Apollo Explore Review
On the hunt for a scooter that straddles the line between entry-level and performance? Look no further, the Apollo Explore is a well-rounded model primed to deliver a high-quality riding experience. Sporting a 52V 18.2Ah Dynavolt battery and a 1000W motor with 3-speed settings, it is the perfect companion for urban rides. And it doesn’t stop there, touted as one of the most compact scooters in its class, the Explore benefits from 3 intuitive folding mechanisms. Plus, riders will be pleased to hear that its 10 inch pneumatic tires and spring suspension system are capable of delivering a smooth, comfortable riding experience. From safety to style, the Explore has it all. Its two high-performance disc brakes deliver dependable stopping power whilst its stylish Fast & Furious inspired lighting setup adorns it the appearance of a souped-up street racing car. However, if you’re willing to give up some style for improved specs, there are a few other scooters that you should consider – read our in-depth review to see what scooters we recommend as alternatives.
Apollo Explore Review: 10 Things You Need to Know
Who is it Best For?
Will the Apollo Explore Be a Good Fit For You?
The Explore has proved itself to suit comfort-seeking commuter needs and the less manicured trail adventurers. It’s a good all-rounder and great for those planning on getting a lot of use out of their scooter.
While it boasts 3 simple to use folding mechanisms that help it to be more compact than a lot of its competitors, the Explore isn’t the lightest scooter. If you’re going to be lifting it regularly, you may want to look elsewhere for a more portable model since its 52 lbs weight isn’t the easiest to maneuver.
Ultimately, if you are taking your first steps into the world of electric scooters and don’t want to settle for a model that you’ll outgrow within a few months but also don’t want to dive into the deep end – and build your confidence before upgrading to a more powerful high-performance model – the Apollo Explore is the ideal scooter.
Pros and Cons
- Good ride quality
- Well balanced in terms of speed and range
- Fast & Furious inspired lighting setup
- Plush tires and nimble handling
- Foldable handlebars
- Telescopic stem that can be adjusted for rider height
- Handlebars need to be re-tightened after every ride
- Finger-throttle can make it uncomfortable on longer rides
- Other scooters rival it for value
Value for Money
Is the Price Tag Worth it?
So, you wanna know if it’s worth splashing out on the Apollo Explore? In short, it’s worth it.
For $1,399 it is a reasonably priced scooter, especially when you take into consideration that it is one of the most popular models. Not only does it satisfy those with an inclination for speed and long rides, but it’s also been built with high-quality materials and clever technologies that ensure it lasts the test of time. Take the Smart Power Management system, for example. An electric scooter is only as powerful as its battery is, and this system keeps the battery in peak condition by controlling the flow of electricity in and out of it. While we are on the topic of the battery, the Explore uses tried and tested Dynavolt battery cells. These are typically found on motorcycles and with the Smart Power Management system, deliver peak performance for up to 2,600 charge cycles which is the equivalent to around 7 years of consistent use.
When you consider the longevity offered by the Explore and the fact that it’s less expensive than plenty of other lower-quality scooters, it is the gift that keeps on giving.
However, it is worth noting, that for all the Explore has to offer, other scooters rival it for value. The main ones of which you can see in the ‘Alternatives’ section below.
What Other Scooters Should You Consider?
The Apollo Explore has recently undergone a makeover. The upgraded design for 2021 sees improvements made to three of the scooter’s key features:
- Improved fender stability – The Explore’s new fenders are twice as secure as the fenders of the 2020 model and deliver much-improved coverage meaning less water and dirt splatters on your back.
- A more rigid kickstand – Secured by a custom-designed bracket, the new kickstand ensures long-term stability even through the scooter’s vibrations.
- Better deck design – Sharing a new and improved deck design with the Ghost, the Explore couples seamless design elements with improved lighting.
Although the handlebars fold, their width and general sturdiness offer good control over the steering column. This makes the Explore a pleasure to ride and is something that shouldn’t be overlooked – everything from the weight of handlebars and stem, to the shape of the handgrips can affect your riding experience for better or worse. Take the Kugoo G2 Pro, for example. This scooter shares similar specs to the Explore but suffers from narrow handlebars and thin handgrips that make it feel rickety – especially when accelerating and hitting top speeds. The Explore, on the other hand, inspires confidence.
