City Mantis Electric Scooter Review


Could there be anything better to do on a gorgeous summer day, than speeding
along on a City Mantis with the wind in your face and the sun
on your back? I don’t think so! But what exactly is a City Mantis you ask? It is
a fold-up electric scooter that will turn heads when you buzz by. Definitely
Gadgeteer worthy!

After featuring the City Mantis as a
Latest Gadget on our
front page way back in December of last year, I contacted the distributor to see
if I could review one. Not long after they agreed, I received a BIG box from
FedEx Ground on my doorstep.

Opening the box revealed a folded scooter. I’m not exactly sure of the origin
of the City Mantis name, but it sort of reminds me of a Praying Mantis insect
and the way they fold their arms. Available in Silver, Black, Red, Neon, Blue
colors, I was sent the metallic silver version. Very snazzy.

Although the scooter is fully assembled, it does require a few minutes of
work before you can actually ride it. Luckily the tools (2 Allen wrenches and a
tool to adjust the seat shock) required for this work are included in the box. A
short manual is also included. And, this is where I ran into my first complaint
about the Mantis. As this product is originally manufactured and sold in Asia,
the manual has been translated into English. The problem is that the translation
is pretty poor. The folks at City Mantis should really consider re-writing it.
Several times I was confused as to what to do to get the scooter ready for use.
My main confusion was how to position the handle bars as there weren’t any good
pictures or explanations. That said, 30mins later I had the scooter ready to go!

This is an electric scooter though, so I still had to charge it before I
could actually take my first ride. The battery that it uses is a replaceable 2
x12V Liquid Gel Battery. The battery is housed in the main body of the scooter,
with the power connector located on the outside. A quick charger 110V/220V AC
with a 3 prong plug, is also included.

Charging time is typically between 5 and 6 hours. But the batteries are
charged to 50% in as little as 45mins. Range per full charge is rated between 8
to 14 miles depending on the weight of the person riding it, and the terrain. The orange power module on the left handle bar, tells you when the
unit is powered on and if it is fully charged. A green LED is lit while the unit
is powered on, and the LED is red when the unit is fully charged and plugged
into the charger.

When I was a kid, I had longed for a moped, but never had one. So, after
allowing the Mantis to charge for a couple hours, I was more than ready to give
it a try. When I first sat down on the seat, I was thinking about how silly I
must look on such a small bike. That feeling didn’t last long as I flipped the
power switch on, and pulled the accelerator lever. Wheeeeeeeee….. off I went!

The City Mantis is pretty speedy for such a small bike. Its 250W/3800rpm
motor can go as fast as 16mph. That might not sound very fast to you, but when
you’re riding something this small, it feels pretty speedy!

Not having ridden any type of bike in a long time, it took me awhile to get
used to the Mantis. At first, I thought I wouldn’t be able to ride it as I felt
pretty wobbly and couldn’t ride farther than 20 feet or so before I was using my
feet Fred Flintstone style to stop myself. I think my main problem was getting
used to the position of my feet while riding.

The Mantis has two fold-up foot rests on either side of the back tire. These
metal pegs are very sturdy and can actually be used to stand on if you wish to
ride the Mantis in that position. I actually tried riding that way a couple
times, but it didn’t feel at all natural to me, so I went back to using the


Although the seat doesn’t appear to be very comfortable, it really isn’t too
bad. I’ll admit that after riding the scooter the first day, I did feel a bit
sore, but that didn’t last long. I’ve never found bicycle seats to be
particularly comfortable either… The seat on the Mantis is padded and does
have a shock absorber under it. This shock can be adjusted to give you a more
bouncy or firmer ride.

