Ephesus S5 is a superb design but limited in a couple of key ways that all users should be aware of before committing to a purchase.
Recommended For: Anyone weighing up to 265 pounds, who’s in the market for a speedy scooter, designed primarily to be used in urban environments.
*Note regarding Brand Reliability: This metric is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.
Are you in the market for an electric wheelchair or scooter that will help you reclaim at least a portion of your freedom? Are you particularly interested in a model that has some zip to it and is optimized for use on paved or very even surfaces, like those commonly found in urban environments?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’re certainly going to love our Ephesus S5 scooter review.
You may not be familiar with the Ephesus brand. A small, California-based company, they’ve only recently begun making inroads into the mobility market, and, for the time being, they only have the S5 scooter on offer. It’s a fantastic design, but it is a somewhat tightly targeted model. Its appeal to the mainstream market is somewhat limited.
In the sections that follow, we’ll review this scooter in detail. We’ll reveal both the greatest strengths and most glaring weaknesses of the design so you’ll have all the information you need to decide for yourself if this is the scooter you’ve been looking for.
If that sounds good to you, let’s take a closer look right now.
An Overview of the Ephesus S5 Folding Mobility Scooter
Looks aren’t the most important factor when selecting a mobility aid, but they do matter. The Ephesus S5 electric scooter has a Spartan, minimalist aesthetic that not everyone will find appealing. On the upside, though, it is offered in a modest selection of colors.
If you decide you want one, you can order yours in any of the following:
- Or Silver
Assuming the general look of the machine isn’t off-putting to you, you’ll find quite a lot to like under the hood. Let’s take a quick look at this model by the numbers. Here are the basics:
- Overall Product Dimensions: 40” L x 21” W x 29” – 35” H (folded dimensions are 21.5″ x 14.5″ x 27.″)
- Seat Width: 9” W (10” D)
- Seat to Floor Height: 16”
- Turning Radius: 60”
- Top Speed: 12 (!) miles per hour
- Range: 15 or 25 miles, depending on which battery you opt for.
- Wheel Size: 10” front, 8” rear
- Ground Clearance: 3.75”
- Maximum Slope: 12 (!) degrees
- Chair Weight: 63 pounds
- Maximum Supported Weight: 265 pounds
These numbers are a bit of a mixed bag, but mostly good. Let us start with the best numbers first. The top speed of the Ephesus S5 mobility scooter is superb. Most comparable scooters putter along at around 4 miles per hour. This one will race past those with ease. Even better, it’s got fantastic slope handling, twice the industry average, which makes it an ideal choice if you live in a hilly area.
On top of that, the S5 Ephesus has decent ground clearance too. So if you have a relatively flat, level yard, you’ll be able to zip around your property with ease. If you’re a camper and you love hitting the road in your RV, you’ll also be able to explore just about any campground you stop at in your scooter.
There are some downsides, however. The turning radius isn’t great. You’ll need space to get turned around, which makes it less than ideal for people who are looking for a scooter for in-home use unless you’ve got a larger home or don’t mind making frequent three-point turns.
In our view, however, there are two major weak points in the design. First, there’s an issue with the weight limit. Most scooters support 300 pounds of user weight, with models specifically designed for big and tall folks supporting significantly more than that in many cases.
This one doesn’t even rise to the level of 300 pounds of supported weight, which will limit its appeal.
It’s not an issue for you at all if you weigh 265 or less, but if you weigh more than that, it’s an absolute deal-breaker.
The second issue lies with the seat. It’s abysmally small. This is definitely not a scooter you’ll want to lounge in. The seat isn’t much bigger than a standard bicycle seat. So once you get where you’re going, you’ll almost certainly want to transfer out of the scooter and into some other, more comfortable chair.
Note, however, the company does offer a solution. There is an Ephesus S5 wide seat variant model (you can find it here: https://ephesusmobility.com/collections/mobility-scooters/products/ephesus-s5-wide-seat ) that boasts a 16” x 16” seat which is much more accommodating. Sadly, the maximum supported weight is no higher on the wide seat variant.
Adjustability and Comfort
This will be a relatively short section, and sadly, it’s a fairly weak segment of our Ephesus S5 scooter review because there’s very little about this scooter that’s adjustable. It’s mostly a “what you see is what you get” design, which is not at all uncommon among products offered by smaller brands.
In this case, the only adjustable feature is the height of the steering tiller, which has an impressive 9” height adjustment range.
That’s great as far as it goes. Since the tiller isn’t adjustable on the other axis, which means that you can’t pull the steering mechanism closer to you or move it farther away, it does put hard limits on how much you can adjust for comfort.
