niu kqi air scooter unboxing

NIU KQi Air – Simply the Best Lightweight Electric Scooter of 2024

by Nathan Schaumann

The NIU KQi Air is the best lightweight scooter we have ever tested. It’s closest competitors are the Unagi Model One, E-TWOW GT and the fluidfreeride Mosquito (which is essentially a rebranded E-TWOW), but in contrast to those scooters, which have solid tires, the NIU features tubeless pneumatic tires which HUGELY improve ride quality. Read on for our full review!

Pick yours up at at NIU here.

Specs

  • $1049
  • 350W Motor (700W peak)
  • 20 mph top speed
  • 31 miles range (claimed)
  • 9.5″ x 2.5″ tires
  • 26.2 lbs
  • 5-hour charge time
  • 265 lbs max load
  • IP55 Water-resistance rating
  • 48 V, 9.4 Ah (451 Wh)
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What We Love About The NIU KQi Air

Weight: We are super happy with the 26 lb weight of the Air. According to the Freshly Charged Scooter Comparison Tool, the Air is the 2nd lightest 20mph scooter on the market, right after the 25mph Uscooters Booster V, coming in at 23 lbs. However, the Booster V has solid tires, which means the Air is the official winner of lightest pneumatic-tire 20mph scooter! $1049 seems like a pretty fair price to pay for this distinction. Even the box was surprisingly easy to carry around.

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Turn Signals: Most scooters locate the turning signals on or near the rear kickplate, which makes them less visible to cars behind you. Scooters with handlebar-mounted turn signals, like the Air, provide better visibility from all directions.

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Carbon Fiber: Not only does the Carbon Fiber make the Air extremely light, it also provides an excellent aesthetic. We love the look of this scooter.

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Ride Quality: Most lightweight scooters like the fluid Mosquito or the Uscooters Booster V feel flimsy and wobbly, but the NIU KQi Air, rock solid build quality makes it feel like you are riding a much heavier, higher-end scooter. The Air is also much larger than other lightweight competitors.

Deck: The deck is covered in high quality grip tape, which provides great traction while riding, but enough of the deck is still exposed so the neat-looking carbon fiber is visible.

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Tires: Like we mentioned previously, pneumatic tires are extremely impressive on a 20mph, 26lb scooter. They do an excellent job of helping to absorb bumps, and the fact that they are tubeless means they are much less likely to go flat than regular tubed tires.

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NFC card reader: Card readers are something we typically see on much higher-end scooters, so we are pleasantly surprised to see it appear on a ~$1000 scooter like the Air.

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Throttle: We are fans of the half-twist throttle, which makes throttle control much more precise than a regular trigger throttle or even a thumb throttle.

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App: The NIU app is excellent, and allows you to customize ride settings of the scooter, as well as remotely lock it. Once again, this is something we typically only see on $2000+ scooters like the Segway GT-series.

What We Don’t Like About The NIU KQi Air

Motor: We wish the motor were a bit larger, 350W on a $1000+ scooter is a bit disappointing. This scooter struggled up hills, despite it’s extremely light weight. Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend this scooter for heavier riders. 

Suspension: Suspension would be a nice addition to the Air. The pneumatic tires are excellent at absorbing small bumps, but the larger bumps are still quite uncomfortable. We understand there is a trade-off though, and adding suspension would probably push this scooter past 30+ lbs.

Battery: 451 Wh is quite small for a $1000+ scooter, and NIU’s quoted range of 31 miles is unrealistic. Our Freshly Charged range formula (which takes into account battery size, weight and speed) gives a real-world range estimate of 18.9 miles. Just for an example of comparably priced scooters with much larger battery packs, the Tifgalop X10 costs $799 and has a 1500 Wh battery pack, and the Emove Cruiser costs $1199 and has a 1560 Wh battery pack. Both of these scooters are understandably much heavier, though, so it depends on what exactly you are looking for.

Turn Signals: Although we love the handlebar-mounted turning signals, it would be nice if the turn signal controls could be located on the left side instead of the right side, since the electric brake kicks in as soon as you take your hand off the throttle to turn on the signals.

Display: The display is easily scratched, and in fact ours came scratched right out of the box.

App: If you use your phone to lock the scooter, your phone remains in active search mode, which can drain your battery until your next ride.

The Freshly Charged Take

Overall, we are very happy with the NIU KQi Air. Though we’d appreciate the addition of suspension and perhaps a 500W motor, the carbon fiber design, extremely light weight and overall build quality are next to none. We’d recommend this scooter for those looking for a lightweight commuter with some nice high-tech features. Get yours here for $1049!

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The Ultimate Scooter Comparison Chart

Use our Freshly Charged Scooter Comparison Tool to evaluate this Scooter alongside more than 500 other Scooters. Compare and organize Scooters by factors such as price, top speed, battery size, weight, and more!

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We are Andrew and Jimmy, two guys who love personal electric vehicles, and we hope to share our experiences and reviews to help you find the best next PEV for your needs.

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