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- 31% Josh Testing the NIU KQi3 Pro
Josh Cruising on the NIU KQi3 Pro NIU KQi3 Pro Accelerating NIU KQi3 Pro Front Fork and Tire NIU KQi3 Pro Ergonomic Cockpit NIU KQi3 Pro Handlebars

NIU KQi3 Pro Review

Original price was: $799.00.Current price is: $549.00.

9.5/10 (Expert Score)

DATE

July 19, 2023

Price When Reviewed: $799.00

Remember that kid who joined halfway through the school year and was cooler, smarter, and better at track and field than everyone else? The award-winning NIU KQi3 Pro is that kid. While every other sub-$800 model is gurning its way to the finish line, this smooth operator crosses it smiling and winking at the smitten girls gathering to watch him do his thing.

 

Indeed, we’re talking about one heck of a scooter. The bigger brother of the equally impressive KQi2 Pro, it features a more spritely motor, a larger battery, and significantly stronger brakes.

 

In fact, when it comes to build quality among budget scooters, it’s second to none – which is what you would expect from NIU, who are one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of electric vehicles. After all, they’ve accumulated over 18 billion kilometers of distance traveled, and this has clearly provided a well-rounded foundation of feedback and data that has influenced the vehicle-grade design of the KQi3 Pro.

NIU KQi3 Pro Review: Award-Winning Electric Scooter Sets the Standard for Budget Models

The good and the bad

Who we recommend it for

Is it worth its price tag?

Look, feel, and functionality

Results from our tests

Other scooters to consider

The Good and The Bad

Pros & Cons

PROS:

  • Award-winning electric scooter
  • Best build quality among its competitors
  • Premium fit and finish
  • Well-balanced performance profile
  • Bright, easy-to-read display
  • Ergonomic controls
  • Nimble thanks to its grippy tires
  • Superb folding mechanism means it takes just 3 seconds to collapse
  • Responsive brakes with a variable regen system
  • Well suited to tall and heavy riders
  • Iconic halo headlight
  • Excellent battery management system
  • Mobile app integration
  • Comprehensive two-year warranty
  • IP54 water resistance rating

CONS:

  • The taillight doesn’t flash while braking (it only gets brighter)
  • With just 3 inches of ground clearance, you need to avoid curbs and other obstacles

Is It Right For You?

Who It's Best For

If you want a premium scooter for what a budget model costs, then you’re in the right place.

Josh Standing with the NIU KQi3 Pro

Best of all, though, it’s well suited to riders of all sizes – no matter if you're big, small, tall, or short. Boasting a 265 lbs load bearing capacity and a 39.5-inch deck-to-handlebar height, it passes the mark for riders that are both heavier on the scale, as well as those that are taller.

Factor in its cushioning tubeless tires, strong portability credentials, and iconic lighting rig, and you have a scooter that’s both a commuter’s dream and a weekend explorer’s elixir.

Josh Riding the NIU KQi3 Pro

Is It Worth Its Price Tag?

Value For Money

As we’ve seen with the rest of NIU’s line-up, it over-delivers in the design and build quality departments.

What’s so remarkable about this scooter is the premium feel of its components. The frame has been exquisitely constructed. The cable management ensures wiring is all but invisible. The cockpit is a case study in ergonomics. And, there’s even a battery management system with 14 protection modes to ensure it charges and discharges within safe operating limits.

NIU KQi3 Pro Chassis

Combine this with a respectable performance profile, and you have a scooter that can bat away any threat posed by competing models like a lion swatting a fly.

Further Information:

Best Cheap Electric Scooters

Look, Feel & Functionality

Design & Features

Cockpit

The cockpit is near-identical to the one found on its smaller sibling, the KQi2 Pro. Measuring 21.3 inches wide, NIU has, once again, delivered the goods in the handling department.

NIU KQi3 Pro Wide Handlebars

Alongside the wavy rubber handgrips, the angular design and ribbed rubber cover of the smoothly-actuating thumb throttle afford excellent control.

NIU KQi3 Pro Ergonomic Cockpit

Adding to this winning formula is the centrally-located display that’s exceptionally bright. There’s also a button that allows you to power the scooter on, switch riding mode, and control the status of the headlight (on/off).

NIU KQi3 Pro Display

Frame

When it comes to scooters that cost lower on the price spectrum, a certain degree of leniency is given. They often forgo frames that have precise designs and sleek, sweeping lines for clunky components that can, at times, look like they’ve come from Frankenstein's lair. The complete opposite is true of the KQi3 Pro.

NIU KQi3 Pro

It’s hands-down, the best looking and built budget scooter that I’ve ever tested. From the rock-solid stem and the sweeping winged deck to the high-end fit and finish, it resides in a completely different league from the rest of its similarly-priced competitors.

