COMMENT:

Lime and Wave are no longer, but Aucklanders now have four rental e-scooter options to choose from - including one just launched this week - each a little different from the other. In a very unscientific, and slightly subjective, test, reporter Michael Neilson spent a morning testing them out on the city's pavements.

With the launch of Jump e-scooters on Tuesday Aucklanders now have four options to rent with their smartphones around the central city.

The latest roll-out is part of Auckland Council's first official six-month e-scooter licensing period, which sees the total e-scooter cap lifted from 1875 (the limit for the two trial periods) to 3200.

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Jump is sharing the streets with the locally-owned Flamingo, and two Singapore-owned players, Neuron and Beam.

Gone are Lime and Wave, with the current four judged to have better "safety profiles", including self-braking when going down hills.

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There are a lot of variables when it came to these e-scooters, so the Weekend Herald decided to take them for a spin for 20 minutes each, along mostly flat sections of central Auckland.

For simplicity's sake we decided to factor two key elements into our decision-making: the fun factor, and safety.

The greatest thing about e-scooters is that they provide a fun way to get from A to B, but as we all know - based on sound parental advice - the best kind of fun, is safe fun.

Flamingo

Price: $1 to unlock, and 38 cents a minute thereafter.

Speed: Flamingo will get you from A to B faster than the rest, just hold on tight. It had the fastest acceleration - probably due to its smaller size - up to a maximum of 25km/h. It also performed the best going up slopes.

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A flamingo e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
A flamingo e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Experience: While fun, there were times I didn't feel totally safe. Mine was a bit rickety and worn, perhaps due to its lighter build and it might be unfair to compare to some of the others that are a mere few days old. Handling was a little loose, too. It doesn't come with a helmet either, and given the speed and lack of other features, it was the only e-scooter I really felt like wearing one on.

Verdict: 3.25 stars. There is nothing really wrong with Flamingo, and it is a great option to get around the city, especially with speed. Just in comparison to the others the lack of safety features and less sturdy - older - design let it down.

Beam

Price: For January it is free to unlock, then bumps up to 45 cents. It also costs 45 cents a minute to run, meaning it might be a cheaper option on shorter trips until January ends.

Speed: I found the acceleration a little slow. You also need to push twice before you can press the accelerator, which may be good to burn a few calories, but it's not why I want to ride an e-scooter. It does have an in-built limiter which automatically drops the maximum speed from 25km/h to 15km/h when in specified low-speed zones.

NZME reporter Michael Neilson trials a Beam e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham
NZME reporter Michael Neilson trials a Beam e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Experience: It felt well put together, handled really well, and took the cracks and footpath dips a lot better than Flamingo. That said, having just a front brake made me a little nervous, and this was just on the flats.

Verdict: 3.75 stars. Being a little slower and a little less safe feeling with just the front brake.

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Neuron

Price: $1 unlock, 38c a minute thereafter. Also a range of passes including monthly.

Speed: Good, steady acceleration to the top speed of 25km/h, which due to the solid design still felt super sturdy. There is a button to change the speed limit to 15km/h - handy for low-speed zones, and for inexperienced riders.

NZME reporter Michael Neilson trials a Neuron e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham
NZME reporter Michael Neilson trials a Neuron e-scooter. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Experience: I felt by far the safest on this e-scooter, while still having a great time. The handling is excellent. It has a solid build and design, and the widest foot area of the bunch.

Verdict: 4.5 stars. In short Neuron was on top because it was fun, fast, but most importantly, the safest option.

Jump

Price: $1 to unlock then 38 cents per minute. Owned by Uber and runs through the same app, making it quite an easy option for users of the rideshare service.

Speed: Acceleration is gradual up to the top speed of 21km/h, and it has an inbuilt limiter to 15km/h in specified zones. It seemed to have less power than some of the others, especially Flamingo, and really struggled on slopes.

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NZME reporter Michael Neilson with a Jump e-scooter in Victoria Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham
NZME reporter Michael Neilson with a Jump e-scooter in Victoria Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Experience: Sturdy design and good brakes - probably the simplest to use given they're the same as on bikes - made it feel really safe, and it was almost as fast as Neuron, slightly quicker than Beam, but well behind Flamingo.

Verdict: 4 stars. There was little to separate Jump from Neuron, but I felt it was a little less sturdy, a little slower, and lacking a helmet definitely took away from the safety factor.

Auckland's e-scooter allocation

(For council's six-month licence period to June 3, 2020)

• Beam: 880

• Neuron: 880

• Jump by Uber: 735

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• Flamingo: 630

• Yet-to-be-allocated: 75

Total: 3200 (raised from 1875)