I rarely write about products that are still in crowdfunding mode. Hate to be part of the hype. It’s just not me. I’d much rather tell readers about products that are already out on the market and being actively delivered to paying customers. But I’m making an exception here, because this product has promise and potential. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun. That said, buyer beware: Do not contribute to the crowdfunding page. Just wait until the product hits the market.
It’s the KQI3 electric kick scooter from a brand called NIU. Maybe it wasn’t the company’s intention, but I feel duped. NIU folks made a big splash earlier this year, debuting the scooter on a stage with runways and models via YouTube. Anyone watching was led to believe this was a product being sold on the market. They asked if I wanted to try it, and I gladly accepted. It looked awesome.
And it showed up at my door rather quickly in what looked like a nice, finished box. It was easy and fast to set up. Only problem is once I prepped it, it wouldn’t go faster than about 8 miles per hour. I did plenty of research online, but could not find a solution. So I contacted the company. Long story short, the people there knew all about the issue — apparently other media reviewers were having a similar experience — and about a month later, they issued a fix. Give the company reps credit, they were very communicative and up front from that point on. The bad news was the fix itself: Users had to watch the app’s training video and then ride the scooter at low speed for about 1.2 miles before it unlocked the speed cap.
Now the scooter works flawlessly, topping out at 20 miles per hour. Through the app, you can keep track of all of your rides — both where you traveled, how fast you averaged, how far you went, and more. The ride is extremely smooth, and the machine has a plenty of power and torque. That is, it handles steep hills as if they’re perfectly flat. Plus, acceleration is smooth yet fast. I’ve really appreciated that might while I’m making my 1.5-mile Starbucks runs each way. I also love that you’re supposed to get roughly 30 miles per battery charge on this unit. While I haven’t personally tested that, I know I’ve gone at least 20 miles on my most recent charge and there is battery life to spare. Bottom line: It’s a workhorse. Perhaps best of all, it’s selling for $600 to start — quite a bargain compared to many similarly spec’d e-scooters.
Officials tell me they’ve addressed 10 common issues that other media have encountered — such as trouble folding up the unit for storage — but I’ve honestly had no other issues except I’ve had to pump up the front tire a couple of times. While every other e-scooter I’ve tried has come with non-inflatable tires, this one doesn’t but it isn’t a huge deal. Regardless, it looks and performs well, has high-quality construction, a wide foot base, powerful always-on halo headlight that looks extremely cool, regenerative braking, and handles well around corners. There’s even an old-fashioned bell on the handlebar. I’ve had a lot of neighbors ask to take it for a spin. Everyone’s come back with a smile on their face.
Overall, it seems like a solid scooter. But I can’t recommend anyone putting money down on it until it’s already on the market. That just seems dicey to me, as I’ve seen some of my friends lose their deposit on other brands’ e-scooters in the past that never seemed to make it to production. And the company vows to make some changes before the final product is released. In this case, your patience may well be rewarded. So just sit back and wait until the KQI3 is officially being delivered to customers.