I’ve been an e-scooter enthusiast since 2019. Previously when I was working abroad, I’ve tried about 6-7 different e-scooter brands like Lime, Lyft, Bird, and more. But after coming back to Malaysia, I had few chances to ride.
The e-scooter scene is fairly new locally, and there aren’t that many options yet. So far, only 2 are active: Beam and Tryke (a local brand). Neuron had entered the e-scooter scene in Malaysia too, but has stopped operations for the time being.
Being the e-scooter junkie I am, I thought I’d try the two options that we have so far to check out their safety features, price, availability, their apps’ UX, and the smoothness of these rides. With e-mobility becoming a more talked-about topic in recent years, I also wanted to see how we fared in the scene.
As of now, the coverage areas for our e-scooters are limited, with Beam scooters only available in the KL area, whereas Tryke scooters are located only in Cyberjaya.
When I visited one of their stations in Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya, Tryke’s staff was actually present to assist customers with their services, which was convenient for first-timers like us. They had some unlocked scooters present for first-timers to try out as well before anyone decides to purchase a ride. Do note that this won’t be the case for every Tryke station though.
For the rides, they are priced at RM0.50 per minute, but you can purchase a 24-hour single pass for RM29 and a 24-hour couples pass for RM50 (which would be RM25 per person).
I purchased the couples pass with my friend that day, as we were planning to use the scooters for a few hours so this was the cheapest option for us.
If you’re a Cyberjaya resident or work in the area, you can find these scooters almost anywhere in the bustling areas of Cyberjaya like the shop lots, working areas, parks, etc. A majority of these stations have at least five scooters in place, so availability is good for the area.
When you click on any station in their map, it’ll show you the number of these scooters available at each one as well as each scooter’s battery percentages and how many kilometres you can travel with them. You can also buzz the scooters if you’re close by to these stations to identify the scooter you want to use.
Purchasing passes and unlocking the scooters were quite straightforward. Overall, the app UX was good, making it pretty easy and helpful for those new to using their e-scooters.
Safety Features and Smoothness of the Ride
Now, to get into the meat of things. Tryke scooters are quite heavy, which makes them feel more stable and secure. But I’ve always preferred more lightweight scooters because they have less inertia, making it easier to move around and lift the scooters if needed.
There are two handle brakes on the scooter on top of a light in front and a bell to notify passersby. As for the brakes at the bottom, you’ll have to drag the scooter towards you while pushing the brake forward with your foot and it’ll stand securely.
Now, the first time my friend and I rode on the scooter, we wanted to go to Cyberjaya Lake Gardens, which was about a 10-minute ride from Tamarind Square via the main roads. The thought of riding on the road was a little daunting, especially when we had to cross junctions.
Thankfully, Cyberjaya’s roads aren’t too hectic and there was a designated bike lane which we rode on for most of the way to the destination (it wasn’t available everywhere yet). This felt much safer since we weren’t exactly sharing the same lanes as cars.
It was extremely windy on the day of this outing, so it helped that we had our sunglasses on because there was quite a bit of debris flying to our faces, and helmets with visors aren’t provided.
On smoother ground, the ride wasn’t bad. However, on bumpier roads and pavements, don’t expect a cushiony ride. If you’re riding non-stop on more uneven ground, your hands may go a little numb from the vibrations travelling up the scooter to the handlebar, but a quick stop and rest solves that. Because of how the scooter was heavier, I did hesitate to ride through more elevated bumps and uphill though, so for those, I just dragged the scooter up with me.
That being said, the scooter is powerful and is able to actually traverse those terrains easily too. The hard part is getting it started when going uphill, which requires you to push forward with quite some force since it’s heavy.
In general though, there aren’t too many areas with steep uphill climbs for you to ride on, barring where Tryke is located in Tamarind Square and perhaps park entrances, so this won’t be a major problem if you’re using Tryke elsewhere in Cyberjaya. While on the road, we saw at least one other seasoned Tryke rider, so it’s safe to say that there are people actually using this for common commute too.
Beam can only be found in the KL area, so my friend and I decided to go to the station in Chow Kit, where there was more space for us to casually use the scooters.
Prior to riding the scooter, we took the Beam Safe Academy quiz on their app and got a RM5 credit to our wallets plus some road safety knowledge.
