Dualtron Thunder Review
Nothing can be compared to trying the newest and craziest scooters. This time, I would like to share with you everything I know about the DualTron Thunder – a proud successor of the DualTron Ultra I have reviewed earlier.
The Thunder shares a lot of common ground with the Ultra, which is why I will be comparing the two a lot in this review. I’ve heard from several enthusiasts that the Thunder is probably the best scooter to buy right now. The amount of hype around this new DualTron is crazy, which is why I will try to review it as honestly as possible.
Just like its predecessor, the DualTron Thunder is one of those scooters that are as fast and as heavy as a small motorcycle or moped. Unlike the latter, the Thunder can be easily stored in your bedroom. It does not have that peculiar gasoline smell a motorcycle has, plus it can be folded and kept literally under your bed.
In exchange for such flexibility, the Thunder is way more expensive than your average gasoline moped. Its price starts at around $ 3500 USD and its availability is still a bit limited – new batches arrive to the market every month. In fact, some of the people who have ordered their Thunder in July will be receiving their units not sooner than September.
The first thing we notice after uboxing the Thunder is that it is slightly bigger than the Ultra – It is about 2cm (~1”) longer and ~ a centimeter taller. Even the box the Thunder comes in is about 2 cm taller and wider than the Ultra’s. The rest is similar – platform, wheels, etc.
Despite its small size (it’s a scooter, after all) the Dualtron Thunder looks imposing. Everything about it screams quality. I only get a similar feeling when I look at a very expensive car.
I would give the designers a 10 out of 10 for making this scooter look really premium. If you like to show off, you gonna love this bad boy. The massive body of the Thunder makes any other scooter look cheap in comparison; even the most mundane parts of it, like the lights, look like decorations thanks to the good design and color scheme. The two strips of LED lighting on the bar are the cherry on the cake, making this scooter look like a high-tech device.
The downsides? (a) Don’t leave it in the sidewalks because it attracts a lot of unwanted attention and (b) you got to dress accordingly to your vehicle. An Armani suit is probably what suits this scooter the best
Unlike the Ultra that comes with the mudguards and grips apart, the Thunder comes fully assembled and pretty much ready to go. There is no need to waste your time reading assembly manuals
Once you charge the scooter, you can do the test drive. The first thing I have noticed is how great its acceleration is. If you are not used to fast scooters, you might even get a bit scared by how fast you can reach the 40 – 50 Km/h mark.
On the other hand, the scooter is very responsive. Once you get used to it, this scooter is a treat do drive. I have a friend who used to drive it using only one hand for the fun of it. At low speeds, that is. It was a fun experiment but please don’t do that at home!
Another interesting thing about the Thunder is that due to its heavy weight, it feels more stable than the usual scooter. It does have more inertia too, which is why it takes a bit of time to getting used to it. I’d say, the scooter feels like a full-sized moped – everything about it, included the hydraulic brakes feel quite similar. If you have had the chance of driving one before, you will master the Thunder in no time.
Durability – Build quality
I think what really sets the Thunder apart from the Ultra is the build quality. Don’t get me wrong – the Ultra is a very rugged scooter (which is one of the reasons I like it so much). However, there are some things the Thunder does even better. Let me elaborate.
First of all, the Thunder offers better wheel protection than the Ultra. You see, the fork has got a spacer that prevents the wheel from falling off in case the fastener fails. The Ultra features two spacers per wheel, while the Thunder – four. This small change in design makes the Thunder suspension more secure, as well as durable.
Another improvement over the Ultra are better cable protection tubes. You can see in the picture that the Thunder comes with rugged solid duct. The Ultra? Not really, plus it looks a bit improvised. In fact, I have seen some people doing modifications to their DualTron Ultras where to improve cable protection. The Thunder does not need any of that.
Moving down to the front wheel, we can see that in the Ultra, the cables are attached to the side of the fork. The Thunder fork offers more protection because the cable goes inside the piece – it is fully shielded against any exterior hazards. While that’s not something out of this world, that little extra protection might pay off someday.
