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NIU KQi Air Electric Scooter Review

The KQi Air is a featherweight game-changer, but there are things you should know before buying.

in Electric Scooters
Founder & EV Reviewer
NIU KQi Air electric scooter review thumbnail
8.9
Our Rating
View Full Ratings chevron-down
8
Speed
8
Acceleration & Hills
8
Range
10
Portability
9
Ride Quality
10
Build Quality
10
Safety
10
Features
8
Value

Our review score is based on thorough real-world testing and is always held up against comparable models.

How We Test
Key Specs

Values marked with '*' are based on our independent testing and may differ from those specified by the manufacturer.

Top Speed
20.1 MPH*
Range
24.2 miles*
Motor
350 W
Battery
451.2 Wh
Tires
9.5"
Weight
26.4 lbs
Quick Take
The NIU KQi Air is easily the best ultraportable electric scooter I’ve ever tested. It is incredibly lightweight but still delivers excellent performance and ride comfort. It may be light, but it’s heavy on useful features.
What we like
  • checkmarkIncredibly lightweight
  • checkmarkBest ride quality for an ultra-portable
  • checkmarkRecord-breaking range-to-weight ratio
  • checkmarkGreat light setup with turn signals
  • checkmarkFeature-rich mobile app
  • checkmarkFast charging
  • checkmarkIP55 weather resistance
  • checkmarkVery loud horn
What we don't like
  • crossExpensive spec for spec
  • crossRear fender hook was better on KQi3s
  • crossCannot turn off the motor lock alarm
  • crossTurn signal screws tend to loosen

The NIU KQi Air has been my daily commuter for over two months, covering more than 400 miles through city streets and hills. I’ve benchmarked its performance and pushed it to its limits to see how far it’ll go against the most popular competitors. But does the KQi Air live up to the hype? Find out in the data-driven review.

The KQi Air, NIU's latest electric kick scooter, is arguably the most innovative model in 2024. It sets itself apart by being “impossibly light” without compromising power, comfort, or safety, thanks to its body made from 70% carbon fiber and 30% magnesium.

Too many retailers and “brands” are still pushing outdated designs as flagship models, but NIU is among the few constantly innovating—and I’m all for it. The result? A design that is simply better than any other ultra-light scooter I’ve tested.

Performance Summary

Tested Speed
20.1 MPH
Tested Range
24.2 miles
Acceleration 0-15 MPH
4.99 s
Acceleration 0-20 MPH
13.1 s
Hill Climb (8% incline)
15.6 MPH (A+)
Brake from 15 MPH
13 ft (B+)

Speed & Motor Performance

NIU KQi Air motor

The NIU KQi Air has solid motor performance. I achieved a tested top speed of 20.1 MPH (32.3 KMH) and managed to climb a 17% incline. In other words, this scooter is geared for challenging, hill-packed commutes.

The NIU KQi Air has a 350W rear hub motor with a peak output of 700W. Thanks to the 48V battery, the motor can draw more current than 36V competitors (cough… Segway), resulting in better overall motor performance and much better performance retention.

The NIU KQi Air’s motor performance feels similar to the NIU KQi3 Pro but is notably faster than the Ninebot Max G30P and TurboAnt X7 Max. While slightly behind the KQi3 Max and Ninebot Max G2 in terms of power, both those models are significantly heavier. The only ultra-portable scooter to beat it is the Fluid Mosquito (and some E-Twow models); however, they’re nowhere near as comfortable or stable to ride, in my opinion.

What is the top speed of the NIU KQi Air?

NIU advertises a 20 MPH top speed for the KQi Air. I put it to the test using high-precision performance logging gear. I clocked a maximum speed of 20.1 MPH (32.3 KMH) as a 175 lbs (80 kg) rider.

