Check out our review of the NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter to see what blew our minds and what we think could have been better.
NIU KQi3 MAX
Is NIU still the new kid on the block? They just released their 4th kick-scooter–and at this rate, their journey to becoming kick-scooter veterans won’t be a long one.
NIU is an up-and-coming Segway rival that makes everything from kick scooters to e-bikes, moped-style scooters, and even motorcycles! With more than 3 million electric vehicles already on the road, they are a brand to watch!
We’d hinted that NIU had something exciting in the works for “heavy duty users,” and now it’s here! The NIU KQi3 Max.
Tested top speed: 22.0 mph*
Tested range: 23.3 mi*
Weight: 47.0 lbs*
Max rider weight: 265 lbs
Water resistance: IP54
|Outstanding Range Per Dollar (Especially If You Keep Speed Down)|
|Very Good Hill Climber|
|Best Braking in its Class by Far|
|Self Healing Tires!|
|A Larger Battery Means it Takes Longer to Charge|
|At Full Tire Pressure the Ride is a Little Firm|
|Electric Brake is a Little Bit Intrusive|
|No Zero Start Function in the App Something they do for Safety|
NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter Summary
Normally, the “MAX” version of a scooter means you get the same exact scooter with a bigger battery; more range, and that’s about it. In this case, you get both of those, but you also get a kick in the pants because this scooter is way quicker than it looks and has better brakes. Needless to say, we were Max-ed out with excitement when we got our hands on the new KQi3 Max Electric Scooter from NIU.
The KQi3 is a line of electric scooters that are perfect for last mile commutes, short trips or running errands e.g grocery shopping. The line has three models: the KQi3 Sport, the KQi3 Pro, and the KQi3 Max. The KQi3 Sport is the base model, and it’s a great option for anyone(Mostly novice riders) who want a reliable scooter that’s easy to use. The Max, with a top speed of 22.0 mph and a range of 23.3 miles, is their top-of-the-line model and has more rated power and features than any of the other scooters in the line. The Pro is somewhere in between the two, and it’s a great option for anyone who wants a bit more motor power, range, speed, and braking power than the sports version.
Something that’s easy to overlook is: this is a 48-volt scooter, while other similarly priced scooters like the Ninebot, Okai, Apollo and everyone else are at 36V. This is important because it means the scooter won’t slow down less toward the end of the battery. We also love the higher than usual rider weight limit for this class of scooters at a whopping 265 lbs. And as always: the two-year warranty is a big deal and a rare feature for a kick-scooter.
The KQi3 Max electric scooter is a great option for anyone looking for a portable yet powerful scooter. With a bigger battery than the Pro version, the Max offers more range,great safety measures and power, making it a great choice for those who need a little extra oomph. The folding mechanism is easy to use, and the scooter’s overall weight is just 47 lbs, making it easy to transport.
Key Differences between the KQi3 Pro And KQi3 Max
Here are some key differences that set the Max apart from the Pro.
- Both have a top speed of 20.0 mph, but the Max top speed can be unlocked to 22.0 mph for an extra power boost.
- KQi3 Max electric scooters are equipped with a 608.4 Wh battery, which is significantly larger than the 486Wh battery found in the KQi3 Pro model. This directly impacts range, with the Max boasting a 2-mile advantage.
- The Max also has an upgraded motor 450W (Peak 900W) from the Pro’s 350W(700W Max). What does this mean for you? The Max has more power and can climb hills more easily than the Pro.
- There was an increase in weight by around 2.0 lbs from 45.0 lbs to 47.0 lbs. The extra weight is due to the larger battery and motor.
- The Max may be heavier, but its more compact form means it takes up less room than the Pro. Its dimensions have shrunk from 46.0 inches x 21.3 inches x 47.3 inches to 45.3 inches x 21.8 inches x 47.3 inches unfolded.
Overall, the KQi3 Max is a slightly better-performing electric scooter than the KQi3 Pro and may be worth the extra investment.
Our Take: Max Performance and Thrill That Doesn’t Max Your Credit Card
NIU KQi3 MAX Alternatives and Competitors
Segway Ninebot Max Vs.NIU KQi3 MAX
4 lbs lighter, cheaper, and has a higher water resistance rating, but much lower top speed and acceleration, longer braking distance, lower range, and rider weight limit.
Apollo Air 2022 Vs.NIU KQi3 MAX
Smooth ride quality, lighter, and includes zero start, but costs more, slower hill climber, lower top speed, slower acceleration, lower range, and doesn’t have tubeless pneumatic tires.