On the second day that I went out to try riding the scooter again, I noticed that
I had left the power switch turned on. Oops… But I was happy to see that the
battery hadn’t been drained. It must have an inactivity shut off. Riding this
time, felt much easier. I was able to ride up and down my gravel road without
fearing that I was going to kill myself. ;o)  Again, I was pretty surprised
at how fast the scooter could go. Upon close examination, I could see that the
Mantis is belt driven. The rear wheel is also a free wheel. This means that it
will turn even if you don’t have the throttle engaged. This is great for
coasting down slight inclines as you will not use any battery power while doing

The tires are pneumatic (10" and 8") and the brake is a rear drum brake.
Speaking of the brake, you only have one hand brake, on the right side. The
brake is also a kill switch to the battery, which means that you only use the
battery when you are using the throttle. The
brake worked well, but I’m not sure of the stopping distance. I didn’t try
stopping on a dime as I was riding in gravel. I’ll also say that riding in
gravel is not all that safe. This bike is designed more for asphalt or black top
roads. The Mantis is probably not suited for overly hilly areas either. I have a
few inclines on my lane, and could definitely tell that it taxed the motor as I
tried to climb them. According to the City Mantis site, the max slope that the
scooter can handle is 8 degrees. In addition, the maximum weight you should put on the
bike is 198lbs or 90kg.

As far as safety and security features are concerned, there is a reflector on
the back of the seat, and another near the front tire. For security, you really
only have the ability to take the Mantis with you, as there isn’t a locking

The City Mantis is marketed as a portable transportation device. In theory, you can
ride to your destination, fold up the Mantis and carry it into a building. Even
the manual shows a person carrying the Mantis on their back with an optional
backpack bag. I have to tell you, that I don’t find this to be very practical
at all. At least not for me. The Mantis weighs 48lbs, which is way too heavy for
me to lug around. I also found the process of folding and unfolding the Mantis
to be a big pain in the butt. Maybe I’m just a weakling though…

Besides the lousy manual and the not so practical way of folding up the
scooter, I did find the City Mantis to be a heck of a lot of fun to ride around
on. Although it isn’t cheap, it does make a great little transportation device
for city dwellers that don’t care to use a standard bicycle. Now, if you will
excuse me, I have to go take a farewell ride on the Mantis before boxing it up
to send back. <queuing up Born To Be Wild on my iPod>


Price: $599.00

Fun to ride
Great battery life

Not very easy to fold and transport


Product Information

  • Small
  • Fun to ride
  • Great battery life
  • Expensive
  • Not very easy to fold and transport
Posted in: Home and Kitchen
{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Julie August 11, 2003, 9:49 pm

    Post your comments here on the City Mantis Electric Scooter Review.

    Just click the POST REPLY button on this page.

  • Nate August 11, 2003, 10:35 pm

    Great review Julie. I was hoping you’d get one of those for review, and I’m glad you did. It sounds like an awesome little device.

    I think hte idea of the Mantis is a good one. It’s very cool looking, and is also very practical, particularly for city dwellers where public transportation is inconsistant. The biggest draw for me about the Mantis is the fact that because its portable, it can be taken in and stored in a closet at work or at home, unlike a full-sized gas-powered scooter.

    Comparing it (on paper anyway) to other electric scooters it seems to have about the same capabilities as other scooters, but a little more refinement. It costs twice as much as the really cheap scooters, but about the same as the good ones.

    I don’t know if I’d ever actually ride one of those, but I certainly like the idea, especially if it could get me to work without me having to break a sweat and stores easily when I get there.

    One question though — when you ride standing up is it possible to extend the handlebars at all? And is it possible to fold the seat down when riding it standing? I guess that’s two questions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Julie August 12, 2003, 12:40 am


    Yes, you could fold the seat down if you wanted to ride standing up. The handle bars can be extended a bit, but not much more than what I have pictured.

  • 10basetom August 12, 2003, 1:44 am

    thanks for the review, julie.

    it seems this is the poor man’s segway and the rich man’s razor ;).


  • Ford F-150 August 12, 2003, 2:23 am

    Great review Julie! Another thing that is alot of fun is the goped. I bought what they call the “Geo Bigfoot” Its an economical gas powered scooter that is fun, fast, and fuel efficient. They will go about 20mph stock, but I upgraded mine to go about 32mph. They are really alot of fun and extremely easy to maintain. I think you should try to review one!

