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Bugtooth Test Report
DIMENSIONS: Length 37.5", Width 10.5", Height 34"-43.5" (Height folded 11.5") Weight 45 lbs.
PACKAGING: Well boxed for shipping, with above average support to prevent handling damage.
DOCUMENTATION:Good operator manual covering safety, battery care, technical information, basic maintenance, trouble shooting, charging, and riding techniques.
QUALITY AND DESIGN: Let me start by saying that the Bugtooth BT20 is NOT a cheap Zappy imitation! In fact, there are a number of features I consider actual improvements over the original Zappy design. Chief among these are the handlebar height adjustment quick release, the large throttle lever, and the belt tension adjusting mechanism.
The handlebar height adjusting quick release is the best one Iíve seen yet. No fumbling around trying to lock or unlock this clamp! The lever is machined aluminum, and shaped to hold its alignment while opening and closing, preventing that annoying "spin" found with most other quick levers. It isnít necessary to figure out whether to loosen or tighten the release lever every time you raise or lower the handlebars. Once set, the quick release retains its alignment every time. In addition, the steering tube is splined to prevent rotation while the quick release is unlocked. There is, however, no spring loaded pin (as in the Zappy) to prevent rotation in the folded position.
The large (brake lever style) throttle assembly is comfortable and strong. A small LED tells you if the main power switch is on as you kick off. I question the necessity of this LED, and its placement on the front of the throttle assembly where itís difficult to see, but with a little getting used to it could be handy.
Perhaps the greatest improvement is in the drive belt tensioning mechanism.
Instead of the annoying "cams" used on Zappy, the Bugtooth employs a
pair of "banjo" bolts to fine tune belt tension. (see pic) Once
installed, a new belt can be tensioned and aligned quickly and accurately before
tightening the axle bolt! Add to this, a small "nub" which positions
the motor in its mount, and belt alignment and tensioning are easy and quick! A
pair of soft plastic "ankle saver" caps push over the axle nut and
bolt end to finish the job.
The scooter comes with a pair of 8" 200 x 50 tires. They are similar to the new Y2Z Zappy tire, but are rated at 36 psi. These are NOT the "wheel barrow" treads of cheaper imitations. The tires are mounted on good quality composition split rims using a 4 bolt pattern.
The Zappy pneumatic strut has been replaced with a simple telescoping tube which locks in the open position. A pop-out (similar to the Zappy steering tube extension limiter) locks the tubes in the full open position, and a lever tightens and secures the strut.
A plastic (ABS?) deck covers the battery compartment, and extends as a fender over the rear tire. Anti-skid pads are placed on the riding surface. There was no reflector on the rear of the scooter submitted for testing, and I would recommend that one be added for safely. A simple bracket, attached to the rear fender top surface, engages tab on the steering tube to secure it to the deck for carrying. (ALA Peppy)
The kick stand is placed well, and includes a rubber "bumper" attached to the frame to prevent paint damage and rattling when retracted. As in most scooters and bikes, the tip of the kickstand is not large enough to prevent sinking in soft surfaces.
TECHNICAL: The Bugtooth BT20 is a 24 volt scooter with unusually long range considering its size and portability. Power is provided by a pair a 12V, 12A/Hr Panasonic LC-RA1212P1 batteries housed below the deck. The controller is identical to the unit found on the Peppy II scooter. It provides thermal overload protection, low battery cut-off, and "kick to start" features. Unlike the early Peppy, the internal wiring is neat and well organized with fully insulated and/or heatshrunk terminationís.
The Bugtooth BT20 comes supplied with a Soneil 1.5A "smart charger" that connects to an XLR jack located on the right lower corner of the battery box. The main power on/off control is provided by a rocker switch on the left rear side of the scooter. Charge times are under 6 hours for fully depleted batteries.
The motor appears to be similar to the 24 volt Peppy 200W unit. During tests, it did not overheat with continuous power approaching 200 Watts during the four, one hour test sessions. Considering the mileage obtained with this configuration, (12A/Hr-24V) the Bugtooth BT20 is performing quite efficiently.
The scooter uses a standard Gates style 535-5-15 toothed belt. The drive pulley ratio is the familiar 13:72 as found in many scooters of this class.
A single rear adjustable band brake is provided. Although I was unable to test this brake under actual operating conditions, based on tests with similar brakes I assume it will have the characteristics of the Zappy brake system.