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Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

What has two powerful motors, costs less than $600, and climbed the steepest hill in San Francisco in our tests…twice?

You probably wouldn’t have guessed the Hover-1 Journey Max, a budget e-scooter that’s full of surprises, even if the brand name and design seem familiar.

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Hover-1 Journey Max – $599

Hover-1 is a company well-known for designing the most popular hoverboards on the planet. You or many not know that they also make electric scooters. We review one of their best models, the Journey Max, a dual motor scooter for just under $600.

Who is this Scooter for?

The Journey Max is made for budget electric scooter buyers, but it towers above most budget scooters for reasons we’ll detail below.

In brief, the 700W Journey Max has two motors instead of one, and a large spacious deck, which makes it perfect for heavier or taller riders and riders who live in hilly areas like San Francisco.


Our Full Video Review

Top: Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

Hover-1 Journey Max: Performance and Stats

Hover-1 electric scooters have been making their way into big box stores and online retailers for years. This is our first review of a Hover-1 scooter, and we were very pleasantly surprised.

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The Journey Max is a powerful, 700W dual-motor scooter that climbs hills and accelerates like nothing in its class. In fact, it may be the most powerful electric scooter you can purchase for the price, and the best budget scooter for heavier riders.

Top Speed

Most budget electric scooters these days cap their top speed at around 15.5 mph. Out of the box, the Journey Max hits a tested 18 mph, a nice cruising speed at this price.

Moreover, this scooter can be unlocked by hitting the power button 5 times for a maximum speed of 20.7 mph (according to our tests).

Top: Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

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“Even the unlocked top speed is still a firmware-limited top speed. It’s subtle, but you can feel that the scooter has enough power to go even faster, and that the top speed is softly hitting a limiter” – Paul 

Acceleration

It’s a bit unfair to compare the Journey Max to other scooters in its price class when it comes to acceleration, since its dual motors give it twice the power of most everyone else. 

The Journey Max hits 20 mph in 6.6 seconds, beating scooters that cost hundreds more. 

Hill Climb

See the Hover-1 Journey Max climb the steepest hill in San Francisco, a 31.5% gradient! 

“Much to my surprise, it made it to the top. Twice! Now, it wasn’t a clean win, because I had to zig-zag once I got past about halfway up, but it never stopped!” 

The scooter is already rated for a 20% incline, which is twice as steep as our usual hill climbing test. It definitely outdid itself; you’d have to pay about twice as much to upgrade to a scooter that climbs faster. 

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Range

Range per dollar is outstanding at 20.4 real-world miles in our test, beating out all of the competition with both motors on and in Sport Mode.

We kept our model in the speed-limited 18 mph factory setting, since not all riders will unlock their scooter, so you might expect a bit less range with max speed unlocked.

Top: Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

Ride Quality

An under $600 scooter won’t ride like a much pricier model no matter how well it’s built because of a lack of tunable suspension, or suspension of any kind in this case.

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However, the Journey Max’s sturdy steel frame and 8.5-inch air-filled (tubed) tires do an admirable job of handling bumps and cracks in the road.

Braking

Taking its design cues from the Xiaomi Mi M365, the Journey Max relegates all braking to a single lever on the left, with regenerative brakes in both wheels and a single mechanical disc brake at the rear.

The braking setup works beautifully to stop the scooter from 15 mph in 14.9 feet. But the regen brakes can feel overly grabby if you aren’t an aggressive rider. Hover-1 tells us they’re smoothing out the issue for newly released models.

Top: Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

Hover-1 Journey Max: Design, Build & Reliability

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We give the Journey Max a reliability score of 6.4, a number we base on things like warranty, tire and battery brand, parts availability, build quality, and other factors (since we can’t ride each scooter 10,000 miles).

The construction here feels very good, and comparisons to the Xiaomi M365 are warranted not only for the scooter’s design but also for its build quality. 

However, at present the Journey Max has no IP rating, so we cannot recommend it for wet conditions, and its shorter-than-average 90-warranty gives us pause.


Hover-1 Journey Max: Is It Worth It? Our Verdict

It’s hard to know what to compare with the Journey Max since there’s simply nothing else like it on the market. Despite its Xiaomi looks and build, it outperforms that classic e scooter in every respect thanks to its dual motors.

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The Journey Max is most comparable to models like the NIU KQi3 Pro or KQi3 Max, single-motor electric scooters with solid build and ride quality and long battery life.

But none of its competitors can touch the Journey Max when it comes to acceleration and hill climbing ability.

This scooter is in a class of its own and we can recommend it especially for heavier riders or those who live in hillier places other budget scooters cannot conquer. 

Top: Hover-1 Journey Max: The Best Hill Climber Under $600

Paul Somerville

Rider Guide’s Editor-in-Chief is a seasoned expert in the electric scooter industry. With a wide-ranging background that includes managing scooter warehouses, selling thousands of motorcycles, and restoring high value (+1M) European sports cars, his expertise is unmatched. Having personally tested more than 100 electric scooters, he offers invaluable insights and recommendations to our readers. We are fortunate to have him as part of our team, as his diverse skill set and extensive experience ensure top-notch reviews.

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