  • Julie August 12, 2003, 3:01 am

    Ford F-150

    Those do look pretty cool! You really wanna see me dead dontcha? Heheheh ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Too bad I don’t see an electric model (did I miss it?). All I see are human powered and gasoline powered. I’m too lazy to power it myself, and gasoline just seems messy. I really like the idea of electric powered transportation.

  • Nate August 12, 2003, 3:21 am
  • Ford F-150 August 12, 2003, 3:52 am

    Well, actually the gas versions are very quiet and clean burning. All the Goped models can carry a 400lb. person and still get an average of 150 miles per gallon. They even passed California’s strict emision regulations. In fact, every time a goped scooter is bought, a tree is planted on your behalf in Yellowstone National Park.

  • Julie August 12, 2003, 1:23 pm

    I have no doubt that the gasoline versions are efficient, I just personally would not want to deal with the mess. I’m the type of person that tends to slop gas all over myself when I fill up my lawnmower ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’ll take a closer look at their electric model, thanks for the link Nate.

  • Ford F-150 August 12, 2003, 1:58 pm

    O.K, I see I won’t be able to sell you on the gas versions. But heres an electric Goped called the HoverBoard. Similar to the Stealth, the Hoverboard has front and rear suspension. Heres the link

  • TheDreamer August 12, 2003, 3:05 pm

    Boy this review…is making me think of getting something….

    I have toyed with getting an electric scooter for some time….to help cut down the walk to work…..of course, less of a problem now that I’m closer to work.

    But, I’ve toyed with using one to just putt around the neighborhood. One thing is whether it would be street safe….(or legal). Most don’t have reflectors…and Ohio drivers well….

    Though I’ve been more looking at getting electric assist for my bike…or an electric bike. Actually I’ve been looking at foldable ones…because storage in my apartment is kind of a problem….and my bike is rusting from being left outdoors.

    Of course, price has been a factor….it is in the range where it competes with other ‘gadgets’ where I need to make a budget to overrun…..;) Like my budget to replace/upgrade on recorder per year (which I did…but then replaced all of them with four ReplayTVs :o)

    The Dreamer

  • Salman August 12, 2003, 11:01 pm

    That’s a neat little scooter.

    I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable driving one in public mind you hehe.

  • Scott R August 13, 2003, 2:40 am

    So while you had some positive things to say about it, I didn’t get the feeling like you were that sad to see it go.

    What surprises me most are the security issues. As you said, folding it up and carrying the 50lb contraption around with you isn’t an option for most people. You’d think they would at least design it so that you could use a good bicycle lock with it. But it doesn’t look like there’s any good way to do that.


  • Julie August 13, 2003, 2:45 am

    Scott R:

    I did find it fun to ride, but I live in a rural area. There really isn’t a place to ride it. My long lane is gravel. I suppose I could use it to go get the mail on the weekends. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Where I live, I would really benefit more from the use of a 4 wheeler.

    As far as using a bicycle lock with the Mantis, you can do that. You can run the line thru the back tire area.

  • Scott R August 13, 2003, 2:52 am

    While I can’t see myself riding these types of things, I must admit that part of me wishes I could make use of them as an alternative to a car. In my case, I live in a semi-rural area with a good number of hills, some of them quite steep. On top of that, my daily commute into the city is probably a good 15-20 miles.

    I suppose I could always drive one of these to the bus stop in town and then take the bus into work. Then again, right now my wife drops our daughter off at nursery school and I pick her up after work, so that wouldn’t work for those reasons, either.


  • bg3am August 14, 2003, 3:18 pm

    Had one for a year. The Mantis makes it possible to find parking and still get to campus fast. Folding and unfolding get a lot easier with practice.

    While lighter, the Mantis is not really portable. I had fantasies of jumping on a bus with it. But it’s too ungainly for anyone except a fairly large, strong person to manage in a tight space like that. I wouldn’t hesitate to take it on the Metro in DC, though. But, can it be thrown quickly into the back of my car? Absolutely, and I’m 59 and no Hulk.

