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Today, we’re taking a look at the GoTrax Gmax Ultra vs. GoTrax G4. In doing this review, we reflected on what technological revolutions have made these two models possible.
Both electric motors and rechargeable batteries have taken on vast improvements over the last several years. Interestingly, in 2016, the options were fewer and the capabilities of Personal Electric Vehicles (PEV) were maybe 50% of what they are now.
For example, the most powerful electric scooters on the market today can reach speeds of up to 60 to 70 miles an hour and approximately 80 miles of range. Admittedly, that’s a bit excessive for the average use case, but this is about the base spec. range for the TurboWheel Phaeton, a high-end performance scooter designed for serious, competitive PEV enthusiasts. It is priced at around $3,500, which is much more than the average PEV user wants to spend.
What most people are looking for in an electric scooter is a last-mile commuter solution to use in combination with public transportation, or they are looking for something to get around town on, or to explore a vacation spot. Maybe they would enjoy taking it to a skate park, but they definitely want to have fun with their PEVs- and they don’t want to spend more than $500 to $800.
More importantly, they want a budget electric scooter with quality construction and after-market customer service so that they know they can rely on their scooter to run when they need it. In the near future, as electric vehicle technology continues to push the limits of physics, many shoppers are finding it more and more difficult to find an affordable and yet capable electric ride.
That’s where GoTrax comes in. This is one e scooter company that understands there’s more to life than riding, and that people would like to have some money left over to get lunch when they reach their destination. But GoTrax delivers plenty of capability for an affordable price.
To be clear, with a GoTrax electric scooter, you will be able to humble the electric scooter renters at resort towns without breaking the bank- and for most electric riders that’s all you need.
Now, let’s take a close-up and personal look at two premium adult electric scooter models from GoTrax, the GoTrax Gmax Ultra Scooter, and the GoTrax G4.
GoTrax Gmax Ultra VS the GoTrax G4: A Head to Head Comparison
All in all these two scooters are very similar with similar use cases, and just a few important feature differences that will make a big difference to specific types of users. Both electric scooters come with a 350 watt high torque motor in the rear wheel. Both have large, cushy 10′ pneumatic tires that tame a rough road and suck up bumps while providing a modest amount of suspension. Both the G max Ultra Scooter and the GoTrax G4 have a maximum recommended rider weight of 220 pounds, and both have a water resistance rating of IP54.
Now, let’s clarify what some of that means. The 10′ pneumatic tires are larger in circumference than most electric scooters, even most, high-end performance scooters. What that means is they will handle a rough road and go over bigger bumps and deeper holes without throwing the rider off. So, at the end of the day, bigger tires mean a safer ride. You’re going to find that ride quality, dependability, and affordability is where both of these scooters shine. Additionally, the GoTrax G4 electric scooter has only a rear brake, while the G Max Ultra has a dual brake system. Despite the fact that both have a top speed that’s only a few mph off from each other, that difference will be important later on.
The water resistance rating is the same on most of the higher end GoTrax scooters. While the average IP rating for most PEVs is IP55, GoTrax takes advantage of the opportunity to save buyers some money here. With IP55, an electric vehicle should be able to take light rain, traverse puddles up to the edge of the tire at speed, and they should be able to be washed using low pressure and a towel or scrub-brush.
By lowering the water resistance to IP54, GoTrax is taking a significant amount of production time out of the process to deliver an electric scooter that is affordable. Because PEVs usually need ventilation to keep the motherboard cool, this takes a lot of detailed work on the inside of the scooter, like placing silicone over critical electronics and other vulnerable spots. Once again, this is part of GoTrax’s effort to deliver fun and functional scooters to riders who have no intention of riding in rough conditions. Frankly, reducing the IP rating by one point is a great way to lower the price without cutting into the actual capabilities of the scooter.
Now it’s time to talk about what makes the G max Ultra different from the G4.
GoTrax Gmax Ultra VS the GoTrax G4: Major Differences
If you’ve looked at the GoTrax website, you’ll have seen that both scooters have the same top and cruising speeds. The one most significant difference that scooter lovers will notice is the Gmax Ultra gets almost double the range of the G4. With very similar specs, it’s hard to understand how the Ultra manages to get so much more range, (until you look at the massive battery), but it does. That range difference means, if you love riding, you will get more of it with the Ultra. Another important feature difference is the dual braking on the Gmax Ultra versus the rear disc brake on the G4.
The big question is, is the added price of the G Max Ultra worth the added range and a few mph of speed? The answer should be simple. If you love riding your electric scooter, if you ride your scooter for fun, then the added price is definitely worth it. Why? If riding is your hobby and not just something you do to get from A to B, then the extra mileage will take the place of other activities which will cost money.
That extra 20 miles, as any experienced PEV rider will tell you, will come out to an average of about an hour to two hours of riding per charge. That one to two hours is essentially free entertainment, once you own the scooter. Even if you don’t use up the extra 20 miles of range regularly, it could also mean that you won’t have to charge the battery as often. Over the long term, that means a longer life for your battery. Since the battery is usually the most expensive component in these devices, that’s a big deal.