ModelTop Speed$/Speed
NIU KQi Air
$1049 USD
20.1 MPH
(32.3 KMH)
$52.19/MPH
NIU KQi3 Pro
$639.98 USD
19.7 MPH
(31.7 KMH)
$32.49/MPH
NIU KQi3 Max
$749.97 USD
23 MPH
(37 KMH)
$32.61/MPH
Segway Ninebot Max G30P
$699.99 USD
18.4 MPH
(29.6 KMH)
$38.04/MPH
Segway Ninebot Max G2
$899.99 USD
22.4 MPH
(36 KMH)
$40.18/MPH
TurboAnt X7 Max
$419.98 USD
19.55 MPH
(31.5 KMH)
$21.48/MPH
fluid Mosquito
$799 USD
25.6 MPH
(41.2 KMH)
$31.21/MPH

The KQi Air isn't the cheapest option for speed, but I'm actually impressed that it's still fairly competitive, given how much more expensive a carbon fiber build is. You're not getting a snail-pace scooter, but you're definitely paying a premium for a drop in overall weight.

When going full speed, I felt completely in control of the ride. It's stable, fun, and easy to carve the road with, and overall, it's much more confidence-inducing than solid-tire ultra-portables.

How fast does the NIU KQi Air accelerate?

I tested the acceleration of a wide range of electric scooters. The NIU KQi Air accelerates to 15 MPH in 4.99 seconds and 20 MPH in 13.1 seconds.

Model0-15 MPH0-20 MPH0-25 MPH
NIU KQi Air4.99 s13.1 s-
NIU KQi3 Pro4.82 s--
NIU KQi3 Max4.36 s8.89 s-
Segway Ninebot Max G30P5.85 s--
Segway Ninebot Max G24.65 s8.51 s-
TurboAnt X7 Max8.29 s--
fluid Mosquito4.36 s8.44 s18.3 s

I found the acceleration response on the KQi Air is super smooth. It's got enough zing to accelerate on inclines and feels very capable in demanding urban environments.

Where I saw 36V options like the G30P and Max G2 from Segway lose some power very quickly into their charge, the NIU KQi Air kept performing until the battery was almost empty. Long live the 48V setup.

How does the NIU KQi Air handle hills?

I tested the KQi Air on a 250 ft (76 m) incline with an average grade of 8%. The NIU Air confidently reached the top in 21.6 seconds with an average speed of 7.9 MPH (12.7 KMH).

So, how does that stack up against the competition?

ModelTimeSpeed
NIU KQi Air21.6 s7.9 MPH (12.7 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Pro24.4 s7 MPH (11.2 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Max11.5 s14.8 MPH (23.9 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G30P28.8 s5.9 MPH (9.5 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G211.6 s14.7 MPH (23.6 KMH)
TurboAnt X7 Max26.3 s6.5 MPH (10.4 KMH)
fluid Mosquito10.9 s15.6 MPH (25.2 KMH)

The KQi Air fairs well against other scooters in the 300W-350W range, but I've found that there's generally a big performance leap up to 450W-500W models on mild inclines.

Seeing that it's up for a more demanding challenge, I tested it on the steepest hill in Aalborg on Skovbakkevej, which peaks at 17%. The NIU KQi Air impressed me by making it to the top (albeit at a 4 MPH pace), which is more than can be said about the G30P and X7 Max.

Overall, I'm super impressed by the NIU KQi Air's motor performance. It's responsive, has excellent performance retention, and doesn't feel jumpy when accelerating. I felt a big difference in zippiness and "oomph" compared to 36V.

Range & Battery Performance

NIU KQi Air charging port

The NIU KQi Air truly impressed me with 24.2 miles (38.9 km) range in my tests. It stands tall as the range king of ultraportable scooters—and it isn't even close.

Batteries are heavy, so I feared NIU would cut corners and drop the battery capacity on the KQi Air to make it light. But, to my surprise, NIU has managed to fit a 48V 451.2 Wh battery into the Air. Not only that, but they've also upgraded to new 21700 cells over the industry-standard 18650s. It's a newer technology with higher energy density, and I think we'll see the industry adapt to it in the coming years, but as usual, NIU is a step ahead of the curve.

