Segway Ninebot ES4 Review: With Dual Suspension, Is It Better Than the Ninebot Max?

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter, folded
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - rear fender, footbrake
Segway Ninebot ES4 handlebars and LED display
Segway Ninebot ES4 front wheel motor
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter thumb controls and display, close-up
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter rear tire and fender, cropped
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - headlight on, close-up
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - charging port
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter folding mechanism
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Ninebot ES4 electric scooter stem with logo
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter deck and wheels, low angle
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter, folded
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - rear fender, footbrake
Segway Ninebot ES4 handlebars and LED display
Segway Ninebot ES4 front wheel motor
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter thumb controls and display, close-up
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter rear tire and fender, cropped
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - headlight on, close-up
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - charging port
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter folding mechanism
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Ninebot ES4 electric scooter stem with logo
Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter deck and wheels, low angle

Segway Ninebot ES4

This model dominated the shared scooter scene in 2018, but how does it compete with newer entry-level scooters? In this Segway Ninebot ES4 review, find out why the dual suspension can’t make up for the solid tires, and what keeps this beginner-friendly scooter from rolling with the best of the best. 

Technical Specifications

Tested top speed: 18.3 mph*
Tested range: 15.3 mi*
Weight: 32 lb*
Max rider weight: 220 lb
Water resistance: IP54

Highlights

Lightweight and narrow build
Mobile app helps you get to know the scooter
Fun swag lighting
Rough ride
Clacking front suspension
Stiff solid tires with a shallow tread

* Based on our performance tests which may differ from the manufacturer’s claims.

Summary

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Paul taking a corner on the Segway Ninebot ES4 | Credit: Ramier J. and Richard S. / ESG

What sets the Segway Ninebot ES4 apart? 

To be honest, not much, as it’s part of the ES series and is just as unexceptional as others in its family. 

The ES4 has a utilitarian look and design, in shades of gray. It’s very easy to use and was the standard for the shared market for a reason — but has been upstaged by other scooters (including those from the Segway line-up). 

The ES4 is well-built, fairly durable, and fast enough to navigate with others in traffic. Coming standard with dual batteries, the ES4 gets around 35% more range than the ES2 and goes 3 mph faster, with a tested top speed of 18.3 mph. 

The ES4 comes with app-controlled swag lighting | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

A couple of our favorite features of the ES4 are the ergonomic cockpit with comfortable, rounded handgrips and the fun under-deck (or swag) lighting. You can control the lights, including color schemes and patterns, with a Bluetooth-enabled mobile app.

It’s fast enough to keep up with bicyclists in traffic, and it’s shared market looks may keep others from stealing it. However, the ES4’s solid tires keep you from feeling any damping from the suspension, and make longer rides fairly uncomfortable.

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Best Alternatives and Competitors

Model Top Speed** Range** Weight** Price
Segway Ninebot ES4 18.3 mph 15.3 mi 32 lb $799
Segway Ninebot Max 17.8 mph 28.1 mi 43 lb $879
Inokim Light 2 20.7 mph 16.0 mi 30 lb $999
Apollo Air Pro 18.8 mph 17.7 mi 37 lb $699

** Based on our independent testing, which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.

Results below are based on our independent testing and not data provided by the manufacturer. Read about our testing methodology or compare with other scooters on our electric scooter performance testing page.

Acceleration (0 to 15 mph)6.6 seconds
Top speed18.3 mph
Braking distance (15 to 0 mph)18.0 feet
Range15.3 miles
Hill climb19.7 seconds

Acceleration

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Acceleration is comfortable, not quick | Credit: Ramier J. and Richard S. / ESG

The Ninebot ES4 is very easy to handle. You do not need experience or finesse to accelerate from kickstart. It goes from 0 to 15 mph in 6.6 s. It’s not terribly slow but if you’re looking for a jumping start, this isn’t it.

Hill Climb

The ES4 doesn’t fly up our 10% average hill, getting up the 200 ft incline in 19.7 s. However, it does a good job of maintaining an average 16 mph speed up a gentler, 6% grade. 

Top Speed

The 18.3 mph tested top speed is just enough to feel fairly comfortable riding in traffic. It’s enough speed to let you pass bikers when sharing the bike lane, going up or down hill. 

Range

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

For a scooter with two batteries, we were surprised at the limited 15.3 mi range. Unfortunately, the solid tires on the ES4 made riding this distance feel more like 20 mi, as it’s not a scooter that you really want to spend that much time on at once. 

