One of the biggest success stories of 2020's e-scooter revolution has been Bird, an app-based scooter rental service which began in California that has now expanded to 100 cities in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
Governments across the globe are conducting trials of these environmentally-friendly forms of personal transport, and the next step in Bird's journey is e-commerce, as the company has started to sell consumer versions of its popular e-scooter.
Currently, the company has three models; Birdie, an electric scooter for children, Bird Air, a lightweight model, and the Bird One, the scooter we're reviewing here.
Should you spend your money on the Bird One? Read on to find out…
Bird One electric scooter review: Design
The Bird One may be one of the most stylish electric scooters out there – especially if you opt for the 'Electric Rose' or 'Dove White' colourways. They certainly stand out next to the black and grey models from other brands. Although, of course, the Bird One is also available in 'Jet Black', if you prefer a more understated colourway.
All models feature a large contrasting Bird logo on the front and Bird branding on the upright beam.
Adding to its stylish credentials is the sleek and streamlined design, with fully integrated brake wires and a built-in headlight unit. It looks aerodynamic, like an Airstream caravan.
Perhaps even more impressive than its aesthetics, though, is how solidly the Bird One is built. It feels like a tank. This is because it was originally built for Bird's rideshare schemes, and the hard life of abuse that that entails.
In fact, the Bird One is built accordance with 31 separate safety and quality certifications, so that you can rely upon your e-scooter day-in, day-out.
Part of the reason the Bird One feels so solid is that there is no folding mechanism – a weak, flexible point on many other scooters. Instead, the upright is secured in place by four large bolts.
Of course, the inability to fold down might instantly make some people stop reading. We usually review electric scooters by using them as a 'last mile' solution between a car park and our office, but as this doesn't fold, it wouldn't fit inside our car. If you live in a city and plan on using the Bird One as your sole mode of transportation, then this is less of an issue.
It's IP34-rated, which means you can take the Bird One out in showery conditions without voiding the warranty, and it can take a maximum load of 100 kg.
Out of the box, not much needs doing to the Bird One; there are just four simple bolts which need securing with an Allen key.
It can just about be carried up a flight of stairs, but weighing in at 17.5kg and measuring 118 x 109 x 46 cm, the Bird One is certainly not the most portable option out there.
Bird One electric scooter review: Performance
Before you ride your Bird One you'll need to 'wake' it using the app, after that (which can take a few attempts) it's an incredibly easy electric scooter to ride – just kick-off manually then press the accelerator with your thumb.
Bird One electric scooter specs
Max Speed: 18 mph / 29 km/h
Range: 25 miles / 40 km
Weight: 17.5 kg
Motor: 300 W
Water resistance: IP34-rated
Tyre: 9-inch, Solid Semi-Pneumatic
Max Load: 100 kg
Removable battery: No
Speed settings: 1
Unlike most other electric scooters out there, the Bird One doesn't feature a display on the handlebars. This means there's no quick or easy way to tell how fast you're going or how much battery is left.
This information is available in the app, but we think it's useful to have it right in front of you as well.
The Bird One’s 300W brushless front hub motor is capable of reaching a top speed of 18mph / 29km/h, which is plenty fast enough, and actually faster than is legally allowed in the UK.
Acceleration feels good and the Bird One doesn't seem to struggle too much to climb hills.
Here, we'd usually talk about speed settings, but the Bird One only has a single setting. Honestly, we don't think this is too much of an issue, as we generally only use the most powerful setting on other e-scooters anyway. Reducing the number of settings certainly makes the Bird One simple and straightforward to use.
There is also no 'cruise control' setting.
The brake on the Bird One is a combination of an electronic front brake and a rear mechanical brake. These are both operated via a single lever situated on the left-hand handlebar, which can be pulled for efficient, controllable slowing.
The Bird One certainly feels stable going at speed, with its 9-inch solid semi-pneumatic tyres large enough to go over kerbs and other small obstacles without any major clunks. Handling also feels pretty stable. The overall 17.5kg weight gives the Bird One stability but also makes it a little hefty to push along if the battery has died.
Bird One electric scooter review: Battery life
The Bird One’s battery, located in the base, is rated at 12800 mAh (12.8 Amp-Hr). That's enough fuel for a journey of around 25 miles (40 km), and, once depleted, it takes around six hours to recharge.
The Bird app will notify you when the battery starts to get low, so you're never left mid-journey with an empty battery.
Bird One electric scooter review: Other features
Here's where the Bird One gets really interesting – its app – because Bird isn't just an e-scooter company, it's a software and service company.
The app was originally developed to help rental riders locate Bird One e-scooters in their local area, but Bird’s companion app now also offers you complete control over your e-scooter.
First of all, setting up your new Bird One is incredibly easy – just scan the QR code located on the handlebar to add it to your profile.
Once the e-scooter is registered to your profile you can switch it on and off via your smartphone, remote lock your scooter, and receive notifications if it’s been tampered with.
You can even remote unlock it to enable friends to use it, and track its location with GPS.
That's truly impressive and makes it one of the most secure electric scooters we've tried.
You can also receive regular over-the-air firmware updates, as well as remote-diagnose and update firmware issues.
Unfortunately, we also ran into a few connection issues with the app, and when it doesn't work it becomes very annoying. Imagine this; you're running late of work, you try to unlock your scooter but nothing happens – instead of zooming along the road to your office, you're stuck swiping an app which seemingly isn't doing anything. We're not sure if it's due to poor signal where we live, or a software issue, but it happened on more than one occasion.
Bird One electric scooter review: Verdict
Sleek-looking, built like a tank, with super impressive connectivity features – as well as battery life galore – the Bird One is about as versatile and as future-proof as e-scooters get. It's not the most compact or portable option available, especially as it doesn't fold, but if you’re looking for the smartest e-scooter around – this is it.