What about the brake system? I love it. The Thunder features hydraulic dual piston calipers. Hydraulic brakes are always good to have, thought I was impressed that they have used two pistons for such small calipers. That’s a good thing, though. The benefits of a dual piston caliper is that it allows for a larger pad which absorbs more heat and noise, and because of better distribution it wears better.
Last but not least, the Thunder has got better water isolation than the Ultra. Besides the additional pieces of rubber that seal the cable entrances to the main body, every bolt in the scooter comes with thread sealant. While this may not look like a big deal, it might greatly increase the longevity of the scooter.
Now, since this is an honest review, let me mention something I consider an issue.
I have been talking to other Thunder owners and some complain about the bar aking squeaking noises (here is the fix). Those can be heard even louder when going at higher speed. Slightly loosing the two bolts above the folding joint fixes the noise issue, though no sane person would drive with those bolts being loose. Tightening those bolts produces no effect, which is a bit frustrating.
Not every unit comes with this problem, though considering how few people own those scooters, the amount of complaints about this issue is alarming. One of the guys I’ve been talking to has got around 500 kms on this scooter and the squeaking is still there – it does not go away with use.
In brief, the Thunder is a step forward regarding build quality. Every part of it except for the bar – the parts where it folds (both the upper and the lower parts of the bar) feel a little bit loose. I mean, I am 100% certain that it won’t break anytime soon, though any sort of looseness makes me a bit nervous, especially when it comes to the part of the bar I’m holding while driving.
The Thunder is very comfortable to drive, even compared to the Ultra. The suspension works wonder both for heavy and lightweight people, though the sweet spot is about 80-85 kg (~180lb) for the stock suspension.
Now, we can replace the stock suspension with a heavier or lighter (softer) one – there are five different cartridges to choose from (not included in the package). This way we can make our scooter fit the carry weight a bit better. That being said, I haven’t really looked into it because I find the stock one perfect for me.
Unlike its predecessor, this model features adjustable clearance. This makes it way more versatile, allowing you to quickly adapt it to your needs and use. Personally, I go with the highest setting, though everyone is different.
How does the adjustable clearance work? Here is a picture where you can see the difference between the two models. This is the front wheel fork. The DualTron Thunder features slits that allow you to adjust the angle of the fork, while the Ultra only offers one fixed position.
In theory, those slits also improve the grip of the fork, making it mire durable and preventing unwanted noises from appearing after some use.
If you are a crazy person like me, you would want to include the seat in your order. You don’t want to be standing when driving at 70-75 Kmh. It’s not enjoyable at all, trust me.
The seat is also imperative for long rides – the Thunder can run for 3-4 hours straight if you keep a steady pace. Standing still for that long might be quite a challenge, especially if you are doing it every day.
The Thunder features the same grips as the Ultra – the ergonomic shape and the quality material makes it easy to keep a good grip. You gonna love them, especially if you use gloves, which is something you’d want to do considering how fast this thing can go.
When it comes the time to store the Thunder, you can fold both the main bar and the grips. Both ends/grips are held in place by a spring-based lock system. This mechanism can be easily locked or unlocked using one hand. Once unlocked, you can fold the grips to make the scooter transportation and storage a bit simpler. Personally, I am not a huge fan of this feature because this mechanism is one of the things that makes the T bar feel slightly loose.
There have been a share of myths and rumors regarding the specs of the Thunder. Since we see a 50% price difference between it and its predecessor, some people speculated that the Thunder comes with a better motor and subsequently a better battery too.
In reality, we can observe that the Thunder features the exact same motors as the Ultra – they’ve got the same size, specs and 6cm magnets. This means that the maximum speed of this scooter is around 75-80 km/h (~49 mph).
