Riley RS1 Electric Scooter: In-Depth Review

Riley RS1 electric scooter and the RS2

Using Panasonic batteries within a sleek waterproof design, the Riley RS1 is an exceptional electric scooter which is well-suited to UK conditions.

Why we recommend the Riley RS1: Waterproof; Great Range; Comfort.

Whenever the opportunity to ride and review an electric scooter appears, then I’m always the first to volunteer – to my mind they are the future of clean and elegant outdoor transport, without the often unwanted buckets of sweat which cycling tends to generate. Plus they’re just immense fun!

For camping enthusiasts, an electric scooter can revolutionize your trips away due to a number of key features:

  • Electric scooters can typically fold up compactly for transporting in a car or campervan without the need for an external bike rack. In fact, the whole family can bring one each.
  • They can be easily re-charged at a campsite using an electric hookup or battery pack. No problem to use each day, especially if waterproof.
  • A range of >15 miles is not uncommon which can cover a decent loop in an hour or two with a pint en route! But remember people – it’s best not to get drunk as a skunk and then scoot!

These impressive attributes make me think we are going to be seeing electric scooters much more frequently at UK campsites over the coming months and years. However when you’re looking to buy, the choice can be bewildering.

The Riley RS1 Electric Scooter is the entry model from UK firm Riley Scooters. It’s certainly refreshing to see new UK companies springing up and competing against waves of low-quality Chinese imports. However, it remains the case that many of the constituent components in the RS1 such as the batteries are manufactured abroad.

At £399, the Riley is a very competitively-priced electric scooter, even against the budget brands such as Xiaomi. However it is immediately apparent upon unboxing that the RS1 has a superior aesthetic in terms of build quality and materials compared with those Chinese competitors. The quality is up there with Segway, but at two thirds of the price.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look…

Riley RS1 Electric Scooter Tree

Riley RS1 Electric Scooter - Looks and Design

Riley RS1 street 3First Impressions

Out of the box, the Riley RS1 strikes you as a well  designed piece of engineering . It bears a passing resemblance to the excellent Segway Ninebot G30 Max but at almost half the weight (13kg vs 23kg) and 45% cheaper I would say the Riley has several factors in its favour (if the enormous range of the Segway is not high up your list of priorities). 

Materials are uniformly excellent on the RS1. The black footplate is made of aviation-grade aluminum, and because it does not house the batteries (the batteries are stored in a detachable pack in the silver-coloured steering column) it has been artfully designed to look sleek and slender, lending the scooter a seriously sporty profile.

Wheels and Tyres

Most electric scooters for sale in the UK use relatively small wheels (8.5 inches and below) with inner-tubed air tyres. The tubed tyres can offer good ride quality (the air acts as a shock absorber), but often it is an extremely fiddly job to remove the wheel and change the inner-tube in the event of a puncture. Rest assured that you really do not want that happening when out and about – it can be several hours of pain to fix, and electric scooters are not the lightest pieces of gear to cart back to camp. 

The Riley RS1 gets around this problem by using puncture-resistant tubeless tyres, similar to those used by professional mountain bikers. The tyres are a decent 10 inch in diameter which gives decent ground clearance and excellent ride quality on all but the roughest footpaths. You can also run tubeless tyres at lower pressures than normal which adds again to the electric scooter’s ride quality – I weight 95kg (about 15 stone) and set the tyre pressures to a reasonably low 40psi at front and 45psi at the rear. 

Braking – it’s good to be able to stop!

The rear wheel of the RS1 incorporates two brakes – the first is a decent disk-brake which is hydraulically controlled via a cable from the handlebars.

The rear of the RS1 also incorporates a mudguard which additionally functions as a separate pedal brake. This means you can squeeze the brake lever and press the pedal to stop for dual-braking efficiency if you so wish. A nice touch, but I found that the standard disk-brake had more than enough stopping power for me.

Riley RS1 Electric Scooter parked

350W Electric Motor

The front wheel houses a 350W hub motor which is capable of running at a not-inconsiderate 700W peak power at maximum throttle. This means a top speed of about 15.5 mph (25kph) can be reached which is more than enough for me – I was getting the jitters at around 10mph! The top speed is software limited, and you are likely to void the one-year warranty if any attempts at modifying this are made.

Torque from the motor is strong and you can accelerate rapidly, even at my size. Maximum weight of an individual is recommended at 100kg though, so bear that in mind if you want to transport a child or a heavy rucksack!

Another impressive feature of the motor is that it includes regenerative braking via something known as E-ABS. This provides resistance when going down steep hills and adds electricity back into your battery in order to prolong its range – a bit like a dynamo or alternator on a car.

