Segway Ninebot Max Review: The Best, Most Reliable Scooter Under $1000

Ninebot Max electric scooter deck and wheels
Ninebot Max rear wheel, fender, and tail light
Segway Ninebot Max front drum brake and wheel
Ninebot Max electric scooter deck and wheels
Ninebot Max rear wheel, fender, and tail light
Segway Ninebot Max front drum brake and wheel

Segway Ninebot Max

In this Segway Ninebot Max review (2021 update), we performance test one of the most popular scooters on the planet. How does it stack up against the Xiaomi Mi M365? Or against the Max G30LP? Spoiler alert: It’s got more range, more standing room, and a sturdier construction. ‘Nuff said.

Technical Specifications

Tested top speed: 17.8 mph*
Tested range: 28.1 mi*
Weight: 43 lb*
Max rider weight: 220 lb
Water resistance: IPX5

Highlights

Excellent range for its class
Beefy world-class construction
Pre-slimed tubeless pneumatic tires
Does not have zero start
Lacks zippy acceleration
Heavy for its dimensions

* Based on our performance tests which may differ from the manufacturer’s claims.

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

Summary

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Our Take: Built Like a Hammer, the Max Is a Rider Fave for Good Reason

We originally reviewed the Ninebot Max in December 2019, and with this January 2021 update find that it is still a super reliable, beefily constructed, low maintenance machine rivaling the ever-popular king of electric scooters, the Xiaomi Mi M365.

It can go double the distance of the M365 with 28.1 miles of tested real-world range, and it’s slightly faster than electric scooters from the sharing market with a 17.8 mph top speed. With an additional 100 watts more in the rear hub motor than the M365, the Ninebot Max can propel heavier riders up steeper hills at a faster clip.

The Max also has 22% more standing room than the M365, with a larger deck and large, air-filled tires to cushion long trips. It provides so many user-friendly, comfort-inducing features that it’s possible to overlook the Max’s rather average looks. The Max isn’t a thrilling racer scooter in its performance or appearance, but remains a stalwart machine built for reliable commuting.

The Ninebot Max is an excellent scooter for those who love the general design of the Xiaomi M365 but crave a more durable, longer ranged electric scooter.

** Based on our independent testing, which may differ from manufacturer’s claims.

Segway Ninebot Max Review

Performance Summary

Results below are based on our independent performance testing and not data provided by the manufacturer.

Acceleration (0 to 15 mph)5.4 seconds
Top speed17.8 mph
Braking distance (15 to 0 mph)11.3 feet
Range28.1 miles
Hill climb16.0 seconds

During this update, we figured out how to identify the motor in our Ninebot Max as a first generation motor, which affects how it performs overall.

Acceleration

The Max is propelled by a 350 watt motor, with 700 watts of peak power. This is 40% more power than the 250 watt motor from the original M365 and similar scooters in the midrange commuter class.

In our acceleration tests, the Max reached 15 mph in 5.4 seconds, which is faster than the original M365. The Max also has better acceleration than its little brother, the Max G30LP, as well as the Gotrax G4, which has a higher 20.0-mph top speed.

Scooter0 to 15 mph time
Segway Ninebot Max5.4 seconds
Segway Ninebot Max (G30LP)6.6 seconds
Xiaomi Mi M3656.3 seconds
Gotrax G46.3 seconds

As with some other scooters in the budget and midrange classes, the Ninebot Max does not have a zero start mode. Zero start means the motor engages as soon as you activate the throttle.

The Max is a kick-to-start scooter, which means that you must kickstart it to about 2 mph before the throttle will engage the motor. Kick-to-start mode is a common safety feature that you’ll find standard on shared scooters, as it keeps the scooter from running away if you accidentally hit the throttle while powered on but at full stop.

Although kick-to-start is great for beginners, it’s a somewhat annoying feature when trying to power forward to get up to speed from a stoplight or kick your way uphill. If you’ve ridden a zero start scooter, you’ll expect that instant burst of power when pressing the throttle and won’t get it.