Maybe the batteries are different? Yes and no. The Thunder comes with a battery that is safely secured inside an aluminum box. At first glance, the box looks like a plastic one, but if you scratch it a little, you will see the metal underneath. At first, this was meant to be an exclusive feature to the Thunder, thought eventually Minimotors have decided to equip the later batches of the Ultra with the same aluminum box protection too.
So now, the June and newer batches of the Ultra scooters come with the same battery protection. Only the older ones feature the same battery package as the Raptor series.
If we look at the battery specs, both the Ultra and the Thunder feature the exact same battery models and specs – the LG 60V 35AH. No wonder both models share the same range and max speed.
The controllers look the same too – same amount of cables and so on, though I am not certain if they are the same too. I am a scooter enthusiast, though I am not disassembling the electronics of such an expensive scooter
According to official specs, the Thunder can go as far as 120km (74 Mi) in one single ride. This is of course of we drive on a flat surface at a constant speed of 20kmh, which obviously never happens in real life.
Real life usage tests show that the overall range of this scooter is around 70km (43 Mi). This test included stops, turns, slopes and a 130kg (286lb) driver; we have even reached the maximum speed a couple of times and kept the vehicle going at that speed for quite a bit.
We have had both motors engaged all the time, except for the last couple of kilometers. The average speed (according to a phone GPS app) was 26 Kmh. Basically, I believe it was a good simulation of a real life urban drive scenario. Also, far from all of as are lucky enough to be thin and lightweight, so I hope these results reflect real life quite well.
If you keep a steadier speed than we did, you might be able to go for as far as 90-100 km – it all depends on your needs and driving style, as well as the weight the scooter is carrying.
The Thunder comes with a variety of accessories. The one you will see feers when unboxing yours is a remote control that allows you to choose the color of the LED lighting on the bar, as well as the brightness and mode (static light, flickering, etc).
What if you’d want to have better illumination? The Thunder features a mounting for an additional bar with LED lights. This is yet another small feature that sets the Thunder apart from the Ultra.
DualTron Thunder Specs
- Max Speed: 80 Kmh (49 MPH)
- Max Distance: 120 Km (74 Mi)
- Charge Time: max: 20 hours, min: 4 hours, depending on the charger
- Motor Wattage: Max 5,400W, dual motors rated 2,700 W each
- Weight: 43 Kg (95 lb)
- Max. Rider Capacity: 120 Kg (264 lb)
- Gradeability: 47% (~25°)
- Tire Size: 11 in Tubeless Ultra-wide (90mm or 3.5”), air pressure 45-50psi
- Suspension: 15-step adjustable, rubber, 3 step variable suspension type, 5 kinds of rubber cartridge replaceable design
- Brakes: Hydraulic brake + 160mm disk
- Lights: LED headlights and taillights, and brake lights – possibility to add extra frontal LED lights
- Dashboard: Cruise, Electric brake and Auto-save function
- Folded dimensions: 1238x319x543 mm (48x12x21 inches)
- Extended dimensions: 1238x609x1219 mm (48x24x48 inches)
- Material: Frame and Handle made of aviation aluminum forging alloy, 6082-T6, Shafts: SCM440, Covers: polypropylene
- Water and dust resistance IP54
Bonus: DualTron Thunder vs Ultra
DualTron Thunder: Pros
- Hydraulic brake
- Adjustable suspension
- Better water isolation
- Enhanced cable protection
- The battery comes in a metallic box
- LED Lighting
DualTron Thunder: Cons
- 50% higher price
- ~5 kg heavier
Where to Buy Dualtron Eagle PRO
Dualtron Thunder is fast, sturdy and ridiculously elegant. It can be easily considered the king of scooters and its elevated price only adds to the prestige of owning one.
Now, compared to the Ultra, the Thunder is pretty much similar, except for some fixes and enhancements. I would say that the Thunder is like an Ultra version 1.1 – while the improvements are indeed good, the difference is not as big. On the flip side, if you have got the chance to choose between those two models, I would definitely go for the Thunder.