Charging the KQi Air is decently fast. Using the bundled 2A charger with a 109.2 W output, it took me just 5 hours to fully charge the battery. In comparison: KQi3s charge at 108 W and TurboAnt X7 Max at 84 W. The Ninebot Max range is a bit faster at 121 W.

Battery Capacity Comparison

ModelBattery Capacity$/Wh
NIU KQi Air
($1,049.00 USD)
451.2 Wh
(48V, 9.4Ah)
$2.32/Wh
NIU KQi3 Pro
($639.98 USD)
486.7 Wh
(48V, 10.1Ah)
$1.31/Wh
NIU KQi3 Max
($749.97 USD)
608 Wh
(48V, 12.7Ah)
$1.23/Wh
Segway Ninebot Max G30P
($699.99 USD)
551 Wh
(36V, 15.3Ah)
$1.27/Wh
Segway Ninebot Max G2
($899.99 USD)
551 Wh
(36V, 15.3Ah)
$1.63/Wh
TurboAnt X7 Max
($419.98 USD)
360 Wh
(36V, 10Ah)
$1.17/Wh
fluid Mosquito
($799.00 USD)
461 Wh
(48V, 9.6Ah)
$1.73/Wh
Based on current best prices (updated every 24 hours)

In the ultra-lightweight category, the NIU KQi Air's main competitor is the Fluid Mosquito, which boasts a similar battery capacity. However, I found the KQi Air much more comfortable and secure to ride than the Mosquito's narrow deck and solid tires. While the Mosquito has a slight motor power edge, the KQi Air's overall riding experience is superior.

Range Tests

Battery capacity is one thing, but factors like efficiency and scooter weight can greatly affect real-world range.

To understand how much range the NIU KQi Air truly delivers in the real world, I conducted three tests at varying speeds from a full charge. All tests were conducted in the fastest speed mode and with cruise control enabled.

Test (#)RangeAvg. Speed
#1: Speed Priority18.5 miles
29.8 km
17.8 MPH
28.6 KMH
#2: Regular24.2 miles
38.9 km
15 MPH
24.1 KMH
#3: Range Priority27.3 miles
43.9 km
12.6 MPH
20.3 KMH

As a 175 lbs (80 kg) rider, I achieved the following range results on the NIU KQi Air:

In the speed priority test, I went as fast as possible and got 18.5 miles on a single charge.

In the regular range test—the best comparison to a real-world ride—I scored a whopping 24.2 miles.

In the range priority test, I rode the Air conservatively at a low speed and got 27.3 miles (close to the manufacturer-specified 31 miles).

Range Comparison

I conducted the same range tests on various alternatives to see how the models compare.

NIU KQi Air range comparison with popular competitors

#1: Speed Priority

ModelRangeAvg. Speed
NIU KQi Air18.5 miles
(29.8 km)
17.8 MPH
(28.6 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Pro17.9 miles
(28.8 km)
18.1 MPH
(29.1 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Max24.6 miles
(39.6 km)
19.5 MPH
(31.4 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G30P27.6 miles
(44.4 km)
17.0 MPH
(27.4 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G221.3 miles
(34.3 km)
18.3 MPH
(29.5 KMH)
TurboAnt X7 Max13.4 miles
(21.6 km)
17.9 MPH
(28.8 KMH)
fluid Mosquito16.1 miles
(25.9 km)
21.1 MPH
(34 KMH)
Test #1 (Speed Priority)

#2: Regular

ModelRangeAvg. Speed
NIU KQi Air24.2 miles
(38.9 km)
15 MPH
(24.1 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Pro23.5 miles
(37.8 km)
14.9 MPH
(24 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Max31.1 miles
(50.1 km)
15.1 MPH
(24.3 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G30P30.3 miles
(48.8 km)
14.7 MPH
(23.7 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G229.8 miles
(48 km)
15.2 MPH
(24.5 KMH)
TurboAnt X7 Max15.4 miles
(24.8 km)
14.8 MPH
(23.8 KMH)
fluid Mosquito18.9 miles
(30.4 km)
15.8 MPH
(25.4 KMH)
Test #2 (Regular Speed)

