We raced KC’s three brands of rental scooters to find the fastest
There’s no denying that Kansas Citians love the electronic scooters scattered around town. Scooters save gas, they’re easy to ride and they’re a lot less sweat-inducing than traveling by bike.
You have three electric scooters to choose from in Kansas City. The familiar black and white Bird was recently joined by two newcomers: Ford-owned Spin and Kansas City public transit product RideKC. The scooters differ in price — each is $1 to start, but Bird and Spin are 33 cents per minute while RideKC is 15 cents per minute — and speed.
On a muggy day in mid-July, we made our way to the Country Club Plaza, strapped on our helmets and conducted a series of races to determine which scooter you should grab the next time you’re in a hurry to get somewhere.
If you’ve got a need for speed, Spin is where it’s at. Bird is a trusty, easily accessible ride, considering there are 500 of them in the metro. We’d recommend RideKC for beginners since the scooters operate at a comfortable speed and have a wide deck that resembles a skateboard.
Distance: 270 feet
This run was simply about speed, which we tested on the flat sidewalk next to the Brush Creek gondola dock. Since speed was the focus, we didn’t start the race timer until the scooter was at full acceleration. This was the closest race we had, but Spin beat the others.
Spin: 7.89 seconds
Bird: 8.11 seconds
RideKC: 9.34 seconds
Distance: 1,390 feet
This heat tested the scooters in a typical usage scenario on city streets — which meant dodging pedestrians, rattling over sidewalk divots, rounding corners and stopping for cars. We started at the Jack Stack’s bull statue and raced around the block that houses Cheesecake Factory and Forever 21. While the scooters zipped quickly on the straightaways, braking was a factor around corners. Spin snagged the win again, with city-run RideKC again bringing up the rear.
Spin: 1:09.83 seconds
Bird: 1:10.30 seconds
RideKC: 1:11.95 seconds
Distance: 310 feet, 34 degree elevation
We decided to take on the Broadway Boulevard hill, a 34 degree grade. It took a second for the scooters to get going — the wheels skid on the hill when we pushed the throttle. Like the straightaway race, this one is incredibly close, with race times fluctuating by just milliseconds. The winner, by 1.67 seconds, was Bird.
Bird: 23.1 seconds
Spin: 24.77 seconds
RideKC: 25.25 seconds
KCMO ordinance requires scooters be ridden in the streets or in bike lanes where available.