    I use a bungee cord to strap the charger to the rear fender. Starbucks and Barnes and Noble think it’s cute.

    Replacement parts (tires, throttle) are all under $25. Takes two $25 batteries every 350 or so charges.

    Julie, you are right about the directions needing a retranslation. You got the handlebars on backwards. So did I.

    Con: don’t plan on taking it to the grocery store. No way to add a decent package carrier. But it goes great with a backpack or messenger bag, and it’s perfect with my Scott eVest.

    Give Mark Ward a shout at Mention my name. I’m a huge fan of The Gadgeteer. I’ve persuaded him to knock $25 if you do. Maybe I can persuade him to let me sell them for him if my entrepreneurial spirit really kicks in.

    Bernard Glassman

  • Julie August 14, 2003, 3:23 pm


    Mark is actually the person that sent me the bike to review ๐Ÿ™‚

    He told me that I had the handle bars on wrong. I guess the brake really goes on the left side? It felt fine to me the way I had it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • bg3am August 14, 2003, 3:40 pm

    Depends on whether you are right- or left-handed, I suppose. I’m right-handed. On a bouncy ride, I like controlling the throttle with my more skilled hand, to prevent accidentally accelerating, or just to have more refined control. Some would prefer the security of having their strongest hand on the brake. It’s all pretty adjustable to taste, though. The bigger deal is that the bars are more manageable if they jut out in front of the front tire a bit, rather than coming closer to you. Again, that’s a personal issue. De gustibus non disputandem etc.


  • Julie August 14, 2003, 4:31 pm

    I’m a lefty…

  • bg3am August 14, 2003, 10:46 pm

    I guess enough twists would make it a yarn… Anyway, I took my Mantis to a usually very friendly bike shop here in Chapel Hill after riding it all over campus and noting that the drum-style brake was slipping when I tried to stop in a hurry on hills. The repair person at the bike shop was very reluctant to work on it. This despite assurances from Mark Ward at City Mantis that it was a relatively common maintenance job for a bike shop. Having had less-than-wonderful experience getting repairs on my Voloce anywhere but at the dealer, I have come to the conclusion that a)you are better off knowing how to handle the routine stuff yourself with these things and b) it is unwise to be genuinely dependent on any technology you can’t do at least the common repairs on.(Doh, right?) Fortunately there is nothing mysterious about any part of the bike, and if it were to take me weeks to get replacement parts I certainly be just fine. But I think I will order a couple of new tires and maybe a couple of new batteries and belts anyway. And I’ll take it apart and put it back together a couple of times as a spare-time thing.

    I’ll report my experience, of course.


  • gshepherd August 19, 2003, 8:38 pm

    I’m glad to see more interest in electric transportation, be it personal scooters, neighborhood electric vehicles, or full-size highway capable cars.

    I have a friend who has several electric stand-up board scooters, some of which he has modified. One was clocked at 42 MPH!

    There are also a number of electric 50-cc-equivelant city scooters showing up from China. sells one that looks like a classic Vespa. Other companies sell more modern-looking versions.

    The nice thing about these technologies is the convenience of silently and automatically charging at home or work while you do other things. While in use, they are smooth, silent, and zero air and ground-water pollution. Of course, I like the addicting pull of torque from an electric motor while accelerating.

    A good resource on all types of electric vehicles is

  • Jeremiah April 12, 2009, 12:41 am

    hey loved the review and it helped alot..just wondering were i can get new tires or any other repairs i need.

    thanks alot.

  • Mike September 16, 2009, 2:11 pm

    Hey. Just wondering where i can get a city mantis scooter.


    • Julie September 16, 2009, 4:56 pm

      @Mike Bummer. Looks like they aren’t available any longer…

  • tony February 8, 2011, 9:22 am

    any idea where i can get thumb switches for the mantis thanks

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