#3: Range Priority

ModelRangeAvg. Speed
NIU KQi Air27.3 miles
(43.9 km)
12.6 MPH
(20.3 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Pro26.9 miles
(43.3 km)
12.5 MPH
(20.1 KMH)
NIU KQi3 Max35.9 miles
(57.8 km)
12.2 MPH
(19.6 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G30P34.5 miles
(55.5 km)
11.9 MPH
(19.2 KMH)
Segway Ninebot Max G233.4 miles
(53.8 km)
12.2 MPH
(19.6 KMH)
TurboAnt X7 Max18.2 miles
(29.3 km)
12.5 MPH
(20.1 KMH)
fluid Mosquito22.9 miles
(36.9 km)
12.8 MPH
(20.6 KMH)
Test #3 (Range Priority)

The comparison speaks for itself. The NIU KQi Air goes the distance and beats most competitors apart from the models that have obviously bigger capacities.

What's most impressive to me is how much range you're getting at such a low weight. It comfortably beats the Mosquito, which I believe is due to the new battery technology and more efficient and refined components.

Range-to-Weight Ratio

ModelRangeWeightRatio
NIU KQi Air24.2 miles26.4 lbs0.92 miles/lb
NIU KQi3 Pro23.5 miles44.8 lbs0.52 miles/lb
NIU KQi3 Max31.1 miles46.3 lbs0.67 miles/lb
Segway Ninebot Max G30P30.3 miles41.2 lbs0.74 miles/lb
Segway Ninebot Max G229.8 miles53.5 lbs0.56 miles/lb
TurboAnt X7 Max15.4 miles34.2 lbs0.45 miles/lb
fluid Mosquito18.9 miles29 lbs0.65 miles/lb

The NIU KQi Air scores extremely high on range relative to its weight, offering 0.92 miles/lb. Actually, it's the best weight-to-range ratio I've ever tested!

If you want ample range in a featherweight, the Air is the way to go. Max G30P and G2 may go further, but the Air is less than half the weight of the latter!

Ride Quality

carving on the NIU KQi Air
play

Lightweight scooters often compromise on ride quality, combining solid tires with a small deck and narrow handlebars. However, the NIU KQi Air breaks this mold, offering the most confidence-inducing ride I've ever tested in a featherweight.

Tires & Suspension

NIU KQi Air front tire

The NIU KQi Air boasts 9.5" x 2.3" tubeless tires.

I tested it in various scenarios: Smooth city streets, rough asphalt, and hardpacked trails. The tires do an excellent job of absorbing road vibrations and shocks. It's a much more comfortable ride compared to solid tire options that may give you a jarring "brain massage" (if you know, you know).

The NIU KQi Air is easily the most versatile electric scooter in its class when it comes to the variety of surfaces it can handle. During my testing, I found that it easily tackles rough asphalt, smooth trails, small potholes, and wet roads – conditions that would make riders of solid-tire scooters think twice about venturing out.

It's a bummer the KQi Air didn't get the same front-fork suspension overhaul we've seen on the KQi 300 series, but that'd almost surely increase its weight. I would love to see a future version with suspension for those extra demanding commutes, but I can confidently say you're well-served with a reliable year-round commuter for now.

Braking

Testing the brakes on the NIU KQi Air
play

While the dual disc brakes on the KQi3 Pro and Max provide ample stopping power, they always seemed excessive to me. When riding at speeds around 20 MPH, a single disc brake combined with electronic braking is more than sufficient – and this is exactly what the NIU KQi Air offers, striking a perfect balance between safety and practicality.

To determine the brakes' reliability, I conducted 10 test runs from 15 MPH to a standstill in dry conditions and measured a stopping distance of 12.4 ft (3.78 m). Tests were done with regen braking maxed out.