ANYHILL UM-2 Vs.NIU KQi3 MAX
Swappable battery for extended range ,cheaper, higher rider weight capacity at the expense of slower acceleration, lower Max Speed, and a difficult-to-read display in direct sunlight.
|ANYHILL UM-2||17.9 mph||17.0 mi||45.0 lbs||$899|
|Segway Ninebot Max||18.4 mph||21.6 mi||43.1 lbs||$899|
|NIU KQi3 MAX||22.0 mph||23.3 mi||47.0 lbs||$949|
|Apollo Air 2022||19.9 mph||19.5 mi||38.8 lbs||$999|
Is It Good for Bigger, Heavier Riders?
It definitely is!
The frame is strong and sturdy enough to hold a heavier rider capacity of 265 lbs, which is pretty accommodating. Plus, the wide handlebars make it easy for larger riders to grip onto and maneuver.
The height of the handlebars is ideal for most riders, though those over 6 feet tall may have to slouch a little.
The deck is spacious enough for a variety of foot sizes, adding to the deck’s already high level of comfort.
Most significantly, though, the 900W of rated power is more than adequate to support the rider’s weight while still delivering average performance and excitement.
NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter Review
|Acceleration (0 to 15 mph)||4.6 seconds|
|Acceleration (0 to 20 mph)||7.7 seconds|
|Top speed||22.0 mph|
|Braking distance (15 to 0 mph)||9.3 feet|
|Hill climb||14.4 seconds|
The KQi3 MAX is a quick scooter, able to go from 0 to 15 mph in 4.6 seconds. This makes it one of fastest scooters in its class, outpacing the Ninebot max (6s), the Anyhill UM-2 (5.9s), the NIU KQi3 Pro (5.2s), and the Apollo Air 2022 (5.6s).
There is a catch, though. Acceleration can feel slightly abrupt at lower speeds in Sport Mode, so you’ll need good throttle control or use ECO mode for low-speed maneuvering.
Experienced riders should have no problems getting used to the sporty throttle, which is one reason why the KQi3 MAX feels like a scooter you can grow into.
However, we do sort of miss that there isn’t a mode between ECO and Sport in terms of acceleration. You can use Custom mode to set top speed to any speed you want, including going faster than you can in Sport Mode. But slower acceleration is only available in walk mode or ECO mode, which maxes out at 9 mph.
Top speed is kind of amazing for a scooter of this form factor. The KQi3 MAX hits an ESG-certified 22.0 mph (23.0 mph indicated on the speedometer), which is unlocked by using the “Custom” mode in the app. This is a significant increase over the average top speed of 18.0 mph–20.0 mph for most scooters on the market. The MAX’s extra 2.0 mph makes it feel more responsive and quicker and is great speed for riding next to, and occasionally in city traffic.
Riders also get to choose from three gear modes of acceleration, each with its own top speed. In E-SAVE mode, the scooter is limited to 9.0 mph, making it ideal for beginners or those who want to extend the battery life. Sport mode gives the scooter a more powerful throttle response and allows it to reach its top speed of 20.0 mph. And in Custom mode, riders can set their own top speed, up to 22.0 mph.
It is important to note that Your scooter will be in “New User Mode” when you first take it out of the box, meaning that the maximum speed for the first mile will be limited to 9.0 mph for the first mile you go, giving you plenty of time to get used to your new toy in a safe environment.
The KQi3 MAX can quickly and efficiently climb hills, thanks to its rear-wheel drive motor that produces 900W of power. The scooter made it up our 10% grade test hill in 14.4 seconds at an average speed of 9.4 mph, outperforming its competitors and predecessors. The KQi3 Pro, for example, took 16 seconds to make it up the same hill at an average speed of just 8.5 mph. And the Segway Ninebot Max took 17 seconds with an average speed of 8.0 mph.
Battery and Range
When it comes to electric scooters, one of the most important features is range. After all, what good is a scooter if it can’t take you where you need to go? The KQi3 Max has a 608-watt-hour battery, which gives it a decent range of up to 23.3 miles. That’s plenty of juice for even the longest commutes. Even at top speed, you’ll still be able to enjoy a lengthy ride. And if you switch to Sport or ECO mode, you’ll be able to extend your range even further.
Obviously, the range will depend on a number of factors, including how much you weigh, terrain, and how fast you go. However, our tests are performed under the same standard conditions, using a 165 lb rider over the same flat city terrain at the maximum speed setting. As a result, our range test provides an excellent baseline for comparison of how different scooters perform.
