Bluetran Lightning Review: A Heavyweight-Class Electric Scooter
In the month I’ve been testing the Bluetran Lightning, I’ve had to charge it only once. Once. That was after about 40 miles’ worth of trips (at various sub–30-mph speeds). This electric kick scooter never failed going up steep hills, its hydraulic brakes are fantastic, and its suspension feels like a magic carpet ride. It’s a whole new world.
Well, sort of. The only other escooter I’ve tried that can match this performance is the MiniMotors Dualtron Victor. Fun fact: Bluetran is a new subbrand from MiniMotors, so they’re effectively made by the same company. They feel very much the same, and both start at the ungodly price of $2,699. I tried the priciest version ($3,099), which has an LG battery that packs a larger capacity for extended range.
Anytime I rave about an electric scooter’s awesome power and range, I immediately have to qualify my enthusiasm because of two major factors: weight and … the law.
First off, this escooter is an insane 88 pounds, 15 more than the Dualtron Victor. It required barely any setup, but I darn-nearly threw out my back getting it out of the box. (I recommend putting the box on its side, taking out the Styrofoam, and rolling it out. Also, give your delivery driver some cookies.)
This weight impacts everything. I’m moving to a new apartment with a flight of stairs, and there’s no way I’m going to regularly take this vehicle up and down narrow steps. Forget hopping on public transportation in case you ever find yourself in rain or have a dead battery—unless lifting 88 pounds sounds like nothing to you. (You can fold down the stem and lock it to the deck for “easier” carrying.)
Then there are local speed laws. The Bluetran Lightning can hit up to 47 miles per hour. I don’t recommend it. It’s illegal in most cities and states, and just too darn fast. You’re basically a wizard on a broomstick, except at least they have weird potions and spells to mend or regrow bones. Like any car, make sure you follow local speed laws and you’ll get even more range than I did. (I mostly rode deep in Brooklyn on empty streets to test speed, handling, and braking.)
On its default settings, the Lightning was generally too fast for me. The 5,040-watt dual-hub motor kicks off so hard your body will lurch backward (it has even more power than the Victor). But there’s a solution: Go into the scooter’s settings via the display on the handlebar and you can tweak its performance. I cut the output down by 50 percent and it was still fast but much more manageable. (These settings are listed in the manual.) There are three gears on the scooter, and after I tweaked the settings, gear 1 now effectively goes around 15 miles per hour, which is the legal limit here in New York City.