The answer to the performance differential between these two electric scooters is of course is a bigger lithium ion battery in the G Max Ultra. The G Max Ultra has a 36V 17.5aH LG battery and the G4 has a 36v 10.4aH LG battery. The difference in power makes a big difference in range and performance. But the feature differences don’t end there.
The G Max Ultra has better climbing power with the ability to tackle a 20-degree incline while the G4 tackles steep 15deg hills. If you live in a more hilly part of the country, that is going to make a big difference in your range and speed. That’s where the brakes come into play. The dual braking system on the Ultra are going to last longer since they spread the wear and tear out between two braking units. Also, because the Ultra is better suited to more hilly locations, having that extra brake can be a big bonus when you’re coming to the end of a long, steep decline.
Another major difference is the weight of these two machines. The G4 weighs about 36 pounds and the Gmax Ultra weighs in as just over 66 pounds. With that extra power comes a more beefy battery to give you huge range, and that adds weight. There are no two ways around it. In terms of usability, that is going to make a big difference when it comes to who will get the most out of each scooter. If you have to go up more than one flight of stairs on foot, the Ultra is going to be very unwieldy.
Even a strong rider who has to carry the scooter often will get tired of folding and lifting the hefty Gmax Ultra. If you’re wanting to scoot as a last-mile commuting solution, and you don’t need to climb stairs, then the G4 is going to fit very nicely into your lifestyle. Once again, the Ultra seems to be suited to the rider who simply wants to spend time riding for the sheer fun of it. If you’re a last-mile commuter with no stairs between you and your destination, the G4 could be just the thing to make rolling into work enjoyable. It all comes down to how much time you intend to spend riding, and what obstacles you expect to find on your journey.
In-Depth Comparison: GoTrax Gmax Ultra VS the GoTrax G4
Now, there are a few outstanding differences between these two scooters that we haven’t mentioned yet. These are the build quality, quality of life features, and most of all, the security cable lock on the G4. The one thing that riders who go from the GoTrax Gmax Ultra to the GoTrax G4 or vice versa notice is the G4 seems a bit more refined. The display looks nicer and appears to be of higher quality construction. However, the G Max Ultra and G4 model both offer the digital lock system on the LED display. When you press the power button on both machines, you are prompted to put in a three digit code on the LED display (by using the power button and the + and – buttons) that the rider sets when they get the scooter. If the code is input incorrectly it locks the wheels and motor and makes it very difficult to move.
Same thing with the headlight. Both models have a similar (if not the same) headlight on them which provides adequate lighting at night. Notice I said adequate — it’s just ok. If you need to ride at night, you might want to include an additional light of some kind on the handlebars.
Another similarity are the speed modes. Next to the LED display, you have three buttons mounted to the handlebars. There is a power button, plus button (+) and minus (-) button. The power button is obviously used to power on the scooter but you also use it and the plus button to enter the security code on the digital lock. Then, once you are moving on the scooter, the plus and minus button toggle each scooter model between an eco mode which provides lower speed and a high-speed mode.
After handling both scooters for just a few minutes, one gets the impression that the G4 might hold up a little better in a crash. This is probably because the Gmax Ultra sports a massive battery and GoTrax decided to build the body and frame lighter to compensate for it. That makes sense. But at the end of the day, it’s the ride that matters and not small cosmetic differences.
Finally, we have the security cable lock on the G4. The device is mounted in the stem of the scooter and features a small, retractable steel cable that can be wrapped around a pole to secure it. There is no other scooter in the world that we know of that has anything like this. Granted, the steel cable is far thinner than any bike lock you would ever buy. It could be cut easily with a pair of wire cutters. But that’s missing the point. The purpose of a lock like this is to secure the vehicle in a public area where few thieves would dare to whip out their bolt cutters. It is not a lock that you would want to use to secure the G4 to a back alley pipe fitting. You need the added security of visibility for it to work as expected. But, as stated, no other scooter in the world has a built-in locking device like it.
This unique cable lock feature supports our case that the G4 is ideal for riders operating in city conditions, on sidewalks and streets, with little to no off-road terrain. However, both offer the digital lock on the LED display which is very handy as well.
Hill Climbing Capabilities
The superior climbing abilities of the Ultra make it better suited to a more wild and variable type of ride. However, the difference is not huge. The G4 can climb up to 15-degree gradients and the Ultra climbs 20 degrees. In both cases, you’re going to be pushing the scooter hard, and your range will suffer. These scooters are not designed to handle extreme riding. So, if there are any significant inclines in your daily ride, the Gmax Ultra is probably the scooter for you.
Brake Performance: Drum Brake vs. Disc Brake
The Gmax Ultra is a longer-range scooter and it is faster. The G4 maximum speed is published at 20mph (our test only got to 19mph) and the Gmax Ultra supposedly is capable of reaching speeds up to 25mph. I’ve not tested the Gmax Ultra yet (I’ve ordered it).
