NIU M1 electric scooter test

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NIU M-Series: Sport or Pro

Electricity is on the rise, if only to circulate freely in city centers which increasingly prohibit access to thermal energy. The offer is then bloated, especially when we compare the VAE, especially on prices around 2,000 euros.

And in this category, there are small scooters equivalent to 50 cm3 benefiting from the latest technologies such as the M-Series from the manufacturer NIU. But what can you really get for just 2,000 euros? a toy ? Test over ten days in order to really be able to experience it on a daily basis.

NIU M1 Electric ScooterNIU M1 Electric Scooter

Discovery

There are the old electric scooters, those that appeared several years ago among the pioneers with a look often closer to the washing machine than to the urban two-wheeler. And then there is the NIU M-Series with the M1 Sport and Pro. Slender, design, light, the M1 brings together the positive notes to offer a small but elegant two-wheeler and well born in the 21st century. We are far from a cheap product but in addition to a well finished product when we approach it, from the LEDs and their pretty signature both on the front and back. It should also be noted that the particularly wide rear light (visible over 270 °) offers excellent visibility at the rear. The front light is not to be outdone with useful lighting at night in unlit streets. We appreciate the details from the handlebars to the saddle without forgetting the passenger handles. Note also that there is not really a passenger footrest (optional) even if the latter can in fact wedge the feet towards the central floor. If the M1 is approved for two people, it still remains a small size, rather made for one person.

LED headlight with circle light signatureLED headlight with circle light signature

We will not forget a USB socket under the dashboard, as well as an alarm with an original tracker with a signal that goes even locked in a garage (but not underground the garage). Almost naturally, like many two-wheelers, there is a mobile application that allows you to see where your scooter is, but also its charge level, or its maintenance manual..

NIU M1 sideNIU M1 side

There is a very small side stand … almost straight, which will require attention when parking so that the scooter does not continue its journey on its own. She is very pretty and does the job very well … on level ground. It does not stop the slope, unlike a non-existent center stand on this model.

Underneath, there is a lattice frame with well-finished and quality plastic parts, in particular thanks to the painting techniques used, including a finishing layer above a color layer made of micro-levels, itself at the top. – over a coat of primer on non-recycled ABS plastic.

LED tail light with 270 ° visibilityLED tail light with 270 ° visibility

On the motor side, NIU uses Bosh and its motor incorporated in the hub of the rear wheel offering a theoretical maximum torque of 110 Nm.

Technology

Far from the dubious origins of certain batteries, NIU called on LG for a 29 Ah Lithium-Ion battery, built in Japan. Each cell of the battery is protected by a "shield" to protect it from other cells and to ensure greater longevity of the overall battery, which contains 150 cells, all enclosed in an aluminum alloy shell. The importance of a battery rests above all on the intelligence which is added to it, making it possible to control its proper functioning and to protect it. This is what the best builders do. Niu added functions of pre-discharge, Cell balancing, over-charge protection, over-discharge protection, over-current prevention, short-circuit prevention, temperature control and wiring protection.

800W Bosh motor (also available in 1200W version)800W Bosh motor (also available in 1200W version)

The M1 is offered in two versions, with a sport version offering a maximum motor power of 800W (900W peak with the 26Ah battery) and a Pro version of 1200W (1600W peak with a 32 Ah battery).

In the saddle

It is little ! Everything is small and light. The scooter weighs in fact only 60 kilos. The saddle is low (712 mm as on many customs), a teenager can touch the feet on the ground and have the legs flexed. Once seated, with an angle of 90%, we do not have the knees that go up as on some scooters with an ideal and natural driving position. You feel perfectly at ease on board, especially since the hands rest naturally on the handlebars, without going up, with an open angle of 125 ° of bending of the forearm..

A handlebar which reveals a digital counter on a curved shape of the most beautiful effect. Clock, very large number for speed, very readable battery charge indicator, mode indication (1: Eco – 2: Performance). There is even an Eco driving indicator as well as an energy recovery indicator but also a cruise control! (on the left next to the horn, screaming the horn).

There is even a warning which is never on cyclos and is far from being present on all 125 cm3. The buttons are rather well positioned and fall under the fingers for instinctive use.