Deck

With 23.5 x 6.7 inches of available space for your feet, the deck is both 27% longer and 29% wider than the one found on the KQi2 Pro.

NIU KQi3 Pro Deck

In all of the years that I've been testing electric scooters, I’ve reviewed just a handful that have decks shaped like a penny skateboard (i.e. the Apollo City). The winged deck of the KQi3 Pro, however, is an entirely new design that I haven’t seen before. Its elegant aesthetic is a perfect match for the rest of the scooter’s premium build.

Together with the thickly patterned rubber and rear lip, it grants you the ability to find the perfect riding stance.

NIU KQi3 Pro Rubber Deck

You do, however, need to avoid curbs and other obstacles since the bottom of the deck sits just 3 inches above the ground.

Tires

One of the most impressive things about the KQi3 Pro is how nimble it is and this is a direct result of its grippy tires.

NIU KQi3 Pro Tire

Measuring 9.5 x 2.5 inches they’re 25% thicker than the typical tires that you’ll find on scooters with similar performance specs. Their tread and profile have been designed to maximize the scooter’s maneuverability when it comes to carving.

And, thanks to their tubeless design, they put a layer of shock absorption between you and the road.

NIU KQi3 Pro Tires in Motion

Portability

When I reviewed the NIU KQi2 Pro, I proclaimed its folding mechanism to be a crowning glory. Well, I’m delighted to confirm that the KQi3 Pro brandishes the same design. It’s such a triumph, NIU patented it.

NIU KQi3 Pro Folding Mechanism

To fold the scooter, you simply slide the latch up before pulling on the lever to release the stem from its locked position. The latch on the back of the handlebars then hooks into the kickplate with a satisfying click.

NIU KQi3 Pro Open Folding Mechanism

To unfold it, you press down on the button that’s on top of the kickplate. This frees the stem and allows you to raise it upright so that you can lock it into place using the lever. The best bit of all is that this process takes just 3 seconds.

NIU KQi3 Pro Kickplate

Now, while the scooter benefits from a sublime folding mechanism, there’s no getting around the fact that it weighs 45 lbs, and so it’s a little heavy to carry for long periods.

NIU KQi3 Pro Folded

Load

The load capacity of 265 lbs is 45 lbs more than what’s offered by the KQi2, making it a much better option for heavier riders.

While testing the scooter, I weighed 190 lbs and I can confirm that it performed well under this load.

Josh Standing on the NIU KQi3 Pro's Deck

Lights

Like the rest of NIU’s scooters, the KQi3 Pro features the brand’s signature – and destined to become iconic – halo headlight. The outer ring stays on the entire time, while the bulb in the middle illuminates the way forward when you turn it on.

NIU KQi3 Pro Handlebars

I often recommend buying an additional clip-on light, but with the one provided you can just about get by, especially if you plan to ride through city streets at night which are littered with street lamps.

NIU KQi3 Pro Headlight Beam

The rear taillight, meanwhile, is large and super bright. It gets brighter when you brake, though my one grumble is that it doesn’t flash.

You also get side reflectors for extra visibility.

NIU KQi3 Pro Lights

Mobile App

I’m always pleased to test scooters that come with mobile app integrations, and while the KQi3’s is basic, it delivers a host of cool features that will delight tech-minded folk.

NIU KQi3 Pro Mobile App

Through it, you can:

  • Adjust the strength of the regen brakes to be either weak, medium, or strong
  • Activate the lock, which immobilizes the scooter by applying the electronic brakes
  • Enable a custom ride mode that allows you to set the max speed
  • Change the units of speed from kmh to mph, and vice versa
  • View your riding stats
  • Record trips
  • Receive over-the-air firmware updates

It’s worth noting that after you unbox the scooter and you plug it into the mains to charge for the first time, you’re required to pair it with the app before you can ride. It’ll prompt you to test the brakes and throttle, as well as ask you to watch a short safety video.

NIU Mobile App Safety Protocols

Once you’ve watched the tutorial, the scooter limits you to 6 mph for the first 200 meters. After this, you can access sport mode. This may sound overbearing, but it’s worthwhile if you’re new to electric scooters.

Build Quality

Interestingly, NIU has been one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of electric vehicles for almost a decade, and with over 18 billion kilometers of distance traveled on their models, they know a thing or two about how to build reliable scooters.

NIU KQi3 Pro Sleek Frame

After all, there’s a reason why it’s been anointed the Gold Winner 2023 in the Vehicle Technologies Category at the New York Product Design Awards – it's quite simply a work of art.

Everything about this scooter oozes class.

Results From Our Tests

Performance Report

Performance Report Summary

CategoryResult
Top Speed20 mph
0-15 MPH5.0 s
Max Range (Riding Slow)31 miles
Real Range (Riding Fast)22 miles
Braking2.2 meters
Max Incline11 degrees
Optimal Incline9 degrees

Top Speed

Equipped with a 48V 350W motor that can produce a peak power output of 700W and a top speed of 20 mph, it’s a nippy little operator for inner city routes.