The Gmax Ultra has a dual braking system that is superior to the G4’s. The reasoning behind the beefier brakes on the G max Ultra electric scooter is that riders are expected to travel over more serious inclines. That means they will also have to cope with more serious declines- which are harder to stop on. You are more likely to experience brake failure when going down a steep hill, and that’s why the Ultra has the dual braking system drum brake system whereas the G4 only has a single rear disc brake.
In short, if there’s a downhill slope that ends in an intersection on your daily ride, then the Ultra’s is probably the better choice than the G4.
Acceleration & Maximum Speed
The off-the-line acceleration of these two scooters is about the same for riders of the same weight because both models offer high torque motors. The Ultra will come off the line faster on an incline since it isn’t as inhibited by a climb. When it comes to performance, heavier riders are going to prefer the Ultra, because weight is a very important factor in determining the range and max speed for any PEV.
Again, the speed difference between these two scooters is about 5mph (20mph vs. 25mph). With a few adjustments, the Gmax Ultra could probably be made to go noticeably faster than the G4 with a lighter rider. In the world of personal electric vehicles, while equipped with a high torque motor, essentially, these are last-mile commuters built to go long distances and are equipped with comfort features like cruise control and a high visibility LED headlight and tail light- not an expensive performance model.
Convenience & Portability
When it comes to ease of use, portability, and convenience, the G4 is the clear winner. Unless you absolutely have to go the huge range (45 miles) offered by the Gmax Ultra, the lighter weight and the security cable on the G4 make it far more convenient. Of course, running out of power short of your midway point or charging destination is never convenient.
Range Testing: Which is the Best Long Range Electric Scooter?
The specifications as listed by GoTrax have the G4 as a 25-mile scooter and the GoTrax Gmax Ultra as a 45-mile scooter. Now, any way you slice it, if the same person owns both machines, the Ultra will get roughly double the range of the G4. However, the question is, will you get the range listed on the website and in the owner’s manual? Definitely not. We have found in our tests of the G4 specifically that while you get decent battery life and range it’s not what the manufacturer outlines. For us, it was about a 20% difference in what was posted and what we got. You can expect that the Gmax Ultra will still have a huge range of over 35 miles even if you peel 20% off the manufacturers specs.
Also, if you weigh more than 150 pounds the mileage will dip. If you go max speed, the mileage will dip, and if you climb a lot of hills, again, the mileage will dip.
If you’re approaching 180 to 200 pounds, you can chop off 10 miles from your expected range. If you like to ride fast and are intersted in reaching speeds up to 25 mph, remove another 10, and if you have a lot of hill climbing to do, that’s about 10 more miles gone. These are things you need to keep in mind when buying any PEV. If you’re a heavier rider, you will need to invest in a more powerful machine. If you’re looking for the best long range scooter in the budget category, the Ultra is it.
Build Quality & QA
One area where both of these scooters stand out is in reliability and durability. They appear to be designed for riders who are not especially fluent in the care and maintenance of PEVs. As such they are simple, tough, and will last long enough to justify the price. The Ultra does feel under-built for its weight, but that’s okay since GoTrax products are generally priced under $1,000 with lighter materials and less reinforcement. The GoTrax Gmax Ultra, with its weight and more performance-oriented profile, could have benefited from some rear suspension, however the 10-inch pneumatic tires to help. But we’re already maxing out our expectations for a cheap electric scooter.
The G4 is a budget electric scooter, as is the G Max Ultra. These are last-mile solutions for commuters who don’t want to break a sweat before walking into the office. As such, the G Max Ultra handles more terrain and obstacles, and the price reflects that fact. All in all, they are worth every penny if you’re looking for a product with a long battery life on a single charge that gives the rider a huge range at an affordable price.
Final Words on the Best Electric Commuter Scooter
These are entry-level electric scooters for adults. While e scooter is offered at an affordable price, they are not designed for children (teens can ride them) and they are not toys. The GoTrax G4 is the more refined choice and is much more affordable, while the GoTrax Gmax Ultra is there for those who want or need to go farther on less gentle terrain. If you’re looking for a cheap electric scooter for adults that has pretty good battery life, reaching speeds over 20mph, you can’t do much better.
If neither of these scooters seems to fulfill your exact use care, there is certainly a GoTrax product to suit your needs. Some of the GoTrax products offered for adults are the G4 (reviewed here) the GoTrax XR Elite (GoTrax XR Elite review here) and the GoTrax GXL V2, which we review here.
Or, check out our comparison of the GoTrax XR Elite vs. the GoTrax G4. Each of these scooters provide less features but they are also offered at discount prices. Then, we also compared the GoTrax XR Elite to the GoTrax GXL V2 here. In general, each product just mentioned has the capability of reaching speeds of 15.5 mph with the exception of the G4, which in our test reached 19 mph top speed.
If you’re looking for an e scooter at discount prices for your kids, you can also check out other GoTrax products like the GoTrax GKS Electric scooter for kids (we did a full review of the GKS here), or the older GXL electric scooter. Although, I would just buy the gxl v2 which we reviewed here. Both the GXL and the GXL V2 are for older kids (or adults obviously) whereas the GKS is for younger children (and is available at much lower discount prices).