Braking

The Ninebot ES4 comes with a regenerative brake and foot brake. For normal stop and go, the regen brakes are effective and really easy to use. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - rear fender, footbrake
The rear fender is also a foot brake | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

In an emergency stop, the rider will need to keep their rear foot free to hit the rear fender, which applies the foot brake. Using both brakes, the stopping distance was still just okay at 18.0 ft. 

Considering the limited top speed, this braking is adequate but is around 7 ft more distance to stop than comparison scooters, like the Segway Ninebot Max (G30LP) which slows from 15 mph to 0 mph in 18.0 ft. 

Compare with other scooters on our performance page.

Ride Quality

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - deck and wheels, low angle
The spring suspension and solid tire don’t soak up bumps in the road | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

Although the ES4 comes with dual suspension, it doesn’t make up for the harshness of the solid tires. The front suspension clacks so loudly over sharp bumps that it can alarm nearby bicyclists (and the rider themself). 

Riding ergonomics for the ES4 are good. With simple thumb controls for the brake and throttle, the rider can comfortably control the scooter while keeping both hands on the handlebars.  

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
It’s surprisingly stable once at top speed | Credit: Ramier J. and Richard S. / ESG

One surprising thing about the ES4 is that it feels very stable holding its 18.3 mph tested top speed. You won’t feel speed wobble at all, and abrupt inputs to the handlebars at speed resolve immediately. 

With two batteries in the stem, the ES4 is a bit unwieldy when pushing the scooter up curbs and it doesn’t like rolling over bumps without falling forward, but this isn’t an issue when riding. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - kickstand
It’s a good kickstand that fits into the frame | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

Lastly, the kickstand makes a loud, resounding clack when folding, which is great for letting the rider know it’s securely in place but is a bit of a jarring sound in quiet environments. It does its job well at keeping the scooter upright, and fits nicely into a pocket in the deck. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 Features

Portability

With a fairly lightweight 31 lb build, the ES4 feels lighter than it is when you’re moving it around. The stem folds but doesn’t telescope and the handlebars don’t fold but are pretty narrow. It’s folded footprint is 45 in long by 17 in wide and 14 in tall. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter, folded
Segway Ninebot ES4 folded down | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The width of the handlebars keeps the package small and makes it easy to roll through doorways. A clasp on the step easily locks to the fender when folded for easier handling, but the wide stem makes it a little difficult to grip when trying to hold one-handed.

In the ES series, the internal battery is in the stem (rather than in the deck). As the ES4 also comes with an external battery, the scooter feels front-end heavy. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - folding mechanism
Tab-style folding mechanism is low profile | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The folding mechanism consists of a flip-down tab that releases the stem. To fold, flip the tab down, then give slight forward pressure against the handlebars while stepping downward on the tab. A mechanism on the underside of the scooter will release the deck from the stem. 

When upright, make sure the tab is flipped up, so you don’t accidentally fold the scooter while riding. 

Cockpit

The cockpit of the ES4 is very simple, with thumb controls on either side of a round, single-button dashboard. The display is pretty easy to read, and allows the rider to power on, toggle through riding modes, and turn on the lights. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - thumb controls and display, close-up
The round dashboard is simple and small | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

You can also pair your scooter with the Ninebot smartphone app via Bluetooth, and an icon will appear on the screen when connected. The app allows you to set functions, run firmware updates, control the lights, and lock the scooter, among other features. 

Probably our favorite feature of the Ninebot ES4 is the large textured handgrips, which are indexed to the handlebars. This means they’ll stay in place as you’re riding, which is a simple but appreciated feature. They have a nice grippy feel, and the large diameter makes them easy to hold onto.

Lights

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - headlight on, close-up
The headlight is bright and mounted high for good visibility | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The Ninebot ES4 comes with fun lights for nighttime riding, as there is a high-mounted headlight, brake-sensing fender-mounted taillight, and under-deck swag lights (also known as road effects) that can be set to a variety of colors (through the app). There are also reflectors on the sides of the front of the deck, on either side of the rear wheel, and on top of the fender.

The headlight isn’t super bright, but the overall lighting package is a delightful surprise in an otherwise middling mid-range commuter scooter. 

For riding a scooter at night, we recommend adding more lights, including another light to attach to the back of your helmet or backpack. 

Tires

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - rear tire and fender, cropped
The solid tires have a shallow tread | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

One of the most unforgiving things about the ES4 is the solid tires, which are among the worst out there. They are very stiff when riding over bumps, and the shallow tread means they don’t provide great traction and will wear out quickly. 

On the plus side, the super hard rubber means you won’t get flat spots in your tires under hard braking, which can happen with solid tires made of softer material. 