The accompanying app also has a handy feature that lets you track the battery’s health. So you will always have all the information you need about your battery, including charging cycles, temperature, and other stats.
When traveling at high speeds, you need brakes you can count on, and the KQi3 Pro has a triple braking system. The dual disc brake system(front and rear) is augmented by regenerative braking, which means that this scooter can stop on a dime. Literally. From 15 mph, it can come to a complete stop in just 9.3 feet. That’s the length of 2.5 scooters!
The best mechanical brake calipers we’ve ever seen happen to be on the KQi3 Pro. But the ones on the MAX are even better, and so is the braking distance. Even if you spend twice as much, you won’t find a scooter that out-brakes the KQi3 MAX. The KQi3 Pro and MAX are also the only scooters we’ve seen for less than$1,000 that come with dual disc brakes front and rear. Aside from the dual mechanical disc brakes, they also have strong braking power because their unusual brake callipers grab the disc from both sides…and the MAX’s calipers are even better than the ones on the Pro, stopping it at a shorter distance.
The NIU scooters also have variable regenerative braking built in. So if you grab the front brake, you still automatically get regenerative braking at the rear wheel. Unlike most regen brakes that are either all the way on or all the way off, the harder you pull the lever on a NIU scooter, the more regen brake you get. It works so well, you don’t need to use the left lever at all, but it’s nice to have if you need it. Plus, you can also adjust the scooter’s regenerative braking strength via the accompanying app. All of this makes for a pretty strong braking power that should give riders some peace of mind.
In order to get going on the KQi3 Max electric scooter, you must go through a bit of a start-up process. First, you have to register the scooter through the accompanying app. Then, you should view a basic tutorial that emphasizes the safety procedures when using the scooter. Not only that, but you can’t switch riding modes for about half a mile, during which the scooter will only go 6 mph. Even though it’s annoying, it’s necessary for riders’ safety and their protection from legal action. This is a simple process that only takes a few minutes.
The KQi3 Max does not come with suspension. The lack of a dedicated suspension system means that large road imperfections can be felt, but the 9.5-inch pneumatic tires do a decent job of absorbing the small bumps and vibrations. We, however, prefer the 10.0-inch pneumatic tires on the KQi Pro 2, which offer a much smoother ride.
Also, keep in mind that tire pressure affects ride quality, so be sure to check the pressure before heading out for a spin. At full pressure (50 PSI), the ride can feel a little stiff and border on jittery, but lowering the pressure to 45 PSI results in a much smoother ride. Just be careful not to go too low; pressures below the recommended minimum may void the tire’s warranty.
You can play around with different tire pressure settings to change the comfort of the scooter and the range. You can tune for range by airing them up or tune for comfort by setting them lower, and because they are tubeless, you’re still protected from pinch flats, even at lower pressures. This shows the great practicality of tubeless tires; you can adjust them to find the perfect balance of performance and comfort for your needs.
The KQi3 Max also has some pretty sweet handlebars. They’re wider than most other scooters at 21.3 inches, which is perfect for taller riders. It allows for wider hand placement, ensuring effortless steering and great ride comfort. The 39.0-inch handlebar height may be lower than some riders would prefer, but it’s still within the range of most users.
The Max’s deck is extra wide, giving you more room to keep your feet planted firmly while you ride. With a width of 6.5 inches, the deck provides plenty of space for your feet, and the 3.2-inch deck clearance ensures a steady ride while still offering enough ground clearance to go over small curbs. The battery is also placed under the deck, which helps to keep the weight distribution low and makes the scooter more stable and easier to control
The LCD screen is small but surprisingly readable, even in direct sunlight. And all the controls are intuitively laid out and within easy reach. The rubber grips on the handlebars feel good in your hands too. They’re made of a soft, flexible rubber that feels grippy and great to the touch; They also help to absorb vibrations from the road. As a result, they make for a much smoother ride.
The scooter also features cruise control, which activates after riding at a specific speed for a period of time. This allows the user to take their hand from the throttle and enjoy a more relaxed ride.
The KQi3 Max scooter, however, has some negligible drawbacks in the ride quality department. First, the kick-to-start feature is a bit tricky to get used to and requires perfect timing to get the scooter going. You have to kick first to attain a speed of around 3 mph before pressing on the throttle to activate the scooter. Throttling it first and then kicking it after doesn’t work. However, NIU reports that it will include a new zero start function on the app, which we think will be an excellent addition.
