- One of the most affordable electric scooters around, available online in Canada and the US for ~$1k
- Heavy due to Sealed Lead Acid batteries, pedals don't really work and there's only one gear (use the twist throttle most of the time), limited 6 month warranty, Voltbike has been around since 2012
- Several locking storage areas (some don't close very easily), alarm system and remote start, LED lights and turn signals, fenders, four colors, suspension and hydraulic disc brakes
The Voltbike Metro+ is an electric scooter that looks much like a Vespa. It has a smooth, gearless motor and uses heavier but more affordable Sealed Lead Acid batteries. For right around $1,000 you can order this thing online and have it shipped (in Canada or the US) and it comes with a decent six month warranty. With a top speed of ~20 mph (~32 kph) and a range of 30+ miles per charge, it could be an excellent commuting platform and one that wouldn’t require a license or insurance to operate because technically it’s classified as a bicycle. It only offers one gear for pedaling (like many children’s bikes) and this gear isn’t low enough for starting given the ~150 lb footprint of the Metro+ or keeping up as you reach the 20 mph mark but it’s alright around 7 mph. The pedals do fold and that’s nice because they stay out of the way when riding under motor power using the twist throttle. I do like that they’ve included pedal assist here but honestly, after a few pedal strokes on flat paved ground you start to go faster than you can keep up with the pedals. Thankfully, since it uses a cadence sensor, it doesn’t really matter if you’re contributing by pedaling, just that you keep moving your feet. This is a unique way to stretch your legs and give your wrist a break from the twist throttle but without an adjustable height on the saddle and the wider seat design you could get chaffed thighs. To be frank, this is an affordably priced but also somewhat cheaply made scooter. The locking storage compartments can be difficult to close, the plastic is thin and the battery technology is basic. If you don’t mind the extra weight, stiffer suspension and limited pedaling use then it’s actually pretty cool and you get a few bonuses with extra lights and a wireless start with alarm built in.
Powering the Voltbike Metro Plus is a 500 watt nominal, 1,000 watt peak gearless direct drive motor. These are often considered “bulletproof” by ebike shops because there are no moving parts inside, just bearings connecting the hub to the axle. A couple of downsides are their heavier weight and limited torque at low speeds along with some cogging drag (the magnets inside repel instead of freewheeling like a geared hub). Sometimes motors like this are setup for regenerative braking but that’s not the case here and you usually only get ~10% efficiency anyway so it’s not a huge loss. I appreciate the hydraulic disc brakes for stopping once you are up to speed however, given the ~150 pound curb weight of this thing it’s important to have solid brakes.
Powering this e-scooter is a large 48 volt 20 amp hour battery pack. I believe it consists of four 12 volt SLA batteries all grouped together and they are stowed in the footrest platform keeping weight low and center for improved balance. Covering the packs is a thin rubber pad that doesn’t seem to have any attachment points, be careful not to lose this piece as it will keep the battery concealed, clean and protected from water to some extent. I was able to weigh the battery and it’s ~63 pounds which is nearly half the weight of the bike. The Sealed Lead Acid technology inside is cheaper than Lithium-ion and if you need to replace this one it’s going to cost ~$500 which isn’t too bad for how much capacity it offers. The batteries power the motor along with the LED headlight and tail light (there’s a second set of headlights on the handlebar cover that let you aim the beam) and the turn signals, security system and horn. It’s neat that so many features are offered and that they all run off of one source. One of my favorite parts about this scooter is how feature rich it is, even if some of those features are lower quality.
You can start the Voltbike Metro+ two ways, the first is by inserting the key and turning the ignition on. The second is to use the included wireless remote to start the bike. I like that you don’t have to use the keys and leave them in because they can rattle around and even contact your knee while riding if you have longer legs (I’m ~5’9″ and the bike was just about right but getting close to tight when steering). From here, the LCD console lights up showing your battery level, speed and odometer. It’s backlit with a blue light that looks cool and a light icon and turn signal indicator appear when you activate those features. I was surprised that the bike didn’t have rear view mirrors but this actually makes it a bit easier to fit through tight spaces and given the lower speeds and “bicycle” designation I guess it’s okay. You get a lot more visibility with this thing than a traditional bicycle and I like the horn. To get the scooter moving you simply twist the right grip and power begins to flow… it’s a variable speed design which is nice because you can choose to ride slower in crowds or on unstable terrain. There’s a red button near the right grip that activates or de-activates pedal assist and I mostly left it off (I’m so glad they actually let you turn it off so you don’t accidentally bump it while riding). As mentioned earlier, the pedal assist is not variable speed, it basically turns the power on at full speed whenever you move the cranks. Maybe in the future they could offer different power levels and then pedal assist would be more useful but as it stands, you are pretty quickly outpaced by the motor and are left trying to keep up or reverting back to the twist throttle.
