Is The Segway Dirt eBike A Motorcycle Or Bicycle? – RideApart
The line between bicycles and motorcycles was quite blurry back in the early days. In fact, motorcycles were basically bicycles with an internal combustion engine attached to them. They even still had pedals. The Segway Dirt eBike does not have pedals, but it also blurs the line between bicycle and motorcycle in a thoroughly modern way. One of these is Bikes and Beards‘ latest Amazon purchase, and they put it through its paces.
This particular bike is the X160, the smaller of the two models, with a claimed top speed of 31.1 mph and a maximum range of 40.4 miles. One big question Bikes and Beards has is whether you can drop a battery for the X260 into the X160 and instantly upgrade the bike. I use the present tense because we still don’t know. While Segway advertises that the batteries are swappable, and they are in fact quite easy to replace, there is nowhere to buy just the battery. Looking at the specs on Segway’s website, each bike appears to have slightly different dimensions, so perhaps they are not as interchangeable as Bikes and Beards hopes.
One fascinating feature (some would call it a bug) is that the bike is electronically limited to 10 mph until you download an app, enter your information, and watch a tutorial video about how to ride the bike. Only then is its full potential unleashed. You certainly don’t have that problem on a bicycle. Back in my day, I didn’t have to watch a tutorial video to draft the school bus home at 50 mph like in Breaking Away.
Aside from the aluminum frame, not having pedals, and the fact that this e-bike has a VIN, it bears a striking resemblance to a modern mountain bike. This is partly because the construction, handlebars, suspension, and brakes are quite similar to one. In fact, the brake controls are two levers like a bicycle, not a lever and foot pedal like a motorcycle. On the other hand, high-end bicycles have started to use technology, such as disk brakes and suspensions, that have been common for years on motorcycles. It’s less expensive than both the most expensive electric mountain bike, as well as electric motorcycles like the KTM Freeride E-XC.
One area where the bicycle clearly wins is range. Segway claims either 32 or 40 miles of range, depending on where you look. Flat out, the X160 ran out of juice after just 10 miles. Electric vehicles aren’t most efficient at top speed, so they put it into a more conservative power mode that limited the top speed to 19 mph. This got them a mere 18 miles. How conservative do you need to ride to get the claimed range? Walking pace? I used to routinely ride farther than this on my bicycle. I’ve even completed some century rides. That’s 100 miles.
It’s also worth pointing out that the claim of 162 ft-lb torque appears to be somewhat ridiculous. They hooked it up to their full-size van to see if the Segway could pull it. With more torque than the Subaru BRZ I used to drive, they should have no problem pulling it slowly, but no, it utterly refused to budge. In contrast, they had no trouble pulling a van with tiny Honda CT90 with basically no torque at all.
However, the Segway X160 can go to many places where you’d get yourself arrested going on a gas-powered dirt bike. We might dream of ripping around a public park, a college campus, or even doing stunts at a skate park on a motorcycle, but we know we’d probably get arrested for trying. None of these was a problem on the Segway. Nobody cared or complained. So if you don’t need to go very far, perhaps a Segway X160 could be the next big hooligan bike after the Honda Grom and its imitators.
This Segues Nicely:
Sources: Segway, Bikes and Beards on YouTube
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