Another thing we would change is the automatic regen brake. The automatic regenerative braking feature is a great idea in theory, but in practice can be a bit disruptive to the riding experience. When you get the scooter, this feature is turned on and automatically applies regen brake whenever you let off the throttle. This makes it possible to ride the KQi3 MAX without using the brakes at all, though it may feel intrusive for some riders. It’s adjustable, but it’s still active even at the lowest setting. We would prefer if there was an option to turn it off completely.
Overall, the KQi3 Max electric scooter is a decent option for city commuting, provided you stick to paved city tracks,and avoid any major road hazards. The ride quality is satisfactory but not amazing, and the air-filled tires help to absorb some of the bumps in the road. The Apollo Air really takes the cake when it comes to ride quality, especially on bad pavement (and let’s face it, who has good pavement these days?). The air-filled tires, in combination with awesome suspension, make for a much smoother ride.
NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter Features
The KQi3 Max is a great scooter for those who are looking for portability without sacrificing power or range. The scooter folds up small enough to fit in most trunks (45.3 inches x 21.8 inches x 20.5 inches). And at only 47.0 lbs, it is still light enough to be carried easily over a short distance.
The KQi3 Max is only 2 pounds heavier than the KQi3 Pro version, despite having a battery that is 25% bigger. However, this weight addition is welcomed, considering the range and power addition that comes with the bigger battery, as well as the improved build quality of the scooter.
The folding mechanism feels awesome and is also among the easiest to operate. To fold the scooter, you simply open the folding wrench and drop the stem hook into the folding buckle on the deck near the mudguard.
To unlatch, you press the buckle button on the mudguard to release the stem hook.
The KQi3 Max electric scooter boasts a simple and striking cockpit design. All of the controls are neatly arranged within easy reach on the wide handlebar. The middle of the handlebar features a bright display that is easy to read in both direct sunlight and low light.
The display shows riding statistics like your current speed, battery life, fault codes, riding modes, and whether the lights are on or off. Using the button underneath the screen, you can change the riding modes or turn the lights on or off. You have both of your brakes on each side, as well as a built in bell to the left and a thumb throttle to the right.
Even better, the scooter has a well-developed accompanying app that allows you to connect it to the scooter via Bluetooth Connectivity OTA (over the air). The NIU app has a clean UI with solid features like the smart unlock that allows you to lock and unlock the scooter, check rider statistics, see the battery level, get a detailed summary of the battery health and track your rides. You can also turn on cruise control mode and change energy recovery settings for the regenerative braking via the app.
The KQi3 Max electric scooter is certainly well-lit, which is important for both seeing and being seen at night. It comes equipped with a bright front headlight, a Halo daytime running light, and a large, bright rear light that also doubles as a brake light. In addition, there are several reflective strips on the sides of the scooter, so you’ll be visible from all angles in low light conditions.
The front headlight can be adjusted, providing excellent visibility for a distance of up to 65 feet, making it one of the most effective illumination solutions available on the scooter market. The iconic halo headlight on NIU vehicles is constantly on, whether the headlights are on or off; this is both a safety feature and an aesthetic bonus.There is also a cut-off at the top to help you avoid blinding other riders.
And compared to the KQi3 Pro, the rear light is now bigger and brighter, making you more visible to other motorists on the road.
The KQi3 Max Electric Scooter comes equipped with 9.5-inch x 2.5-inch tubeless pneumatics tires from CST, and we have to say, they’re looking pretty good. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen CST tires on a high-quality brand – they’re also used on the Wolf king GT, and we know that they’re built to last and offer great grip.
The Max is also the first scooter from NIU to be equipped with self-healing tires, which automatically seal when punctured. In other words, no more flat tires! We think this is a pretty neat feature, especially for those of us who are less than mechanically inclined.
The tires do a great job of absorbing road shocks in the absence of suspension, but the ride can feel a little stiffer than on the KQi Pro 2, which rocks 10.0-inch tires. We wish NIU could have maintained the same set of tires on the KQi3 Max.This stiff ride experience can, however, be remedied by letting some air out of those bad boys and reducing the tire PSI to 45.
The KQi3 Max electric scooter has a lot of deck real estate. With measurements of 20 inches by 6.5 inches, the deck is sufficiently wide for you to place your feet side by side or one in front of the other if you like. The whole deck is covered in rubber, which is easy to clean and offers sufficient grip.