Something surprising I learnt from the quiz was that e-scooters can actually be used on KL roads, except we’ll need to keep close to the pavements, which was quite the opposite of what DBKL had said.
Beam’s rides cost RM0.60 per minute, but there were no 24-hour passes like Tryke so my friend and I just loaded about RM10 to our wallets to ride for around 20 minutes.
However, they do have Beam Credits where you can pay slightly less for more minutes. They have 3 packages:
- RM10 for RM11 credits
- RM25 for RM30 credits
- RM50 for RM65 credits
It’s slightly more expensive than Tryke for the cost per minute, and Tryke has the advantage of day passes.
When my friend and I went to the first station in VCR, there were no scooters there even though they were listed as a parking spot on the map. So we headed over to another parking spot which was Chow Kit, and they had a fleet of 7 scooters there.
The map changes to tell you the availability and battery life of the scooters when you’re within the areas themselves, so the reason why I didn’t get to see them earlier because I was checking the map from outside the area you can scoot in.
When I checked the map once again, each parking spot had about four scooters with decent battery life, so their availability within the KL area is quite high.
Paying for the trip and unlocking the scooters were fairly straightforward as well. When you click on a parking area in the map, they’ll describe in detail the location and include a picture of where you can park your scooter.
Like Tryke, the app UX was overall easy and helpful for first-timers.
Safety Feature and Smoothness of the Ride
Now, Beam scooters are lighter than Tryke’s which is something I prefer, as mentioned earlier, and they come with a bell and light too.
They only have one handle brake, which works well and a brake at the bottom that you can flip outward to stand your scooter like how you would a bicycle.
My friend and I mostly rode around the empty Jalan Kamunting road; thankfully, there weren’t too many vehicles passing by that day.
Despite being lighter, Beam doesn’t waver on slightly bumpier roads, and it didn’t make me feel like I would lose balance or fall out if I sped a little.
We tried riding around the main road just to test what it’s like, but the speeding cars and heavy traffic scared us a little hence we stuck close to the pavements and moved back into the empty area after a few minutes. For better access and mobility, bicycle lanes would’ve been great to have.
While I didn’t see anyone else riding Beam that day, I come to KL often at night and have seen groups of people using the e-scooters.
|Price||RM0.50/minute or RM25-RM29/day||RM0.60/minute|
|Availability||Only in Cyberjaya, but spread out across its bustling areas||Only in the KL area, mostly around KLCC, Bukit Bintang, Chow Kit, etc.|
|App UX||Shows you how many scooters, their battery life, and how many kilometres you can travel with them on their map||Show you many scooters in the map and their battery life as well, but only when you are within the designated area you can ride with Beam in|
|Safety Features||Two handle brakes, one bottom brake, a bell, and light||One handle brake, one bottom brake, a bell, and light|
|Advantages||Safer location (Cyberjaya having less cars and a designated bike lane)||Less inertia (which I prefer) which makes moving around easier|
|Disadvantages||More inertia which I felt made moving around harder and lifting the scooters when needed||Less safe location (no clear bike lanes on top of busier roads with more cars)|
Other Things To Note
Overall, I enjoyed both Beam and Tryke. However, I wished there were holders for my bottle and phone on the scooters. If it’s a hot day, having a drink you can easily reach for a sip while you’re on the go would be nice.
As for a phone holder, it’s because I (and many others, I believe) would navigate to my destination using Waze or another map app. Holding your phone in one hand and trying to balance yourself on the moving scooter is a dangerous move, especially since you’d be on the roads too (snatch thieves are still a thing). How we overcame our navigation struggles was by stopping frequently and checking that we were on course.
If a phone holder is out of the question because of potential snatch thieves too, then perhaps e-scooters could look into incorporating navigational features into the screens of the e-scooters where you can now monitor the scooter’s battery and speed. Of course, those who use these scooters for their daily work commute probably won’t have much issue with navigation.
To me, the e-scooter operations we have right now aren’t bad in terms of the tech. But if Malaysia wanted to see e-mobility being more accessible, changes to our road infrastructure would need to be made. More bike lanes would need to be built in high-traffic areas to ensure the safety of riders, since riding on the road edges and pavements aren’t the best solution.
It may be a few more years before we see more improvements being made in this area, and it’s a smart move for e-scooters to not chase aggressive growth and expansion here, since it seems like our councils still can’t come to an agreement on how they should function in Malaysia.