Hill Climb

Segway Ninebot Max rear wheel motor and fender

The Ninebot Max completed our hill climb test (200 ft, 10% grade, 165 lb rider) in 16.0 seconds at an average speed of 8.5 mph. The Max climbs about as well as the M365 Pro and is significantly faster than the M365, which maintained an average speed of 8.5 mph.

Because you need to kick the scooter up to speed, it may be a challenge to go uphill quickly without some practice. On a somewhat steep hill, it took us multiple tries before we could create enough speed to engage the throttle. Going uphill might be especially difficult for smaller (shorter) riders, as you’ll have to kick, push, get onto the deck, and press the throttle before you can tell if you’ve gotten it fast enough to power the throttle.

Overall, the Ninebot Max has good hill-climbing ability. We were able to maintain about 7 mph on some impressive hills and were only halted by the steepest ones.

Top Speed

The Ninebot Max has a 17.8 mph tested top speed, which is fast enough for most riders traveling at safe speeds with traffic. Although the Max doesn’t have exceptional top speed, it is still faster than the average shared scooter, which travels at around 15 mph. In the United States, 15 mph is a good average speed for legal travel with other drivers, generally in the bicycle lane — but regulations for electric scooters vary, region by region and state to state.

The Ninebot Max G30LP, has a slightly faster top speed of 18.0 mph, likely due to its second generation motor and possibly its lighter weight (its around 3 lbs lighter and does not have a built-in DC converter).

Range

The Ninebot Max has a whopping manufacturer claimed range of 40 miles. The Max has exceptional range for its class, but that’s a tested 28.1 miles of range, which is not quite what Segway claims (40 miles). The Max’s tested range is still among the best given its price and weight.

In our real-world testing, we simulate real-world conditions with a 165 lb rider, making frequent stops, going uphill, and riding the scooter as fast as is safe in its highest mode until the battery is depleted.

Actual range will depend on the rider’s size and riding style.

Learn more about our rigorous performance tests.

Braking

During our 15 mph braking test, the Ninebot Max performed well, but not as well as its lighter weight brother the Max G30LP in more recent testing. When we re-tested, we found the Ninebot Max has strong braking with a short distance of 11.3 feet. For context, braking distances under 12 ft are excellent.

The Max has one brake lever which controls the front drum brake and rear electronic brake. Together, they provide a redundant braking system should one of the brakes fail. One thing we really like about drum brakes is that they are zero maintenance. The braking mechanism is completed encased within the wheel — protecting it from the environment and incidental damage.

Segway Ninebot Max front drum brake and wheel

Because the brake cable is short and routed relatively straight from the wheel up to the lever, there’s zero drag. Braking feels smooth and doesn’t require much effort on the rider’s part. On the model we received, we adjusted a tensioning screw on the front drum brake to set the brake where we preferred. Overall, the Ninebot Max’s brakes provide abundant stopping power even when braking with maximum force, and have required minimal maintenance over time.

Some riders are concerned with having a drum brake on the front wheel, and whether or not that could cause you to topple over the handlebars when braking. During our testing, this didn’t happen to us — even when braking hard. However, we generally recommend that you crouch and shift your weight toward the rear wheel for more stability when braking in an emergency.

Ride Quality

Despite its lack of suspension, its large 10.0-inch tires and sturdy frame give the Max a better ride than some scooters with dual suspension. On the worst roads, you’ll undoubtedly get a brain massage, but overall the Max handles well over most terrain.

The whole package — with its larger deck, thicker stem, and beefier build — make the Ninebot Max feel like a legitimate commuting machine rather than a toy-level kick scooter. It has a super durable, well-constructed frame but with a slower ride feels like a safe rather than thrilling choice. You won’t crazily carve the roads on the Max. You’ll leisurely put-put among bicyclists and motorist, maintaining a reasonable speed using the comfortable thumb throttle.

However, all those things said — the Max is a well-rounded daily commuter with enough comfort and deck space for going longer distances. When we compare it to the Max G30LP, we felt that the original Max has a more stable ride and for the $100 more is just a better buy given the tested specs and features.

