InMotion L8F Electric Folding Scooter Reviewed
Following the success of their electric unicycles, InMotion have expanded their range of sensor controlled vehicles to include eBikes and this, the L8F folding electric scooter. The antithesis of homogenised smooth grey models from Xiaomi and Ninebot, the L8F is a black futuristic, industrial looking scooter covered in colourful LED lights. Thanks to the collapsing handlebar design it folds down smaller than any of the current competition. With its deck-mounted battery, front suspension and inflated rear tyre, it promises class-leading range and excellent ride comfort.
- Compact folding Electric Scooter
- Powerful 250w hub motor
- 18.8mph top speed with a maximum range of 21 miles
- Solid/inflated tyres, front suspension, IP54 rating
- Large 36v 8700mAh battery with 5 hour charge time
Charging the Scooter
With the included wall adaptor the L8F takes 5 hours to charge from flat, with the power brick LED changing from red to green when complete. The 36V 8700mAh battery is mounted under the footplate, the charge point situated behind a small rubber cover on the front right edge. When the scooter is powered up the battery capacity can be checked on the dashboard, indicated by 5 white bars when full, or more accurately via readout on the smartphone app.
A portable, folding package
InMotion have designed a unique dual-folding system for their scooter allowing its dimensions to shrink from 106 by 110 by 43cm to just 110 by 36 by 15cm when folded.
Releasing the large metal clamp around the display allows you to pop the handlebar grips out, stowing them in clips alongside the stem before re-clamping it.
From there you can unlatch the quick release by the front wheel, depress the catch on the hinge, lower the handlebars down the rear mudguard before re-latching the quick release to secure them.
This novel mechanism means the scooter is far easier to stow away in a car foot well, or inside a gym locker, than competitors with twice the effective width. The wide stem can make it difficult to grip and thus carry its 12kg mass, but with the auxiliary wheels fitted the scooter can instead be dragged around like a suitcase.
How do I turn it on!?
Unlike other electric scooters the L8F does not feature a traditional on/off switch, simply hop-on, kick-off and when it reaches 3km/h it will automatically power up. Left unattended the device will power down, but you can manually power it down (and turn the lights off) by pressing and holding both the brake and accelerator levers down for 3 seconds when stationary.
One speedy scooter
The L8F is one of the fastest scooters out of the box, the majority of our team somewhat surprisingly surpassing its official top speed of 18.8mph (30km/h). We recommend new riders use the app to cap the scooters maximum speed, or at least moderate the long-throw accelerator lever with care as the 36v 250w hub motor is capable of some punchy acceleration! Riders of a shorter stature will benefit from its lower-than-average handlebar height, just 91cm from the deck.
As ever, manufacturer range claims should be taken with a pinch of salt. InMotion claim their electric scooter can cover 21.7 miles (35km), albeit at a relaxed 12.4 mph (20km/h). For reference their range and top speed tests were carried out on flat, smooth ground with a payload of just 70 kg.
Our testing found an 80kg (12.5 stone) passenger could deplete the battery in a little over half that distance if (like many) they rode everywhere with the throttle wide open. At a more sedate speed, taking advantage of the regenerative braking when appropriate, journeys of around 25km are attainable. We also tested it with a rider over the 100kg, with a range penalty less lower than we had expected.
Monitoring the battery life via the smartphone app will give you a much more accurate readout than the ‘optimistic’ on-board 5-bar display. With two bars lit we discovered that we had just 32% of the charge remaining. As the charger is small enough to fit in a small bag, we recommend carrying it with you.
Ride safety and braking
Like the Ninebot ES2, the L8f employs a brake-by-wire regenerative system in the front motor to slow the scooter down. This is paired with a friction footbrake, pressing the rear mudguard onto the rear tyre to slow it down, much like a child’s kick-scooter. Whilst it may take some getting used to, for day-to-day use the front brake is more than adequate, whilst the rear is there for peace of mind. We tested an extreme scenario, performing an emergency stop from top speed, and found including the rear brake can shorten the stopping distance from 6m to a little over 4m.
A Resilient ride
Anyone who has dealt with repairing a puncture on a hub motor wheel will be pleased to hear that the L8F has a solid rubber tyre on the front. Thankfully InMotion have installed a simple damper above the front fork that cuts down on the vibrations and shocks when riding on broken pavement. The rear pneumatic tyre offers some welcome damping to the hard-mounted rear wheel. Our L8F was shipped with the tyre deflated, InMotion recommending run it at 22psi but we would recommend upping it to 30psi if you are of average UK weight. A useful tip for topping it up: move the fender and LED panel aside after removing the large flat-head axle cap screw, before using the included metal inflator extension to better access to the schrader valve. With an IP54 rating, an adherent grip tape deck, soft treaded-tyres plus mudguards front and rear, you can confidently ride this scooter on wet pavement, if not through deep puddles.
Lighting the way
The L8F’s party trick is its 63cm RGB lighting strip running up the stem. Paired with the bright headlight LED, they are capable of 8 different pre-programmed styles, each with user-configurable colour options. Holding down the brake lever for three seconds will power up a powerful LED in the headlight housing, angled down and bright enough to light the path directly in-front of the scooter. Further lighting can be found on the handlebar tips, which double up as running lights, illuminating when the grips are held. At the rear, fender lights can be colour configured, but will glow red to notify others of your deceleration when braking.
InMotion provide a companion application for both Android and iOs devices. It will provide you with detailed trip information, battery condition, current usage, calibrate settings, adjust the lighting patterns or colours and also enable you to upgrade the firmware. At time of writing its reliability and english translations leave something to be desired but we are assured by the manufacturer that this will soon be addressed.
Compared to the competition
The L8F matches head-turning futuristic looks with robust industrial-style build to provide a different solution amongst some fierce competition. Out of the box it proved to be our fastest scooter to date and its larger-than average battery provided real-world range rivalled only by the M365 Pro. It’s always-on nature makes for a novel, intuitive user experience. The flexible design results in the most compact folding electric scooter we have tested and its optional auxiliary wheels aid transport when collapsed.
Its ride quality isn’t up to that of the advanced Ninebot ES2, its smaller than average wheels slightly reduce its stability at higher speeds but the tyres selected offer good grip whilst lowering puncture potential. Not everyone will be fond of the electronic regenerative braking as it lacks the feel and confidence of the mechanical disc on the M365. Its folding mechanisms can be fiddly and the diameter of the stem will make it awkward to carry for those with small hands. However for those looking a scooter with individual looks paired with a good turn of speed, the InMotion L8F is difficult to beat.
The InMotion L8F comes highly recommended. You can buy yours today including free next-day-delivery from Scooters Direct. Do not confuse it with the cheaper, inferior L8 scooters elsewhere on the market; They lack the battery capacity and thus range of this more advanced model.