Using a screw-type mechanism, the foldable handlebars feel safer than spring-loaded ones (like those on the EMOVE Cruiser), because they are tightened into place with no wiggle room. That being said, on longer rides, they do have a slight tendency to loosen up. This is, however, fairly standard across the board for this particular type of mechanism, and whilst it’s not ideal, it’s the trade-off you pay for the added peace of mind that comes with the screw-type mechanism. Overall, the slight loosening of the handlebars doesn’t pose a safety issue, but it may cause a bit of annoyance.
Aside from the colorful folding sleeves that hold either side of the handlebars into place, there isn’t too much more to shout about – the handlebars have a clean finish and feature only the necessities of what you need to ride.
While riding, the ergonomically shaped handgrips that we’ve come to see on other Apollo models, like the City, facilitate a sturdy hold, giving you a firm, reassuring grip. The handlebars are also home to the QS-S4 display/throttle. This device is where you’ll keep track of your speed, distance covered, battery level, and riding mode, as well as make adjustments to the Explore’s settings such as turning the dial-up or down on its acceleration strength.
Located on either side of the handlebars are the brake levers which control both the front and rear mechanical brakes, as well as activate the electronic regenerative braking system – the strength of which can be adjusted via the QS-S4 display.
Once upon a time, Apollo was known for its eye-catching color scheme that saw scooters in a rainbow of white, black, and electric blue. However, a trend set by the Ghost (and continued by the Phantom and Air models) moves away from the colorful exterior and opts for a more stealthy black design trimmed with steely grey accents. Apollo had originally announced that it would be updating the color palette of the Explore to match its new direction and branding but this has not yet come to fruition.
Luckily, the Explore still boasts a sleek design that sets it apart from the more uniformly finished scooters. It’s got substance, too. It doesn’t just look good but it’s finished to a high standard with the frame being forged from a widely-used aluminum alloy and the rest of the scooter benefiting from hard-wearing plastic and rubber.
The 9 inches wide and 21 inches long anti-slip deck is perfect for finding a stance that suits you (rather than twisting yourself into a contorted position to keep your feet on the deck). The deck is also big enough to attach a seat, should you wish to buy one as a separate accessory.
Just like on the Apollo City – the Explore’s predecessor – the deck is covered in a geometrically shaped grip tape. This differentiates it from scooters that use strips of tape, like the EMOVE Cruiser and Zero 10, or in some cases, cover the entire deck making it look like a skateboard. Its unique design delivers grip no matter where you place your feet.
Dimensions-wise, there is just over 5 inches of ground clearance. While the Explore is said to be terrain-agnostic, there isn’t enough clearance to safely maneuver rough terrain. For this, scooters with a higher elevation and swingarm suspension are best. Nevertheless, for urban terrain and compacted dirt paths, the clearance is ideal.
The plush 10 inch pneumatic tires mean that it’s able to soak up irregularities from the terrain underfoot much better than the smaller tires on portable commuter scooters like the Apollo City. For what it's worth, my preferred tire size is 10 inches simply because it delivers the best of both worlds: comfort and control.
Because of the decently sized tires, their tall profile can effectively roll over obstacles, while their respectable 3 inch width maintains traction when accelerating, braking, and leaning into turns. This combination is one of the many reasons why the Explore can keep you comfortable throughout rides.
Pneumatic tires are also far better at handling slippery and wet conditions. In comparison to solid rubber tires, air-filled ones can get a better grip on a wider variety of surfaces because they mold to what they are rolling over. As they mold to the surface below, a greater contact patch with the ground is formed and this increases traction.
However, being supple can prove problematic when it comes to flats. The fact that the Explore sports inner tubes make it more prone to punctures, but you run this gauntlet with most scooters.
Build Quality & Durability
On the whole, and as you might expect from an Apollo model, the build quality of the Explore is of a high standard. For a scooter of its size and power, it’s relatively quiet and the adjustable elements are easy to maneuver. As with most models that feature folding handlebars, these do tend to work themselves loose on longer journeys, however, it’s not a hassle to retighten them.
