NIU KQi2 Pro Review: Best Under $600 Scooter in 2022?

Niu-KQi2-Hero-Profile-Shot

NIU KQi2 Pro

This is the KQi2. It’s by NIU, a company you probably haven’t heard of yet if you live in the US, but is one of the most experienced and high-volume electric vehicle makers on the planet.

NIU has over 2 million electric mopeds on the streets–that’s more units on the road than Tesla. Very recently, they turned their attention to kick scooters. And the KQi2, their newest and least-expensive model, may quickly become their best seller.

We’ve spent a week testing it against every scooter in its class, comparing range, top speed, performance, and quality. Is this the best scooter you can buy for under 600 bucks in 2022? Let’s find out. 

Technical Specifications

Tested top speed: 16.3 mph*
Tested range: 15.7 mi*
Weight: 41 lb*
Max rider weight: 220 lb
Water resistance: IP54

Highlights

Excellent Range Per Dollar
Easy To Ride
Outstanding Ride Quality
Leading Build Quality
Doesn’t Have Zero Start
Long 7 Hour Charging Time
Check price and availability for the NIU KQi2 Pro in your country.

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Summary

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Our Take: The NIU KQi2 Pro has the strong potential to rival Segway-Ninebot. We don’t say that lightly.

Having made over 2-million seated electric scooters, including the ones used by rental companies like Revel, it’s no wonder NIU’s first kick scooters, the KQi3 and KQi2, look and feel like real vehicles and not toys.

As a global heavyweight in light electric vehicles, it’s clear how NIU has been able to produce scooters with quality that’s competitive to top-shelf Segway-Ninebots, but at the price of a GoTrax, and with a warranty that beats them both. We’ll cover NIU’s unusual warranty later. 

Best Alternatives and Competitors

Okai Neon vs NIU KQi2 Pro

Strong hill climber, but 33% longer stopping distance.

Hiboy S2 vs NIU KQi2 Pro

Highest top speed, but worst ride quality due to smaller, solid tires.

Apollo Air vs NIU KQi2 Pro

Smoothest ride due to front suspension, but slow hill climber.

Comparison scooters section  

Model Top Speed** Range** Weight** Price
NIU KQi2 Pro 16.3 mph 15.7 mi 41 lb $599
Hiboy S2 19.0 mph 12.7 mi 32 lb $449
Apollo Air 15.6 mph 13.9 mi 34 lb $699

NIU KQi2 Pro Review

Performance Summary

Acceleration (0 to 15 mph)7.6 seconds
Top speed16.3 mph
Braking distance (15 to 0 mph)14.1 feet
Range15.7 miles
Hill climb20.3 seconds

Acceleration

Acceleration is on par with other scooters in its class, getting from zero to in 7.6 seconds. Even in sport mode, the throttle feels smooth and gradual, so anyone will be able to handle it.

Hill Climb

The KQi2 Pro was an above-average hill climber in our super steep 10% hill-climb test, but really shines when climbing more typical 4 to 6% hills. I was able to maintain 15 mph on the steepest part of our range test course, right up until the last 2 miles. 

Top Speed

NIU-KQi2-Top-Speed-Shot

The ESG-certified top speed of the KQi2 Pro is 16 mph in Sport mode, which is typical for its price class though just short of its claimed 17.4 mph spec. The KQi2 Pro’s 48-volt system definitely has enough power to go faster, so I wouldn’t be surprised if an over-the-air firmware update brings the top speed of our test scooter up to  17.4 mph soon. 

A top speed above 15 mph helps you avoid getting stuck behind bikes in the bike lane, especially going uphill.

If you want to limit the top speed, you can also put it into pedestrian mode, E-Save mode, or Custom mode, which lets you select any speed below the scooter’s maximum, which is still a rare feature in the industry.

Range

On our range test course, the  KQi2 surprised us,  covering 16 miles in top performance mode, beating every comparable scooter on range, and average speed. 

Braking

The NIU KQi2 Pro braking performance stopping from 15 miles per hour in 14.1 ft. It’s strong enough to out brake every scooter in its price class, but with no possibility of going over the handlebars. They’ve done this by using a small 75mm drum brake upfront, which resists skidding, and a strong regenerative brake in the rear. The single brake lever on the left side activates both but does require a firm squeeze to get maximum stopping power.  The rear brake won’t skid under normal conditions but gives you an extraordinary level of braking control if you feel like kicking it out sideways on purpose. 

NIU-KQi2-Front-Regen-Brake

Ride Quality

The KQi2 Pro has the ride quality of a larger, more expensive scooter because NIU has used their extensive design experience to give the KQi2 Pro more of everything that makes a scooter feel stable and wobble-free: taller, wider handlebars, larger diameter tires, and a larger rake angle. All of which adds up to a lower chance of crashing if you take one hand off of the handlebars.