Where it shines, though, is in its ability to remain supremely stable no matter your speed. This is a result of its low center of gravity, well-balanced frame, and expertly-crafted geometry.

Josh Cruising on the NIU KQi3 Pro

Top Speed vs Price

With a retail price of $799, it can be compared with 9 other models within a $300 price bracket. Here, it achieves a mid-table ranking with the EMOVE Touring ruling the roost.

ScooterPriceTop Speed
EMOVE Touring
$799
25 mph
Horizon 13
$799
23 mph
Horizon 10.4
$719
23 mph
INOKIM Light 2
$699
21 mph
NIU KQi3 Pro
$549.00
20 mph
Turboant V8
$569.98
20 mph
GoTrax GMAX Ultra
$649
20 mph
GoTrax G4
$499
20 mph
AnyHill UM-2
$899
19 mph
NIU KQi3 Sport
$599.98
17 mph

Boasting a 48V 500W motor, the Touring is equipped with 43% more nominal power, resulting in a top speed of 25 mph.

However, I’d encourage you to consider the Horizon 13. It shares the same motor as the EMOVE, and despite being just 2 mph slower, it would be my preferred option out of the two. Thanks to the evenly distributed weight of its frame, everything from the handlebars to the chassis feels aligned. Paired with its suspension system, vibrations are softened making it feel incredibly stable while riding fast.

Nevertheless, the KQi3 Pro still has enough power to satisfy beginners and commuters looking for a reliable, yet zippy scooter for busy urban environments.

Josh Testing the NIU KQi3 Pro

Acceleration

The KQi3 Pro accelerates from 0-15 mph in 5.0 seconds flat.

You do, however, have to kick to start, since there’s no zero-start function. This can make getting out of the blocks feel a little slower, though once in motion the throttle is smooth as silk.

ScooterPrice0-15 MPH
NIU KQi3 Max
$749.98
4.3 s
Horizon 13
$799
4.7 s
NIU KQi3 Pro
$549.00
5.0 s

Yet, if you did want to turn the acceleration dial up a notch, you could always invest some extra dollars in the KQi3 Max, which is 14% faster thanks to its bigger 48V 450W motor.

Most impressive of all, though, is that the Pro manages to go toe-to-toe with Horizon, despite it sporting a motor that’s 30% less powerful (350W vs 500W).

NIU KQi3 Pro Accelerating

Mileage

Armed with a battery that packs 486Wh, it has a maximum range of 31 miles. Though, as to be expected, under real-world riding conditions, you can expect to keep the wheels rolling for 22 miles.

The battery can be recharged in just 6 hours, and thanks to NIU’s patented battery management system, it benefits from 14 different types of protection to ensure efficiency throughout every ride, whilst also keeping it healthy for years to come.

Front on Shot of Josh Riding the NIU KQi3 Pro

Mileage vs Price

Compared to its similarly-priced competitors, it achieves a fourth-place ranking.

ScooterPriceMax Mileage
Turboant V8
$569.98
50 miles
GoTrax GMAX Ultra
$649
45 miles
EMOVE Touring
$799
32 miles
NIU KQi3 Pro
$549.00
31 miles
Horizon 13
$799
30 miles
AnyHill UM-2
$899
28 miles
GoTrax G4
$499
25 miles
NIU KQi3 Sport
$599.98
25 miles
INOKIM Light 2
$699
24 miles
Horizon 10.4
$719
23 miles

The Turboant V8 is the winner here, and that’s because it has not one, but two 36V 7.5Ah batteries – one of which is detachable. Compared to the KQi3 Pro, these hold 11% more energy (540Wh vs 486Wh).

However, the devil is in the detail. When we look at the real-world range, the KQi3 Pro gives the V8 a run for its money by achieving 22 miles vs the V8’s 25 miles. Ultimately, a long-range alone isn’t enough to achieve stardom status; and when we consider that the KQi3 Pro’s build quality tops the V8, it presents itself as a worthy contender.

Josh Holding the NIU KQi3 Pro's Handlebars

Two other scooters worth mulling over are the EMOVE Touring and Horizon 13. Both rank on either side of the KQi3 Pro with just 1 mile separating them. Importantly, they are the only models to have full suspension systems which is a major advantage for long rides. Pitted against each other, the Horizon comes out on top because it soaks up soaks more effectively.

Hill Climbing

With just a single motor, it hasn’t been made to dominate steep inclines.

It will, however, navigate gentle slopes of up to 9 degrees with relative ease, while its rated maximum is 11 degrees.

NIU KQi3 Pro in Motion

Shock Absorption

Like the rest of NIU’s scooters, it doesn’t come equipped with a suspension system. Yet, thanks to its pneumatic tires, it makes relatively smooth work of streets and sidewalks.

