Hover-1 XLS Folding Electric Scooter Brake Upgrade

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I’ve had my Hover-1 XLS Scooter for somewhere around seven months now, and I’ve put over 200 miles on it. I mostly take it on short trips to the park—most of the time I take a round trip shorter than 1.5 miles, but I do tend to make those trips almost every day.

In the time I’ve owned the scooter, my only major complaint has been the brakes. Out of the box, they didn’t stop the bike very well. I was able to adjust them, and that improved the situation a lot, but they still weren’t great.

I believe I over-adjusted the front brake, leading it to start leaking hydraulic fluid. I noticed this after I was already out of warranty. I could have attempted to get the hydraulic caliper replaced anyway, but from what my research tells me, these cheap hydraulic calipers are horrible.

If you found this post, you’re probably looking to replace a broken brake caliper on your Hover-1 XLS. I’m not going to make you read the entire post to find out what I used.

Here’s the TL;DR. I bought a pair of Shimano M375 brake calipers. They aren’t hydraulic, so they’re less prone to having weird issues. They bolt right on, and they have so much more stopping power than the stock calipers, and they’re inexpensive. I’m able to lock up the wheels and skid to a stop. I wouldn’t recommend doing so, but the original brakes certainly couldn’t do that!

The long story

Do you know the story of the boiling frog? I was that frog. My brakes were performing worse and worse until just about stopped working. By the time any replacement calipers arrived, my brakes weren’t really brakes anymore. They could reduce my speed, but they sure wouldn’t stop me!

I procrastinated quite a bit. I’m not a completely useless mechanic. On cars, I’ve replaced brakes, swapped exhaust manifolds, upgraded fuels pumps, and done all sorts of tuning. Replacing calipers on a bike should be easy, right?

Shimano M374 brake calipers on my Hover-1 XLS

My biggest problem was not knowing what to order. There seem to be all sorts of sizes and mounting options for brakes. What kind of mount does the Hover-1 XLS have? Am I going to have to replace the rotor, too? If I order the simpler non-hydraulic calipers, will I need to replace brake levers and cables, too? Ugh!

I still know very little about bicycle brakes. I just looked for a set that were meant to fit the same size brake rotors—the Shimano M375, and I eyeballed the mounting hardware in the photos. The calipers I chose were less than $20 each with free 2-day Prime shipping. Even if I didn’t or couldn’t return them, I’d only be out $20, right? It seemed worth the risk!

I only ordered one caliper. I replaced the dead, leaking front caliper, and adjusted it using the business card trick. The I went for a ride. I didn’t even wait until I got home. I ordered a second caliper to replace the rear brake while I was still at the park!

My Hover-1 XLS Folding Electric Scooter

These calipers are an amazing upgrade and simple. They’re a little more sensitive, especially compared to my dying front caliper, so they did take some getting used to.

Two months and another hundred miles later

It has been two months, 100 more miles, and a fresh set of brake calipers since I last wrote about my Hover-1 XLS scooter. Was it the right choice? Should I have bought something else?

I know this isn’t a review. If you found this post, you probably already own one of these scooters. I’m still going to give you my opinion anyway!

It is disappointing that I had to replace the brakes, and that the less modern, less complex parts work better than the original hardware. Hover-1 wanted to be able to list hydraulic brakes on their spec sheet, and they didn’t even use proper hydraulic brakes—the good ones have hydraulics right up to the brake levers.

Shimano M375 brake calipers on my Hover-1 XLS

I always tell everyone that I probably should have bought an electric kick scooter, like the Xaiomi M365. They’re nearly as fast, have almost as much range, but they weigh half as much. Loading the 50-pound XLS scooter into the back of the SUV is an awkward maneuver.

I did learn one useful trick to help loading your Hover-1 scooter into a car. If the kickstand is down when you’re folding up the bike, you can use the kickstand as a handle. Then you can grab the other end of the scooter just below the handlebars. This makes the process much less awkward!

Another good option would be converting a regular pedal bike into an e-bike. Electric conversion kits are available at Banggood for around $400, and they look pretty easy to set up. With some time and effort, you could definitely DIY a proper e-bike that won’t cost much more than the Hover-1 XLS. You’ll have a much more capable bike that way, but you’ll need to invest an unknown amount of time. Ultimately, I imagine this is the best choice.

My dirty Hover-1 XLS Scooter

All that said, I’m not unhappy with my purchase. So far, I’ve invested something short of $600 and a couple of hours into my e-bike purchase. That includes the scooter, a helmet, and the brake calipers. Weather permitting, I ride the bike almost day. I’ve probably been on around 100 journeys this year, and I expect to continue to use the e-bike just as often over the next year.

What do you think? Do you have a Hover-1 XLS? Do you enjoy it? Are you happy with your purchase? Do you have some other form of electric transportation, like the Xaiomi M365? I’d like to hear about it in the comments, or you can stop by our Discord server to chat about it!