There’s a big reason why the Explore is a top-selling model: Apollo has a reputation for building durable and long-lasting scooters able to tackle the highs and lows of riding.
You just have to look at the steps taken to maintain the health of your scooter’s innards via the Smart Power Management system, as well as the reliable Dynavolt battery cells to get a sense of its quality.
Often, the marketing material of electric scooters claims specs that are based on best-case scenarios that aren’t always the case. Even some of Dualtron’s scooters lay claim to having a huge mileage, but when you dig a deeper under the hood of the exterior it's clear to see that cheap parts have been used – like Chinese battery cells which have an inferior lifespan than the Dynavolt batteries used in Apollo’s scooters. Similarly, it's not just the inside of the scooter that upholds build quality, the outside is protected by an IP54 water resistance rating, keeping the Explore protected from the elements.
The attention to detail that goes into the carefully selected components that make up the Explore explains why it is such a popular scooter.
Weight & Load
A good option for heavier riders, this sturdy scooter can support up to 265 lbs. But its sturdy capabilities come with a weighty bulk as the Explore weighs in at 52 lbs, making it too heavy for me to regard it as “truly portable”.
If your journey is likely to involve a lot of lifting and carrying, then I’d go for a lighter model. That being said, the point of owning an electric scooter is to ride it, not carry it.
If you like the Explore, but think that it may not be the right fit for you because of its load capacity – I typically suggest making sure you are at least 40 lbs from its maximum load to get the best performance – then, the EMOVE Cruiser is a great alternative. It can support 352 lbs. Alternatively, if you want to graduate to the world of dual motor scooters, the Apollo Ghost’s 300 lb capacity should suffice.
Folding & Portability
Despite being a little heavier than your typical commuter scooter, the Explore makes up for it in foldability. A standout feature of this model is how neatly it folds down, with its collapsible handlebars and telescopic stem, the Explore can be more easily stored than scooters like the Mantis that don’t have these space-saving features.
The mechanisms are super simple to use and folding the scooter takes no more than 20 seconds. Plus, because the stem locks into place to sit parallel with the deck when folded, you can get a one or two-hand grip on the scooter should you need to lift it.
Apollo is famed for making the assembly of its scooters as quick and easy as possible. The Explore comes more or less ready to go, and there’s even a handy multitool that comes with it to help make adjustments as easy as ABC.
It’s simply a case of unfolding the scooter and tightening the QS-S4 and brake levers into place.
It’s also worth double-checking that your tires are at the correct pressure (50 PSI), and testing the brakes. Apollo has plenty of online resources and video tutorials if you need extra support.
Is the Apollo Explore Comfortable to Ride?
When we consider the scooters that are most similar to the Explore – including the Zero 10, EMOVE Cruiser, and EVOLV Tour XL-R – it delivers the same level of rider comfort. In fact, the Zero 10 and Explore are replicas of each other – as far as their frame, tires, and suspension system are concerned. This is because they are made by the same manufacturer, after which Apollo and Zero kit them out with their own choice of batteries and branding.
However, if we look beyond these near-identical models, there are more comfortable rides available. But before we get to those, let's take a look at what the Explore has to offer.
With double spring suspension at the rear and a single spring at the front, the well-suspended scooter reduces the feeling of surface lumps and bumps, even on the rough urban terrain. Plus, the 10 inch pneumatic tires go the extra mile to ensure your ride is as smooth and wobble-free as possible. Coupled with its high-performance disc brakes and electric regenerative brake, the Explore delivers on both safety and efficiency.
These strong, functional elements mean that the Explore has a refined performance that is at its peak when gliding through urban environments.
While the overall ride quality of the Explore is good, the very nature of the components that deliver its absorption qualities also hinders it. Here, I am specifically referring to the suspension. To achieve a truly buttery-smooth ride across a variety of terrain, swingarm suspension is key. This is because it allows the scooter to pivot vertically. As the springs compress and depress, swingarms pivot allowing the deck to move up and down to help manage undulations.
