Hiboy NEX3 Review
Entering the exceedingly competitive budget scooter market, Hiboy’s NEX3 struggles to step on the toes of its rivals despite boasting decent specs. The NEX3 has a top speed of 16 mph and a max range of 16 miles as well as an advertised hill climb of 15%, all of which suggest the scooter can hold its own in terms of performance. Yet its biggest flaw is ride quality. The 8.5 inch solid tires struggle to absorb bumps and cracks, while the lack of shock absorbers guarantees a brain massage. There are better similarly-priced scooters.
Hiboy NEX3 Review: 10 Things You Need to Know
Who is it Best For?
Will the Hiboy NEX3 Be a Good Fit For You?
The NEX3 is best suited as an entry-level scooter for teenagers. The maximum load of 200 lbs makes it more suitable for lighter riders, so you should be wary of this before pulling the trigger and ordering it.
Whilst its light 29.7 lb frame, 16 mph top speed, and maximum 16 miles range, all make the NEX3 look like an attractive option for teenagers searching for a scooter for leisurely pursuits, the joy of riding is met with what can only be described as a brain massage.
For scooters that don’t have suspension systems but have air-filled tires, my general recommendation is to stick to well-maintained roads and sidewalks for best performance. However, the NEX3 can’t even lay hold to air-filled tires, replacing them for cheaper, solid ones instead. So, no matter where you ride, you should expect it to be uncomfortable. Solid tires are notorious for poor performance as they have no shock absorption qualities, meaning that you feel every surface imperfection.
If you are searching for a cheap scooter, I advise giving the NEX3 a miss and taking a look at the alternative models I recommend (further down).
Pros and Cons
- Flat resistant tires
- Easy folding
- Poor ride quality
- Cheaper scooters with superior build quality and performance
Value for Money
Is the Price Tag Worth it?
At $429, the NEX3 is overpriced.
The speed and range are fairly good when viewed independently but when you consider that you can get the GoTrax Apex for $299.99, the NEX3 is put to shame. For context, the Apex sports a 15.5 mph top speed, 15 mile range, and air-filled tires to boot.
The best way to think about the NEX3 is a bare-bones metal frame with a motor, battery, and solid tires – it lacks the all-important features that a $429 price tag should carry.
The biggest drawback is its lack of shock absorption. If the NEX3 had air-filled tires it would be a significant improvement but it would still fall short of similarly-priced scooters. For example, the Turbaont X7 Pro is faster than the NEX3 (20 vs 16 mph), goes further (30 vs 16 miles), and delivers superior ride comfort for around $450 (when using our discount code: TURBOANT).
What Other Scooters Should You Consider?
Starting at either side of the handlebars, you’ll find texturized rubber handgrips. These give good grip, control, and comfort, whilst having the durability to withstand daily use.
Next up, the handlebars don a dual handbrake system giving you independent control over each brake system The left handbrake controls the electronic brake which is mainly used to control your speed while the right handbrake engages the rear disc brake to bring the scooter to a complete halt. The dual handbrake system makes the scooter ideal for beginners as slowing down and stopping is similar to riding a bike, something most people are used to. This is a slight adjustment from other Hiboy models which use a thumb paddle as the electronic brake, but I guess a little more rest for your thumbs isn’t a bad thing.
Alongside the right handbrake is the thumb-operated accelerator, which is texturized to give you more control. Then, switching over to the left once again, there’s a small bell.
Rounding off the handlebars, we have an LED display in the center that provides you with information like speed, battery level, and whether your lights are on or off.
Due to the aviation-grade aluminum alloy used to forge the NEX3, you get a sturdy scooter that can take on day-to-day wear and tear. It has become common practice to use this alloy on electric scooters due to its robustness.
The alloy does add a bit of weight to the scooter, but at 29.7 lbs it still manages to lay claim as one of the lightest electric scooters.
When it comes to budget scooters, there isn’t too much to shout about in terms of frame design – most opt for simple designs and don’t majorly differentiate from each other aside from their branding. The same can be said for the NEX3.
As expected, it boards the wagon of matte-black scooters with the Hiboy logo printed on the stem. However, there is one aspect of its design that makes it different from the rest – instead of having a circular stem, its shape can best be described as a semi-circle with the flat side facing the rider. This design quirk doesn’t benefit you in any other way aside from making your scooter look a little different from the plethora of budget scooters.
Like the rest of the Hiboy range, the deck is covered in rubber matting which provides ample grip. Unlike some cheap scooters, the matting is fitted securely meaning it stays attached to the deck as opposed to peeling off.
Hiboy advertises an extended deck for a more comfortable ride. I measured the deck length (43 inches) against a couple of other budget scooters that we have in our testing facility and it averages around one inch longer. So, does this equate to a “more comfortable ride”? The short answer is no.
