Despite the mechanical differences, riding the MO is very similar to a 125cc petrol scooter, apart from the fact that there’s no engine noise (just a low-speed gear whine that declines with speed) and an almost complete lack of vibration. Braking is handled by levers on the left and right handlebars, and the accelerator is a conventional right-hand twist-grip.
There’s no clutch or gearchange – to start, you squeeze the left brake lever, select a mode and you’re away. There are three riding modes, Eco, City or Sport, selectable via a switch on the handlebars. Eco saves the battery but restricts performance, City allows more performance but coasts when you close the twist-grip and Sport gives most performance (0-31mph in a brisk 3.9sec) but limits range to 50-60 miles instead of the best-case 85 miles quoted in the specifications. Eco and Sport both offer regenerative braking (and display the extent of it in a neat instrument graphic). First pressure on the left-hand (rear brake) lever increases regeneration further, while the right lever braking operates a reassuringly strong conventional ventilated disc brake on the front wheel.
The MO’s performance benefits from the well-known instant torque of electric motors off the mark, and in Sport it’ll slingshot you quite quickly beyond 50mph, plenty of speed for what is a fundamentally a city-bound bike. The compact handlebars, low centre of gravity and comfortable riding position make it easy to manoeuvre at very low speeds and there’s no discernible ill effect on the ride quality from the unsprung weight of the wheel-motor at the rear. Anyone who’s ridden a bicycle will be able to get on terms with the MO in a few minutes, as long as they take time to acclimatise to the performance available in Sport.