Electric scooters are a thing now. You see them everywhere. I am lucky that I live in a country where they can be used without any restrictions, other than a speed limit of 25km/h.
A lot of people reviewed the Ninebot Kickscooter Max G30. Most of them agree that it is simply the best. We think only Tina Turner can claim that title, so we went ahead and ordered one.
There are a lot of similar scooters that seem to have better specifications however. So, how can this be the best? It all depends on what you use this scooter for. “The best” is different for everyone.
The Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30 is a very good choice for people who intend to take longer trips because it is quite comfortable and has a decent range. There are scooters that have even better range, but they tend to be less comfortable or heavier or a lot more expensive. More on that in a moment.
The Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30 comes “powered by Segway” but is in fact a Chinese product that is also sold under different brand names. Often a bit cheaper too.
We noticed the Chinese origin right away when we started to use the scooter. Or better: when we tried to use it for the first time. You need to activate it in an app and watch a tutorial first before you can drive the scooter at normal speeds. That was a horrible experience. You need to register in the app with your e-mail and wait for a confirmation code… that never arrives. After a couple of frustrating tries, we started fiddling around on the app’s registration screen, and suddenly an option to register with a phone number appeared. That worked right away. Then, it wanted to connect to the scooter. It found it within a couple of seconds, but when we tapped it to confirm, we just got a popup message saying we had to connect by Bluetooth, and it told us to press the button on the scooter. Nothing happened. After several tries, we decided to check if the button on the scooter was really working. The scooter was plugged in to charge because that is usually the first thing you do with a new battery-powered gadget… We unplugged it, and yes: the button worked. Then we tried to pair again without having it charging, and lo and behold: it paired! Seems the pairing only works when the scooter is not charging. How difficult could it be to mention that in the app? After all: it did find the scooter, so one would expect that pairing would also be possible.
Then we got a tutorial that is mandatory to view before you can use the scooter. It failed to load. After waiting minutes and minutes and many retries, we gave up, and skipped the video. So far, a very bad experience.
We went into the settings of the app, and noticed that a lot of things where shown in Chinese. So we went to the language setting and changed it to our own language. The result: half of the app remained in English and the rest of the app was in our own language, but still there were some things in Chinese. Changing settings in the app remained a buggy experience. We never succeeded in changing our avatar, for example.
In the end we succeeded in getting the tutorial video to play, and we could finally use the scooter.
So, is it really that good?
Well, it depends. Yes, it is comfortable because of its air-filled tires. But still not as comfortable as we would like. Roads with cobblestones are a big no-no. The handlebars will vibrate out of your hands. On bad roads with pits and holes, it really feels bad. On very smooth roads, it feels wonderful, but every scooter will feel fine on smooth roads. If you are thinking about using this for your daily commute trips: make sure you have good roads. You will feel every small bump, even on normal roads, and after a while, that can become very tiring. On intersections, where the bicycle lane is split by the crossing car lanes you usually have some small bumps and these can feel very harsh. In fact: we are considering adding a front suspension to make the ride more smooth in the city. Grip is fine on gravel and forest roads, but comfort is just ok providing there are not too many pits.
The claimed range of 65Km is very optimistic. We did a test ride on flat roads, in sport mode. Rider weight: 65kg. Speed: half of the trip at top speed, and half at slower speeds. Temperature: about 8°C. The result: about 45km range. We also did a second, longer, trip in similar conditions but with more driving at top speed: after about 23km we had used 48% battery, which gives a theoretical range of about 49km. Just as with cars: the more often you accelerate, the less your range will become. Try to keep the same speed as much as possible to get the maximum range. The cruise control can help here.
Although less then advertised, the range is still very nice, but keep this in mind when planning long trips.
And you will want sport mode at all times. The other modes quickly feel too slow. In the city, 25km/h is more than enough. Outside the city on open roads, it feels slow and a bit boring. But you get used to it. Yes, you can hack it to go a bit faster, but be careful not to overload the motor. For most people, acceleration and top speed will be more than enough. It is strong enough to push you onto some light hills also. If you live in an area with a lot of hills, this scooter will not be your best option, however.