NIU M1 digital dashboardNIU M1 digital dashboard

The mirrors appear tiny but they are well placed and offer good visibility, especially when you consider their size.

Contact

Brake handle then green contact button and nothing is heard naturally. We just see a green "Ready" LED light up on the meter. You just have to turn the handle to start rolling smoothly, like on velvet, without the slightest noise. And it is besides with its look and its total absence of noise that we regularly made heads turn during this test. “Oh, look, it doesn’t make a sound!”. And at the red light, the questions were raised just as regularly and all the more so, that he puts down all the cyclos at the start..

Electric scooter 50 cm3 equivalentElectric scooter 50 cm3 equivalent

In the city

Because the M-Series is very effective in town. Naturally, its small size allows you to go through mouse holes between the lines, but in addition, the accelerations are much higher than all the cyclos, which it also exceeds in top speed. However, it is well limited to 45 km / h (47 km / h in good conditions) but it reaches them easily, with a maximum rotation of the handle of only 65 °, closer to a short pull than those usually encountered. . Easily is the correct word compared to the quick of the NIU N1S. Because 30% less expensive than its big brother, it does not have the same power. Different starting power, much smoother here, different power to reach 45 km / h, more slowly and less power to climb slightly steep hills. There, where the N could be at 40 km / h in grade, we go down more to 32 km / h at equivalent grade with the M.

NIU M1 electric scooter on departmentalNIU M1 electric scooter on departmental

However, the M is much lighter, much more manoeuvrable and closer to a bike in terms of lightness of the handlebars. We are also more cramped there despite everything, even if we can manage to wedge a pack of water on the floor; convenient for shopping at the nearby supermarket.

Switching from one mode to another, to switch from slow to fast mode, is done here not in the form of a dial, but by pressing a switch. But if mode 1 does not allow you to exceed 19 km / h (in the right conditions), you might as well be in mode 2 all the time, unless you want to save the battery. Because, inevitably, by requiring less power, we can drive further and longer.

And if when the battery is fully charged, we can reach 47 km / h easily, the intelligence of the battery then significantly limits the maximum speed under 50% by limiting to 43 km / h, then to 40 km / h in below 30%, then on the same route. In fact, it becomes hard when the battery drops below 10% where the maximum speed then goes to 17 km / h and there, it’s really not fast and we are then overtaken by some bikes.

In terms of details, the turn signals emit a small sound, but above all turn off automatically once the turn is made. Usually, this type of feature only exists on high-end motorcycles..

Maneuverability in townManeuverability in town

And finally, if turning the throttle makes you tired, there’s cruise control! Yes, you read that right ! And indeed, we can stall at any speed, the regulator is simply deactivated at the first corner or when accelerating..

Braking

As much the N had a largely oversized braking (it must be said that the N has the same braking in 50 as the 125 version), the braking of the M is softer and requires to take the handles well to crush them in order to be efficient, while sometimes producing an impression of spongy. There is a disc brake at the front, however, even if the rear is drum. However, it brakes well but not surprisingly and gently and is at the height of the power of the scooter. In any case, it is difficult to block the rear, including in wet conditions, which is also rather reassuring on a daily basis..

Front disc brake and rear drum brakeFront disc brake and rear drum brake

Comfort / Duo

With a 45mm thick saddle, the M offers a good seat. If the model does not have the same qualities of suspension as its big brother N with its unique shock absorber, the comfort is sufficient and better than some 125 cm3 scooters, so that we can drive naturally avoiding potholes and rutted pavements. So, for daily trips, it does it very well.

Long and thick saddleLong and thick saddle

There is no passenger footrest (available as an option) but there are passenger handles on the other hand. It is therefore possible to put a small template behind. For having done ten kilometers in duet, the suspensions are more compressed and the comfort a little less than solo. But above all the top speed is limited, in particular that the flat turns into slight odds. It is approved as a duo, we can do a duet, but we will do it in an exceptional way.

