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The Unagi Model One reviewed.
Unagi’s premium folding e-scooter: The Model One
Unagi’s Model One provides premium performance, without sacrificing their renowned engineering and style. The Model One’s lightweight, carbon fibre and aluminium frame is made all the more impressive with its net weight of just 12kg and its stunning foldable mechanism. We take a closer look at what makes the Unagi Model One an electric scooter in a class of its own.
The Model One’s key features:
- Advanced, lightweight, folding electric scooter.
- Carbon fibre and Aluminium frame
- Dual 250w motors.
- 280Wh lithium ion battery.
- A range of up to 25 kilometres.
- Regenerative braking plus an emergency fender brake.
- Headlights, brake lights and side reflectors.
- IP54 water resistance with front and rear mudguards
- Puncture-proof, maintenance free 7.5” tyres.
- 110cm tall, 96cm long and weighing just 12kg
The perfect combination of style and engineering.
The Model One is Unagi’s sleekest scooter to date. The slender deck profile and narrowing prism-stem make up the scooter’s slender frame. It has a true delicacy to its form, made possible thanks to its carbon fibre construction. Everything on Unagi’s scooter is bespoke in its design; from the dashboard inlay, folding mechanism, catch and kick-stand, to the shape of the reflectors. The Model One truly is a work of art.
Like many others, the electric scooter arrives 90% assembled, requiring you to unfold it and fit the expertly crafted handlebars. Follow the instructions to depress the hinge button, release the stem, connect the plug inside to the handlebars, insert the handlebars into the stem and bolt it in place with the included hardware and tools. This process takes no more than 2 minutes, and once constructed it is ready to run right out of the box.
Arriving with a storage charge, it is always best to fully charge the scooter before your first ride. On the left hand side of the deck, towards the rear wheel, is a rubber port cover. Flip this open and insert the square charge plug into the yellow socket. The scooter charges in a little under 5 hours from flat, the small LED on the charging brick changing from red to green when complete.
Bespoke dashboard and display
Every touch point on the scooter is refined but the beautiful handlebars and display are among our favourites. Painted to match the rest of the frame, the cockpit has a glossy T-shaped insert beneath which the floating display resides. From top to bottom, this minimalist, bright-white LED dashboard indicates if the headlight is active, the current speed, motor status, odometer, remaining battery capacity and riding mode. The panel is bright, and clear enough to read on a bright day.
Alongside the handbars are two paddles, with the right controlling the accelerator and the left controlling the brake. The left hand button above triggers the horn, whilst the right cycles the odometer between trip and total distance at a press.
A fantastic finish
The superior quality and refined tactile experience the scooter radiates cannot be exaggerated; Unagi’s model one has a finish usually reserved for luxury cars. Available in one of four colours, the painted and laminated frame has a beautiful, silky appearance. From the soft silicone of the grips, charge port cover and deck to the smooth sculpted stem, almost all the touch points exude luxury.
Class-leading folding mechanism
Deploying the scooter is a foolproof operation that requires no real instruction thanks to the arrow depiction upon the single button on the side of the headset. To unfold, slide it down its channel to unlock, before raising the handlebars. Re-folding is simply the reverse, depressing that sliding switch and swinging the bars down.
Weighing a touch over 12kg as tested, when folded the unit can be carried in a variety of positions. The most natural position, gripping half way up the triangular stem, takes advantage of the balanced fore/aft weight distribution. When hauling the scooter for an extended period (or in tight spaces such as train carriages) it can be carried close to your body, the headset sat on your shoulder.
Impressive dual-motor performance
To power up the scooter, press and hold the power button at the bottom of the display panel until the dashboard lights up. Iit requires a ‘push to start’, kicking it along to a couple of km/h before the motors will take over with a press of the throttle paddle.
This E500 dual motor model features two 250w (each 500w peak) brushless electric motors, one fitted inside of each wheel. Double-tapping the power button will switch between single and dual motor mode, the latter indicated by a circular icon on the bottom left of the display. Those motors can supply a maximum of 32nm of torque, enough to tackle hills up to 15 degrees and powerful enough to drive riders up to 125kg in weight along the flat.
Safe and confidence inspiring
More impressive than the powerful acceleration, is how quickly the Model One can stop. The scooter’s powerful regenerative braking is one of the best on the market, and with both the wheels slowing you down, the performance of the anti-lock system is very impressive; even at high speeds. In an emergency riders can stomp the hinged rear fender into the rear wheel to shorten stopping distances.
With front and rear mudguards and an IP54 waterproof rating, the scooter can be used on wet terrain. The silicone footplate is also impressively grippy.
A responsive, sporty ride
It is upon the first ride where it becomes clear that this scooter isn’t a case of style over substance. The Model One feels robust with little slack in its headset and a quiet, rattle free ride. Even at speed the scooter feels stable and ‘low down’. This isn’t just due to its low centre of gravity but that it runs at just 8cm off of the floor. The Unagi Model One provides an impressively smooth ride, and we’re still torn what we’re most impressed about, it’s exhilarating performance or its sleek design.
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