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Now reading: Inmotion L8F Electric Folding Scooter Review
InMotion are perhaps famous for their high-powered electric unicycles, but their product catalogue spans all manner of transportation. Here we take a look at their futuristic, big battery, LED-adorned electric folding scooter, the L8F.
The scooter arrives as a cardboard carton in a cardboard carton. Inside padded in foam is the folded scooter, charger, pump adaptor auxiliary wheels (and fitting kit) and the manuals.
Unfolded we can take a look at the L8F. That front wheel contains a 36V 250w motor powerful enough to take the scooter to a quoted top speed of 30km/h (18.8mph).
The manual has some odd 'engrish' moments but has more insight into the product than most and is well worth looking through.
With the included (lightweight, portable) wall charger, the L8F takes around 5 hours to charge from flat. Its 36V 8700mAh lithium battery sits under the footplate with the charge port found on the side behind the front wheel.
The charger LED will light red when charging and turn to green when fully charged. Inmotion suggest you charge the battery every three months when not in use to manage the life of the cells. Note a L8 (non-F) scooter is also on the market with a battery only half the size (and thus half the range) we would avoid this model.
Since this model is markedly different to the other scooters we have tested, lets rattle through some of the features.
The L8F's latching system can be 'alien' at first and is more complex than most. To collapse the scooter, first unlatch the quick release lever, then depress the latch down towards the front wheel (ensuring not to catch your fingers) as shown in the below photos. The handebars will then lower down to the rear mudguard.
If you are having difficulty releasing the bars, first push the stem away over the front wheel before trying to press the release latch, you will feel it click and the bars will then lower.
When collapsed you can carry the scooter by the stem as it will stay latched closed. To unfold it simply snap the handlebars back up until you hear the latch re-seat. Although more complex than other scooters it does allow the rider to ensure the fixing tension without tools.
A bonus with the raw look of the mechanism is that a slim lock can be run through the exposed connecting piece to secure it a lampost or bike rack when quickly popping into the shops.
The L8F folds down smaller than nearly all other electric scooters thanks in part to its folding cockpit. Raise the latch under the screen to release the clamping force. Pull the grips outward and they detach from the cockpit allowing you to clip them in vertically before lowering the clamp back down.
It shrinks the 'head' of the scooter down from 43cm to just 16.6cm wide, and when the deck is just 14.5cm wide the resulting package is incredibly slim. We really like this option as it makes fitting the scooter in a locker or behind the seats in a car that much easier. Although we can't comment on the longevity and resilience of such a design, it held up through several weeks of abuse/testing by our staff.
A small sprung damper sits at the base of the steerer tube similar to the Ninebot ES2. Despite its minimal travel it should take jolts and bumps out of the footplate but more importantly your wrists on the handlebars.
Sadly, unlike the ES2 it lacking any rear suspension, leaving the rear pneumatic tyre to do all the work.
That suspension is much appreciated as InMotion have fitted a solid rubber tyre to the front of the scooter. Whilst these mean no issues with punctures, the ride quality inevitably suffers. Thankfully the tyre is still soft enough to provide grip, although we have yet to test its capabilities below 10°c.
At the rear is a more traditional pneumatic 8 inch tyre with inner-tube. An adapter is included to assist inflation and we found removing the rear side cover and lights using a large flathead screwdriver provided better access to the valve. Whilst the Kenda 200 x 50 tyre is rated for 80PSI, the manual suggests inflating to 22psi (1.5bar). If you are heavier than average we found inflating somewhat higher than this gave a better ride.
The hexagonal dashboard framed by the cockpit release clamp is a simple single colour (white) display. From the top we have the battery indicator (consisting of five solid 'rungs' when full), the speed readout and lastly a bluetooth connection indicator.
On the right, marked with a plus, is the accelerator lever. The left have blue lever marked with a minus is the brake, activating the regenerative braking in the front motor. Both these are sprung and will return on release.
Should you wish to power the scooter down, press and hold both the brake and accelerator levers and the scooter will return to standby mode with all its lights off.
The eye-catching unique selling point of the L8F has to be the LED light strip running down from the handlebars to the front wheel. The colour, pattern and animation are customisable in the smart application with plenty of pre-set options if you are lacking imagination. Check the video below for more information:
The scooter has a bright LED headlight angled down to show the surface in-front of you at night .To turn it on (with the scooter powered up) press and hold the brake lever down for three seconds. To turn them off simply repeat this procedure.
There are running lights on the end of the handlebars that light up when you are holding on. Some riders are reportedly using them as indicators; Squeezing and releasing the grips to turn them on and off!
Even the rear fenders get the LED treatment with running lights on both sides. If they aren't to your liking, all of the lights can be turned off through the companion app.
Up front the motor can be used to slow down via the left hand lever, recharging the battery at the same time via regeneration. The only mechanical friction braking on the scooter is via the rear mudguard, which can be stood on to slow the scooter down in an emergency.
Instead of a rubber footplate, InMotion have opted to cover the deck with skateboard style grip. We feel this is a strong choice and kept our feet glued to the board when dry, wearing casual shoes. When wet it can be a little slippy, but no worse than any of the competition. If you ride a lot with muddy boots, you will want to invest in a griptape cleaner to unclog the grit and maintain its friction.