NIU KQi3 Pro Front Fork and Tire

Just stick to smooth surfaces and you’ll enjoy the ride.

Braking

One of the few issues I had when testing the KQi2 Pro was its lackluster braking performance. Thankfully, NIU has addressed this with the KQi3 Pro by jettisoning the single drum for two discs.

NIU KQi3 Pro Rear Disc Brake

More impressive, is the fact that it’s the only scooter in the sub-$800 class to have dual mechanical brakes and a variable regen system.

The harder you squeeze on the brake levers, the more regen braking you get. This is a big upgrade on the standard integration of this feature which typically uses sensors with an on/off switch to turn the regen brake fully on or off.

NIU KQi3 Pro Brake Lever

You can also use it without using the mechanical brakes. It kicks in as soon as you release the throttle. You do, however, need to judge your stopping distance. And, as previously mentioned, you can adjust its strength via the app.

With all of the brakes working in unison, it came to a complete stop from 15 mph in just 2.2 meters.

Ride Quality

The wider-than-average handlebars, ergonomic cockpit, and rock-solid stem unite with the low center of gravity, well-balanced frame, and expertly-crafted geometry to deliver best-in-class handling.

Josh Riding the NIU KQi3 Pro On a Sidewalk

However, an important part of ride quality is comfort, and while the KQi3 Pro delivers in some areas, it falls a little short in others. Take, for example, the tires. Pneumatic and with a profile that promises stability, responsive steering, and grip, they perform extremely well no matter if you’re racing along at top speeds, cornering, or braking.

NIU KQi3 Pro Chassis in Motion

However, there’s no denying that they would benefit from being paired with a suspension system. Against scooters like the Horizon, there’s a noticeable difference in its ability to soak up shocks.

Nevertheless, when you take into account everything that KQi3 Pro has to offer in both the ride and build quality departments, it remains one of the most comfortable scooters in its price class. This is especially true if you plan to ride on well-maintained roads.

NIU KQi3 Pro Wide Handlebars

Compare With Other Scooters

Alternatives

NIU KQi3 Max

NIU KQi3 Max

Sale: $749.98 $999.00

Specs:

Why is it Better Than the NIU KQi3 Pro?

Why is it Worse Than the NIU KQi3 Pro?

Horizon V2

Horizon 13

Sale: $799.00 $979.00

Specs:

Why is it Better Than the NIU KQi3 Pro?

Why is it Worse Than the NIU KQi3 Pro?

Post-Purchase Support

Warranty

Impressively, NIU places a two-year warranty on all of its scooters. This is among the best offered by all brands and retailers in the industry – especially when compared to competitors like GoTrax, who offer one-year warranties but only cover core components like the battery for 6-months.

Importantly, NIU makes sure to cover the battery, charger, frame, motor, controller, dashboard, front fork, and main harness for the entire duration of the warranty period. This is a clear indicator of NIU’s confidence in their scooter’s reliability.

Josh With The NIU KQi3 Pro

As to be expected, smaller components, like the brake levers, disc brakes, brake lines, throttles, and controls are covered for 6 months, while consumables like the headlight, bell, fenders, and kickstand for covered for 3 months.

Any damage as a result of abuse, misuse, neglect, theft, collision, water or fire, falls outside of the warranty.

Manufacturer Specs

Specification Sheet

Specification: NIU KQi3 Pro Review

Brand
Brand

NIU

Type
Terrain

Street

Design
Portability

Folding Frame

Weight (lbs)

45

Rider Weight (lbs)

265

Tire Size (inches)

9.5

Tire Type

Pneumatic (Tubeless)

Performance
Top Speed (mph)

20

Max Range (miles)

31

Charge Time (hours)

6

Suspension Type

None

Brake Type

Disc (Mechanical), Regenerative

Extra Features
Extra Features

Cruise Control, Lights, Mobile App, Water Resistance Rating

Specification
Max Incline (degrees)

11

Water Resistance Rating

IP54

Where to Buy:*
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Specification: NIU KQi3 Pro Review

Brand
Brand

NIU

Type
Terrain

Street

Design
Portability

Folding Frame

Weight (lbs)

45

Rider Weight (lbs)

265

Tire Size (inches)

9.5

Tire Type

Pneumatic (Tubeless)

Performance
Top Speed (mph)

20

Max Range (miles)

31

Charge Time (hours)

6

Suspension Type

None

Brake Type

Disc (Mechanical), Regenerative

Extra Features
Extra Features

Cruise Control, Lights, Mobile App, Water Resistance Rating

Specification
Max Incline (degrees)

11

Water Resistance Rating

IP54

NIU KQi3 Pro Review
NIU KQi3 Pro Review

Original price was: $799.00.Current price is: $549.00.

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