Added to that, the tiny seat is fixed in its position and also cannot be adjusted in any way, though it’s worth noting that under the main seat, you’ll find a flip-up child seat that supports up to 65 pounds of weight. That’s handy if you have a light to medium build and have a child you’d like to take with you somewhere, but given the modest overall weight limit of the Ephesus mobility scooter, its practical use will be somewhat limited.
On the comfort front, again, the S5 doesn’t fare very well because. Honestly, although the seat is well padded with conventional block foam, it’s just too small to offer any real comfort.
It’s fine if you’re just using your scooter to get from point A to point B. Just as you wouldn’t spend the afternoon lounging on your exercise bike, you’re not going to want to spend any more time than necessary in this tiny seat.
It’s also worth pointing out that the seat is upholstered with vinyl. Spending extended periods of time sitting on vinyl makes you hot, but that warning is mostly not needed here. The diminutive size of the seat pretty much guarantees that won’t happen.
The wide seat variant is a couple of hundred dollars more but offers a significant improvement in overall comfort. If you plan on spending more than just a couple of hours at a stretch sitting on the larger seat, you’ll still probably want to invest in some aftermarket padding to enhance the comfort and get you off of the vinyl upholstery, which is an easy, low-cost fix.
Extras and Options
This aspect of the design is a pleasant surprise, and this section is one of the stronger points of our Ephesus S5 wide seat review because you’ll find quite a few accessories built into the model.
- A front-mounted storage bag
- A headlamp
- A horn
- Taillights and brake lights
- And a built-in child seat
In addition to that, you’ll also find a more expansive, rear-mounted storage basket on the company’s website, but Ephesus was sold out of those at the time this review was written.
It gets even better because if you’re a do it yourselfer and you enjoy working on your own equipment, the company does sell a wide range of parts for the S5 (including extra batteries). So as parts wear out, you’ll have an easy-access source to keep your scooter in good working order.
Portability and Ease of Use
The S5 Ephesus fares relatively well in this section. Although it’s certainly not the lightest scooter in its class, it’s far from the heaviest.
The folding mechanism is somewhat cumbersome, but not unmanageably so. Once you get it folded, the total weight of the scooter is 65 pounds (with the battery), which is on the heavy side, but again, not unmanageably so.
As long as you’ve got decent upper body strength or an assistant that can help you load and unload it in your vehicle, you won’t have any problems. Also, the folded footprint is small enough that the S5 will fit in the trunks of most mid-sized sedans or larger vehicles.
The only real issue you’ll have will stem from flying. Airlines charge by the pound, and there are lighter scooters on the market. So if you want to minimize your costs, you’ll probably want to gravitate to one of those.
The downside is that most of the lighter scooters top out at 4 miles per hour, so you’ll have to decide what’s more important to you: Less of an airline surcharge or faster speeds to get where you’re going.
It’s also worth mentioning that every airline gets to set its own policy regarding what they allow and what they don’t, so you’ll want to be sure to call the airline you plan to fly with and tell them what kind of scooter you’ve got to be sure it’s allowed. That way, you don’t run the risk of an inconvenient surprise when you show up at the check-in counter.
Pros & Cons of S5 Ephesus Folding Mobility Scooter
We like almost everything about this design, including its minimalist aesthetic, but, as we said at the start, we know that won’t appeal to everyone.
As good as this design is, however, it suffers from two major points of weakness: The disappointing weight limit and the tiny seat. Note that the overall rating we gave this product was for the standard model with the smaller seat. We’d rate the wide seat variant a full half-star higher (4.5 stars vs. four stars for this one) because it really does make that big a difference.
Ephesus S5 Scooter Review Conclusion
In our view, here’s a snapshot of the characteristics the ideal user of this model will have:
- They’ll weigh 265 pounds or less
- They won’t have a problem with the tiny seat or the Spartan aesthetic
- They want to go relatively fast
- And they’re primarily interested in a scooter for use on flat, paved surfaces or lawns that are relatively free of obstructions
The more of those that apply to you, the happier you’ll be with this design. The less that apply, the less impressive you’ll find this machine.
As mentioned in the previous section here in our Ephesus S5 scooter review, the weight limit and tiny seat are probably the outright deal-breakers.
Comparable Products to Consider
If you generally like the S5, but there are aspects about it that make it a poor fit for you, here are a couple of alternatives you may want to consider:
The iLiving V8 offers a marginally higher weight limit and some impressive design features you’ll almost certainly appreciate.
The EV Rider Transport AF offers more travel friendliness at the expense of speed and incorporates a fantastic auto-fold feature. The machine actually folds itself for transport at the touch of a button!
References & Resources:
- Ephesus, Official Brand Website.
- Mobility Scooter Breaks Speed Record, BBC News.
- What Are Mobility Devices?, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.
- Are Mobility Scooters Allowed on the Pavement? An Expert Explains, TGA.