Unagi Scooter Review

Unagi Scooter

The Unagi Scooter, the Model one, is a scooter with some haters and some fans. With a premium look and best in class ease of use features, I wanted to try it out and see for myself how the scooter performs. It is a well functioning electric scooter that’s fun to ride, but that really isn’t the main question for the Unagi Model One. Instead the real point to consider is if the innovative scooter is worth the expensive price tag.

The Pros

  • Great Design
  • Best in Class Folding
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Fast Acceleration

The Cons

  • Expensive Price Tag
  • Low Stats for the Price
  • Sometimes Bumpy Ride

Unagi Model One

The scooter that put Unagi on the map and changed the game for portable urban commuting. Now renamed our “Classic”, our 2023 model has been updated for improved reliability.

The Price

This is something I always start with, because the price is probably the most important consideration. You need to know if an electric scooter is in your price range, and you need to know what kind of performance to expect. For this review especially, it’s important to establish the tone with the price up front. The Unagi Scooter is an expensive commuter scooter and costs about $1000 for the 500 watt model. Most mid-range commuter scooters are priced around 400$-600$, so the $1000 Unagi is asking for makes them stand alone as a premium priced scooter. For $1000 you start to get into the more off road, vehicle looking scooters, but the Unagi Model One isn’t one of those. It’s simply a really expensive mid to low range electric scooter.

The Features

The Fundamental Stats

Unagi Model One
  • Top Speed: 16 mph
  • Range: 8.5 miles

With the price of the Unagi scooter upfront we can now assess it through the proper lens. We’re paying a premium price, do we get a premium stats? Simply put, no. A top speed of 16 mph isn’t bad for a commuter scooter, but scooters have this price can go faster. A range of 8.5 miles on the other hand is just low. Scooters a third of this price can go further. With stats like this its clear to see why the Unagi Model One attracts some haters. If you’re looking for a budget scooter or a value scooter, this is wrong place to be looking.

So the Unagi scooter has someone definitively low stats, so why would anyone buy the scooter? The only argument to be made is that it’s a premium commuter scooter in its build. Though the stats themselves are unexceptional, the build quality and ease of use are actually impressive. Let’s take a look.

The Handlebars & Display

Unagi Scooter Handlebars

Though the stats of the Unagi scooter are a turn-off, pretty much everything else about the scooter is worth looking at (save one key feature). The handlebars, in both appearance and functionality, are some of the best I’ve seen. The grips have a smooth appearance with not texturing, but it has surprising amount of traction. On the right we have the electric throttle, and on the left we can see the electric brake. These both feel great to use and are powerful, more on this later. Above the throttle we have a button that changes your gear when pressed twice, and above the brake is the horn.

A quick detour but something you will definitely want to know: The scooter sounds like a microwave. This isn’t a stretch to be amusing, every sound the display makes genuinely sounds like microwave beeping. The horn is shrill and the power button pairs with a fairly loud beep. I really didn’t like this, so much so that I refused to use the horn. I didn’t want to be the one annoying people with that sound.

Back to the hardware, In the middle you’ll find a gorgeous display. Here you can see speed and battery, and you can change both the gear and amount of motors used using buttons found throughout the handlebars.

The Folding & Tiller

Folded

Moving down the Unagi scooter we get to the tiller. I usually skip over this, as most scooter stems are unexceptional except for the occasional hook. The Unagi model one uses a carbon alloy throughout, helping the scooter be one of the lightest I’ve carried at 26.5 lbs. The folding is also exceptional, as the scooter has true one touch folding. It was super easy to fold both and up down, encouraging me to actually use the feature. The model one also folds nicely to be parallel to the ground, making it easy to balance as you carry it. So, this section of the scooter is all thumbs up.

Unagi Scooter Folding

The Wheels & Deck

Deck

Making it down the the bottom of the Unagi scooter we get our deck and wheels. I was initially worried about the size of the deck, as it’s noticeably narrow. After getting on and riding, I found it to be no issue at all. I had plenty of room for both feet. The only downside to the size of the deck was there being a little less stability on the ride. In general, the wider the deck the more grounded you’ll feel. However this wasn’t a big deal, just something to note.

The wheels are a feature you’ll either love or hate. The Model one comes with solid tires with air pockets. This is nice for peace of mind, as you don’t have to worry about any popping or piercing. There’s often a lot of junk in the street or on trails, so it was nice to not have to worry about it. The downside of this, though, is that rough roads will give you a bumpy ride. A smooth road or a sidewalk with the occasional seem are no trouble at all, but anything rougher, like a brick trail, will have you vibrating. Also, when you hit a lip or hitch in the road, you definitely feel it. You’re also met with the sound of plastic slamming into something. So, the suspension is very poor.

Wheels

I just used the word suspension so I also need to call out that there is no dedicated suspension. For $1000 this is very disappointing.

The Ride

Ride

Now that we’ve gone through all the hardware on the Unagi scooter let’s get to the ride. Right from the start this is a fun scooter to be on. The lightweight design and power of the motors provide a super quick acceleration. This gives an exhilarating experience and makes the Model one an agile road. The electric brake is fairly powerful as well, and I often had to repeatedly tap it to get a somewhat smooth stop. So, everything about the acceleration is very responsive.

In the street or on a smooth trail is where the Unagi scooter shines. When I was in the road the ride felt smooth and I felt like I had a ton of power. Having the peace of mind of the solid tires was great here, as I was able to confidently ignore small rocks or debris. Moving onto a normal sidewalk (one with large concrete slabs laid next to each other) I also got a great ride. As I road over the seems in the sidewalk I definitely felt them, but I wasn’t jilted or severely bumped. I was simply aware of them. The occasional misaligned piece or divot did result in large bumps into the ride, and I felt the full force when this happened. These bumps are really unpleasant, so I found myself on the lookout and avoiding any potential dangers.

When I rode over patches of rough road or brick trails the whole scooter vibrated with me on top of it. It also seemed to make a fairly loud noise, so I wouldn’t recommend the model one who needs to ride over terrain like this.

Who Should Buy The Unagi Scooter?

With a price tag of $1000 and stats worth much less, it’s hard to recommend anyone but the Unagi scooter. The features and design are great for the most part, but they simply don’t make up for the low speeds and even lower range. you can quickly find the same stats, or even better stats, for half the price.

The only people I can recommend the Model one to are those who need a mid-range scooter and are willing to pay for a premium design and ease of use. This is also a good place to note that Unagi has exceptional customer service. This paired with the solid tires make it a scooter that’s low matinence.

Unagi Model One

The scooter that put Unagi on the map and changed the game for portable urban commuting. Now renamed our “Classic”, our 2023 model has been updated for improved reliability.

Ryan’s Takeaways

The Unagi model one is a great scooter, but the pricing is off. It’s fun to ride, has a great design, and has some of the best portability I’ve seen. These features unfortunately don’t justify the $1000 price tag and low performance stats. At the end of the day the most important part of a scooter is how it rides, and Unagi emphasized form over function. The model one does show where scooter technology is going, though, and maybe in a couple years designs like this will be more accessible to the average buyer.