REVIEW OF THE XIAOMI MI M365 ELECTRIC SCOOTER
Written by Ed Wiles, Scootered Founder
The Xiaomi M365 electric scooter first came to prominence in North America and then Europe when scooter hire companies Bird and Lime put thousands on the streets of cities across those two continents. This had the (perhaps not completely unforeseeable) effect of creating a surge in retail demand, which led to a global shortage as Xiaomi struggled to keep up, which is presumably why Lime and Bird started using the Ninebot-Segway ES2 as well. Incidentally, this global shortage exasperated the market for fake M365s.
Read this post to learn how to tell the difference between a real M365 and fake M365.
The Xiaomi Mi M365 is a foldable e-scooter designed by Chinese tech giant Xiaomi (pronounced "show-er-me"). Confusingly, it is manufactured by Ninebot, who also manufacture their own e-scooter (the Segway branded ES2). The M365 has won numerous awards based on its 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 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 brown 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). You can see me unboxing the Xiaomi M365 here.
The M365's Li-ion battery is located in the base (whereas the ES2 battery is located in the stem) and the frame itself is built from aluminium. It feels very strong and the simple folding mechanism means it can be folded or unfolded in a few seconds (Xiaomi claim three seconds but that's if you get it right first time). 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 have carried the M365 up and down stairs without too much effort. Having said that, and at risk of coming across as sexist, I would not expect many women to want to carry it around for long (yes, there are many strong women out there). But they are not really designed for carrying long distances. Indeed, I just wheel mine around the supermarket.
The display on the M365 has four LED lights to indicate battery strength but no standard speedometer (though a speedometer is available in the app and the display can be upgraded with the one designed for the M365 Pro). 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 fold up your M365). A powerful LED light is built into the front of the handle for nighttime riding. Or solar-eclipse riding. Some have complained this light is perhaps a little too bright, but having ridden my M365 for two months I disagree (it is not quite as bright as my bike light's top setting but perhaps as bright as the next setting down). There is also a rear light that flashes when you brake (thus functioning as a brake light).
Riding The M365
The M365 feels well-balanced and is 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 this initial trepidation. Accelerating and braking are extremely easy and effective. I only ever use the front E-ABS brake on the handlebar so cannot vouch for the rear brake or the braking distances supplied by Xiaomi (4 metres at top-speed) but other testers have corroborated them. Incidentally, I did have one small panic the other day - someone knocked my M365 over and it landed on its right handlebar. Immediately after this, the throttle was not automatically resetting (ie springing back up when it is not being pushed down). However, I discovered that the handlebar grip was pressing against the throttle and so pulling the grip away from the throttle solved the issue.
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 for me 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 then any flaw in the scooter design. I tend to forget to use the app to check my speed and distance - though it is useful for checking the exact battery charge left - and do not really use the locking system within the app much because I prefer to take the scooter with me wherever I go (either carryiing it or pushing it). I would 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 point out on many occasions, it is currently not legal to ride privately owned electric scooters on public roads in Britain, although few police forces take any action against riders.
The M365 has a high-capacity 280 Wh (Watt-hour) battery, which produces 250-500 Watts of motor power for the wheel. What does that mean? Well, it determines two things: how fast you can go, and how far you can go. Of course, there are other variables, most notably the weight of the rider, but assuming you are not Giant Haystacks (or The Rock if you are too young to remember Giant Haystacks) and your ride is over level ground, Xiaomi stipulates a top-speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) and a range of 30 km (18 miles). I have found this to be pretty accurate. I easily hit 14 mph - though it feels a lot faster - and have travelled more than 25 kilometers on a single battery charge.
Xiaomi suggests it takes 5 hours to charge the battery but I have timed it (after two months) and found it takes less than 4.5 hours. Even if it did take 5 hours, it would seem a little churlish to complain when you consider that the battery can then take you close to 30 km. However, it is longer than the Ninebot-Segway battery takes to charge. I suppose this is because Segway have had 20 years to perfect their batteries. It is also 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).
The Xiaomi Mi M365 is an excellent mid-range electric scooter. This is perhaps no surprise considering that both Lime and Bird chose to use it when they first launched. Low labour-costs in China means that Xiaomi can produce the M365 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 £400 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)|
|Max Climbing Angle||14 %|
|Front Brake||E-ABS (Regenerative) Disk|
|Braking Distance (20 km/h)||3-4 metres|
|Waterproof||IPX4: splash resistant|