Best NIU KQi3 MAX alternatives

Daniel Foley
Written By: Daniel Foley
Published on: 11/20/2023

NIU KQi3 MAX is the front-runner for a range of three e scooters released in 2022, tagged the "SUV of scooters".

During 2023, KQi3 MAX was quietly grabbing attention as a great, all-round electric scooter for urban commuting. Often rivalling the likes of Segway Ninebot MAX, and echoing fun, stylish, adventure scooter, Unagi Voyager.

"Eliminating the barriers to getting out and about"

Recent upgrades reflect the needs of a new, dynamic urban-commuting wave. Eliminating the barriers to getting out and about. Driving the e scooter revolution, and the rise of an e-smart generation.

It's a growing, like-minded community which recognize sustainable, personal transportation can go hand-in-hand with fast, portable, commuter freedom.

In this article ... we'll take a closer look at the NIU KQi3 MAX, as well as checking out our fave, best alternatives.

Let's step right on it ...

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NIU KQi3 MAX

Performance

MAX: when you see those three letters - you know. From the get-go, you expect to be buying into a performance to leave many other electric scooters behind.

Speed and Range

NUI have given their KQ i3 MAX:

  • 450 watts of motor power - 900 watts peak

That's exactly the same scootering power as the Segway Ninebot MAX. And beats out the 350 watts (700 watts, peak) of their KQi3 PRO scooter.

The added crunch means you have a top speed of 37.9 km/h (23.6 mph) - nudging past 25km/h (15.5 mph) maximum speed of the Ninebot MAX.

Acceleration takes a zippy 4-5 seconds.

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Riding modes

Your first 2 modes, set up for typical, daily urban commuting, are:

  • Pedestrian - 4 km/h (2.4 mph) max
  • Eco-Save - up to 15 km/h (9.3 mph) max

Plus - modes accessed by NIU app only:

  • Sport - in-built MAX speed
  • Custom - set to your own top speed

Cruise control - will kick in automatically, so you don't have keep your hand on the throttle.

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Source: Niu

Hill climbs

Packing 900 watts at peak gives KQi3 the staying power to eat up 25 per cent gradients. And polishing off typical 10-15 degree inclines in around 14-15 seconds. Depending on rider weight, and speed selected.

Components

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Battery charge and Range

KQi3 MAX carries a block-busting 48V 608.4Wh lithium-ion battery - compared to Segway Ninebot Max (551Wh) andKQi3 Pro (486Wh)

You'll definitely notice it's packing more range than your average, mid-range urban e scooter. On a single charge (8 hours) the KQi3 Max battery stores a huge 65kms (40 miles). Ideal for your daily, urban hop across town.

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Source: Niu

Tires and shock absorption

One look at those wider tires says KQi3 is definitely up for giving you a massively smooth ride on sidewalks and concrete. Pumped up like the Segway Ninebot Max and Mercane Widewheel Pro.

KQi3 MAX is fitted with:

  • 9.5in (24.1cm) x 2.5in ( 6.3cm) air-filled, tubeless tires

That's around 30 percent more rubber tire than many other scooters to soak up bumpy paving, cracked tarmac and bone-shaking potholes. Which makes up for a lack of suspension.

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Self healing tire gel

Both tires have temporary puncture proofing. Instead of an inner tube, the inside surface of a pneumatic (air filled) tire is pre slimed with a sealing gel. If the tire tread or wall is penetrated, the cut or tear will be filled by the gel to prevent a flat. It allows you to continue riding without the hassle of changing the tire on the pavement.

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Source: Niu

Brakes

Most electric scooters tend to have a dual braking system fitted. The KQi-3 comes with a big safety plus:

A triple braking system - AND variable regenerative braking:

  • Front and Rear - mechanical disc brake
  • Rear - electric brake

The very noticeable, bright red callipers clamp solidly onto the brake disc from both sides. Braking at 25 km/h (15 mph) can bring you to a dead stop between 9 and 10 feet.