Battery Considerations

As mentioned before, the battery pack is a very large part of what makes this electric scooter so impressive. One of the pitfalls of ‘buying Chinese’ is that it is often not possible to ascertain the provenance or quality of the batteries you are buying. With all of Riley’s electric scooters you are getting Panasonic lithium-ion batteries included for complete peace of mind – they’ve been making batteries for more than 40 years, and are highly regarded in the industry.

In the RS1, the batteries are connected together into a compact 36V 6.4aH battery pack, weighing a mere 1.6kG. This is enough to give the scooter a 15-16 mile range which I found was ample. If more range is required, then the bigger brother Riley RS2 should be considered for purchase at £499 as it can travel 28 miles before the juice runs out!

battery charging Riley RS1As a first for electric scooters (but common on electric mountain bikes), the battery pack is fully detachable from the scooter so that it can be charged separately. This is a great feature, because you can keep the scooter itself stored in your car boot say (where there’s no 240V), but charge the battery up in your tent or caravan where you’re likely to have electric hookup. Great design Riley! Charging is very quick and takes only about 2 hours.

Having a detachable battery also means you can carry a fully-charged spare battery in your ruck sack on a journey. The 1.6kg is not too much to carry and it will double the achievable distance you can travel to about 30 miles. They’re available for sale from Riley for a very reasonable price.

Handlebars and Steering Column

handlebarsAs mentioned, the steering column holds the battery pack which is accessible at handlebar level through a capped aperture. It simply lifts out.

The handlebars are fairly standard, but include the brake lever for the left hand and a natty blue twist throttle to make the scooter zip off. The brake cable is coloured in the same blue and looks nicely coordinated. The throttle also includes a power on/off button and a switch to choose between different levels of maximum acceleration – beginner, standard and pro. This is useful when you first start as everybody tends to be a bit wary. However, soon you’re always switching to pro…

Lighting

Unusually for electric scooters, the Riley RS1 includes front and rear LED lighting as standard. The front light is located just under the handlebars and is fully integrated into the plastic casing – no loose parts to get knocked off. The light is surprisingly bright but not powerful enough to really help you on a dark path at night – good for oncoming visibility though. The rear light is mounted on the rear wheel mudguard and seemed to work well. These are all nice features to have, and make the RS1 stand out from competitors.

Riley RS1 - Dimensions

Riley RS1 Electric Scooter foldedThe steering column/stem of the Riley RS1 can be folded down flat and connected onto the rear mudguard for storage. Whilst in this position it can be conveniently lifted up. This is a great design feature, and at 13kg total weight, it’s not a problem to lift with even one hand.

When folded up, the dimensions of the RS1 are 105.6 (l) x 42 (w) x 45 (h) cm which is comfortably small enough to fit in any car or campervan boot.

With the steering column up and locked into place, the height of the scooter increases to 116cm. It was easily rideable by me at 6ft3 and my daughter at 5ft2.

Riley RS1 - Waterproof

The Riley RS1 is waterproof to IP54 standard. This means it is ok for use in reasonable rain, but would not survive dunking in a swimming pool. Either way, we had no problems splashing through puddles and had drizzle most of the time we were testing the scooter.

In Use

Riley RS1 electric scooter kick standPowering an electric scooter on for the first time is always an exciting experience. You’ve ordered the scooter, waited for delivery, unpacked it, charged it up, taken it outside, and…. now you’re ready to create mayhem.

Powering on the RS1 is a simple affair – press the power switch! Then simply, kick up the integrated kickstand, place a foot on the footplate and twist the throttle….

Acceleration is brisk and almost silent. You can hear a slight electrical whirr of the motor, but it’s not intrusive. Soon you’re feeling the wind through your hair (or scalp in my case!). It’s a wonderful feeling. The big 10” tyres have excellent grip and I was never worried about slipping around corners, even in damp conditions.

The ride on the RS1 is comfortable, mainly due to those big tyres. Some more expensive scooters have suspension, but as long as you’re not going off-piste and sticking to footpaths, I don’t think it’s needed. I went over some quite gravelly paths without any problem. Equally, I got up hills without having to add any of my own foot power – the torque is ample. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience – probably the best I’ve had on an electric scooter.

Riley RS1 Electric Scooter - Conclusions

The Riley RS1 electric scooter is a fabulous addition to the UK market. The design covers all my grievances with other electric scooters in one fell swoop. From the detachable battery to the regenerative braking, from the compact folding-up to the LED lights and 15 mile range, this is a scooter for everyone.

Move over Xiaomi and Segway, there’s a new King in town……

9.5Expert Score
The Best Electric Scooter We Have Ridden

This is simply the best value for money electric scooter available in the UK today when you consider the features and design expertise you are getting for the price. A classic!

9.5Expert Score

This is simply the best value for money electric scooter available in the UK today when you consider the features and design expertise you are getting for the price. A classic!

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