Urban mobility in NIU M1Urban mobility in NIU M1

Autonomy

NIU announces about fifty kilometers and it is indeed almost the case … if we use the eco mode. In fact, in performance mode, the scooter loses 10% of range every 5 km … which means that the gauge decreases quite quickly. If you are in performance mode and there are a few odds or mostly false flat, you can even lose 30% of range over 12 kilometers. The relief is naturally essential, the same journey in kilometers resulting in a difference in energy consumption. Thus, having made the same 12 km trip several times, the outward journey uses 30-32% of the battery when it uses "only" 24% on the return, which still makes nearly 25% of consumption difference. at identical mileage. But if on the same trip you leave the scooter freewheeling downhill, you can even descend with only 19% battery usage. Thus, in performance mode with a casting * driving, I managed to do 36 kilometers in fact … before falling below 10% battery and therefore in eco mode. A sunken driving means decelerating when you see the red, orange or red light in the distance and avoiding braking as much as possible, anticipating as much as possible.

So that for use like mine where I do nearly 25 kilometers per day, it is better to recharge every day (distance which drops the battery from 100% to 37% on average, when there is a night between ‘go and return). And all the more so since below 10% battery, the system protects itself by limiting the power which does not exceed Eco mode and 17 km / h. So we actually use a 90% battery range and never 100%. Suddenly, in performance mode, the autonomy is rather 35-38 km, which in a city like Paris and near suburbs is a bit tight.

It is no surprise to find yourself in eco mode, since a red light comes on on the dashboard as soon as there is only 15% of battery life left..

Note that we tried the cheapest model at 2,000 euros (1990 euros), with its 26 Ah battery. There is a model above at 2300 euros with a 32 Ah battery which would offer more than 10 kilometers of autonomy in addition (depending on the terrain, the use and the weight of the driver; but does not take into account the age of the captain).

NIU M1 jig and its 60 kilosNIU M1 jig and its 60 kilos

Recharge

Like its big brother, the main strength of the model is the removable battery. And it is even more obvious for this model, because the battery is not only much lighter but it is placed under the saddle and therefore more easily removable, with a more natural operation than the superior model..

The external charger at home, we therefore naturally connect the battery, which has five LEDs, allowing to know the level of charge, a complete recharge being carried out in five hours. Likewise, if the battery is at 40% charge, it is recharged to 100% in less than 3 hours..

Note that the tracker uses electricity and therefore causes a natural discharge at night, each time of 5%. Fortunately, it automatically switches to a less consuming mode afterwards; for leaving it two days / three nights without using it, it hadn’t lost more than 4% again.

Rear view with mirrorsRear view with mirrors

Convenient

As the battery is under the saddle, you immediately lose in place. There is therefore only room to put on a disk pad, or even rain pants..

On the other hand, the key ring integrates the means of turning on the scooter remotely, as one does with a car to find it in a parking lot. Convenient.

Safe occupied by the battery with space for a disk unitSafe occupied by the battery with space for a disk unit

Mobile app

This is a mobile application identical to that of the big brother, the big advantage of which is to locate the scooter. Useful when you have forgotten the exact street where you parked it but also if you notice that the scooter is moving and that is not normal. The accuracy of the tracker / gps is rather precise, even if when one is close to a street intersection, it can pass from one moment to another, to two different addresses on each of the respective streets.

Revisions

It seems that the first models had problems with the ECU and the link between mobile application and geolocation, but all the electronics being connected with the scooter, this could have caused the scooter to malfunction..

Conclusion

A nice look, ease of handling, performance superior to a cyclo, quality components for a longevity exceeding the stage of the toy, the NIU M has almost everything to seduce if there was this limited autonomy which almost obliges to charge it every day in real use in a metropolis like Paris / suburbs whereas in a city, this will be enough not to have the impression to put it to charge permanently. However, its performance means that compared to a large model and urban use, travel times are almost identical in busy hours and just 25% longer if not and in the end only a few minutes of difference. . And chaining two electrical tests, it made me funny not to have to go to the gas pump for several weeks.

Strong points

  • style, design
  • ease of use
  • price
  • removable battery and easy transport of the battery

Weak points

  • autonomy
  • place under the saddle occupied by the battery

Niu M1 technical sheet

NIU M1 video

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: city and suburbs
  • Scooter mileage: 200 km
  • Problem encountered: being reduced to driving several kilometers at 17 km / h max. because under the 10% remaining battery

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