REVIEW OF THE XIAOMI MI 1S ELECTRIC SCOOTER
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
Xiaomi have updated their super popular M365 electric scooter after several years of global dominance. However, instead of calling it something like M365 Mark II or M366 or N365, they have called it the Xiaomi 1S scooter. I assume the "S" stands for "scooter" but otherwise this new nomenclature makes little sense. It would make sense if it was a brand new model, but the 1S scooter is nothing of the sort. It is essentially an M365 with a M365 Pro screen and an improved battery. It is thus somewhere between the M365 and M365 Pro. But let's take a good look at the Xiaomi 1S scooter. You can also see a direct comparison of the M365 and 1S.
You can also compare the new range of Xiaomi scooters.
The Xiaomi M365 e-scooter was first released in late 2016 but came to prominence in North America in 2017 and then Europe in 2018 when scooter hire companies Bird and Lime put thousands on the streets of cities across those two continents (Lime and Bird also used the Ninebot-Segway ES2 before producing their own bespoke scooters). In April 2020, Xiaomi quietly released the Xiaomi 1S in China. Presumably, the lacklustre release was due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (which was not at all China's fault and any missing doctors must have got lost themselves). As of May 2020, the only way for Europeans to get their hands on the Xiaomi 1S is to buy the Chinese version (from China). An EU/UK version is due for release August/September 2020.
The Xiaomi 1S is a foldable electric scooter designed by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi (pronounced "show-er-me"). It is manufactured by Ninebot, who also manufacture their own e-scooter (the Segway branded ES2). Like the M365, it has a simple folding design, 30 km (18 mile) range, 25 km/h (16 mph) top-speed, low weight and pneumatic tyres. It also boasts cruise control, front and rear lights, E-ABS brakes and a dedicated phone app (the Mi Home app seen below). The frame is also basically the same as the M365.
The handlebar height is not adjustable because of the folding system (part of the bell hooks on to the rear mudguard). It comes in a bespoke box (weighing about 15 kg) and requires a small amount of self-assembly, inasmuch as you have to insert the handlebars and screw in four screws to fix them in place (so as to avoid an awkwardly large box for shipping).
The scooter's battery is located in the base and the frame itself is built from aluminium. It feels strong and the folding mechanism means it can be folded or unfolded in a few seconds (Xiaomi claims three seconds). This sturdiness and low cost (as you are not paying for carbon fibre) does mean it is reasonably heavy at 12.5 kg; but this is as light as mid-range scooters come and heaviness is fairly subjective: I am by no means strong and can carry this scooter up and down stairs without too much effort. One difference from its predecessor, apart from yellow reflectors on the EU/UK model, is that the external wires are neater in the 1S. They still have not figured out how to feed the wire to the handlebar internally (through the folding joint) but they have at least tried.
The display on the 1S is really what separates it from the M365. Whereas the M365 has no speedometer on its display, (though a speedometer is available in the app), the 1S shows your speed alongside your battery level and mode (normal, pedestrian or sport). The accelerator is a button on the right-hand handlebar, while there is a bike-like brake on the left-hand side, as well as a slightly superfluous bell (which cannot be removed if you want to be able to fold up your 1S). A powerful LED light is built into the front of the handle for nighttime riding. Some have complained this light is perhaps too bright, but I disagree (it is not quite as bright as my bike light's top setting). There is also a rear light that flashes when you brake (making it a brake light too).
Riding The 1S
Like the M365, the 1S is well-balanced and easy to control. If you are not used to riding scooters or skateboards, the first time you ride any electric scooter will be a little nerve-wracking. This is common and most people quickly lose an initial trepidation. Accelerating and braking are easy and effective. Due to its low centre of gravity, using the front brake on the scooter is not akin to using the front brake on a bicycle, where there is a fear of going over the handlebars. One problem I have encountered on my M365 is that the right-hand handlebar grip can get pushed up to the throttle, meaning the throttle may not automatically spring up when released.
The Xiaomi tyres are 8.5 inches in diameter and pneumatic. The idea is that air-filled tyres makes the ride smoother. However, there is no suspension so it is really a trade-off between the two options (the ES2 does the opposite). The ride is indeed smooth as long as the ground itself is reasonably level. I have ridden both the M365 and the ES2 extensively in Mexico City, where road repairs fall fairly low down on the "to-do" list, and found that, as long as major potholes are avoided, and a comfortable riding stance taken, most road surfaces can be comfortably traversed. Unsurprisingly, cobble stones present something of a hazard.
The only real issue I have found is a tendency to scrape the bottom of the scooter on pavement edges when I go from the road to pavement or vice versa (and feel like this happens less on the ES2) but this is perhaps a result of my laziness and simply not lifting it high enough off the ground. I am also not particularly skilled in taking tight corners but, again, this may be more down to my own riding inadequacies than any flaw in the scooter design. I would also not rely on the built-in lock to prevent against theft.
We would always recommend wearing a helmet when riding an electric scooter. Most scooter injuries seem to happen when a pothole (or similar) is encountered and the smallish wheels are indeed susceptible to such obstacles. Please read my post Are Electric Scooters Safe? for more information and statistics on the safety of electric scooters. As we often point out, as of May 2020, it is not legal to ride privately owned electric scooters on public roads in Britain, although few police forces take any action against riders.
The 1S battery has the same capacity and power as the M365 battery so it retains the same top-speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) and range of 30 km (18 miles). The range is pretty accurate but the speed is not usually met. However, Xiaomi claim the battery on the 1S has been improved so that it takes less time to charge (5 hours) and has a longer overall lifespan. It is worth noting that once the battery level drops below 5% the scooter performance drops significantly (if you are in a rush ensure you have it reasonably well-charged or you may find yourself going at an embarrassingly slow speed).
Like the M365, the Xiaomi 1S is an excellent mid-range electric scooter. Low labour-costs in China means that Xiaomi can produce the 1S at a reasonable price, making it attainable for most people in the UK. I could perhaps detract half a star for my tendency to scrape the bottom on pavements but, really, for less than £500 that would be unfair.
|Size (Unfolded)||108 x 43 x 114 cm|
|Size (Folded)||108 x 43 x 49 cm|
|Output||250 watts (500W max)|
|Range||30 km (18 miles)|
|Top Speed||25 km/h (16 mph)|
|Max Climbing Angle||14 %|
|Front Brake||E-ABS (Regenerative) Disk|
|Waterproof||IP 54: splash resistant|