First Ride: Lifan LF1200DT

The fun-looking LF1200DT is a 50cc equivalent 1200w e-scooter and first visual impressions are that it’s small.

Now I’m not saying that it doesn’t look good; everyone has their own tastes, but I kind of like it. It’s been designed for the ever-increasing urban electric transport market. The overall look is of a small, smart, minimalist machine with a removable 60v 24amp Lithium battery which should give a 70-plus mile range.

It’s packed with innovative features, including the Electronic Braking System (a kinetic energy recovery system). It’s powered by a high-efficiency rear wheel mounted 1200 watt brushless Bosch motor; and to reduce the energy used at night, all lighting is LED. The clear LCD digital dashboard shows speed, mileage and battery capacity as well as amp-age usage, almost like an economy meter. A choice of four colours are available, with the option of a topbox to increase storage space.

All aboard

Small this scooter may be, but the footplate is big enough to cope with my size 10 feet and the legshields aren’t so close that you feel trapped. The comfortable seat is well shaped to carry a single rider, although it would be a very cosy place with a pillion. I found myself sat very upright and with a pretty much right angle in my 32-inch long legs.

It really doesn’t seem to matter what your budget is, the market appears to have deemed that an e-scooter’s suspension is just something that does the job, but not brilliantly. The Lifan bucks this trend; the front is stiff, but not to the point of feeling every grain of tarmac; just taut enough to keep the steering sharp and precise. The rear suspension is softer than expected and at first felt wallowy, almost bouncy. However, as the days passed, I found that it swallowed up what the road threw up and kept me heading in the right direction with no dramas, with the softness of the rear twin shocks absorbing the bumps and smoothing them out.

Lifan claims a 70-mile range per charge (totally possible if left in the first of the three riding modes). Mode 1 is slower in acceleration and tops out at 15mph; Mode 2 gives a top speed just over 20mph; in Mode 3 it accelerates faster and hits its 30mph top speed. I opted to leave it in Mode 3 because having a slower (or so it seemed) acceleration on an inner city setting seems counter-intuitive. In Mode 3, I rode around 15 miles and used just over half a battery. Lincolnshire is rather flat, so this is by no means a scientific range test; nevertheless, the Lifan looks capable of a good 25 miles in Mode 3 with the throttle opened up and just left there.

So, a commute of anything around 10 miles in each direction is within range. The Lifan plugs straight into the mains via a standard three-pin plug. A transformer is then plugged into the scooter’s charge socket located below the seat on the panel that joins the footplate, so there is no need to raise the seat unless you need to access the battery (which takes six hours to charge from flat).

The brakes are non-linked with a front 180mm disc and single piston caliper; the rear is a 170mm disc. Using either brake instantly disengages power to the motor. So, if you’re sat holding the brakes, you have to fully release them before the motor engages. The rear wheel is where the EBS braking system collects the kinetic energy and transfers it to the battery. Lifan have created a well built, cost-effective eco scooter that looks the part and can supply range, and charges reasonably quickly.

Night rider

One of my favourite parts of a test is riding at night. The Lifan passes both ‘see and be seen’ elements of the test with the help of full LED lights. The rear light is strong and when braking there should be no way that a following vehicle will miss the fact that you are slowing. Indicators are visible and the headlight throws a wide, yet strong enough beam – not only will you be spotted by oncoming road users, but you’ll see the road clearly yourself.

Conclusion

The LF1200DT could be seen as a commuter or recreational mode of transport that comes with low running costs (not zero, as you still need to charge it), zero emissions, zero tax, no congestion charges and minimal maintenance costs. It’s light and agile and could be the perfect recreational addition to a motorhome or narrow boat. If you haven’t tried one out already, you should do it now.

SPECIFICATION

  • LF1200DT e-scooter
  • MOTOR: 1200 Watt Bosch brushless motor
  • BATTERY: Lithium ion 60v 24Ah
  • WHEELS/TYRES: 3.0×10 (front), 100/80×10 (rear)
  • BRAKES: 180mm disc (front), 170mm disc (rear)
  • WEIGHT: 81kg
  • COLOUR AVAILABILITY: Black, Green, White/Blue
  • WARRANTY: 2yrs (or 50,000km)
  • CONTACT: www.hscmsc.co.uk
  • O2W RATING: 7 stars

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