Scooters that boast swingarms are typically more expensive but if you like the Apollo brand, the next scooter up from the Explore, the Ghost is available for just $200 more and boasts a superior ride quality thanks to its vertically-aligned spring and swingarm combination. Similarly, the Mantis Base, another of my recommended alternatives, delivers an exceptionally comfortable ride. I even prefer this model to the quadruple spring and swingarm suspension of Apollo’s most advanced model, the Phantom.
Performance & Safety
Speed & Acceleration
Considering its weight, and the fact that it’s running on a single motor, the Explore packs quite a punch in the speed department.
It can reach speeds of up to 31 mph, but how does this compare to scooters in its price and weight class?
Speed vs Price Comparison
Compared to other scooters within a $500 price range, the Explore lands firmly in the middle, making it a safe bet when it comes to value.
It narrowly beats the EMOVE Cruiser (30 mph) and falls just short of the Dualtron Mini and VSETT 9+ models. However, it’s worth considering that all of the VSETT 9+ models have a much faster acceleration rate (34% faster, to be precise) than the Explore thanks to their dual 650W motors.
Similarly, the Apollo Ghost, which sits in second place, benefits from dual 800W motors to top all VSETT 9+ models.
However, the chart-topping scooters that leave the Explore in the dust are the Mantis Base and Varla Eagle One. Both of these double up on the Explore’s 1000W motor but the Base takes the crown since it has more powerful 60V motors vs the Varla’s 52Vs. While both can hit 40 mph – which is 29% faster than the Explore – the Mantis can hit these top speeds faster because of its superior acceleration rate.
Ultimately, if you are a speed fiend, the Mantis Base is the scooter for you.
Speed vs Weight Comparison
Sometimes cost isn’t everything and there are other factors to consider, like how the scooter balances weight and power. That’s why I’ve drawn up a speed-to-weight comparison, so you can see how the Explore compares.
This comparison takes into consideration all of the models that sit within 5 lbs on either side of the Explore’s 52 lbs (47 – 57 lbs).
The entire line of VSETT 9+ models share the top spot with a top speed of 33 mph, closely followed by the Dualtron Mini coming in with 32 mph, and the Apollo Explore closing off the podium positions with 31 mph.
On the flip side, the slowest of the bunch is the WideWheel Dual at 25 mph. However, a redeeming factor for the WideWheel is its dual 500W motors that deliver a faster acceleration up to 15 mph (it’s 17% faster than the Explore). But, the Explore pulls it back by a considerable amount when accelerating up to 25 mph, making it 21% faster than its slower counterpart.
What does all this mean for you? If you want a scooter that has a rapid acceleration rate, any of the VSETT 9+ models will satisfy your need for speed. The only thing separating them is the size of their batteries. As the battery size increases, so does the price. The 15.6Ah model delivers 28 miles and costs $1,399, the 19.2Ah version can keep the wheel rolling for 36 miles and costs $1,599, and the 9+R – where the ‘R’ stands for range – has a 21Ah battery capable of 40 miles and costs $1,749.
Generally speaking (and, by “generally” I mean: in the world of all electric scooters), the Explore has a relatively quick acceleration rate, but it’s by no means extreme.
Compared to our recommended alternatives, the Explore goes toe-to-toe with the EMOVE Cruiser taking 3.5 and 3.4 seconds to reach up to 15 mph, respectively. But, the Explore takes the crown when hitting 25 mph, getting there in 9.6 seconds, nearly 13% faster than the Cruiser.
|Scooter||0-15 MPH (Seconds)||0-25 MPH (Seconds)|
|Apollo Ghost ($1,499)||2.3||5.3|
|Mantis Base ($1,649)||2.5||5.2|
|EMOVE Cruiser ($1,399)||3.4||11.0|
|Apollo Explore ($1,399)||3.5||9.6|
When it comes to range, the 18.2Ah Dynavolt battery can keep the wheels rolling for up to a maximum of 34 miles per charge. Under realistic conditions, however, it’s more like 23 miles.