An important aspect that many reviewers skip is portability. If you need to carry this scooter a lot, we would not recommend it. It is quite heavy. A normal person could carry it for about 20 meters or so, and putting it in and out of a car is no problem. But if you need to do a lot of stairs with it: be warned, and make sure you are very fit and strong. Pulling it along on one wheel only is also not practical. If you try to lift it a the handlebars, you get the full weight of the motor and most of the battery in your hand. It will also tilt when you do so. Lifting the front side is a bit easier, but there is nothing suitable to hold on to there. If you really need to move it in a limited space and you can not lift it, the best way is to put it on the front wheel, lift up the back completely to almost vertical and then use the brake to control it while pushing it in front of you. But then again: better leave it unfolded and walk next to it if you have enough space. There is even a pedestrian mode to help you push it.
Some nice things to finish: it has cruise control (in some countries) so you can keep the same speed without having to push the throttle. You have to use the app to enable or disable this functionality, however. Front- and rear lights are very bright. The rear light also functions as a charging indicator and as a breaking indicator. And our favorite feature: the charger is build-in. No need to take a big charging brick with you.
Things we would like to see different
We wish it would be possible to activate and deactivate the cruise-control function with a button on the handlebars. The way it works now is a bit dangerous. You need to activate the functionality first using the app. Once set, you have to keep the throttle at the same speed for 5 seconds to engage the cruise control. At first, this seems fine. But we already had a couple of surprises when the cruise control was engaged without us noticing it. If you expect the scooter to slow down when you release the throttle but, to your surprise, it doesn’t, you will need to act very quickly to avoid accidents. So we usually leave the whole function off now, which is a shame. It would be better to have some kind of button so that the rider can explicitly activate or de-activate the cruise control while driving. Automatically activating it depending on the throttle use is too dangerous. By the way, the cruise-control function is no longer available in some countries.
We would also love collapsible handlebars. That way the scooter would take less space when folded. Of course, this needs to be done in such a way that the handlebars feel completely rigid when unfolded.
And finally: it would have been nice to have a front suspension option that is factory installed to have a more comfortable ride for those who want it.
Yes, the Ninebot KickScooter MAX G30 is a very good scooter. We like it very much. If you are looking for a scooter to do longer trips in a relaxed manner, this could indeed be one of the best. The app is disappointing, but you quickly forget about that because the scooter is very good.
We really enjoy the rides with it. It’s comfortable enough on decent roads. Just fast enough, and has plenty of range. And it has an excellent build quality and some nifty features. We wish it was a bit lighter, and that we could enable or disable all features on the scooter without needing the app. But these are small gripes. No real dealbreakers to be found here.
For commuters: maybe look for a lighter scooter if you need to carry it a lot. But keep the range in mind also. Always buy double the range that you need, because manufacturers exaggerate the range by a lot.
For very heavy people or people who expect the top in speed or if you need to do a lot of hills: look for a scooter that has a more powerful motor. This one has a motor of about 350 Watts, and there are a lot of more powerful options out there. But they usually have half the range of this one or cost twice as much if you want the same range.
We will update this impression as soon as we install a front suspension. We hope this will be in June.
Update: Front suspension added
We mentioned earlier in this review that the ride could still be harsh at times. So we went ahead and installed the Sharkset front suspension.
The difference was immediately noticeable. We estimate a reduction of about 50% of vibrations and shocks. For us, this update makes the Ninebot scooter a lot more pleasurable to ride. We would never want to go back. The steering feels a bit directer now with this suspension, so the ride feels less stable. The slightest move of the handlebars, or the slightest shift of your weight, will let the scooter move sideways far more compared to the scooter without suspension. This is not something we wanted, but it does not bother us much also. The scooter also leans over a bit more when resting on its stand, because the front wheel is raised by a couple of centimeters by this suspension.