It doesn’t manage to enhance comfort as you still have to keep your back foot perpendicular to your front. Don’t believe the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it still gives you enough room to place your feet as you would on the majority of budget scooters, but the ever-so-slightly increased length doesn’t change the positioning of your feet enough to have an impact. It isn’t any more comfortable than a standard-sized deck.
To the rear of the deck, there is a reinforced fender. The main purpose of this is to prevent water and debris from getting onto the scooter and your clothes, but it also adds a layer of protection to the solid tires preventing the fender from rubbing against the wheel.
Despite the honeycomb design, there is little to no softening from the 8.5 inch solid tires. Plus, the fact that there is no suspension severely limits where you can ride. This especially holds true when pushed to its peak performance – anything other than pristine riding conditions will leave your head rattling and knees shaking.
The one upside of solid tires is that they are puncture-proof. You can forget about frustrating flats and tire changes, but this isn’t a good trade-off for subpar performance. Solid tires also aren’t wear-proof, they tend to grind down after a while – hence the reinforced rear fender that eliminates this as much as possible by preventing you from stomping on the fender to slow the scooter.
Build Quality & Durability
As mentioned earlier, the aluminum alloy used to construct the frame is extremely durable. However, there isn’t much clearance to the ground, so you need to be careful not to take on harsh hits to the underside of the deck as the battery is located here.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the lack of cushioning in the scooter means that it’s not just you that is going to feel the impact of vibrations as you ride, but the scooter too, which can, over time, loosen screws and bolts.
Overall, the scooter is robust in the sense that it’s not going to break if you bash it a few times but when I consider the overall build quality I feel let down. For $429 I would expect better.
Weight & Load
Weighing in at 29.7 lbs, it is one of the lightest electric scooters. Its lightweight frame is further highlighted when it is compared to other Hiboy models like the MAX (34 lbs) and S2 Pro (36 lbs). Carrying it up or downstairs, or even into a store if you need to run some quick errands isn’t too much of a drag.
Unfortunately, the maximum load capacity is a measly 200 lbs. This is 20 lbs below the average for budget scooters. If you weigh towards the upper end of the 200 lbs weight limit, performance suffers – acceleration becomes weaker, battery life is reduced, and it will even struggle to reach top speeds which can take the thrill out of your riding experience. As a rule of thumb, I suggest opting for a scooter that has a load-bearing capacity far beyond what you need to increase the likelihood of getting the best performance from it. Two great alternatives are the GoTrax XR Elite (220 lbs) or, even better, the Turboant X7 Pro (275 lbs).
Folding & Portability
With the NEX3 you get a very easy folding mechanism that lets you hop off your scooter and fold it within seconds. Simply undo the latch at the bottom of the handlebar stem, allowing you to fold the stem down towards the rear fender. The hook on the back of the handlebar then clips into the hook on the rear fender, locking the stem into place.
Once folded, the scooter is easy to pick up, carry, and store away making it a convenient option for commuters.
My only gripe with the scooter is the semi-circular design of the steering column. Once folded your palm wraps around the rounded part of the stem at the top and your fingers grip the flat surface below. I tend to prefer stems that have a uniform shape – for instance, a completely round stem complements the curvature of your hand when you grip it. I find this makes lifting even easier.
As with most of the Hiboy range, assembly takes just 10-15 minutes.
You simply need to attach the handlebars to the stem, fasten the brakes into place, and screw the LED headlight into the stem above the folding mechanism.
All the tools needed are provided in the box.
Is the Hiboy NEX3 Comfortable to Ride?
There is little that can be done to counter the absent suspension and 8.5 inch solid tires. As soon as you ride, you’ll feel the vibrations from every surface imperfection no matter the surface.
If you up the ante with more challenging routes (i.e. roads that aren’t pristine) or max out the top speeds, the shaking leaves you with a seriously uncomfortable ride.
Keeping your budget low, you’ll be better suited with the GoTrax XR Elite or Turboant X7 Pro. Both are equipped with pneumatic tires that soak up surface imperfections. If you are struggling to decide between the two, I recommend the Turboant since its 10 inch pneumatic tires are 1.5 inches larger than those on the GoTrax. The bigger profile allows for greater shock absorption.
Performance & Safety
Speed & Acceleration
The NEX3 has a 350W brushless motor that gives the scooter enough power to get up to 16 mph, which is pretty solid for a budget scooter. You’ll also find that more expensive scooters, like the Segway Ninebot ES2, for example, are rather envious of what the NEX3 has to offer in terms of speed.