Ninebot Max Features

Portability

Man lifting the Segway Max electric scooter over shoulder

At 42 lbs, the scooter is a bit heavy, although still manageable. Based on our experience, 45 lbs is the absolute highest weight for a scooter to be considered portable. It’s not something we’d want to carry for more than a city block or few flights of stairs. It folds down easily, with the stem latching to the rear fender.

The Ninebot Max has folded dimensions of 46 in long by 19 in wide by 21 in tall. The Max is on the longer, taller side when it comes to scooter dimensions, and it may take some angling to get it into your trunk. We tested it in the trunk of a Honda Accord, which has a large trunk, and it fit pretty easily.

The Max has a folding stem with a latch that holds a lever, keeping the stem upright and making the stem rock solid. It has a safety collar that rotates to lock the folding lever into place. This folding mechanism is ultra solid, and the same mechanism is used on the Max G30LP.

Compared to the Max G30LP, it has 2.5 in shorter handlebars that latch onto the deck that’s 2.5 in shorter, and with the 3.4 lb weight difference, both Maxes are pretty portable.

Cockpit

LED display showing speed, battery left, and handlebars

The Ninebot Max has a great cockpit with a bright LED display that shows all the basic information you need, including speed, battery power, and riding mode. The centered display is bright enough to read in sunlight and automatically dims at night (when front lights are on). A single button below the display controls the lights, mode, and power, but you could also download the mobile app to control these features.

Overall, all the adornments on the handlebars — the easy-to-read display, rubber-covered thumb throttle, brake lever, twist bell, and texturized handgrips appear thoughtfully constructed out of high quality materials.

The bell is loud enough to alert pedestrians but not deter cars. The thumb throttle has a grippy rubber pad on it, maintaining good contact with your “trigger thumb.” The brake lever is solid without any play or excess friction, activating both the electronic and drum brakes together.

Lights

The Ninebot Max has a high-mounted front LED light that’s on the opposite side of the LED display. This is an ideal location for a headlight, providing a wider projection of light for you to see where you’re going. It also has a small rear red LED brake light mounted on the rear fender.

The lights are sufficient for providing some visibility, but if you’re regularly riding at night, see our guide on additional lights to improve visibility.

Tires

Electric scooter 10 inch pneumatic tires

The Ninebot Max has 10.0-inch tubeless pneumatic tires that function well at damping road vibrations.

Segway calls the tires “self-healing,” which means that the air-filled tires come pre-filled with tire slime. Tire slime makes the tires more resistant to flats, and we’e seen more scooters with pre-slimed tires for convenient comfort, especially in the budget and midrange commuter classes.

Manufacturers are trying to give riders a more convenient (read: flat-resistant) experience, providing a cushioned ride on pre-slimed air-filled tires often without adding suspension, resulting in fewer experiences with flats because the slime repairs punctures as they happen.

Deck

The Ninebot Max’s deck is great, with ample standing space and a grippy, raised rubber surface. The deck is 6.8 in wide and 19.8 in long. It’s spacious enough for a variety of comfortable riding positions, and most riders will be able to stand with both feet end to end (skateboard/snowboard style).

The deck has 3.0 in of ground clearance. The deck-to-handlebar height is 40.2 in.

Build Quality

Overall, the Ninebot Max is all about the build, as build quality is excellent. The scooter is a substantial contender in its class, and feels like a serious commuting machine because of its seriously sturdy construction.

It gives the appearance that it has been carved from a single piece of metal, with clean, rounded lines, cohesive design, and rock solid feeling, especially when you can feel secure that the scooter is solidly upright or folded given the zero-wobble safety collar folding mechanism. Everything just feels well made. The Ninebot Max that we’ve had has lasted well over time with minimal cosmetic damage after over a year in our care.

Along with the slip-proof rubberized deck, the Ninebot Max has an IPX5 water resistance rating, meaning that it can tolerate splashes but not full submersion.

We don’t generally recommend riding in the rain, but the Max’s pneumatic tires perform surprisingly well on wet roads. Practically speaking, the Max can be ridden home if you get caught in the rain.

