Electric scooters have been evolving with new tech and features, but many continue to lack one obvious feature that's likely to be quickly and sorely missed in the urban jungle: suspension. The small, fixed wheels common on scooters look like they'll get jarred mightily by a simple crack in the sidewalk and eaten clean alive by anything more significant. The new Transboard scooter from Mercane Wheels borrows its suspension design from the automotive world for a cushier ride. Mercane complements the three-wheel suspension setup with a sharp design that folds in one swift motion, helping you motor your way from your doorstep, to the train, to destinations of your choosing and back again.
The Transboard's full suspension system was integral to its very existence. As Mercane tells it, the ball that got the scooter rolling was an e-scooter accident that left the rider injured and endangered those around him. The search for a safer, more stable alternative began and the Transboard was born.
The Transboard reminds us a lot of the MUV-e scooter, but unlike the tilting suspension that MUV-e designers were working out the last time we checked in, the Transboard has a more straightforward double-wishbone front suspension for gobbling up uneven terrain to keep the ride smooth and rider stable. The Transboard won't have the corner-mastering tilting action of the MUV-e, but it will certainly absorb impacts. Based on the video segments we've watched, it seems to turn and maneuver plenty comfortably with its handlebar steering.
The Transboard's single rear wheel is also sprung, using what Mercane classifies as a rotational L double link suspension. The scooter has 10-in pneumatic tires up front and an 8-in urethane-foam rear tire.
The Transboard's wide platform comfortably fits both feet side by side. The design is self-balancing, giving the rider stability and control from the word go. Power comes at the rear, with a 500 W 48 V hub motor spinning the single wheel for speeds up to 22 mph (35 km/h).
Mercane says the Transboard will wander about 25 miles (40 km) on a single charge of the 8.6 Ah LG Chem lithium-ion battery. Charging takes about six hours, and the battery can be charged on the scooter or removed and charged elsewhere.
Another attractive Transboard feature is its quick, simple folding mechanism. The scooter's platform folds in half and slides forward between the front wheels, creating an easy-roll trolley.
The Transboard has an aluminum alloy frame below its polycarbonate cladding. It weighs in at 46 lb (21 kg) and is built to carry riders up to 220 lb (100 kg). An LED screen on the handlebars shows data, powers the scooter on, controls the headlight, and operates other basic features and options. Electric and rear-foot brakes provide stopping power.
Mercane ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in December and is now launching the Transboard 2.0 via an Indiegogo campaign. It is offering the Transboard at pledge levels of US$499 or more and hopes to get the first units out in May, if all goes to plan. That $499 pledge represents a 60 percent discount on the estimated $1,250 retail price.
Some of the original Kickstarter contributors were miffed when Mercane launched the Indiegogo campaign with an improved 2.0 version with more power, range and speed (and price) before delivering the original Kickstarter units. Kickstarter deliveries were advertised for March 2017 during the campaign but were bumped back to April on a campaign update. Kickstarter supporters were calling foul because they essentially pledged early support only to secure an inferior product.
Mercane updated the Kickstarter campaign on Wednesday with a post entitled "upgrade your Transboard," so it appears Kickstarters will have the option to get the updated model. We can't read the entirety of the "backers only" campaign update for more detail, but we have sent an email to Mercane to further clarify the reasoning behind its dual-campaign approach. We will update if we do get a response.
Meanwhile, you can watch the promo video for version 2 below.