NIU M-Series: Sport or Pro
Electricity is on the rise, if only to circulate freely in city centers which increasingly prohibit access to thermal energy. The offer is then plethoric, especially when we compare the VAE, especially on prices around 2,000 euros. And in this category, there are small 50cc equivalent scooters benefiting from the latest technologies such as the M-Series from the manufacturer NIU. But what can you really have for only 2,000 euros? a toy ? Test over ten days in order to really be able to experience it on a daily basis.
There are the old electric scooters, those that appeared several years ago among the pioneers with a look often closer to the washing machine than to the urban two-wheeler. And then there’s the NIU MQi-Series with the MQi Sport and Pro. Slender, design, light, the MQi brings together the positive notes to offer a small but elegant two-wheeler well born in the 21st century. We are far from a cheap product but in addition to a well finished product when we get closer to it, since the LEDs and their pretty signature both at the front and at the back. It should also be noted that the particularly wide rear light (visible over 270°) offers excellent rear visibility. The front light is not outdone with useful lighting at night on unlit streets. We appreciate the details from the handlebars to the saddle without forgetting the passenger handles. It should also be noted that there is not really a passenger footrest (optional) even if the latter can in fact wedge his feet towards the central floor. If the MQi is approved for two people, it is still a small size, rather made for one person.
We will not forget a USB socket under the dashboard, as well as an alarm with an original tracker with a signal that passes even locked in a garage (but not underground the garage). Almost naturally, like many two-wheelers, there is a mobile application that allows you to see where your scooter is, but also its charge level, or its maintenance manual.
There is a very small side stand… almost straight, which will require care when parking so that the scooter does not continue on its own. She is very pretty and does the job very well… on flat ground. It does not stop the cant, unlike a non-existent center stand on this model.
Below, there is a trellis frame with well finished and quality plastic parts, thanks in particular to the painting techniques used, including a finishing coat above a layer of color made of micro-levels, itself at the above a coat of primer on a non-recycled ABS plastic.
On the motorization side, NIU uses Bosh and its motor incorporated in the hub of the rear wheel offering a theoretical maximum torque of 110 Nm.
Very far from the dubious origins of certain batteries, NIU called on LG for a 29 Ah Lithium-Ion battery, built in Japan. Each cell of the battery is protected by a “shield” to protect it from other cells and guarantee greater longevity of the overall battery, which contains 150 cells, all enclosed in an aluminum alloy shell. The importance of a battery is based above all on the intelligence that is added to it, making it possible to control its proper functioning and to protect it. That’s what the best builders do. Niu added functions of pre-discharge, cell balancing, over-charge protection, over-discharge protection, over-current prevention, short-circuit prevention, temperature control and wiring protection .
The MQi is offered in two versions, with a sport version offering a maximum motor power of 800W (900W peak with the 26Ah battery) and a Pro version of 1200W (1600W peak with a 32Ah battery).
In the saddle
It is little ! Everything is small and light. The scooter weighs only 60 kilos. The saddle is low (712 mm as on many customs), a teenager can touch the feet on the ground and have the legs bent. Once seated, with an angle of 90%, your knees don’t go up like on some scooters with an ideal and natural riding position. You feel perfectly at ease on board, especially since your hands rest naturally on the handlebars, without going up, with an open angle of 125° bending of the forearm.
A handlebar that reveals a digital counter on a domed shape of the most beautiful effect. Clock, very large number for speed, very readable battery charge indicator, mode indication (1: Eco – 2: Performance). There is even an Eco driving indicator as well as an energy recovery indicator but also cruise control! (on the left next to the horn, the horn screams).
There is even a warning which is never on the cyclos and is far from being present on all 125 cm3. The buttons are rather well positioned and fall under the fingers for instinctive use.
The mirrors look tiny, but they’re well placed and provide good visibility, especially considering their size.
Brake handle then green contact button and we hear nothing of course. We just see a green “Ready” LED light up on the meter. Just turn the handle to start rolling smoothly, like on velvet, without the slightest noise. And it is also with its look and its total absence of noise that we regularly turned heads during this test. “Oh, look, it’s not making any noise!”. And at a red light, the questions flared up just as regularly and all the more so since he dropped off all the cyclos at start-up.
In the city
Because the MQi Series is very effective in town. Naturally, its small size makes it possible to pass through mouseholes between the files, but in addition, the accelerations are much higher than all the cyclos, which it also exceeds in top speed. However, it is well limited to 45 km/h (47 km/h in good conditions) but it reaches them easily, with a maximum rotation of the handle of only 65°, closer to a short pull than those usually encountered. . Easily is the right word compared to the quickly of the NIU NQis. Because 30% cheaper than its big brother, it does not have the same power. Different power at start-up, much softer here, different power to reach 45 km/h, slower and less power to climb steep hills. There, where the N could be at 40 km/h in elevation, we descend more to 32 km/h at equivalent elevation with the M.
However, the MQi is much lighter, much more maneuverable and closer to a bicycle in terms of the lightness of the handlebars. We are also more cramped there despite everything, even if we can manage to wedge a pack of water on the floor; handy for shopping at the nearby supermarket.
The passage from one mode to another, to pass from slow to fast mode, is done here not in the form of a knob, but by pressing a contactor. But if mode 1 does not allow you to exceed 19 km/h (under the right conditions), you might as well say that you will be in mode 2 all the time, unless you want to save battery power. Because, inevitably, by requiring less power, you can drive further and longer.
