By Jeffrey the Barak.
The main difference between these two equally priced, and readily available scooters is the wheels.
The A5 Air has nice little split rim wheels with 200 mm X 50 mm pneumatic tires with inner tubes, resulting in a quiet, soft, impact and vibration absorbing, slower ride.
The A5 DLX has 200 mm polyurethane wheels that transfer more vibration to the rider, but preserve much more energy as forward motion.
The Razor brand urethane wheels are quite soft and forgiving compared to those found on other scooters, but they are still very hard compared to any air-filled rubber tires.
Another difference of note is the deck height. The A5 Air has the lowest deck around at a mere 58 mm, whereas the A5 DLX has a slightly higher, but still impressively low, 62 mm deck height.
In case you don’t know, lower decks make scooting easier, because the standing leg is the one that gets tired, not the kicking leg. The dipping down to push is where your energy gets sapped, so the lower the better.
I have been comparing these two for a week on my own closed course figure-eight, but in order to get a more meaningful comparison, I donned my helmet and pads and rode along a neighborhood sidewalk and street run, taking the same route on each scooter.
I will add here that each of my scooters here have had a nice handgrip upgrade, and good grips take vibration away from the hands. The original rubber grips of the A5 Air were not bad though. The original grips on the A5 DLX are foam, which does soak up the knocks and bumps, but these were contoured for children’s hands, so they had to come off.
In the special case of my A5 Air, a scooter of which I have to admit I am very fond, it also benefits from a bearings upgrade, using Bones Reds, and the removal of the unnecessary grip tape from the deck.
The A5 DLX I rode here still has the aggressive grip tape making the twist and switch very much harder, and it has the original stock bearings. Actually I will be grabbing a hair dryer and removing that grip tape very soon as it really ruins the scooter. And I suppose I should also set aside another ten or fifteen minutes to put the Bones Reds bearings in, since I have four more in a box.
Issues and Adjustments
Neither scooter is great when it first comes in the “frustration-free packing”. You absolutely have to adjust and tighten and tune up each one. The worst thing about the A5 DLX is the infamous Razor clatter from the rear fender brake. That brake really needs frequent tightening using a wrench and square driver. Since I would not ride it in the wet, I might remove it altogether and use only the sneaker sole brake and stepping off methods to slow and stop. Oddly after about 2,500 rides on the A5 Air, that much broader rear stomp brake has never rattled at all.
Whenever a handlebar is height adjustable, there is a tube inside a tube, so you have to really tighten the clamp, which in the case of Razor scooters, is actually only a bicycle seat post clamp. But it does clamp tightly, and there is no urgent need to go and buy a 31.8 mm quad or triple clamp from the pro-scooter store. The unnecessarily detachable, short handlebars may also make a noise if you take a hand off when riding. A bit of PTFE or vinyl tape will shut those up.
So without further ado I will state the obvious, air tires are a good deal slower than urethane wheels, so if your only interest is speed, you have your winner.
But there is more to enjoying a scoot than speed, and the A5 Air is much more pleasant ride under most circumstances, and this is on dry surfaces. If the roads are wet then perhaps out of the two, only the A5 Air is usable with any degree of safety.
However another area where the A5 DLX shines is on a (slight) uphill incline. These barely noticeable hills quickly slow the A5 Air down. If that is something you don’t like the sound of then maybe you should lean towards the A5 DLX.
There is quite a noticeable weight difference. The A5 Air weighs 5 kg whereas the A5 DLX only weighs 4 kg. Besides the tire characteristics, this also contributes to the speed difference below.
Neither scooter is intended to be a long distance tool, but if you do go out for longer rides, or all day rides, all of these advantages and disadvantages of each become amplified. For the occasional noodle around, either one is okay.
The real choice is between more speed or distance output from your input, (The A5 DLX), versus ride smoothness and comfort, (The A5 Air). After all, vibration induces fatigue so the tortoise can potentially beat the hare here.
I am a bit shocked by this. Over the same course, scooting at a very leisurely pace on a hot morning, on very smooth asphalt, and trying hard to input about the same energy on each, the A5 DLX averaged 6.75 MPH whereas the A5 Air averaged 4.5 MPH. Neither run was long enough for the vibration induced fatigue to set in from riding upon urethane, so a longer distance comparison, which I did not undertake, might possibly show less of a difference. It could be an inverted U-curve.
Of course if the asphalt had been less smooth, the A5 Air might have come out as a faster ride than the A5 DLX. And if the asphalt had been very rough, then only one scooter might have been rideable at all, and that would be the A5 Air.
It may be a slowcoach, but the Razor A5 Air is one of my favorite scooters out of the twenty-six or so that have passed through my hands. I bought the A5 DLX just for a fun contrast, and when I finish improving it, it will be a worthy stablemate to it’s cousin, and occasionally better under certain circumstances. Both are very affordable, easy to obtain in the USA, and do the job.
Jeffrey the Barak has owned 26 scooters, human-powered or electric, and ridden many more. The first scooter articles in the-vu began to appear in 2000. YouTube video reviews may have superseded articles such as this, but they may not contain the information you need to decide.