I check smartphones and electrical scooters amongst many different merchandise right here at WIRED. Unlike phones, escooters fluctuate far more in high quality. Most telephones these days are fairly good—whether or not you purchase from the low-end or shell out for a flagship—however escooters haven’t reached this stage of improvement but. Each huge field I’ve to haul up my stairs is not assured to provide me a totally pleasant and pain-free expertise. That’s why I like Niu. The KQi3 Max is the second scooter I’m testing from the model and, like the primary, it is a dependable, well-balanced journey for on a regular basis commutes.
The KQi3 Max is a small improve over the KQi3 Pro I examined final yr. They’re almost an identical, from the design to the parts, however the pricier Max has a barely extra highly effective motor, weighs a smidge extra, and has a bigger battery capability. The Pro is sufficient for most individuals, however in case you’re in a hillier space otherwise you’re a heavier rider, it could be value spending the additional $200 on the added energy.
The KQi3 Max comes principally assembled; you simply want to connect the handlebars. Right off the bat, it seems and feels sturdy, with an air of intent. It’s not as mild as a scooter you pluck off the shelf, just like the Speedway Mini 4 Pro, neither is it as fancy and hefty because the Apollo City. It has a objective.
The handlebars sit at a pleasant spot for my 6’4″ self, but you can’t adjust the height, so it may not be comfortable for everyone. They’re not as wide as the Apollo City’s, but I still wish they could collapse down to save some width when you pack the scooter down. There’s also not much room to comfortably attach a smartphone via a mount, though I’ve started using my wireless earbuds to listen to navigation instructions instead of having to look down at a screen.
Speaking of, Niu has the best folding mechanism out of all the scooters I’ve tried. Just undo the latch at the base of the stem and bring it down, and it’ll automatically click into a spot at the end of the deck. Time to unfold? Press the button above the rear brake light and the stem will unlock. Raise it and close the latch to secure it upright. It’s super simple. It’s got a reliably stable kickstand too.
At 46 pounds, this escooter is not something most people can easily carry, but it’s still not unreasonable for me. I definitely wouldn’t want to carry it up more than three flights of stairs, though. I do wish Niu would try and shave down the weight while preserving the power of this machine.
There’s a bell, a reasonably bright headlight, and a clear display that shows battery level, speed, and other ride data, but at this price, I’d expect to see turn signal buttons. It’s also IP54 water resistant, so it can handle splashes of water just fine. Just remember not to ride it in the rain, and wait for it to dry before you plug it in to recharge.
When you initially set up the scooter, you’ll be restricted to a lower speed. Ride a short distance and you’ll automatically unlock the faster speed mode (up to 20 mph). To unlock the top speed of 23 mph, you will need to choose the custom speed mode in the app.
The app itself isn’t cumbersome, even if it is an annoying extra step to ask users to download an app to unlock the scooter’s velocity. You may also tweak the quantity of regenerative braking you need and toggle on options like Cruise Control or the locking mechanism. But the Max does not instantly hook up with my telephone through Bluetooth after I flip it on; it requires some prodding by refreshing the app.
Upgrading from a 350-watt motor on the KQi3 Pro to a 450-watt motor on the Max means you get somewhat additional energy to work with. This escooter is admittedly responsive whenever you hit the throttle, so it could possibly climb to twenty mph pretty shortly. There’s no dillydallying whenever you punch it at a stoplight. It does an incredible job sustaining excessive speeds when tackling slopes, too. It had no bother climbing the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge right here in New York City and sustaining speeds at 15 mph or increased.
The twin disc brakes do a great job of shortly coming to a halt, which I realized when a automotive in entrance of me determined to make a proper with out checking the bike lane. (Yes, I yelled, “Ey, I’m scootin’ here!”) The suspension system along with the 9.5-inch tubeless tires is stable—it could possibly deal with most bumps and small potholes fantastic, however it’s not going to knock your socks off.