- A super-affordable folding electric kick scooter with integrated solar panels for charging on the go
- Shorter deck length and bar height, probably best for kids and petite adults with smaller feet
- Modest 100 watt motor is classified as a "toy" in the US and Canada, less restrictions on use
- Neat built-in stereo with FM receiver, works with USB, SD cards and Bluetooth plus other options
The Photon electric kick scooter is a whirlwind of technology at an amazing price… I’m sure I would have loved this thing as a kid! The integrated solar panel on the deck stoked my imagination, even as an adult, and can actually charge the battery in two to three days. This all depends on the weather, battery size and how you parked the thing (laying it down vs. using the kickstand). With a more limited top speed of ~10 mph and modest 100 watt motor, the Photon is classified as a “toy” and doesn’t require a license, insurance or abide by the same restrictions for use as faster more powerful light electric vehicles. You get two color choices (red or blue) and much of the body is constructed from plastic. The Photon was brought to life through Kickstarter in 2015 and is now available through the Daymak website in two flavors. The Standard has harder wheels, foregoes a headlight and doesn’t have suspension up front. With the Deluxe you get air-filled tires and two coil-over shocks that don’t offer a ton of travel but still improve the sensation of riding on bumpy roads and over cracks. Both models can be upgraded from Sealed Lead Acid (SLA) batteries to Lithium-ion which will endure nearly 3x the charge cycles and take you further with each ride.
The motor powering this thing is a gearless canister design that pulls a short chain driving the back wheel. It’s simple, durable and relatively quiet but as mentioned earlier… it’s not super powerful or fast. For stopping, there’s one brake that’s activated using a standard lever mounted to the left bar but what really impressed me is that it cuts power to the motor when pulled. Very nice upgrade! I see this on electric bicycles but for lower speeds and such an affordable kick scooter this really caught me by surprise. The lever pulls a wire that activates a simple drum brake mounted to the side of the rear wheel. It’s not the most powerful brake but it works alright. I like that the entire deck is stable and wide on the Photon because it’s not super long, some kick scooters have a skid brake at the rear which often doubles as a fender, that is not the case here and it frees up the deck.
Towards the front of the deck there’s a lever and pin that you can loosen and activate to fold the stem and bars down parallel with the deck. You can see us fumbling with it a bit in the video review above. It does work but wasn’t super easy or quick. In the folded position this kick scooter is easy to lift and carry and it’s fairly light at just over 25 lbs (at least light compared to some of the more powerful scooters I review… maybe not so much for kids scooters). Also near the front are two integrated speakers which really jam! We teathered a phone to the unit I was testing and the audio was impressive. You can use Bluetooth, USB or SD cards with MP3’s or tune in to local FM stations. This is what I was talking about in the first paragraph, very cool extras here! The battery powering the speakers and drive system is mounted just under the plastic deck and protected from the bottom by a metal box. It’s not designed to be removable and I’m not sure how replaceable it is but you can upgrade from 4.5 Ah to 7 Amp hours for increased range. Both packs offer 24 volts of power and weigh about the same.
Operating this kick scooter is simple with an on/off switch near the lower right edge of the deck and a twist throttle… but getting on and off as well as transporting it can be tricky if you leave the unit on. That’s because the twist throttle can accidentally be activated. This happened to me FOR REAL several times when filming. Granted, I was in a bit of a rush and not paying super close attention to the bars at the time (also, the entire grip twists so any sort of movement can activate the motor). My advice is to proceed carefully and get used to operating and stabilizing this thing in a space that’s open. You may lose your grip on the scooter but the good news is that both bars have metal caps on them which should be more durable than plastic. There’s also some complexity surrounding syncing your phone for playing music or adjusting the radio but that doesn’t impact riding very much. Even though this scooter operates less powerfully and at lower speeds than some more expensive units, you could still get hit by a car so remember to wear a helmet and think twice about how loud to play music which could limit your ability to hear your surroundings.
At the end of the day I’m both super excited about the Photon but also torn about some of the extras. The optional phone mount that comes with the Deluxe unit is very simple as is the headlight. It’s just an LED flashlight in a plastic clip. I do like the inflated tires and shock even though they still aren’t super forgiving on rough terrain. The Standard wheels are more like solid rubber rollerblade wheels. The solar panel is very cool and Daymak is doing these sorts of mods for many of their light electric vehicles including the Beast. Even if you don’t get a full charge as quickly as if you plugged it into a standard 110 V wall outlet, you still support the battery by trickle charging over time and that’s cool. This product didn’t feel as useful for commuting or as stable as some of the longer kick scooters I’ve tried but I love how light it was and also how affordable it is! It could be a fun source of independence for a child or young adult :)
- The grips have a nice metal cap on the end which will reduce wear when the scooter is dropped or parked on its side instead of using the kickstand
- Extremely affordable starting at $200 with some nice upgrade options including the Deluxe with suspension, better tires, light and phone holder you can also upgrade the battery from Sealed Lead Acid to Lithium-ion
- Neat integrated solar panel can charge the scooter in a couple days ~17 hours with good sunlight
- Two colors to choose from (red and blue) and they aren’t painted… the plastic bodies are dyed so they should look good even with scrapes
- Awesome integrated stereo with SD card, USB, Bluetooth or FM radio input, we tethered the scooter to a YouTube video and it worked surprisingly well
- Classified as a “toy” in Canada and the US based on the lower motor power ~100 watts so there are fewer restrictions around age and use
- At ~25.5 lbs this is a very light kick scooter (and that’s with the Sealed Lead Acid batteries!), it’s fairly easy to pick up when folded by lifting the handle
- Smaller than a lot of kick scooters I test out, I feel like this thing would be best for petite adults or kids, handlebar height is not adjustable
- Weaker and much slower than some commuter style kick scooters I’ve tested, with a 100 watt motor and ~10 mph speed it’s setup more for neighborhood use
- Definitely not the easiest to fold or unfold, you have to loosen a bolt near the deck and then push it up against a spring, you can see the company rep struggling in the video
- The suspension isn’t especially soft but combined with the inflatable tires on the Deluxe version it definitely rides smoother than the Standard
- At the higher speeds, closer to 10 mph the front wheel and bars can wobble a bit and feel unstable (speed wobble) but this was in part because I’m a bit heavier than a kid and was riding one handed
- Official Website: http://www.daymak.com/photon/features.html
- Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/867054068/daymak-photon-scooter/description
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/q8wHd3Fuk8v17W2XAhttps://goo.gl/photos/q8wHd3Fuk8v17W2XA