ModelBraking Distance
NIU KQi Air12.4 ft (3.8 m)
NIU KQi3 Pro10.4 ft (3.2 m)
NIU KQi3 Max10.4 ft (3.2 m)
Segway Ninebot Max G30P12.6 ft (3.8 m)
Segway Ninebot Max G211.7 ft (3.6 m)
TurboAnt X7 Max15.2 ft (4.6 m)
fluid Mosquito15.1 ft (4.6 m)
Braking from 15 MPH (24.2 KMH).

The NIU KQi Air's braking performance is impressive, especially considering the small disc/rotor size. It comfortably outperforms the Segway Ninebot Max G30P, TurboAnt X7 Max, and Fluid Mosquito. Generally, a braking distance below 14 ft is considered good, and under 13 ft is great.

The KQi Air's regenerative motor braking is exceptionally smooth and integrates seamlessly with the mechanical brake lever, regardless of whether it's set to the strongest or weakest setting. I felt no noticeable delay or jumpiness. NIU, Segway, and Apollo are some of the only brands that have nailed smooth regen braking, and the Air is no exception.

Overall, the KQi Air provides all the stopping power you need in a 20-mph electric scooter. It feels safe and responsive and is easy to dial to your strength preference via the app.

Deck

NIU KQi Air deck closeup

The NIU KQi Air's deck perfectly blends aesthetics and functionality. The carbon-fiber surface with the slogan "Make life electric" in the middle not only looks stunning but is also easy to maintain and keep clean.

There's grip tape strategically placed along the edges. It provides superior traction compared to the soft rubber alternatives found in most competitors. While grip tape may not be as easy to clean, NIU has struck an excellent balance by using it only in areas of the deck where it matters.

I've measured the usable deck space to be 18.5" x 7.5" (47 cm x 19.1 cm), which is by far the largest in an ultra-lightweight scooter. If I had to list my top 5 things that make a ride comfortable, the deck is definitely on there. There's enough width for riders of all sizes and you can easily change your footing to reduce strain on longer rides.

I also wanna highlight that the deck is concave. It's rare in electric scooters, but there's a reason it's a staple in the skating world. This small detail enhances maneuverability and control, so props to NIU for bringing it into the e-scooter world.

The KQi Air has 2.9" (7.4 cm) of ground clearance, which is fairly short but enough for small curbs. Tall curbs should be avoided (I scratched the deck's underside trying). The low clearance improves ride quality by lowering the center of gravity. This greatly enhances handling and stability, making turns incredibly smooth.

Cockpit

NIU KQi Air cockpit

The NIU KQi Air's comfortable design continues with its 21.3" (54.1 cm) wide handlebars. Many lightweight scooters have narrow, sometimes foldable handlebars, but I love that the Air accommodates larger riders. Narrow handlebar models can feel sketchy around 20 MPH, but that isn't the case with the Air. You always feel safe and in control, partly thanks to the wide grip.

The deck-to-handlebar height of 39.8 inches (101 cm) is the sweet spot for accommodating a wide range of rider heights. It's perfect for riders between 5'3" (160 cm) and 6'7" (200 cm).

The KQi Air's cockpit is clean and minimalistic, with few visible cables and connections – a signature of NIU's design philosophy.

I find the soft, textured grips comfortable without being too thick. This is increasingly important when I ride with gloves in colder months, as thicker grips can strain my hands. The KQi Air's thin grips are perfect for year-round comfort.

NIU KQi Air throttle and buttons

The four-button controls for power, modes, turn signals, and the horn are satisfyingly tactile, but I would have preferred the icons to be in white for better visibility when you're still getting used to the scooter. I absolutely love that you can finally change ride modes by pressing the power button, which means you don't have to tediously pull out your phone to change it in the app anymore. The scooter can be turned on using either the NFC card or OkGo! Bluetooth connectivity.

This is NIU's first twist throttle, and I must say, I'm in love. Although thumb throttles are typically my preference, they can strain my finger on longer rides. The half-twist throttle eliminates this issue, making it ideal for extended use. It's also perfect for people with reduced finger dexterity due to injuries or conditions like arthritis.