Our Ninebot Max has a first generation motor, which limits its performance against newer models with a second generation motor. Here’s how to identify what generation motor your Max has in it.

How to identify the motor generation

To identify the motor, locate the serial number on the rear hub motor. First generation motors have serial numbers that start with the number 6. Second generation motors have serial numbers that start with the number 9.

Segway Ninebot Max - Generation 1 Motor serial number, close up

Our Ninebot Max has a first generation motor, which automatically reduces the speed of the scooter (limiting its output) when the battery is below 70%. It also has a max top speed of around 18 mph, which correlates with the data from our performance tests. It’s long range is likely due to its limited output, keeping you from going fast but allowing you to take a longer trip.

Second generation motors, which are in newer Maxes and Max G30LPs, do not limit the speed until the battery drops below 10%, which means they can run at full power until the battery is nearly depleted. Second generation motors have a max top speed of around 20 mph, which we didn’t quite get with our Max G30LP, the Ninebot Max’s slightly smaller, shorter range brother.

Although we have not yet tested a Max with a second generation motor, we expect it to get around 20 miles of real-world range.

Segway developed the motors with battery saving technology that limits the scooter’s speed, likely to save the battery’s overall capacity and control overall speed as a safety measure.

As the Ninebot Max rider community has grown, many riders have shared how they’ve hacked their Maxes to enhance performance, including higher top speeds and stronger electronic braking.

Here’s a shop dedicated to upgrades for the Max. If you see anything you like, here’s an exclusive $5 off coupon code (ESG4NORD).

Here’s a video from one of our favorite creators, Adam from Wrong Way, on how to hack a Ninebot Max.

Charging port

Charging port with "mickey mouse" style connector

The Ninebot Max has a built-in DC converter with a standard IEC 320 C5 “Mickey Mouse ears” power connector, which means you can use any cable with this connector to charge your scooter. Additionally, there is a traditional DC port that can be used with the included charger.

This means that you don’t need to carry the heavy charging pack with DC converter around with you, as you can use a relatively cheap and standard power cable for lightweight charging on the go.

This is one of our favorite features of the Max, but it did not make its appearance on the Max G30LP.

Ninebot Max: Review Conclusions

The Ninebot Max sets itself apart from most other scooters with its brand name (e.g., ES1, ES2, ES4, G30LP), providing a truly solid longer ranged scooter for a reasonable price. It has excellent build quality, good hill climbing ability, and rider-friendly big 10.0 inch pneumatic tires that have been pre-slimed for maximum flat resistance (and low maintenance).

When it comes to defining a hardworking machine, the Ninebot Max comes to mind. It has such a durable build that you expect it to give you long lasting, consistent performance, ride to ride, and there are hundreds of riders out there that can confirm or deny that claim.

In our experience, it has done well in both dry and wet conditions, beating its smaller brother and keeping up with others in performance tests. The Max is a consistent, stalwart electric scooter worth its weight in gold (or $USD).

Man crouching with a folded Ninebot Max electric scooter

The Max remains a great choice for riders willing to carry greater weight for a longer-ranged scooter, and is nicely designed for minimal maintenance and longevity. What it does well, it does really, really well. Let’s put it this way: the Max is not about max speed, but about max lifetime, and the Max is not going anywhere.

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

If the Ninebot Max doesn’t appeal to you, look at our alternative scooters. You can also check out our Editor’s pick of best electric scooters.

Segway Ninebot Max Specifications

Note: These specification are provided by the manufacturer and may differ from our real-world testing.

MakeSegway
ModelNinebot Max
Weight42 lb
Folded dimensions46 by 19 by 21 in
Motor power, continuous350 W
Top speed19 mph
Range40 mi
Battery capacity551 Wh
Battery recharge time6 hrs
Max rider weight220 lb
Brake typeDrum + Regenerative
Tire type10.0 in Pneumatic (Tubeless) + Pneumatic (Tubeless)
Built-in lightsFront + Rear
Water resistanceIPX5

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About the Author

Justin

Justin is a cofounder of ESG and has a degree in engineering. He writes about the science and technology of electric scooters.

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