All things considered, you get a lot of bang for your buck here and Voltbike offers a decent warranty with years of experience actually shipping and supporting the Metro+. They reported to me that only a few minor things have broken or needed replacement over the years including light bulbs and turn signal switches… apparently no batteries or motors have failed, and even when your battery eventually does start to lose capacity, you can get a replacement and keep this thing on the road. It comes in four colors and the full suspension helps a lot when going over rough terrain but I wouldn’t mind if it could be adjusted for lighter passengers because it felt stiff to me at ~135 lbs. I also like that the tires and rims felt very tough (to avoid flats) but that they were still skinny enough to allow you to park this at bike racks :)
- Classified as a low speed electric bike due to the pedals and max speed of ~20 mph (32 kph) which means you can use this without a license or insurance (must be 16+ in Canada)
- The battery is removable and weighs ~63 pounds which means you could significantly reduce the weight of this vehicle (nearly in half) for transport or maintenance just by taking the battery off temporarily
- Great safety features including full length fenders, turn signals, bright LED powered lights and a “bright” mode and a horn
- When you buy this or any other Voltbike they throw in a DOT approved helmet free of charge (as shown in the video review above)
- The solid aluminum rims are very sturdy (won’t come out of true or require work) and the 18″ tires seem tough and should avoid flats, the disc brakes and suspension also seem tough
- Even though there’s just one gear to pedal with, this electric scooter does have pedal assist so you could simply move your feet and it would activate the motor, this could be useful if your hand gets tired twisting the throttle or you prefer to position your legs down towards the pedals vs. forward on the deck
- You can start the bike with the wireless remote vs. putting the key into the ignition, I like this option because it means my keys can stay in my pocket and not jingle around on the bike, also it has a built in alarm for security (it activates an electronic siren if shaken)
- The lights are fairly bright with 7 LED’s in each lens at the front (two lenses total) and there are more lights on the steering bar area so the road is lit up as you steer and people might see you coming, the turn signals are also great and make you easier to spot when riding
- Pedal assist can be activated or completely shut off using the red on/off button near the right grip (where the twist throttle is), I would probably always keep it off so I didn’t accidentally bump the pedals when mounting or standing over the bike at stops
- The motor is fairly quiet (being gearless) and probably very durable because the only moving parts are the bearings and the casing is aluminum, built right into the wheel itself
- The bike looks pretty cool, I like the color choices and the light design on the front and back
- The variable speed twist throttle is smooth and intuitive, it’s easy to use for almost anyone and the display isn’t overly complex or distracting
- The tires are wider than many traditional bicycles but are still able to fit into most bike racks, this means you can lock the Metro+ more easily and in more places
- One of the heaviest electric scooters I’ve reviewed at 150+ lbs, this is due to the Sealed Lead Acid batteries vs. Lithium-ion but the bike is less expensive here than if it used Lithium-ion so it’s a trade off, expect 500+ cycles before they start losing range
- This scooter is primarily sold online so it may be difficult to test ride or see in person prior to purchase, shipping is only ~$70 which is nice
- Many electric scooters offer bar end mirrors but I didn’t see those on the Metro+, you may want to add a mirror attachment to your helmet
- The pedals don’t really work, you only have one gear and it’s either too heavy to move from rest or you cannot keep up when the motor is running… they pretty much only exist to classify this as a bicycle
- Even though it looks like you could fit a second passenger on the Metro Plus, the manual discourages it saying that it will void your warranty, the maximum weight for this bike is 275 lbs and I’m guessing that in China, where this is manufactured, multiple passengers ride all the time
- The suspension felt a little stiff and almost bouncy to me, I only weigh ~135 lbs so maybe I wasn’t activating them, they did not seem adjustable
- There are three storage compartments but only the rear seemed to work properly, the seat storage was difficult to close and the glove compartment seemed to not stay straight, all of them felt cheap and weak, also the floor mat wasn’t really attached and might fall off or blow away
- The scooter is a bit small (which is fine for petite riders), my knees came pretty close to the handle bars and glove compartment when seated