I want to quickly mention the electronic horn because it's (scarily) loud and great. The first time I heard it, I was jumpscared as I was just pushing the scooter, and the alarm sounded (more on that later). The Segway Ninebot Max G2 received a lot of warranted criticism for its practically useless low-volume horn, but the KQi Air's horn will definitely be heard from across the street.

NIU KQi Air display

The display in the middle of the cockpit shows important ride information, but I found it hard to read in direct sunlight. Many brands have this issue, so it's the same with almost any same-priced competitor. Still, the overall look is super clean and intuitive. Sometimes, more is less, and it seems NIU's design team agrees with that.

Portability

The NIU KQi Air is in a lightweight league of its own. No other ultra-portable electric kick scooter rides as smoothly - that's the carbon fiber construction at work.

Weight & Dimensions

The NIU KQi Air weighs just 26.4 lbs (12 kg). It is practically unheard of. I've ridden my fair share of lightweight scooters, and most honestly suck to ride. You've got those narrow, foldable handlebars with too much play or dinky solid tires that can't handle anything but perfect roads (often both). But the KQi Air changes the game completely!

Weight comparison of NIU KQi Air and other scooters chart
ModelWeight (lbs)Weight (kg)
NIU KQi Air26.4 lbs12 kg
NIU KQi3 Pro44.8 lbs20.3 kg
NIU KQi3 Max46.3 lbs21 kg
Segway Ninebot Max G30P41.2 lbs18.7 kg
Segway Ninebot Max G253.5 lbs24.3 kg
TurboAnt X7 Max34.2 lbs15.5 kg
fluid Mosquito29 lbs13.2 kg
Based on our own high-precision weight measurements.

The KQi Air is a mind-blowing 51% lighter than the KQi3 Pro despite similar performance and less than half the weight of the Max G2! Oh boy, did I feel the difference hauling this thing around. The G2 is borderline clumsy to carry (albeit great to ride), but the Air is a breeze to throw into a trunk, through a crosswalk, or onto public transit.

I climb too many stairs to count every day and can already hear my future self thanking me for choosing a lighter, more practical commuter. Before I'd steer clear of lightweights due to subpar ride quality, weak motors, or range anxiety, but this scooter is just a breath of fresh "Air" (pun intended).

Now, some might argue that portability isn't just about weight – dimensions matter, too. With its sizable frame and wide, non-foldable handlebars, the KQi Air isn't quite as pocket-sized as the Fluid Mosquito or E-Twow models.

Folded, it measures 21.3 x 18.9 x 44.9 in (64.9 x 57.6 x 136.9 cm), and unfolded, it's 21.3 x 46.7 x 44.9 in (64.9 x 142.3 x 136.9 cm) – that's more than double the Mosquito's footprint. But it's a tradeoff I'm willing to make for a ride that's leagues smoother and more versatile.

Folding & Carrying

Folding the NIU KQi Air electric scooter
play

The NIU KQi Air's folding mechanism is top-notch. It's easy to operate, features a safety pin to prevent accidental release, and has no wiggle or play.

The KQi Air's rear fender latch feels like a step back from the KQi3 line, which I praised as the best-in-class in my KQi3 Pro and KQi3 Max reviews. Now, you need to bend down and push the mechanism back before connecting – an extra step compared to previous models.

I'm also worried about the excessive lubrication, which quickly attracts grime that could work its way into the latch point, potentially causing issues. I'm unsure why NIU changed this part – it was perfect before. It's not bad now, but it's a step in the wrong direction.

Carrying the KQi Air is an absolute breeze. Its lightweight build and even weight distribution make it feel like I could carry it for days if needed. This makes using an electric scooter for quick errands like hitting the shop or the gym far more practical for me.

Build Quality & Safety

NIU KQi Air closeup

The NIU KQi Air electric scooter is a masterclass in design from start to finish. It's full of innovation and has aced my rigorous testing with flying colors.