And if when the battery is fully charged, you can reach 47 km/h easily, the intelligence of the battery then significantly limits the maximum speed below 50% by limiting it to 43 km/h, then to 40 km/h in below 30%, then on the same route. In fact, it becomes hard when the battery goes below 10% where the maximum speed then goes to 17 km/h and there, it’s really not fast and you are then overtaken by certain bikes.
On the side of the details, the turn signals emit a small sound, but above all turn off automatically once the turn is made. Typically, this type of feature only exists on high-end motorcycles.
And finally, if twisting the throttle tires you out, there’s cruise control! Yes, you read correctly ! And indeed, we can thus stall at any speed, the regulator simply deactivating at the first bend or at acceleration.
As much as the NQi had a largely oversized braking (it must be said that the NQi has the same braking in 50 as the 125 version), the braking of the MQi is softer and requires taking the handles well to crush them in order to be effective, while sometimes producing a spongy feeling. There is a disc brake at the front, although the rear is drum. However, it brakes well but without surprise and gently and proves to be up to the power of the scooter. In any case, it’s difficult to block the rear, including in the wet, which is also rather reassuring on a daily basis.
With a 45 mm thick saddle, the MQi offers good seating. If the model does not have the same suspension qualities as its big brother NQi with its single shock absorber, the comfort is sufficient and better than some 125 cm3 scooters, so that you can drive naturally avoiding potholes and bumps. rutted pavements. So, for daily trips, it does it very well.
There are no passenger footrests (available as an option) but there are passenger handles on the other hand. It is therefore possible to put a small template behind. For having done about ten kilometers in duo, the suspensions are more compressed and the comfort a little less than in solo. But above all the top speed is limited, especially when the flat turns into a slight slope. It is homologated in duet, we can do duet, but we will do it in an exceptional way.
NIU announces about fifty kilometers and it is indeed almost the case… if we use the eco mode. In fact, in performance mode, the scooter loses 10% of autonomy every 5 km… which causes the gauge to decrease quite quickly. If you are in performance mode and there are a few hills or mostly false flat, you can even lose 30% range over 12 kilometers. The relief is naturally essential, the same journey in kilometers leading to a difference in energy consumption. Thus, having made the same 12 km trip several times, the outward journey uses 30-32% of the battery when it uses “only” 24% on the return trip, which still makes a nearly 25% difference in consumption. at the same mileage. But if on this same trip, you leave the scooter freewheeling downhill, you can even go down to only 19% battery use. Thus, in performance mode with flowing driving*, I managed to do 36 kilometers in fact… before falling below 10% battery and therefore in eco mode. Smooth driving means decelerating when you see the red, orange or red light in the distance and avoiding braking as much as possible, anticipating as much as possible.
Which means that for use like mine where I do nearly 25 kilometers a day, it is better to recharge every day (distance which drops the battery from 100% to 37% on average, when there is a night between the out and back). And all the more so that below 10% battery, the system protects itself by limiting the power which does not exceed Eco mode and 17 km/h. So we actually use a range of 90% battery and never 100%. As a result, in performance mode, the autonomy is rather 35-38 km, which in a city like Paris and near suburbs is a bit tight.
There is no surprise to find yourself in eco mode, since a red indicator lights up on the dashboard as soon as there is only 15% autonomy left.
Note that we tried the cheapest model at 2,000 euros (1990 euros), with its 26 Ah battery. There is a model above that at 2300 euros with a 32 Ah battery which would offer more than 10 kilometers more range (depending on the terrain, the use and the weight of the driver; but does not take into account captain’s age).
Just like its big brother, the big strong point of the model is based on the extractable battery. And it’s even more obvious for this model, because the battery is not only much lighter but it is placed under the saddle and therefore more easily extractable, with a more natural operation than the superior model.
The external charger at home, we therefore naturally connect the battery, which has five LEDs, allowing to know the level of charge, a complete recharge taking place in five hours. Similarly, if the battery is at 40% charge, it is recharged to 100% in less than 3 hours.
It should be noted that the tracker uses electricity and therefore leads to a natural discharge at night, each time by 5%. Fortunately, it automatically switches to a less consuming mode afterwards; for having left it two days/three nights without using it, it had not lost more than 4% again.
As the battery is under the saddle, we immediately lose place. There is therefore only room to put on a disk drive, or even rain pants.
On the other hand, the key ring integrates the means of turning on the scooter remotely, as one does with a car to find it in a parking lot. Practice.
It is a mobile application identical to that of the big brother, the big advantage of which is to allow the location of the scooter. Useful when you have forgotten the exact street where you parked it, but also if you notice that the scooter is moving and that is not normal. The accuracy of the tracker/gps is quite accurate, although when close to an intersection of streets, it can pass from one moment to another, at two different addresses on each of the respective streets.
A nice look, ease of handling, performance superior to a cyclo, quality components for a longevity that goes beyond the toy stage, the NIU MQi has almost everything to seduce if there was not this limited autonomy which almost obliges to charge it every day in real use in a metropolis like Paris / suburbs while in a city, it will be enough not to have the impression of putting it to charge permanently. However, its performance means that compared to a large model and urban use, travel times are almost identical during peak hours and just 25% longer if not and in the end only a few minutes difference. . And chaining two electrical tests, it made me feel funny not to need to go to the gas pump for several weeks.