January 23, 2024

Micromobility at CES 2024: Segway Test Rides!

Our final day at the Consumer Electronics Show was all about Segway! Tyson left the show floor and trekked to Segway’s test track location, where they had assembled a variety of scooters, electric bikes, and even a go-kart for test rides. We were especially excited to see their new prototypes: The Xyber, an electric motorcycle masquerading as an electric bike, and the Xafari, a comfortable and sporty adventure e-bike.

Hello friends, and welcome to my final article recapping micromobility tech at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show. There was so much there that I couldn't get to it all! If you missed the rest of the series, here's Part 1 and Part 2. For my final day in Las Vegas I focused on Segway, a widely recognized brand that brought a wide array of light electric vehicles to the show. Even better, they rented an off-site parking lot and offered free test rides! While I was sad they didn't have their fully electric dune buggy available for testing, they did have a full lineup of scooters as well as their new e-bike prototypes. Watch the below video to ride along with me as I test ride everything they have on offer; If reading is more your thing, I'll cover the highlights below, and also share some of my off-camera thoughts.

The Xyber and the Xafari: Segway E-Bikes!

Many people are very excited about Segway's prototype two-wheelers, so let's just start with them. First up, the Xyber: It's part motorcycle, part electric bike, and incredibly fun to ride. It definitely feels more motorcycle than it does e-bike; knobby motorcycle tires, huge brake rotors, heavy-duty suspension with a wide triple-clamp fork, and two enormous batteries. I didn't get an official weight but I estimate about 120 lbs (54 kg)... this thing is heavy. Plus it's got a 3,000 watt rear hub motor, and I was able to quickly accelerate to 30 mph (48 kph) on the test track. It could have gone much faster, but sadly the test track was pretty small.

So far, I was loving everything about the Xyber, except for the fact that it had pedals on it. Some footpegs would have felt perfect! The Xyber has a very compact geometry, even more so than the usual minibike-style e-bike, so pedaling just kinda sucks, especially on my lanky 6'3" frame. Things get even stranger when you look more in-depth at the drivetrain: it's single speed, and pedal assist uses an impressively responsive torque sensor. Torque sensors are great, of course, but... why on this bike? The compact design makes pedaling so uncomfortable that almost no one will want to use pedal assist, except maybe in short bursts. "But Tyson, if you run out of battery you can still pedal home!" Yeah, sure, you try pedaling this 120-pound tank with no electric assist and only a single speed drivetrain. The final head-scratcher is that Segway plans to release the Xyber as a Class 2 electric bike restricted to 20 mph (32 kph). Unless they change pretty much everything about the bike, I just can't see anyone wanting to buy it in that configuration... and what a waste to have a 3,000 watt motor and then restrict it so much! I'm hoping they at least have an optional "offroad mode" that unlocks it's full power.

Segway's other e-bike prototype, the Xafari, was a different story: it has a clear design vision as an adventure e-bike and that vision is executed flawlessly. I honestly didn't have anything bad to say about it, though there were a few things that weren't yet functional (like the turn signals) due to it being a prototype. It features 3" wide tires which are what I consider the sweet spot for an off-road adventure bike, providing plenty of float and traction but being much lighter and more nimble than 4" fat tires. The torque sensor is perfectly tuned for a responsive pedaling experience, and the motor is surprisingly quiet, especially for how zippy it is; hitting and maintaining the top speed of 28 mph (45 kph) is easy on the highest setting. The geometry is comfortable with a forward-ish seating position, and I really liked the design aesthetics. The best way to describe it is "undeniably Segway".

You get a Scooter, and You get a Scooter

Segway's got a scooter for every rider: entry-level commuters, premium commuters, all-purpose scooters that can handle some off-road adventuring in addition to pavement, and beastly speed demons that can conquer anything. I was impressed by Segway's design consistency across their entire line; they use similar control systems and layouts on all of their scooters, and - unsurprisingly - it's a good setup. The controls are intuitive to use, headlights are positioned high up on the handlebars where they should be, and turn signals are embedded in the ends of the grips, excellent positioning for maximum visibility. Plus you get bright brake light activation, seamless internal routing of cables... every one of their scooters is designed and built extremely well.

Scooter performance was excellent across the board, although I of course had the most fun on their high-end models. The GT2 is their "beast mode" model: It has a top speed of 43 mph (69 kph), and it can reach that speed in a terrifyingly short amount of time. I was able to get to about 35 mph (56 kph) in roughly two seconds before I had to start braking due to how small the test track was. This scooter has two motors outputting 1,500 watts each, easily the most powerful scooter I've ever ridden. The acceleration curve is impressively smooth with a nice roll-on of power, although adrenaline junkies can enable Turbo Mode which enables instant acceleration. It also turns the entire display red, and you'll want to hold on tight when hitting the throttle.

When it comes to build quality and design, the GT2 is easily the best scooter I've ever ridden. It's amazingly rugged, with a beefy stem, thick deck, and nice large 12" wheels. The stem does fold down, but only at roughly the halfway point; clearly, Segway decided to prioritize rugged strength over portability, a decision which I support 100%. At some point you have to accept that your 90 lb (41 kg) scooter is just never going to be convenient to move or store, and simply make it as good as possible at it's intended purpose: high-speed adventure riding! The steering column is also significantly dampened, meaning it's hard to turn which provides excellent stability at speed. Most scooters require an aftermarket dampener to be installed, so kudos to Segway for doing it the right way.

For those who want a thrilling ride but aren't ready for the aggressive behemoth that is the GT2, the ST1 is the perfect choice. It can still go plenty fast with a top speed of roughly 33 mph (53 kph), with satisfying acceleration from the 1,000 watt motor in the rear hub. It is also sturdily built, with a dampened steering column for stable high-speed riding. It's wheels are a smaller 10" in diameter, so it can't roll over obstacles as well as the GT2, but will still perform well on light trails, and of course in urban environments.

Closing Thoughts: Segway Gets It

Overall, I'm quite impressed with Segway's lineup. It's clear that they have put a lot of R&D into each one of their products, and - with the exception of the Xyber - it has resulted in products that are expertly tailored for their intended use case. I love their focus on safety, with integrated lighting and signaling features executed as well as I've seen any company do it. I'm stoked to test out the final versions of the Xafari and Xyber, and to see what other products Segway brings to market in 2024!

Article by Tyson Roehrkasse
Photo of the author, Tyson Roehrkasse

Tyson Roehrkasse is a technical specialist who has worn just about every hat there is in the IT and software development fields. He began working with PEVs in 2018 as a developer for Electric Bike Review, and immediately became obsessed with learning about e-bike technology. He soon began creating his own reviews on the EBR platform and to date is the second largest contributor of review content there. After a five-year tenure with EBR Tyson moved on to work with other companies in the industry, building websites for other reviewing companies and e-commerce platforms for EV manufacturers. He also continued working as a freelance reviewer, eventually partnering with the Micromobility Industries to produce reviews and other content for their partner site, Ride Review.

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