The U-shaped wide deck is rubberized from the front all the way up to the back, which gives you plenty of standing space and flexibility for foot movement. The decks have a slight rise at each end, which not only looks good but also keeps the rider’s feet from slamming into the back fender. This is especially true for riders who love resting one of their legs at an angle or one in front of the other.
All in all, the deck size, material, and feel are top-notch and contribute to a great riding experience.
The folks at NIU certainly know how to turn heads with their design language. The KQi3 MAX is a great example of this, with its unique space gray color scheme and striking red highlights. We think that the overall look is fantastic, and it really makes this scooter stand out from the crowd. When it comes to build quality, the KQi3 MAX is just as impressive as we’ve come to expect from NIU. Everything feels nice and solid, and the attention to detail is excellent.
The KQi3 MAX is one tough cookie.The frame and deck are made from aerospace grade aluminium, which offers both high structural strength and durability. The plastic and rubber used on other parts are also of a high quality, resulting in a scooter that feels tight and well put together, with no rattles, no squeaks, no wobbles to be found. And as a testament to their high quality, most of the components are backed up by an unusually long 2-year warranty.
The KQi3 Max Electric Scooter has great cable management. The scooter’s cables are neatly tucked away in a protective sleeve, facilitating transport and minimizing the risk of tangles.
The attention to detail and good build extends to the rest of the scooter as well, in particular, the folding mechanism, which is impressively robust and easy to use. The stem can be quickly folded down, and the scooter can be unfolded just as easily. The folding mechanism is impressively sturdy, and there is no fear that the stem latch will collapse mid-ride.
It’s also worth mentioning that the scooter comes with a built-in kickstand. The kickstand is pretty robust and doesn’t lean too much on the weight of the scooter, making it easier and safer(with minimal instances of tipping over) to park the scooter when not in use.
The KQi3 MAX electric scooter also got some few sweet upgrades when it comes to its build quality.First, the KQi3 MAX has a bigger and brighter tail-light than the KQi3 Pro, making it easier for riders to be seen at night or in low-light conditions. Additionally, the rear fender on the KQi3 MAX is different from the one on the KQi3 Pro, providing even better protection against water and dirt. And to top it off, the components on the KQi3 MAX are IP54 rated.
When it comes to safety, the folks at NIU definitely know what they are doing. With over three million electric scooters sold, they have a lot of experience in building safe and reliable vehicles. The KQi3 Max is no exception, boasting a strong frame that can withstand frequent use, the best braking system in its class that can stop on a dime, and a fantastic lighting system highlighted by an always-on iconic halo headlight that increases visibility.
In addition, the built in bell is a nice touch that will let everyone know you’re coming. And the best part is that the KQi3 Max is IP54 rated, meaning it can withstand the elements, making it perfect for those who like to ride rain or shine.
At ESG, we’ve tested our fair share of electric scooters from different brands, and we can tell you from experience that NIU has some of the best build quality and components we’ve seen. But NIU doesn’t just build durable scooters; they also back them up with an outstanding warranty.
The KQi3 Max comes with a 2-year transferable warranty OR 10000km on the main body (battery, charger, motor, dashboard harness, and controller), which is pretty impressive considering most other brands only offer a 1-year warranty at this price range.
Accessories like the thumb throttle, brake lever, and disc get 6 months warranty, while consumable parts like the kickstand and taillight get a 3-month warranty. So it’s safe to say that NIU stands behind their promise that these electric scooters are built to last.
NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter: Review Conclusion
If you haven’t already guessed, we’re big fans of the KQi3 MAX. While it doesn’t have the KQi2 Pro’s exquisite ride quality or the KQi3 Pro’s lower price, it more than makes up for it with a higher top speed, good range, and superior braking, so you’re less likely to outgrow it. And if anything goes wrong during that time, you can rest assured knowing that it’s covered by a two-year warranty that guarantees free repairs and replacements in case of any defects.
So if you’re looking for a high-quality last mile commuter scooter that won’t break the bank, we highly recommend the KQi3 MAX.
NIU KQi3 MAX Electric Scooter Specifications
|Folded dimensions||45 by 22 by 21 in|
|Motor power, continuous||450 W|
|Top speed||20 mph|
|Battery capacity||608 Wh|
|Battery recharge time||8 hrs|
|Max rider weight||270 lb|
|Brake type||Disc + Disc|
|Tire type||9.5 in Pneumatic (Tubeless) + Pneumatic (Tubeless)|
|Built-in lights||Front + Rear|