"Variable" regenerative braking

This means the more pressure you apply to the lever - the extra stored energy is automatically applied to both front and rear brake.

Compared to 'standard' regenerative braking which is either "full on" or "full off".

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Source: Niu

Lights

Whether you're riding at night or in bad weather, visibility is essential at all times.

NIU have installed:

  • Added "Halo" effect headlight (visible up to 19.8 meters | 65 feet)- just underneath the handlebars.

The halo beam is constantly on during daylight, separate from normal headlight control. A real help for those long winter months, too.

  • Large, red wedge-shape tail & brake light - on the rear fender.

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Source: Niu

Handlebar control

Cockpit control is simplicity itself. Brake levers are left and right of handlebar while thumb throttle is right hand side. A sharp, bright LED display sits in the middle of the handlebars, giving readouts of:

  • Current speed
  • Battery charge remaining
  • Riding modes
  • Lights on or off

NIU app - gives you access to actions such as:

  • Scooter lock and unlocking
  • Ride tracking
  • Battery level
  • Cruise control

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Build quality and load capacity

Frame

KQi3 MAX is made from 'aerospace grade' aluminum. A level of structural strength and durability to withstand frequent use. And a water resistance rated at IP54 (protected from dust and water splashes from any direction) Max. rider weight is 120 kgs (265 lbs).

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Source: Niu

Deck

Measuring 17cm (6.7in) × 56.8 cm (22.4in), NUI have installed an extra wide deck to give riders more standing space for the daily commute and longer rides.

Clearance under deck is 7.6cm (2.9in).

It's solid-looking yet elegantly-shaped contours are covered in a wide pattern, firm-grip rubber, from raised deck front to rear foot rest.

Portability

The larger motor and battery means KQi3 MAX weighs in at 21 kgs (46.3 lbs), which some riders might find less easy to carry, say, up an escalator or steep stairs.

A "one touch" folding mechanism reduces the KQ13 MAX to a compact, hassle-free carry.

  • Unfolded: 115.5 cm (45.5in) x 117.0 cm(46.1 in) x 54.1cm (21.3in)
  • Folded: 115.5 cm (45.5in) x 117.0 cm(46.1 in) x 50.2cm (19.8in)

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Source: Voro Motors

Emove Touring

From the same range, which includes Cruiser S and Roadrunner, Emove Touring is considered one of the best electric scooters in urban commuting. Made by Singapore electric scooter brand, Voro Motors, who also produce the Kaabo and Dualtron scooters, such as the legendary Wolf King and Thunder.

Performance

Speed and acceleration

Emove Touring features a 500 watt motor - rear-wheel mounted for that extra traction. Which pumps out a top speed of 40.2 km/h (25 mph). Plus, 3 standard speed modes to choose for different riding conditions.

Despite packing a slightly more powerful motor than the NUI KQi3 MAX (450 watt) the Emove accelerates to 24.1 km/h (0-15 mph) in around the same 4 to 5 seconds.

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Hill climbs

How your electric scooter tackles a hill climb on your daily commute can affect your journey time. Voro say their Emove Cruiser can handle 15 degree gradients. As well as the more typical 10 degree inclines an e scooter will face on the urban commute.

Components

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Source: Voro Motors

Battery charge and Range

Emove Touring also pips the KQi3 with a 48V 13Ah LG battery, giving 624Wh (compared to 608.4Wh).

On a 3 - 4 hour charging time (50 percent less than KQi3) the Touring offers a maximum range of 51.4 km (32 miles) with an average range of some 32 kms (20 miles). You do need to remember battery effectiveness and range tend to be modified by riding conditions and rider weight.

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Tires

Many electric scooters will either have a pair of pneumatic (airless tires) or solid tires. Alternatively, a hybrid type - a pair of honeycomb tires as seen on Unagi Voyager and Model One.

Emove Tourer is different. It has a pair of 8in diameter wheels:

  • Front wheel is airless
  • Rear wheel is solid rubber - and slightly wider for added surface grip and traction.