In combination with a rock-solid frame and rear-wheel drive, all of these things make the KQi2 Pro a wobble-free, rattle-free corner-carving monster that makes you just want to keep riding and riding. 

NIU KQi2 Pro Features

Portability

At 40 lbs, with non-folding handlebars, portability is good, and typical for scooters in its class, but certainly not ultra-portable. Still, it’s easy to throw in the trunk, and you won’t have any problem carrying it up three or more flights of stairs.

The stem latch is quick and easy to operate and has such a satisfying feel to it you may end up doing a double take when you encounter a component that feels as good as this it really says something about the quality.

Cockpit

NIU-Kqi2-Display-In-Sunlight

The cockpit of the NIU KQi2 Pro is ultra-sleek and a standout for a scooter at this price point. The dash is bright and easy to read, even in direct sunlight. In this price range and even more expensive scooters, visibility in sunlight is also often overlooked. So it is excellent to see NIU has addressed this.

Pro Tip: If the dash ever seems dim in daylight, turn off the headlight. The dash will get brighter (and the halo, of course, stays on.)

Lights

The headlight with the always-on halo makes the rider more visible, and the fact that it’s adjustable means you can put the light right where you need it.

Tires

The KQi2 Pro doesn’t have suspension, but the 10” diameter pneumatic tires do a great job soaking up bumps in the road. And, because the tires are tubeless, like motorcycle tires, they’re impervious to pinch-flats, eliminating one of the leading causes of flat tires.

PRO TIP: Set tire pressure at the lower limit of the spec rather than the 50 psi maximum. You’ll get a noticeable improvement in ride quality and a barely noticeable reduction of maximum range.

Deck

NIU-KQi2-Deck-Grip-Tape

The scooter is available in gray or white and comes with grip tape installed, which is rare to find on small scooters. We love the grippy feel. We also like that they give you a colorful spare grip tape, plus 4 other styles you can buy on their website. This is the most customization we have ever seen coming right out of the box!

Build Quality

You can feel NIU’s electric motor-scooter roots in their build quality, and that’s an excellent thing. From 2 Million mopeds to scooters, The KQi2 benefits from a company dealing with massive volume shipments. Right off the bat, the packaging is something to reveal at. When you review as many scooters as we do, I was pleasantly surprised to see there was no styrofoam.

The kickstand is easy to kick down and gives the scooter just the right amount of lean.

NIU-KQi2-Deck_With-Kickstand

Water protection is outstanding and makes the IP54 water resistance rating feel conservative. So it didn’t worry me at all to do the entire range test in the rain.

Most of the feature set is pretty standard stuff, but the KQi2 really over-delivers on build quality for the price, and we haven’t even gotten to the unusual warranty yet.

Game-Changing Warranty

On less expensive scooters, it’s not uncommon for the “one-year” warranty to only cover the battery for six months. The KQi2 warranty is an outlier, covering all of the most expensive parts, including the battery, motor controller, and dash, for two years. This points out why you should always read the warranty for any scooter you’re considering, because they’re all a little different. 

For example: The warranty on GOTRAX scooters is only 90 days.

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NIU KQi2 Pro: Review Conclusions

Check price and availability for the NIU KQi2 Pro in your country.

Our content is independent, but buying through our links may earn us a commission.

The NIU KQi2 is an impressive scooter from a company we’re very excited about. We think it’s one of the very best choices for new riders because it’s an easy, fun, and high-quality ride with a price and warranty that seem too good to be true. NIU is one of the top companies we’re watching in the coming years–they’re even a lead contender for rivaling Segway-Ninebot. So is it the best scooter you can buy right now for under six hundred dollars? In a word. Yes.

NIU KQi2 Pro: Technical Specifications

MakeNIU
ModelKQi2 Pro
Weight41 lb
Folded dimensions45 by 21 by 21 in
Motor power, continuous300 W
Top speed17 mph
Range25 mi
Battery capacity365 Wh
Battery recharge time7 hrs
Max rider weight220 lb
Brake typeDrum + Regenerative
Tire type10.0 in Pneumatic (Tubeless) + Pneumatic (Tubeless)
Built-in lightsFront + Rear
Water resistanceIP54

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About the Author

Paul Somerville - head shot

Paul

With a background in applied physics, Paul is ESG’s Hardware Program Manager and a former motorcycle roadracing champion and manager of scooter repair workhouses for Lime and Skip; Paul has spent more of his life riding (and working) on two wheels than four.

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