Material & Construction

Most electric scooters are made from aluminum alloys and plastics, but the KQi Air is different. Its frame is 70% carbon fiber and 30% magnesium (in the neck and stem). The Air X takes it even further with a 100% carbon fiber frame.

So, what's the big deal with carbon fiber? In a nutshell, it's 3x stronger than aluminum alloy and a lot lighter. NIU claims the Air is 40% lighter than other scooters in its class.

So, why isn't everyone using carbon fiber? Two reasons: it's pricier and trickier to work with. The NIU KQi Air is a premium, one-of-a-kind design that sheds a ton of weight, but it comes at a cost. Sure, you can find cheaper 20 MPH scooters or ones with bigger batteries, but they'll be heavier, less comfy, or less durable.

Fenders

NIU KQi Air fenders

The Air has very sturdy fenders. It's great to see the rear fender with three contact points on the frame. In my book, that's a must for any scooter without a rear disc or drum brake that needs regular access.

Both fenders do an excellent job of keeping water away, so you don't end up with a wet deck or mud-splattered pants after riding in the rain.

Kickstand

Kickstand NIU KQi Air

The kickstand is another solid upgrade. It's a small part that often gets overlooked, but there's nothing worse than a scooter that topples over because of a poorly balanced kickstand.

The Air's kickstand is beefy, with a wide base and a large contact patch with the ground. This makes for much more stable parking. But keep in mind that with such a lightweight scooter, you should always be careful leaving it fully upright in strong winds, as it might just get blown over.

Folding Mechanism

NIU KQi Air folding mechanism

The folding mechanism's structural integrity is top-notch. It's sturdy, doesn't flex, and has held up incredibly well to my 400 miles of demanding test riding. I've also folded it 200 times to see if it starts creaking, but it's still as smooth as it was on day one.

Apart from the rear folding latch, which is a step back in practicality compared to previous models, the folding mechanism is great. It's still much less awkward to fold than the off-centered stem folding on the Max G30P and Max G2.

Weather Resistance

The KQi Air boasts an IP55 weather resistance rating, the highest of any NIU model to date. I've been caught in light and moderate rainfall more times than I can count (thanks, Denmark), and I've had zero issues. Plus, the tires offer excellent traction on wet surfaces, which is a rarity among ultralight scooters.

But remember, electric scooter manufacturers don't cover water damage, so ride carefully and at your own risk. However, based on my own tests, everything I've read about it, and the official lab results, the KQi Air is built to handle most rainy days. Just don't forget to give it a good wipe-down afterward.

Lights & Visibility

Lights on the NIU KQi Air

The NIU KQi Air has an excellent light setup. I'm a huge fan of the "always on" system - here in Denmark, you're required to use lights 24/7, and I often forget during the day, so thanks, NIU!

The signature Halo headlight is very bright. I tested the visibility from 300 ft away and could easily spot it at night. It's high-mounted and can be angled down, which I find perfect. The taillight is also super bright and gets brighter when you engage the brakes, though I prefer it when they blink.

Turn signals on NIU KQi Air

And now, something the community has been asking for - we finally have turn signals on a NIU scooter! You've got bright orange lights at the ends of the handlebar, and thanks to the impressive handlebar width, they're usually visible from any angle. That said, I wouldn't have minded scrapping the tail light for a two-light setup that would also indicate turns.

I've seen reports of the turn signals coming loose due to road vibrations, but I haven't experienced it on my unit. A simple fix is to add threadlocker (a cheap DIY solution), but it would've been great if NIU had taken care of this out of the box.

Finally, there's a cool new modular light on the stem. Using the app, you can set it to match power output, battery level, and more. It just looks really slick.

Without a doubt, this is the best light setup I've seen on a NIU scooter, and arguably the best in its class.

Smartphone App

The NIU KQi Air integrates seamlessly with NIU's free smartphone app (available on both Android and iOS). Some find the setup process tedious, but I don't mind. Over-the-air firmware updates are also a plus as NIU continually refines the ride.

