My boys are really into skateboarding and cycling, and I thought the Leray self-balancing scooter would bring them the best of both worlds. They are fairly pricy at $499 on Amazon.com, so we could only afford to buy one. I figured that the boys would have fun taking turns. These little gizmos are scooters without handles. The rider uses his or her balance to cruise down the pavement.
They come in a variety of flashy colors and designs, and we chose a fire-engine red one. It came with a 100-240v AC charger for the battery. My sons are teenagers and did not have any problem carrying the 29lb. scooter in one hand. It may be problematic for younger kids. I liked that the tires were solid rubber and we did not have to worry about flats like on a bicycle. The construction of the scooter was sturdy and seemed to have quality workmanship. We read through the instruction manual included and let the unit charge for the recommended hour.
According to the manual, there are two motors under each foot pad that are sensitive to pressure, and they are connected to the horizontal axis of the wheels. The scooter moves forward when you put both feet on the foot pads. As a safety feature, the motor will just rattle and the unit will not move if only one foot is applied. Each of the motors produce a purple light when they are engaged, and the boys thought that was pretty cool. When you turn, the motor light on the turning side will blink.
It took us a little while to get the hang of riding on the scooter. The manual said that the maximum weight allowance for the unit is 220lb, so I was able to join in the fun. The speed is controlled by where you apply pressure on the foot pads. Light pressure from your toes on top makes you go faster and pressing down with your heels make you go slower or makes you stop.
It takes a little trick of balance to make the scooter turn. We practiced in the garage so we would have a shelf to grab in case we fell. The boys learned to maneuver it pretty quickly. I, on the other hand, was awkward and fell off a few times. The trickiest part for me was learning how to stop. I fell backwards several times and fortunately, the guys caught me. It reminded me a lot of learning how to roller skate, except this is doing it with motors.
The maximum speed is about 14mph, which is fine with me. I do not want to jeopardize my kids’ safety. The motor will not allow the scooter to go any faster downhill than its limits. It goes on the sidewalk and streets very well. It did not ride well in our grass and was not cut out for our gravel driveway. I definitely recommend wearing a helmet and other protective gear, because it is easy to fall of the unit; especially when you are trying to turn or stop.
By the end of the afternoon, the scooter was ready to be recharged. I figured that we had been playing on it for approximately four hours. Within another hour, it was fully charged and was ready for the boys the next day. They are having fun on it and it really did not cost more than a quality bicycle. I make sure that they wear their safety equipment at all times and that they only ride in safe, designated areas away from traffic and pedestrians. The Leray self-balancing scooter is a fun toy that just has to be used safely. I would only recommend it for older kids and adults.