Boosted, the startup that got its beginnings with electric skateboards, has officially taken its first stab at electric scooters with the launch of the Boosted Rev.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks riding the Rev around the streets of San Francisco and, as I put in the headline, it’s fast, durable, fun and really heavy — 46 pounds to be exact. If this were part of a shared scooter model, the weight wouldn’t matter, but bringing it up and down a few flights of stairs on the daily isn’t ideal.
It weighs so much, Boosted CEO Jeff Russakow told me, because of the power it’s packing.
“But you are giving up about seven or eight pounds to do it,” Russakow said. “But, I mean, you’re getting six times the power and years and years of durability in return for it does have a little more weight.”
It’s worth noting that I don’t have to bring the scooter inside. The Boosted Rev is capable of being locked to a bike rack, but, you know, bolt cutters are things that exist.
Boosted Rev, which retails for $1,599, features all-wheel drive, dual-wheel motors (1500 watts each), is able to travel up to 24 mph with a range of 22 miles, and climb and descend 25%-grade hills. Rev is also designed to handle thousands of miles per year for several years. Thanks to the dual motors, it hauls ass up hills. Seriously, I was busting up the hills of San Francisco at 19 mph.
The Rev has three ride modes that respectively max out at 12, 18 and 24 mph. Unlike many other scooters on the market, Rev features wide air-filled tires to help with shock absorption and traction. The Rev also features three different breaking mechanisms: the hand brake, electric brake and foot brake. In my experience, the electric brake worked well enough to not need any of the other brakes, but it was still nice to have the hand brake for some peace of mind.
“If you look at standing kick scooters today, with no disrespect, they’re more of a toy, or a leisure grade product that was never really intended to be riding over real streets and potholes with a Mack truck behind you,” Russakow said. “So we started out saying if you were to make an electric scooter that was a vehicle, how would you design it. And so that was everything from the amount of power to the type of frame to the range to the type of wheels to the throttle to making it incredibly durable — mechanically, electrically, environmentally. So it’s more similar to a car or a motorcycle, in terms of its vehicle quality. And we always knew from day one, that’s the vehicle we wanted to make. Can it climb hills cannot stop on a dime, can it handle all weather, will go for tens and tens of thousands of miles a year and have very little maintenance?”
It’s true. The scooters out there from the likes of Bird, Lime, Skip, Scoot and others are not in the same arena as Boosted. This becomes clear from the moment you step on the Boosted Rev. The Rev feels sturdy, handles bumps in the road well and makes it easy to keep up with cars.
What’s unique about Boosted’s scooter is its thumb wheel for accelerating and decelerating. The idea is to be able to do everything you need to do with one hand. That way, when you need to signal, you can just use your left hand without having to worry about giving up braking for signaling.
The two main caveats for me come down to the weight of the scooter and safety. The safety bit has more to do with riding any micromobility vehicle on busy city streets and the fear of a car or truck mowing me down. Also, because this scooter goes so fast, the possibility of severely injuring myself if I fly off the scooter drastically increases.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t note a technical, but inconsistent difficulty with the Rev. Sometimes I had to reboot the scooter or fold and stow it and then unfold it to get it to accelerate. Boosted said I had a pre-production unit, so perhaps that’s why.
But the Rev is not the only scooter you can buy. Bird, for example recently got in to selling scooters direct to consumers, and then there are the likes of Ninebot, Xiaomi, Unagi, Jetson and many others.
The market for ownership, Russakow said, is “a different but bigger market.”
“It’s been great to see scooter share because people get exposed to scooters as commute options,” Russakow said. “But we think we’re serving the by-far largest market.”
If I were in the market for an electric scooter (I’m not) and lived somewhere where I didn’t have to lug the scooter up and down the stairs on the daily (I don’t), I would buy the Boosted Rev for its sheer power up hills and top speed.