The Unagi Model One is perhaps the most elegantly designed electric scooter out there. It’s also light weight with respectable all round performance. But it has a hard ride (due to solid tyres) and a high price tag for its overall specifications, which may limit its appeal.
Speed: 15 mph Range: 15.5 miles Weight: 11 kg Power: 450 Watt
Scooter Specification Score
Note: All scores are calculated directly from scooter specifications using consistent and carefully calibrated formula. This enables an objective assessments and easier comparisons between alternative products.
- Elegant modern design
- Light weight
- Dual motor delivers good power
- Adequate performance and range
- Quality components and nice design touches
- Solid tyres without suspension deliver a hard ride on any uneven ground
- Expensive for the specification
- Range may be an issue for some with reports well below the manufacture claimed 15 miles
- A little small for very large people
Who SHOULD buy? Those who place high value on elegant design but also want a lightweight scooter that retains decent performance up hill.
Who should NOT buy? Anyone expecting to regularly ride on rough or uneven surfaces should avoid this scooter. If you value high performance above aesthetics this is not for you. Anyone significantly taller than 6 foot may find it too small. Not for those looking for a bargain!
Note: Fixed color coding rules are applied consistently across all products to ensure objective assessment of specifications.
The Model One is undeniably the pretty boy of the scooter world and represents the first product from the US based company. Unagi is run by the well connected and well funded serial entrepreneur David Hyman. This has meant the scooter comes with great marketing and celebrity endorsements to put it on the radar and increase its appeal. Overall it’s a reasonable performer with its major let down being a slightly hard ride and a high price tag. But for riding on smooth roads and boulevards it is ideal. Unagi makes a lot of noise about its engineering – and there certainly are aspects to take note of here. For example, the patented one button folding hinge mechanism, the carbon fibre tubes and automotive paint job. The thing to underline here is this isn’t just a run of the mill scooter made from bolting off the shelf components, it is truly unique, and those with an eye for detail will appreciate it . But those who are more focused on the the stats may judge that this under delivers for the price. I mean, how could you possibly make a success of charging more money, for lower spec and relying on sleek design to and marketing to sell your product.. (..ahem.. Apple).
But seriously – this scooter does deserve great plaudits despite its high price tag and relatively low spec. Why..? Because it pushes boundaries, where most other scooters are safe clones of already proven models. It makes an otherwise purely functional technology an object of desire. So yes, there are annoying celeb endorsements. But regardless, Unagi clearly has a design team who can push boundaries and are not afraid to do so. So if you’re seduced by it, and can afford it, then buy it!
Undeniably eye-catching at first glance,it is hard to find a comparison which has such a modern and slick look. It would look at home with the elites of the product design world, in an Apple store or tucked among a range of Dyson gadgets. Having said that, it would take a discerning eye to notice the difference from other designs when it’s moving at speed. One notable feature is how slim the deck is considering it houses a battery with a decent capacity. The handlebars and integrated LCD also look exceptionally slick. Compared to the Zoom Stryder, the Unagi may be behind on basic specification, but it is a century ahead in terms of design style!
Some have dubbed it the Tesla of the electric scooters, in part due to the lines in the design and partly because the carbon fibre material used in the stem is the same as that used in Space X. But really this is all just part of the mystique and prestige that marketers love to create.
Speed: Speed of the Unagi Model One is certainly nothing spectacular at 15 mph. But for the majority of use cases this will be plenty and many regions may have speed restriction of 15 mph. But if you want something really fast, this scooter is not the one.
Power: The power delivered by the dual motor is exceptional for a scooter of this size and weight, giving it decent acceleration and consistent speed up hills. For a scooter than weighs 11 kg, it is certainly one of the most powerful scooters on the market.
Range: As with most scooters the actual range tends to fall short of manufacturer claims, which in the Unagi is 15 miles. But some reports suggest this actual range can be as low as 8 miles if there are uphill stints. If it is driven more conservatively on flat ground it would be realistic to expect 10 or 11 miles, but it’s unlikely you will get much more than that.
Max load: As with the majority of scooters the Max load is 100 kg which is sufficient for most users.
Tyres: The perforated fan like design of Unagi’s solid tyres promise to “act as a front and rear suspension system”. Unfortunately these tyres do not deliver on the ride they promise despite performing better than most solid tyres. Scooter owners know that difficult to fix punctures are the price you the smoother ride of air filled pneumatic tyres. A non-pneumatic tyre with the ride of an air filled is the holy grail for these scooters – nobody has cracked it yet, including Unagi. As s result ride quality is the biggest downside of this scooter, but at least there will be no punctures to worry about
Wheels: Ride quality is not helped out by smaller than average 7.5 inch wheels and no suspension meaning the additional vibration can take its toll on the rider when on rough ground. On smooth surfaces the Unagi gives a great ride but hit rough ground and you will know about it.
Other than its beautiful design, portability is one of the Unagi Model One’s strong points. It is ideal for those who want a small, high quality portable scooter with power. The design of the folding stem involves a sleek single-lever hinge system (Unagi proprietary design) allowing the scooter to be easily folded into a compact size in seconds. A weight of just 11 kgs makes it way lighter than other electric scooter with comparable power.
A lot of fuss was made about the choice of battery for this scooter. Its small size means it doesn’t add much weight or bulk to the scooter body enabling the sleek design look to be maintained. Whilst it has a respectable capacity of 282Wh, this does not deliver much range once the dual motors have had a chance to sap energy. Charge time is also nothing to write home about, taking approximately 4.5 hours to charge, meaning it only adds about 3.4 miles of range for every hour it is charging. This is similar to many entry level scooters.
It’s front light claims to be one of the most powerful of all electric scooters and it has an attractive intuitive electronic display which remains visible even in bright sunlight. However, it does not have features such as cruise control or Bluetooth, which might have been expected in a scooter with space age design and a high price tag. The electric horn is almost comical and not on par with the otherwise slick look. The regenerative electronic brakes are excellent considering mechanical brakes are usually the best in class. This is down to the scooter being dual motor which doubles the breaking power compared to single motor scooters with electronic brakes.
Feedback from Owners
Some issues raised regarding a slight wobble in the stem which can develop at the folding hinge. This is common in scooters with folding mechanisms on the stem and whilst it isn’t generally a safety issue, it can slightly detract from the quality of the ride. There was also wide acknowledgement of a relatively hard ride compared to scooters with pneumatic tyres but fine on smoother surfaces.
Many who buy this product, will buy it out of love; love for the elegant design, love for the attention to detail and love for the vision of the small company behind it. Yes, there are some disappointing specifications. But imperfections fade into insignificance when you are in love.