It's a combo intended to avoid flats that can occur more often to a rear wheel.

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Source: Voro Motors

Shock absorbers

Another unique feature of Tourer is the triple suspension system, consisting of:

  • Spring-loaded support at base of the stem
  • Two springs, bracket-mounted beneath the stem, either side of the front wheel
  • Spring-loaded rear wheel

It's a triple brake combo that offers urban riders an added layer of firm but smooth commuting.

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Brakes

Tourer is fitted with a single braking system:

  • Rear wheel drum

- and -

  • Electronic 'regenerative' - added battery-stored braking energy

Giving an average stopping distance from 15 mph of just under 5 meters (16 feet). Which compares favourably with 6 meters (20 feet) for a typical, mid-range electric scooter.

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Lights

  • Front headlight - low-mounted on the stem. This gives you pretty good illumination ahead in reduced lighting conditions. But in common with other scooters, an added light higher up the stem / on the handlebars would boost visibility. Especially when riding at night.
  • Rear tail-light - mounted on fender with flashing brake function.
  • Button lights - illuminate from the corners of the deck, and also flash when braking.

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Source: Voro Motors

Handlebar Control

Your cockpit control of the Tourer is clear and simple to use. Wide handlebars, covered each end in firm grip rubber, consist of:

Left hand side -

  • Brake lever
  • Bell | horn button
  • Headlight switch

Right hand side -

  • QS-4 trigger-style throttle
  • LCD display of speed, mode, battery, and P-setting for brake strength and performance

Build quality and load capacity

Frame

Emove Tourer has a firm, sturdy and durable frame, capable of carrying 139.9 kgs (309 lbs). The deck-to-handlebar height can be as low as 71cm (28in) for riding seated or as high as 101cm (40in) for taller riders.

Not only designed with the daily, urban commute in mind, Tourer also comes in cool-looking colors, in the style of Unagi Voyager, including red, black, purple, orange, and white. Also, water-resistant rated at IP54 (water splashes from any direction), identical to NUI KQi3.

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Source: Voro Motors

Deck

Tourer sports a roomy 22in x 7in deck, neatly curved at each corner, and covered with a rugged grip tape running the entire center length. An optional seat can be easily fitted - and folded - with 4 bolts to the deck rear.

Complete with foldaway deck stand, and exceptionally high 5in ground clearance for avoiding curb scrapes.

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Source: Voro Motors

Portability

Weighing in at 17.6 kgs (39lbs) Tourer is a model of super-scooter portability, some 7 pounds lighter than NUI KQi3.

There are 3 folding mechanisms:

  • Telescoping stem
  • Stem itself
  • Handlebars

Folding down to a lightweight carry of L: 111.4cm (44in) x W: 17.7cms (7in) x H: 35.5cm (14in)

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Unagi Voyager

Here we have a different class of 'all-rounder' alternative to the NUI KQ13. Where a growing community of curious, like-minded urban commuters can enjoy sustainable, personal transportation at their fingertips.

Unagi Voyager is an electric scooter designer-crafted for freedom-loving journeys. Zippy, sassy and above all, a ride in style, Voyager also gives you the very practical, "Double the Range & Half the Charge Time".

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Performance

Speed and Acceleration

Unagi Voyager is driven by 2 x 250w motors - a total of 500 watts of dual motor power.

Giving you:

  • 32 km/h (20 mph) MAX speed
  • 24 km/h (15 mph) in around 4 seconds.

Like many of the best electric scooters, you can also choose from 3 speed modes:

  • Speed Mode 1 - 14 km/h (9 mph) - for a fun stroll in the park
  • Speed Mode 2 - 19 km/h (12 mph) - smooth cruising on the daily commute
  • Speed Mode 3 - 27 km/h (17 mph) - Max speed within most state limits

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Hill Climbs

Voyager's dual motors put out a punchy 1000 watts max with a torque of 32Nm to handle 15-degree hill climbs. Average 10 degree urban gradients take around 12 seconds.