However, it's not all bells and whistles, the acceleration curve is slow, so it takes time to hit top speeds. This makes it well-suited to first-time riders but after you’ve ridden the NEX3 a few times you’ll be left wanting more.
By comparison, the fastest scooter under $500 is the Turboant X7 Pro which can hit 20 mph. If you want even more power under the hood, your next best option is the Horizon 10.4. This scooter has a 500W motor with a peak output of 800W that leaves the NEX3 in the dust. With a top speed of 25 mph and an acceleration rate of 0-15 mph in 5.2 seconds and 0-20 mph in 8.7, you’ll continue to be entertained.
A fully charged NEX3 gives you a maximum of 16 miles according to Hiboy, but that is under best-case riding conditions (i.e. you weigh 165 lbs and ride in the lowest speed setting over flat terrain).
In reality, expect to see 9 miles on a single charge. If this is too short, then the Turboant X7 Pro’s realistic 16 mile range will be your best bet.
Hill-climbing is the Achilles heel of most budget scooters – they just don’t have the level of torque needed to storm up hills. The NEX3 is no different.
The 350W motor and small 36V 7.5Ah battery generate just enough power to scale gentle inclines up to 15%. However, be warned, any inclines above 10% force the scooter to crawl sluggishly and cause the battery to rapidly deplete.
Shock Absorption / Suspension
There is little doubt that the biggest flaw in the NEX3’s design is the lack of cushioning. Ride quality is a huge determining factor that separates the good from the bad, and I’m afraid the NEX3 lays in the latter.
As is the case with the majority of electric scooters under $500, suspension systems are non-existent (aside from a handful of Hiboy models like the S2, MAX, and MAX V2). To compensate for this, budget scooter brands like GoTrax and Turboant, equip all of their scooters with air-filled tires to add a layer of cushioning.
Surprisingly, budget scooters that don’t have suspension systems but have air-filled tires, often deliver a better ride quality than scooters like the Hiboy S2, MAX, and MAX V2 that have a suspension system with solid tires.
Ultimately, the NEX3 has the bad end of both sticks – no suspension and solid tires. There’s no skirting around the fact that ride quality is poor.
As previously mentioned, the dual handbrakes for the electronic brake and manual rear disc brake are located on either side of the handlebars.
They are simple to use and both work independently unlike other scooters that combine electronic and manual braking systems.
It is important to note, though, that the responsiveness of the electronic brake is determined by the battery level so be sure to always keep your right hand ready on the disc brake. Besides, using both in conjunctions delivers more reliable stopping power.
With both brakes applied, you can come to a stop in 4.5 meters which is on par with the scooters I recommend as alternatives.
The NEX3 takes 6 hours to charge from empty which is quite normal for most electric scooters in its price class. However, you might feel hard done by here, and rightly so, considering that for the same time you get superior performance (20 mph and a maximum of 30 miles) from the Turboant X7 Pro. Even when we look closer to home, the Hiboy S2 Pro matches the NEX3 for charge time but delivers a maximum of 25 miles.
The LED display, placed in the center of the handlebars, is well-angled and brightly lit. It details key riding information like your speed, battery level, and if your lights are on or off.
There’s not too much more to it other than taking a glance at the details mentioned above. The most valuable of those is your battery level – although, it isn’t 100% accurate.
The NEX3 comes with a headlight and rear taillight.
The headlight, unlike most budget scooters, sits just above the folding mechanism. It’s positioned lower than on other scooters which have their headlight integrated into the front of the handlebars but it still effectively casts light in front of you. Best of all you can adjust the angle at which it is pointing.
As for the taillight, it works as a brake light and to keep people behind you aware of your presence.
To turn the lights on or off you simply need to use the button below the LED dashboard.
On the left side of the handlebars, the bell is a simple addition that fulfills its duty by giving pedestrians a heads up as you slip by.
Specification: Hiboy NEX3 Review
Warranty & Post-Purchase Support
With the NEX3 you are given a 12-month warranty which includes protection for scooter defects.
The warranty can only be claimed if the scooter was purchased directly through Hiboy or one of their certified retailers.
Once a defective item has been replaced, the warranty time frame overlaps with that of the original item.
If for any reason you aren’t content with your order, there is a 30-day returns policy, provided the scooter remains unused.
Hiboy alleges to “respond to emails within 24 hours”. However, as I have mentioned in my other Hiboy scooter reviews I haven’t always found this to be the case.
To get in touch with them, simply email [email protected], be sure to include your scooter's serial number which you can find on the side of the deck.
Intro to the Hiboy NEX3
Entering the exceedingly competitive budget electric scooter market, see the Hiboy NEX3 in action and get an overview of its key features.
Specification: Hiboy NEX3 Review