Thursday, 13 June 2019

Mercane Wide Wheel eScooter (the "Cadillac" of electric scooters)

I decided that while going under 2Km on relatively level grounds that my Evo kick scooter was fine, but that when going further afield all that kicking was getting old (like me). What I needed was a bit more assist (read some power) because I'm not getting younger (and nor are my knees) and lets give hills a mention too.

I've of course seen many of the eScooters around (hello Lime) but having some amount of experience with scooters (starting 10 years ago) I know that bigger wheels means better wheels.

Now while the little Evo I bought (mentioned in my previous post here) is doing the job (with those crap bearings replaced) its still a little restricted and probably a little unsafe (brakes aren't that effective, and from experience worthless if any water (from rain, a puddle or snow) is on the wheel. The Mercane solves a lot of this.

Closer look

When looking at the options the Mercane came up in my searching and it looked quite the good item, well made and effective.

Its not till you actually see one in the flesh that you go WoW

Now there's plenty of images on the net to look at (and I'll add something from the Mercane site at the end) but I thought for my first post on this scooter I'd just show you some images which I hope will put in perspective how this thing is a entry into Electric Vehicle not a borderline toy.

So for those who are considering this as a commuter (and may have some experience with the sorts scooters on the market),this is it beside my Evo. Both have about the same diameter wheels, however the Evo is under 4kg (and an easy carry) while the Wide Wheel is about 17kg and a bit of a heft.


This heft (and the wheels and the suspension) translates the Mercan from "a twitchy thing" into "a confident stable ride".

Storage

Back in the office (or in your flat) the little Evo tucks nicely under a desk (or in a closet) but the Wide Wheel may attract more looks in any more crowded open plan office (and won't fit under the bed either).



But its far easier to store than an eBike ...

I've long been a fan of bigger wheels on scooters not only for bump handling but for not being "stopped suddenly" by a small bit of rock, other crap on the road or even an out of level pavement block. The wheels of the Evo are a bit bigger, but when you consider the width and cushioning of what are very similar to pneumatic tyres (but aren't thank god), the Wide Wheel (with softer pliant tyres and suspension) is just orders of magnitude smoother over stuff on the footpath or cycle way.



Its clear that while the Evo has bigger diameter, it will still get snagged in any cracks between concrete pavements on the foot path or longitudinal cracks on the road, not the Wide Wheel though.

I say almost pneumatic tyres, because they are not quite, they're like this *(obtained without permission from the Mercan site):


which is essentially half way between a solid and a pneumatic because it has a rubber skin like the penumatic and a softer foam for a bit of bump compliance underneath. The foam provides some "give" and the rubber is ... well ... just like a tyre. The feel of the tyre give (when pressed with my thumb) is about equivalent to a mountain bike tyre inflated to 40psi (270kpa), which myself I find is good compromise for ride VS rolling resistance.

That diagram shows the brakes, so lets have a look at that on mine. The disc on the rear is more than up to the task and unlike the friction of pushing down the rear metal mudguard onto the plastic tyre of the Evo is predictable and dependable even with a little moisture on it.


So absolutely nothing to complain about here. Indeed if you lean back (transferring your weight on that rear kick up support there) you'll stop even faster because you can transfer your weight almost totally over that back wide wheel.

Now as the deck is alloy (and beautifully formed) that "kick up" at the back is also alloy and very study. Its actually an excellent place to put your foot on (always ride with one foot foward the other back on a scooter, not feet side by side ... you'll balance better that way). This provides an excellent feeling of balance and support when the motor starts.

But unlike the little Evo this isn't the brake (but if you're used to scooters it'll feel right at home having your foot on it.

The next thing I'd like to mention is found in the exploded diagram on the Mercan site:


The above diagram is actually exactly my bike (with one small exception), as I have the single motor 8.8Ah battery variant. Aside from the fantastic build quality and suspension system this diagram shows something that every Xiaomi 365 owner will eventually attest to: changing a tyre is a fucking nightmare. Now while I have not yet done it (come on, I've only had it 2 days) notice that the rims are split down the center into a left and right? I imagine that will make changing the tyres so much easier when they wear out (and being solid won't get punctures).

Handling

I have once or twice seen mention of the fact that as you corner harder you'll experience a strange "resistance" to the bike turning. This is indeed because of the width of the wheel and the profile of the tyre. In practice you may not notice it, but as soon as you want to do a U-Turn you will. The bike fights you as contact patch of the wheel moves further away from center (take a look at the above shot again showing the wheels).

Now the answer to this is to lean your body further into the corner (keeping the bike more upright). Actually on a scooter this is a good idea also because if it "slips" (like I've had happen on the little Evo) you're prepared with your foot out ready to kick and restore grip. I'm not sure that such is going to happen at 20km/h but none the less ...

I've read (presumably from people who can't ride a motorcycle) that turning it is done like turning a motorcycle, where you lean. While not even slightly correct (you don't turn a bike by leaning it but turning results in it leaning) its good enough for a non rider to "get the hang of it".

Decisions

now everyone needs to balance how much they are willing to spend against what they want it for. For me, this was more about an effective transport than a "fun" machine. So while I do want something that can get up hills (who doesn't) I also didn't want to spend nearly 50% more on the scooter just to get the more powerful (and then require the bigger battery too) if this would do my job (and be legally compliant).

When I went the sellers place (BZooma on the Goldie here in Australia, whom after sales has been an utter disgrace so I DO NOT recommend them) they had a substantial hill just across the road from them. I was able to climb that and still go faster than I'd walk it. Better yet, I stopped on the middle of the steepest part of the hill and was able to kick and go and continue climbing.

That sold me on the scooters ability and only time will tell if that was a good test. But when I get back home to where I live I'll be testing it on more substantial hills and I'll report then.

Conclusion

So right now I'm really stoked about this scooter, its doing everything I expected of it and that I only paid about AU$1000 (instead of about $1600) is fantastic.

I'll be reviewing more in time, so look for this tag label (Mercane Wide Wheel) in the left hand side.

Enjoy

(PS, I mentioned the seller I bought it from because they were so good to deal with. I believe strongly in the "Invisible Hand" of the free market and so my mention of them is totally my choice and totally un-rewarded. I have nothing to do with them except buying this one product).

2 comments:

Chris T said...

Great review Chris. I like how you have considered the situation you are in and the transport needs you have and then sought a reliable and affordable technology solution. I checked Choice.com.au and they have not reviewed this type of transportation yet (although they have done a review on electric bikes). So your above review might well be the best one out there for the Mercane.

Ali Dalkus said...

Thanks for the review. I can say that I just feel the same as I am new with my Widewheel Pro less than a month. It's quite an exciting machine. Cheers