Is the Piaggio One the future of urban mobility?
Rating: 9/10 | Price: from £2,500 via Piaggio, Scooter and Motoden
Perfect for zipping around the city; removable battery; small, light and simple to use; takes a passenger
Not one for longer journeys or fast speeds; limited power
It’s so plastic. It’s so small… It only costs that much?
Whatever our first impressions, the Piaggio One looks like a real game changer for both Europe’s biggest bike manufacturer and the entire e-bike market. It’s a diminutive electric moped with removable battery that comes in at just over £2k. Yes, that’s less of an outlay than many regular e-pedal bikes – and pretty much all of the bikes in WIRED’s best electric bikes for commuting edit. The One is available in three models: One (a 50cc moped equivalent), One+ (with increased battery capacity) and beefier One Active (a 125cc scooter equivalent).
Piaggio is betting hard on Gen Z – eco conscious, tech-savvy urbanites who could be looking for that simple, safe and emission-free first bike. A ride with a user interface that’s more Tron than Triumph, and that plugs in to charge at home, just like an iPhone. This is mobility as tech, buying a motorbike like buying a new gadget.
Jumping on the Piaggio you immediately realise how small and low the seat is. It’s 77cm high. Great for confidence inspiring standover height, not so great for very tall riders. The saddle is comfy enough and although modest in size, will accommodate a passenger (again, of a modest size). WIRED did multiple trips across the city with an adult comfortably riding pillion. Yes, tight manoeuvring in heavy traffic is easier ‘one up’, but the size of the bike meant even with company those moves were well weighted and predictable.
A ‘keyless’ fob unlocks the bike and brings that flashy 5.5-inch colour LCD display to life (think shrunken Tesla control-unit for teenagers). From a handlebar mounted button you then toggle through three riding modes. Eco is for battery saving riding in heavy traffic at modest speeds (up to 18mph / 30kph). Sport, with a modest top speed of 40 kph (One) or 60kph (One Active), is the mode which will suit pretty much all riders, all of the time. Finally, Reverse mode. Select this to manoeuvre the bike for parking. Although the One is so light compared to a regular 125cc scooter you’ll probably never have to trouble it.
Published at Wed, 27 Oct 2021 05:00:00 +0000