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Battery Charge and Travel Distance

Voyager comes with large 42V 3Ah lithium-ion battery producing 360Wh. This gives you an extended range of:

  • Up to 42 kms (25 miles) on a single full charge of only 3 hours - HALF the time of many other e scooters.

On-board monitoring prevents any risk of overheating on longer urban commutes or out of town rides.

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Tires and shock absorption

Unagi have fitted their scooter range with a distinctive, honeycomb tire:

  • 7.5 inch (19 cm) (Diameter) x 1.6 in ( 4.0 cms) (Width)

The Honeycomb system combines air filled with solid tires - ribbed air pockets ("honeycombs") around the edge of the entire wheel, giving you:

  • Less tire distortion during tight maneuvres
  • Better shock absorption than totally solid tires
  • Reduced risk of a flat

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Brakes

Voyager has dual electronic brakes - front and rear wheel hubs. Plus a rear fender brake to give a firm assist to full stops.

Average stopping distance is 5.5 m (16.9 feet) - for both electronic and foot brake.

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Lights

Visibility is crucial when riding after dusk, early morning, in bad weather and during reduced winter daylight. Unagi has fitted Voyager with:

  • 1.8W LED dual headlights, high-mounted in front of the handlebars for widest illumination.
  • Red LED light, low-mounted on the scooter rear fender.

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Handlebar Control

The Unagi name is known for redefining scooter style and refinement. The Voyager handlebar is seamlessly formed from a single casting of magnesium alloy, one third lighter than aluminum.

Not only looking good but feeling good to touch, too. With easy, intuitive action under your fingertip control. Voyager sports a large display flush-mounted at the center of the handlebars.

A new Unagi control feature is:

  • Dual motor mode - a two-wheel icon on the screen (not a single icon).

At a glance you can also instantly see and control:

  • Current speed
  • Motor status
  • Distance travelled - see Smart App below
  • Battery level
  • Touch response brake paddles
  • Horn
  • LED headlight

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Smart app

The Unagi Smart app for both iOS and Android enables you to:

  • Lock and unlock scooter wheels
  • Precisely calculate remaining battery life ("Distance to Empty" feature)- by rider weight and 'ride' mode.

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Build quality and load capacity

Frame

Unagi have given Voyager FOUR new cool-looking, color options:

  • Deep Cobalt (blue)
  • Cool Mist (green)
  • Latte (tan)
  • Matt Black

It's high-spec frame is made from carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium alloy, which gives an impressive strength-weight ratio. Plus, a water-resistant rating of IP54(water splashes from any direction).

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Deck

Voyager sports a wide, standing-room deck measuring 47 cms (18.5 in) x 13.5 cms (5.5 in), and covered with a tough, rubber-grip embedded across its entire surface. Ground clearance is 3.3 ins.

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Portability

Weighing in at 13.4 kgs (29.6 lbs), Voyager is 17 pounds lighter than the KQi3, and many other commuter scooters.

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A one-flick thumb slide action, combined with a 90 degree stem angle, quickly folds Voyager down to 91 cm (37 in) x 40 cm (16in) x 38 cm (15 in). For the those hectic daily commutes Voyager is an easy "hold in your hand" size and weight for carrying up stairs or escalator. And storing neatly away in your car trunk, at the office or in your home.

In a nutshell

Electric scooters are growing up fast. No longer limited to boy racers, an e-smart community are joined together to rediscover fun and liberation in their everyday commuting lives.

If you're a scooter rider who expects a high level of motor power, battery charge and range. Brands such as NUI, Emove, and Unagi can offer you sustainable alternatives. Designer-led, for ultimate urban, commuting cool.

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Satisfy your curiosity. Discover the smart way to ride:

CLICK HERE for your all-access subscription NOW


Daniel Foley
Daniel Foley

Daniel tests all the latest e-scooters and currently enjoys the Unagi Voyager as a daily driver for it's light weight, good range, and stylish look.

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