Moose Reviews: Bird One Electric Scooter
Suppose you've rented an e-scooter in America or Europe. In that case, chances are that you're already familiar with a Bird electric scooter.
Bird is one of the most well-known scooter brands, mainly for scooter hire - in plenty of cities across the world, you can use your smartphone or device to rent a scooter and hit the streets. Bird now operates its rental e-scooters in over 130 cities across 5 continents. With over ten million rides, it's one of the most used rental e-scooters in the world.
The Bird One is the company's first scooter in the world of privately owned e-scooters. Its robust and sturdy build quality reflects Bird's experience in the unforgiving rental environment. It's worth considering if you plan to put loads of miles in for your commute. Alas, some of these same "rental e-scooter" features ultimately prove the Bird One's undoing.
We expected the scooter to be lighter and have a different design to its rental conterpart. However, this appears not to be the case. Like the rentals, it has no buttons or display, with everything controlled by the Bird One smartphone app.
It's important to note that it's still illegal to ride privately owned e-scooters on both roads and pavements in the UK. In 2021, the UK government legalised using rental electric scooters in some UK cities.
READ NEXT: Is Scooters in the UK Legal?
Set-up and Design
The Bird One electric scooter comes in 3 colours, Jet Black, Electric Rose and Dove White. All three have black handlebars, wheels and deck, with the Bird brand name displayed on the stem and the bird logo just above the front wheel.
Central between the handlebars is an extensively sizeable mobile phone-shaped panel in the centre of the handlebars. This is adorned with the Bird One brand name; inside, this is where the scooter's brain resides. On most scooters, the central location displays your speed, remaining battery charge, and riding mode.
Next to this sits a QR code on the right, stamped onto a small square attached to the bars. The scooter's thumb throttle is beside this, and the brake lever is on the left. It simultaneously operates the Bird One's rear drum and front regenerative brakes.
Like most e-scooters, when you first buy the Bird One, you have to attach the handlebars to the stem of the scooter yourself with a couple of screws and an allen key provided. Despite this process usually being easy to do, we found it difficult with the Bird One. We deconstructed and reconstructed the scooter multiple times but needed help to get the stem to feel safe and rigid.
After a few goes, we managed to assemble the Bird One without handlebar wobble. We imagine some will have issues, although, with patience, we were ready to get riding.
To turn on Bird One, you must install the Bird app (available for Android and iOS devices). To get going, activate the scooter using the QR code. After the firmware has been updated, unlock the scooter from the app's main screen. When the scooter is locked, it is unable to be moved without setting off the alarm.
The app is used for more than keeping your e-scooter secure. You can also use it to track total mileage and battery charge, and this is where you access the scooter's tracking feature. Using GPS and a phone connection, this pinpoints your e-scooters exact location on a map. It's hand down the Bird One's best feature and would be able to help you retrieve the scooter if it's stolen.
Performance and Comfort
The scooter is IP34 rated, meaning its internals are protected water splashed from all directions. Bird advises against riding the Bird One in heavy rain. However, puddles and light rainy spells are okay.
READ NEXT: Can you ride e-scooters in the rain?
There is no easy way of easing yourself to the Bird One max speed of 18mph, as the Bird has yet to get multiple riding modes that control the speed at which you ride. As most scooter have riding modes, the absence of modes on the Bird One give you less control over your riding habits.
There was something we did like, and that was the acceleration speed, which was great when waiting at traffic lights. Some other scooters, if the acceleration is too fast, you have little control when setting off and can often zoom straight into traffic. If it's too slow, you can get in the way of other road users after starting at a light. The Bird One was just right.
The scooter rides well on flat surfaces and feels steady because of its robust build with solid semi-pneumatic tyres. The front and back wheels are 22 cm or 9" across, and both feel super study. These are not as smooth as the pneumatic ones on the Pure Air Pro or the Xiaomi scooters.
As for range, that's really good. The Bird One's battery lasts up to 25 miles in optimal conditions, which is better than the 22.4 miles from the Pure Air Pro. It takes up to six hours to charge fully.
The scooter's headlight could be better, even when high-beam mode is enabled. Yes, it does an excellent job of alerting others to your presence on the road. Still, it could better illuminate your path ahead than the headlights on other scooters we've tested.
The Bird One doesn't fold down, so carrying it upstairs to a flat or carrying it onto public transport is challenging. It is designed to be left on the pavement outside your home or left in a hallway. The scooter has a built-in alarm so that, when it's locked, touching it sets off a wailing sound.
The alarm goes off with the slightest movement; even when moving it into a location or hanging a helmet before a journey, it starts to screech. The Bird needs unlocking before manoeuvring it in any position.
The idea of lock-less pavement scooter security remains a dream, and the Bird One doesn't make it a reality. When locked, you can't ride the Bird One scooter, so at least thieves won't be able to ignore the alarm. Potentially they could pick it up and walk away with it.
Yes, it meets expectations regarding design and builds quality. Unfortunately, this rental copy-and-paste model doesn't translate well in other areas to consumer e-scooters.
Most of all, the Bird One lacks one of the critical elements of a folding mechanism, making it difficult to carry around and awkward to store.
The remote locking, alarm, and location tracking are excellent, and the range is good, thanks to having a 350w motor. The Bird One takes hills in its stride, so powering up them is a breeze.