Deck

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - deck, cropped
The rubberized deck feels a little narrow | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The deck is covered in thin rubber with a diamond-shaped pattern. It feels a little narrow and not especially long, and measures 6.0 in wide by 17.0 in long with 3.6 in of ground clearance. The deck isn’t super small, but there’s not much space for different standing positions. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - rear fender, reflectors
The rear fender is multi use | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The rear fender serves triple duty: first as a fender, second as a foot brake, and third as the anchor point when the scooter’s folded down. This is an excellent design that keeps the deck free of obstruction, as some scooters attach to the deck. 

Build Quality

The Ninebot ES4 definitely fits within its family, with the same build as the others in the ES series and an overall solid build quality. One thing that Segway does better than other brands is cable management. There are zero exposed cables anywhere on the ES4, giving it a very clean look from top to bottom. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter
Clean cables and simple gray design | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The ES4 is water resistance rated at IP54, but earlier versions were known to have motor controller failures due to water damage in the stem. As of June 2019, Segway encases the motor controllers in clear plastic to better guard against water.

The simple design also makes the scooter very easy to disassemble, as the handlebars are connected via a single plug-and-play connector.

Stem Bolts and Stem Wobble

The ES4 is durable, but its quality suffers from wear and tear long-term. Over time, the bolts at the left and right side of the top of the stem tend to loosen, in spite of generous application of loctite, causing a rocking forward/backward feel in the handlebars.

Segway Ninebot ES4 has fewer reinforcing bolts than the newer Segway E22 | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The base of the stem of the ES4 also tends to develop a wobble over time, from slippage between the mounting bolts and the stem itself. Newer Segway designs, like the Ninebot E22, have added another set of bolts at the top of the stem, facing the rider to firm up the handlebars. The ES4 design does not come with these reinforcing screws. 

Regenerative Braking Limitations

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - man riding scooter
Don’t use the regen brake downhill when fully charged | Credit: Ramier J. and Richard S. / ESG

While the regenerative brakes are very easy to use, having regen as the primary source of braking has limits. When the scooter is fully charged, descending a large hill while braking can cause the regen brake to stop functioning, as the battery is full and the energy has nowhere to go.

It also has the potential to cause the motor controller to overheat and fail. We strongly recommend using the foot brake when going downhill if your scooter’s fully charged.

Pros and Cons of the External Battery Pack

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - charging port
Rubber inserts (like the one below the charging port) have to be pulled out before you can unscrew and remove the battery | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

There are pros and cons to the external battery design. A great pro is that the charging port is at the top of the battery, so you don’t have to crawl on the floor to plug it in. The battery is screwed into the stem, so it isn’t easy for a thief to remove.

Also, there are charging ports on the battery and on the scooter’s stem beneath the battery, so if you have two chargers you could charge both individually. 

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - E22 stem vs ES4 stem
Segway E22 (left) has a charging port on the stem in the same location as the Segway ES4’s (right) underneath the battery, which has an external port at the top | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

One of the pros of the design is also a con in that the battery isn’t “swappable”.

On a model like the TurboAnt X7 Pro, you can purchase multiple batteries and extend your range easily, as the battery is held in place by a latch and it takes seconds to replace. If you wanted the same functionality with the ES4, you’d need to carry an allen wrench with you and take the time to unseat and reseat the screws for swapping. 

Another con is that once the external battery is removed, the ES4 loses some of its range and a few miles off its top speed (basically congruent with the ES2’s performance).

Segway Ninebot ES4: Review Conclusions

Segway Ninebot ES4 electric scooter - full scooter
Segway Ninebot ES4 | Credit: Richard S. / ESG

The Ninebot ES4 is a scooter that’s very easy to use. It’s portable, can keep up with and pass bicyclists on the road, and comes with the build quality Segway has become known for. 

However, it still doesn’t beat the Segway Ninebot Max, as it’s not the best in their lineup, and the overall performance and ride quality could really be better — especially given its price. 

If the Segway line doesn’t fit your needs, check out our ESG Editor’s pick of best electric scooters.

Our content is independent, but buying through our links may earn us a commission.

Segway Ninebot ES4 Specifications

Note: This may differ from our tested specifications.

MakeSegway
ModelNinebot ES4
Weight31 lb
Folded dimensions45 by 17 by 14 in
Motor power, continuous300 W
Top speed19 mph
Range28 mi
Battery capacity374 Wh
Battery recharge time7 hrs
Max rider weight220 lb
Brake typeRegenerative + Foot
Tire type8.0 in Solid + Solid
Built-in lightsFront + Rear
Water resistanceIP54

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About the Author

Paul

With a background in applied physics, Paul is ESG’s Hardware Program Manager and a former motorcycle roadracing champion and manager of scooter repair workhouses for Lime and Skip; Paul has spent more of his life riding (and working) on two wheels than four.

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