start shipping an electric-powered model next month with a 10-mile range and a top speed of 10 mph. Its best feature may be its price: At $329, the aluminum E costs half as much as most of its motorized competitors.

Other nice touches include a long, adjustable handlebar and wide riding board to accommodate adult riders, a handlebar-mounted brake and a relatively speedy charger.

On the down side, the scooter jitters and clatters on rough surfaces despite its inflatable rubber wheels. The throttle is a blunt instrument, making it hard to slow down smoothly as you're approaching turns. And its engine surrenders in the face of a steep hill, forcing riders to hop off and disengage the motor so they can roll more freely uphill.

Falling off at top speed is no picnic either.

Still, the E is hard to resist as a recreational way to get around the neighborhood--or the office. Just be sure to bring a lock.

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