Home Electronics & Tech NIU KQi3 Sport Electric Kick Scooter – Review

NIU KQi3 Sport Electric Kick Scooter – Review

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A young man riding an electric kick scooter on Strand promenade, South Africa

Can the NIU KQi3 Sport electric kick scooter perform some of the tasks usually left to cars and motorcycles? Michael MacIntyre tested it to answer these questions.

I’m a married father of two boys under five and follow a typical working lifestyle, which includes a short daily commute. I was keen to find out if the NIU KQi3 Sport could at times serve as a workable alternative to my thirsty Subaru, while evoking some joy in the process.

While testing the NIU, I also had access to the very similar Segway-Ninebot F40E, which helped me to explore the world of e-scooterdom. It also allowed me to compare the two, even though the Segway-Ninebot, at R14 490, is R1 500 more expensive.

Key product features of the NIU KQi3 Sport

  • Top speed: 25 km/h
  • Max range per charge: 40 km
  • Battery charge time: Up to 5.5 hours
  • Price: R12 990

Who is it for?

Like most forms of personal transport, the electric kick scooter can be had merely for fun, or it can fill more essential roles. One of these is to provide transport to and from school for children who live in housing estates, where there’s a school within the estates’ borders. An e-kick scooter can also get a factory manager around the facility he runs, or it could help a guard to quickly and stealthily reach a security breach.

NIU recommends the KQi3 Sport for individuals 14 years old and up, but the manufacturer is probably being overly cautious. I see no reason why an 11-year-olds can’t operate the KQi3 Sport, unless they’re very short for their age.

As mentioned above, I want to give my turbocharged Subaru more rest days, to reduce my fuel spend, and also have a bit of fun.

Setting up the NIU KQi3 Sport

The box contains the scooter along with its charger, the information booklet, instructions, and basic tools required for putting it together.

You need to do a basic assembly by fitting the handlebar to the scooter’s main body.

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Charging and transport

You can also download an app to record ride time, distance, and power usage, and to enable GPS tracking. While setting up the app, begin charging the scooter by plugging the charger into a normal wall socket and connecting it to the scooter. Charging from flat to full takes about 5.5 hours.

As with the Segway Ninebot F40E, the handlebar folds down to rest on the rear wheel fender, where it clips securely. This way it can be carried by using the steering column as a handle. At 18.5 kg, it will be hard for children to carry the KQi3 Sport, so don’t count on them being able to do it. Also be careful of hurting your lower back when you load it into a car, where it takes up a substantial amount of boot space.

Using the NIU KQi3 Sport

Operating the NIU KQi3 Sport is simple. Switch it on with a button on the centre of the handlebar, and give yourself a push with one foot while opening the ‘throttle’ with your right-hand thumb.

When riding, the scooter feels nice and sturdy thanks to its solid build and the high quality of the materials used. However, like the Segway-Ninebot, it struggles to keep going on steeper inclines, leaving the rider wishing for more power. The NIU KQi3 Sport won’t be your friend in hilly neighbourhoods, but helping it along with your foot is simple and easy.

Brakes, tyres, lights

On the right-hand side of the handlebar you’ll find a typical bicycle-style brake lever. In the centre of the bar a screen indicates charge level and speed, the latter limited to 25 km/h. NIU has equipped the KQi3 Sport with a punchy LED headlight, a rear light, and a brake light for safety and visibility day or night.

The tyres seem tough enough to withstand attacks from thumb tacks and short nails. Only a considerable piece of glass or hefty nail would cause a puncture. Generous ground clearance helps to keep the front and rear ends out of harm’s way and makes it easier to deal with changes in road surface height.

What we like about the NIU KQi3 Sport

Most people have heard of Segway, whereas NIU is likely to be less familiar, especially to those who haven’t thought of owning an e-kick until recently. Considering the fact that NIU was only established in 2014, the quality of the scooter is even more impressive. The KQi3 Sport is one of those rare products impossible to fault. It will be hard to find a better e-kick at the price.

Where NIU could improve the KQi3 Sport

More power is always welcome, but it wouldn’t be fair to call the KQi3 Sport underpowered, given its low price and overall excellent. If I had money to burn, I would easily fork out an additional R2 000 to get the more powerful KQi3 Pro with an output of 350 W (against the Sport’s 300 W). But even then some inclines would still demand the occasional kick from the rider.

Conclusion and score

When transporting a triple-tier rainbow cake to your daughter’s birthday party, this is not the ideal mode of transport. If you do, however, live in a safe area, not too far from your place of work, the NIU KQi3 Sport is the perfect commuter and a daily dose of fun. The only thing you might need to figure out is how to hold your umbrella when it rains, or how to use said umbrella to sail uphill.

The NIU KQi3 Sport scores 5 out of 5.

5.0 out of 5.0 stars

Also read our review of the Segway-Ninebot F40E.

Specifications

  • Top speed: 25 km/h
  • Max range per charge: 40 km
  • Battery charge time: 5.5 hours
  • Battery capacity: 365 Wh
  • Rated power: 300 W
  • App connectivity: Via Bluetooth
  • Lights: Front LED, brake and rear lights
  • Max climb gradient: 15 degrees
  • Brakes: Front disc brake + EBS (electronic brake system)
  • Wheels: Tubeless pneumatic tyres
  • Safety: Front, side and rear E-MARK reflectors
  • Weight: 18.5 kg
  • Maximum rider weight: 100 kg
  • Minimum rider age: 14 years
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