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Electric scooters have transformed the way we travel around cities across the globe, but what if you want to travel more than just a few miles at a time? What if you lack the confidence to ride a scooter through the city but are unable to cycle mile after mile? Then the InMotion P1F hybrid electric scooter could well be for you.
From the handlebars to the saddle, InMotion’s P1F looks distinctly like a bicycle, but with no pedals, no chain and no gears it should be thought of more as an e-scooter. This compact folding hybrid is a revelation in personal transport, more comfortable to ride over longer distances than a traditional e-scooter thanks to its saddle and pneumatic tyres, but smaller and more portable than a full size e-bike.
With a large front wheel, small motor hub and large saddle, the aesthetic could at first be described as awkward. Balance aside the slim tunes finished in satin black paint give way to gold accents on the saddle, crossbar and around the headlights completing the premium finish. Looks aside, in use the package is robust, practical and crucially, comfortable.
Arriving in a box within a box, the P1F needs some minor (toolless) assembly. After lifting the frame from the box, flip the rear kickstand down to hold the unit upright whilst working on it.
A simple folding hinge at the top of the steering tube allows the handlebars to swing up into position, locking them with the large black clamp lever. Atop of the stem is smaller quick release that when released, allows you to rotate the handlebars up to a more comfortable angle for riding and braking. The saddle is easily attached via the quick release clamp fitted to the seat post.
Once the axle shipping protectors have been removed, you can screw the optional ‘treadnuts’ to the front axle for somewhere to rest your feet whilst riding. Finally the Kenda tyres arrive deflated and will need pumping up to 40psi upfront and 50psi at the rear via their schrader (the larger, automotive type) valves.
Turn the P1F on by pressing the red toggle button on the right side of the handlebars, press this again to turn it off. Four green LED’s mounted behind a window indicate the current battery charge level, but a more accurate readout can be gained via the smartphone application.
Mounted in a box centred in the frame is the 36V 8700mAh battery. At the rear edge of the box are two rubber covered ports, the upper a USB outlet that can be used for charging your devices. Below that is a small barrel port for plugging in the included wall charger, which from flat, will take 6 hours to fully charge the battery.
On the left of the handlebars, to the side of the grip is the light switch. When the PF1 is powered on you can click this up to turn on the bright twin LED headlight plus a red running light on the rear. Below this switch is a red push button (mirroring the power button) that operates the horn, albeit an amusing electronic recording of one, piped through the speaker on the side of the headlight.
Beyond these controls, the P1F has two brake levers to actuate its mechanical disc brakes. The left hand lever operates the rear caliper whilst the right, the front, as orientated on other bicycles in the UK. The red rear light will flash when the brakes are operated to inform those behind you, even if the lights are on.
The bright red mechanical disc brake calipers are of a similar design to those found on bicycles and the included manual also details the maintenance procedure.
Whilst the bike is 13.4kg, it's even weight distribution makes it easy to carry up stairs or load into a car by holding the slim crossbar. As ever the stated 35km range figure is based on a svelte, lightweight (70kg) rider on a flat road on a calm day.
When folded and the saddle removed the P1F shrinks down to a small package. At just 90cm long, 30cm wide and 60cm tall it is compact enough to transport in the boot of the smallest cars. Whilst it lacks the ingenuity of a Brompton, the folding handlebar design will likely qualify it for transit on commuter trains at rush-hour where the portage of full size bikes is often restricted.
Collapsing those handlebars takes mere seconds. Lift the chrome safety can and unlatch the large black quick release lever before slowly lowering the handlebars down. Whilst the bike lacks any retainer to secure the bars in place when folded, InMotion have added strain relief around the cables and control wires to protect them.
InMotion’s app is available for Android devices (running 4.3 and above) and iPhone iOS (version 7.0 and beyond). It features all the dashboard readouts you’d expect such as current speed, average speed, battery level, trip distance, total distance, heading, energy consumption and more. As with the Ninebot app the dashboard background can be switched to a see-through wallpaper if your device features a rear camera.
Information about the unit and its battery can be gleamed, diagnosis performed if you are having an issue and settings adjusted to suit the rider. This includes enabling cruise control, allowing you to rest the throttle after holding a set position for 5 seconds, cutting the system off when you pull a brake lever.
Out of the box the P1F is limited to 20km/h. This restriction can be altered under the ‘max speed’ slider in the settings should you feel comfortable riding at full-speed, or wish to lower this ceiling for use by a new amateur or teenager.
For something so positively dinky, it packs a surprising punch. Rotating the twist-grip on the right hand side of the handlebars will engage the throttle. The powerful 350w hub motor can push a (light) rider such as our model up a 12° incline without issue. Along the flat even our heavier team members could hit the 30km/h top speed. There was however a noticeable drop off in pace as the battery depleted to below 25%.
Anyone who has ridden a bicycle will immediately feel comfortable operating the P1F. The initial start can take some getting used to, we recommend kicking off as if riding a child’s balance bike before winding out the throttle and placing your feet on the pegs. Rotating your feet with the handlebars feels strange at first and takes some getting used to.
With its (comparatively to a scooter) larger wheels and pneumatic tyres the P1F feels a lot more stable to ride than many of our electric scooters and is an ideal introduction to personal electric transportation.
The included unisex saddle has a cutout to avoid any numbness on long rides. Sadly the stubby seat post offers no height adjustment. It’s position is short enough to mount for petite passengers but feels particularly low for long-legged riders.
With an IP54 rating and mudguards front and rear the P1F can be used in the wet, but avoid riding through puddles deep enough to submerge the rear motor. The dinky hub mounted kick stand is simple to flick away when you are astride of the bike but strong enough to hold it upright.
If your journeys are over a few miles, or will be longer than 20 minutes then this is certainly a model to consider. Having now travelled hundreds of miles on electric scooters we are conditioned to the strains and bumps that come with riding them, so in comparison the P1F is a revelation in comfort! Sat on that plush saddle you can cover 10-12 miles with far less fatigue.
With its bicycle style sticky rubber tyres and powerful mechanical brakes to haul you up in only a few meters, you can also ride safe in the knowledge that you are prepared for any emergency. The P1F will also appeal to young adults with mild disability issues who aren’t fond of the look of traditional, outdated disability aides.
InMotion’s transporter is not without compromise. Cruise control is difficult to use in anything other than full throttle mode. Fine control is required to maintain the same input for a period that always feels longer than 5 seconds, and the P1F lacks the cruise enabled confirmation beep of the ninebot and Xiaomi scooters. Our testing suggested that the useful real-world range is just over half of the manufacturers promise, but for many that will be enough. Taller or heavier riders may find the P1F unsuitable to ride, indeed they may be better looking at a more conventional electric scooter.