Within the app, you have access to ride statistics, tutorials, and more. You also get a more accurate representation (in percentages from 0-100) of your remaining battery life and a mileage estimation, which is super helpful.

The app also offers a variety of customization options:

  • Speed limiting
  • Regenerative brake strength
  • Push-to-start speed
  • Cruise control
  • Battery charge limit
  • Acceleration strength
  • Ambient lights and daytime running lights

Another feature I appreciate is the ability to track battery cycles. It's a good indicator of battery health and helps you make informed decisions about when to replace the battery.

However, I have one gripe and a feature request for the app. I find it really annoying that the motor-blocking theft alarm can't be turned off completely. You can only mute the horn, so I have to enable Bluetooth or turn the scooter on to move it around. It's really annoying when I want to throw it in the trunk, park it or take it inside a shop. I'm hoping NIU will allow us to disable it entirely in a future update, although anti-theft measures are welcomed (as long as you can control them yourself).

Verdict - Should You Buy the NIU KQi Air?

NIU KQi Air photo with boats in the background

The NIU KQi Air gets my highest recommendation, as it achieves something no other scooter has: high performance and ride comfort in an ultralight and reliable design. Previously, you could only choose two out of three: performance, ride quality, or portability. But the KQi Air ticks all the boxes, making it the ultimate choice for riders who refuse to compromise.

If you don't mind paying a bit extra for a featherweight scooter you can easily carry around, the NIU KQi Air is a perfect choice. While there are alternatives offering more speed or range at this price point, they are either significantly heavier or much less comfortable to ride.

The KQi Air's unique combination of portability, performance, and ride quality makes it worth the investment for riders who prioritize convenience without compromising the overall ride.

Alternatives to consider:

  • NIU KQi3 Pro
    • Pros: Similar performance and ride comfort, cheaper.
    • Cons: 51% heavier, no turn signals
  • Fluid Mosquito
    • Pros: Slightly faster motor, equally lightweight, cheaper
    • Cons: Less range, much less comfortable to ride

Full Specifications

Our Tests

Top speed20.1 MPH (32.3 KMH)
Acceleration
0-15 MPH
Avg: 4.99 seconds
Best: 4.62 seconds
Acceleration
0-20 MPH
Avg: 13.1 seconds
Best: 12.3 seconds
Acceleration
0-20.1 MPH (32.3 KMH) MPH
Avg: 13.5 seconds
Best: 12.5 seconds
Hill climb
250ft @8%
21.6 s (Avg Speed: 7.9 MPH)
Range (speed priority)18.5 miles (29.8 km)
Range (regular)24.2 miles (38.9 km)
Range (range priority)27.3 miles (43.9 km)
Braking distance
15 MPH - 0 MPH
12.4 ft (3.78 m)
Handlebar width21.3" (54.1 cm)
Deck-to-handlebar39.8" (101 cm)
Unfolded size21.3 x 46.7 x 44.9 in (64.9 x 142.3 x 136.9 cm)
Folded size21.3 x 18.9 x 44.9 in (64.9 x 57.6 x 136.9 cm)
Ground clearance2.9" (7.4 cm)
Deck18.5" x 7.5" (47 cm x 19.1 cm)
Charging time5 hours

Manufacturer Specifications

BrandNIU
Top speed20 MPH (32.2 KMH)
Motor power (nominal)350W
Motor power (max)700W
Motor Voltage48V
Range31 miles (49.9 km)
Battery48V, 9.4Ah
Battery capacity451.2 Wh
Charging time5 hours
IP ratingIP55
Weight26.4 lbs (12 kg)
Max load265 lbs (120.2 kg)
Tire typeTubeless, pneumatic, self-heading
Tire size9.5" x 2"
SuspensionNone
BrakesFront disc brake, regen
Throttle typeHalf-twist throttle
LightsHeadlight, brake light, turn signals, ambient light
Additional featuresSpeed modes, app connectivity, over-the-air firmware updates, anti-theft alarm, electronic horn

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