A pioneer in the still shy world of electric scooters, the Chinese Niu offers an evolved version of its classic model in the 125 equivalent, with large wheels for road holding and medium-capacity batteries that keep its price down. What is it worth to the test of the Parisian pavement?
Electric scooters are the perfect solution in town for those who don’t want an electric bike. Because even if with the new cycle paths, the VAE are sometimes the fastest in the heart of cities, they remain unprotected against bad weather and with a speed of movement and a more limited range of action. E-scooters do this, remaining both emission-free and quiet for those who don’t want to add a heat engine to city traffic.
However, the models available (at least, those provided by serious manufacturers and with a real follow-up) are not legion, even less in equivalent 125 cm³. So with performances that are not limited to 45 km / h like the 50 cm³ equivalents, but with the constraint of having a B license with two years of experience combined with a 7-hour training course for those who have their license since 2013.
A basic design, but effective
The Chinese manufacturer Niu is the leader in modern electric scooters and the design silhouette of its NQi model is already known in our streets, with its round LED headlight and smooth profile. It does not change here for this new version launched this year, with one nuance: the wheels adopt a larger diameter of 14 inches, guaranteeing more efficient behavior and improved comfort.
The saddle height is impacted, going to 815 mm, which remains very accessible for average riders. A dynamic and sympathetic look for this Chinese scooter, whose close examination reveals a quality of manufacture and sometimes basic finish.
The colors offered are black or white, with contrasting red or white bands.
We knew all these characteristics with the NGT, except for the diameter of the wheels, as well as another “detail”: the two batteries here are of limited capacity, which allows this version to be displayed at 3,599 euros (- 390 euros of state aid), ie… 1,000 euros less than its big brother.
Except that instead of 170 km of autonomy, it displays 85 km with its capacity of twice 1.5 kWh (26 Ah each, 60 V), in two lithium batteries (2 year warranty) rechargeable on board the scooter or, by carrying them (11 kg each!), at home or in the office. It will take 6 hours to recharge them on a normal outlet.
The liquid crystal instrument panel offers a fairly complete display with the state of charge of the two batteries and the driving mode selected, sometimes difficult to read with the reflections of the sun. The Niu is connected, but its designers still haven’t offered it a display allowing it to integrate GPS navigation, that’s a shame.
We note in the apron the presence of a hook to hang a small bag, a USB socket to charge a smartphone, which must be placed in the small storage space open on the side. A remote control enables or disengages the alarm, and conventional commodos include hazard warning lights and a driving mode selector. A cruise control function allows you to maintain a selected speed of progression, as in a car. One can frankly doubt its interest and especially, fear a danger in the event of inattention of the driver.
The Niu Android and iOS application allows GPS tracking to locate the scooter, have anti-theft alerts, a diagnosis of the scooter, driving statistics.
70 km / h, a limited compromise
Three driving modes are offered, the most economical too limiting (25 km / h max!), The intermediate being sufficient for urban evolutions, with its limitation to 50 km / h which has the merit of limiting the risks of excess of speed. As for the mode allowing to reach the top speed of 70 km / h, if this is just enough on the Paris ring road, it is better not to venture too much on expressways, it remains too fair to be well inserted in the flow. other vehicles, including trucks …
On the other hand, in the city center, the acceleration remains sufficiently dynamic to integrate well into the traffic and we take pleasure in the handlebars of this narrow scooter, agile and efficient in the dense traffic of Paris. Softer than really lively, it offers a good compromise, perfectly in line with its excellent comfort, thanks to flexible suspensions and a well padded saddle (but its too soft coating is slippery). The driving position is certainly a bit strange with a high floor (it houses one of the batteries), but the scooter is light and very balanced.
The coupled braking is pleasant, so much the better, because with the simple release of the handle, the energy regeneration is limited, it is always necessary to use the brakes, even in full anticipation. However, an ABS is missing to ensure maximum safety. The assembly is powered by a 3,100 watt Bosch motor which can be delivered continuously for 30 minutes. It is placed in the rear wheel, sufficiently vigorous in town and it has the particularity of being perfectly silent. We come to regret that there is not (here as with its competitors) a “soft” horn which allows pedestrians to be warned of its arrival without making them jump. We can certainly use the noise of the flashing lights, strident and annoying … Fortunately, they stop automatically once a bend has been negotiated, as in a car.
A passenger can be taken quite comfortably (folding footrests, large grab handle), but on the other hand, to take things with you, you will need a backpack, a soft bag placed on the floor or a top case: between batteries and large wheels, no storage space remains under the saddle …
Where to buy the Niu NQi GTS Sport?
The Niu NQi GTS Sport is already available at 3,599 euros, from which 390 euros of state aid can be withdrawn.