Mileage vs Price Comparison
Speed isn’t always king of the hill, it’s important to consider how much bang you’ll get for your buck in terms of mileage. Will it be able to get you to your destination without running out of juice? And will you have to charge it before making a homeward trip? I’ve done the heavy lifting and compared mileage to price so you can figure out which model is best for you.
Within a $500 range around the Explore’s $1,399 price tag, it lands square in the middle of 21 comparable models. Its mid-ground placement sees it joint with the Dualtron Mini.
However, I wouldn’t be doing my job right if I failed to point out that the EMOVE Cruiser comes out on top with a whopping 62 mile range. This is 82% greater than the Explore and the cherry on top of the cake is that the Cruiser’s price tag is identical to the Explore’s. Plus, with like-for-like ride quality and an almost identical top speed, the Cruiser should seriously be considered when it comes to choosing which scooter is best for you.
Mileage vs Weight Comparison
In our mileage to weight comparison, we were able to assess the performance of similar models to identify which packed the most punch for its size. With 5 lbs on either side of the Explore’s 52 lbs (so, that’s looking at models weighing between 47 – 57 lbs), there are 16 models to choose from.
Just like the Mileage vs Price comparison, the Explore places in the middle joint with the Dualtron Mini. And, again, the EMOVE Cruiser tops the charts with 62 miles, making it the best option when it comes to weight and mileage.
Despite the Explore only being equipped with a single rear motor, it does well to take on inclines. For most urban rides, it can scale what can be considered as ‘mild’ inclines with relative ease.
Much like its top speed and acceleration, it’s not the best in its class when it comes to climbing hills. It is by no means the worst and has enough power to tackle the vast majority of inclines that you’ll come up against but if you need to scale steep hills regularly, you’ll need a dual-motor scooter.
The Mantis Base and Varla Eagle One both have a maximum manufacturer quoted incline rate of 30 degrees and from our in-house tests, we can confirm that they can both scale steep inclines. Sitting one notch down on the incline ladder are the Apollo Ghost and all of VSETT 9+ models, which can tackle inclines of up to 25 degrees.
The Explore’s arch-rival, the EMOVE Cruiser, matches it for its hill-climbing ability.
Shock Absorption / Suspension
Equipped with three springs – one in the front and two in the rear – the Explore has the pedigree to soak up impacts from uneven roads without jostling or bouncing you up and down.
Spring suspension can differ from model to model with some being stiffer than others, and in some cases, they can creak while being compressed (like on the VSETT 9+R). The good news is that the Explore’s springs come preloaded with a tension that makes for the perfect balance between soft and hard.
As previously stated, this scooter performs best when it’s in an urban setting since the suspension doesn’t have enough travel to facilitate a smooth riding experience on off-road terrain.
When you have a scooter that’s capable of the speeds that the Apollo Explore can climb to, you must have got a good braking system. Fortunately, the Explore comes to a stop as efficiently as it accelerates via its dual mechanical disc brakes and regenerative electric brake. The braking response time is immediate, and as soon as you put pressure on the brake levers, you’ll feel your speed begin to drop.
In brief, the brakes bring you to a complete stop from 15 mph in just 3.3 meters, which we rate as being good. For context, we consider a braking distance of 3 meters as being very good.
As with 95% of all other similarly-priced scooters, the Explore sports dual brakes. However, there are a handful of models that are equipped with superior hydraulic brakes, including the Varla Eagle One, Mantis Base, and EMOVE Cruiser.
Even though these models have “better brakes”, this is only paper, and the Explore goes toe-to-toe with their stopping power.
The battery takes 9 hours to fully charge using the standard charger and drops to 5 with the fast charger that can be purchased for an extra $129.
Apollo Display & Throttle For Customized Performance Configuration
For visibility over your riding statistics, the nifty LCD trigger throttle display facilitates a dashboard of need-to-know information including your speed, distance traveled, and battery level. It also allows you to view what riding mode you are in and customize your braking and acceleration strength among other settings.
Cruise control is a scooter owner’s best friend. For anyone familiar with riding while using a finger throttle, you’ll also be familiar with the pain of applying constant pressure to the trigger. This is where cruise control becomes a blessing.