As has become standard, the L8F has a smartphone app, here the InMotion one available for both iOS and Android. Some fairly standard Ninebot-esq displays of speed, range and light adjustments are joined by a GPS traceroute and a power usage graph.
When folded the L8F can be carried by the steer tube, although there is no obvious position to grip besides the natural centre of gravity, quite near the bottom.
However InMotion include a set of optional auxiliary wheels and fitting kit for them. Mounted to the underside of the leading edge of the deck, they allow you to wheel the scooter along like a suitcase whilst holding the handlebar clamp.
These small wheels also keep the deck of off the floor when the scooter is folded. When unfolded a collapsible kickstand on the port side of the chassis allows the scooter to freestand.
If you haven't read the documentation you might be a little confused as to how to power the scooter up. The scooter is effectively always in 'standby' so all you need to do is 'kick-push' off with the throttle level depressed. Pass 3km/h and the scooter will turn on, the dashboard readout and lights powering up.
The throttle and brake have plenty of 'throw' in them, ideal for a scooter with only one power mode. Lightly sprung, the control levers never fatigue, important on longer journeys as there is no cruise control function. We recommend using the companion application to keep track of the battery level as with 2 'bars' of range left, the battery was actually down to just 30% capacity, instead of the 40% you might have expected. That said the app itself has a few bugs including some questionable English translations.
The scooter is rated for 30km/h and only the heavier staff failed to meet that top speed. It feels really punchy in its acceleration, hitting that speed in a matter of seconds. InMotion's L8F is relatively noisy on rough tarmac, vibrations working at the frame, although the majority of the rattles could be put down to the optional auxiliary dolly wheels.
The handlebar grips are comfortable but despite having a very similar handlebar width to the M365, the L8F feels somehow narrower and thus more 'reactive' for broader riders. The deck also shares similar measurements to other electric scooters so those with large feet might feel a little cramped on longer journeys.
In our brake test with the regeneration set to its highest setting the L8F took 6m to stop with just the electronic braking. This was cut down to just 4.4m with the additional 'emergency' stomping of the friction brake/rear mudguard. Somewhat surprisingly this performance is up there with the mechanical disc of the M365, even if we felt it didn't offer nearly the same level of confidence.
Both of the tyres offer great grip giving confidence for fast cornering, however the smaller wheels leave the scooter feeling a little less stable at higher speeds. Despite the front suspension, that solid front tyre still transmits the high frequency jolts into your hands on anything but smooth-rolled tarmac.
Wheeling the scooter along on the auxiliary wheels is a nice bonus but doesn't work for anyone 6ft or over as the steep angle results in the front wheel rubbing against the floor, even when turning the handlebars at an angle.
Carrying the charger with you is recommended, especially on any journey over 15km in total. In our testing, an overweight rider (105kg, not the model pictured) travelling 11km averaging 25km/h (at full throttle) depleted 66% of the battery, but was it was admirably able to continue a further 7.5km at just 10km/h till the battery was completely empty. To hit the 35km range expect to nurse the L8F along at low speeds, even if you are lighter than average. When the battery is dead there is little resistance in the front hub and you can still kick-push it along like a manual scooter.
The L8F's lack of power switch will confuse anyone with prior experience of an electric scooter. Its folding mechanisms feel more reliable than the competition but are fiddly in their own way. The shorter steer tube won't be comfortable for taller riders and the lack of mechanical brake somewhat limits rider confidence.
However the mix of solid and pneumatic tyres make it comfortable in a way the ES2 can't quite match, plus the simpler rear wheel (with no brake disc attached) are likely to be easier to work on than the M365, should a puncture occur.
The folding nature of the handlebars mean its the smallest of the bunch when collapsed, whilst the auxiliary trolley wheels also make it the most portable when folded. The skateboard grip-tape on the deck is a basic solution but more effective than any of the others, even when wet. The customisable stem lights add to the futuristic appearance making it the scooter that turns heads.
When it comes to real-world-range it does have both the M365 and the ES2 beat, likely due to its bigger battery, just be careful to monitor the actual remaining capacity through he app rather than the dashboard.
Overall we found the scooter flexible to use. Its folded silhouette is the most compact of any scooter we have tested to date and the auxiliary wheels take the load out of transporting it when off. It was comfortable to ride with punchy acceleration, yet even with maximum regeneration, the electronic braking performance never filled us with confidence. On top of this its looks are a little 'Marmite', but the front stem lighting certainly turns heads.
The InMotion L8F is available to buy today on our webstore and includes free next-working-day delivery. We now stock Inmotion's excellent electric unicycles which are also worth looking into. If you are considering commuting regularly with it, we suggest investing in some safety gear such as a helmet.
Over the past year we have reviewed a whole host of personal electric transport devices and sold even more. If you are looking to purchase a scooter check our reviews of the Xiaomi 365 and the Ninebot ES2 or just our recent comparison of the two.
Also take a look at our article on the Mi Qicycle folding ebike as well as the Ninebot Mini, and whilst we wouldn't recommend commuting on one, take a look at our recent review of the Ninebot Mini GoKart kit!