Keeping you at constant speed whilst removing the need for the throttle to be pulled down, this feature comes into its own on longer stretches of riding.
Fast & Furious Inspired Lights
I jovially refer to the Apollo Explore as belonging to the Fast & Furious franchise by virtue of its electric-blue lights. The scooter stylishly illuminates itself, making it a statement to ride after dark. This isn’t just an aesthetic thing either, the bright lights will keep you visible, making the Explore a safer ride.
A single low-mounted front headlight, two rear brake lights, and blue LED strip lights running the length of both sides of the deck and stem keep you glowing.
It’s not all bells and whistles, though. The low placement of the headlight means it can only cast light so far, making it a little tricky to see far ahead when riding at night. For this reason, I recommend purchasing an additional headlight to mount on the handlebars.
Telescopic Stem For Adjustable Handlebar Height
As mentioned early in the review, the Explore is compact when fully collapsed – courtesy of the telescopic stem. But, there’s more to it than just making the scooter’s folded profile more slender.
The position of the handlebars can be adjusted to suit the height of each rider.
Folding Handlebars For Enhanced Portability
Reducing the width of the scooter to a narrow 7.7 inches, its compact capability is a redeeming feature. Although it sits on the heavier end of the scale (52 lbs), the fact that you can fold it into a more portable and manageable shape makes storage far easier, especially if you want to transport it from place to place.
Unlike scooters that have one-piece handlebars, you don’t have to wrangle a cumbersome shape into the trunk of your car.
Optional Seat Attachment
One thing to note here is that Apollo no longer sells self-branded seats for the Explore. But, fear not, there’s a shining hero in the distance and it comes in the form of the Zero 10X.
The seat for the Zero 10X also fits the Apollo Explore.
For a reasonable $105, this gadget will save you some serious leg ache, allowing you to kick back and enjoy the ride.
And, do you want to know the best bit? It’s super easy to install. It just requires you to clip it over the top of the deck and tighten the screws at the side to properly fix it into place. It’s also cushioned, adjustable, and sports hydraulic suspension to further smooth the ride in addition to the already well-equipped suspension and plush tires.
IP54 Water-Resistance Rating
With a factory-certified IP water resistance rating of IP54, the Explore can tolerate light rain.
Don’t take this for granted and leave it in the rain or purposefully ride through deep puddles, though, because the warranty doesn’t cover water damage.
Smart Power Management
The battery is the beating heart of any electric scooter. Without it, I’m afraid to say, your shiny electric scooter is simply a traditional push scooter, and a heavy one at that. That’s why it’s fantastic that the Explore includes Smart Power Management.
It keeps your battery in top condition by helping to maintain its health so it can deliver peak riding performance for thousands of charge cycles. More precisely, it prevents overcharging and short-circuiting, as well as over-discharging and keeps your battery from overheating. Ultimately, the Smart Power Management system keeps your battery in its happy place.
Specification: Apollo Explore Review
Warranty & Post-Purchase Support
There’s no denying it, the 12 month warranty from Fluid Free Ride, Apollo’s official retailer of the Explore, is excellent.
Not only does it cover defects as a result of manufacturing issues (including the battery), but labor costs are fully covered too. I also recently spoke to Julian, the founder of Fluid Free Ride, and he has some exciting plans to deliver even more support with the warranty so keep your eyes peeled for that in the future.
It’s important to note, though, that wear and tear isn’t covered under warranty and neither is damage that’s a result of a collision or accident. Replacement parts such as brake pads and inner tire tubes also aren’t covered so you’ll need to foot the bill for these.
Fluid Free Ride has fast become one of the most popular retailers for scooters, not only because of their impressive stock of high-quality models but because they provide excellent support.
They go the extra mile to assist riders with a comprehensive support hub that is jam-packed full of self-help resources. For example, there are detailed guides on how to adjust the Explore’s brakes, use its P-settings, and even change a flat tire.
You can also email and call them for further help.
Discover What the Improved Apollo Expore Design Has to Offer
With improvements to the fenders, kickstand, and deck, discover what makes the Apollo Explore such a popular scooter.
Specification: Apollo Explore Review