Ninebot KickScooter MAX Review
Pros: Powerful, extensive travel range, comfortable
Cons: Long recharge time, bulky, heavy
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
When it comes to long-range, foldable scooters, you can't do much better than the Ninebot MAX. This machine is fast and can keep up the pace mile after mile. It's loaded with convenient and practical features like head and tail lights, an illuminated dashboard display, and pneumatic tires. Additionally, the single lever, dual brake system is easy to operate, leaving you free to maneuver the vehicle when the unexpected happens. While this machine is expensive, when compared to similar products it's quite affordable.
The MAX proved to be a beast in matters of power and runtime. This model will cruise at 12-15 mph for 129 minutes, providing a 185-pound rider with an effective travel range of ~26 miles. This machine darn near wore out riders as they lapped the test track over and over again. Our only complaint (aside from watery eyes and a bit of dizziness) was that the 551 watt-hour lithium-ion battery took 6 hours to recharge. That said, with a travel range like this vehicle has, you won't have to plug it in very often.
We ran extensive tests on the products in this review to get accurate data on range; the distance that a scooter can travel on a single charge. We use the same test track for all our range testing for consistency. When the battery is fully exhausted from the range test, we plug it in, start a timer and monitor it until the recharge light indicates a full charge.
The power metric consists of two tests: hill climbing and top speed. The MAX's performance in these evaluations made it a leader in the class. The steepest hill in our tests maxes out at 10.5% and only slightly slowed the scooter. Additionally, the top speed of this vehicle registered at an impressive 16.7 mph.
We ran each test multiple times for accuracy. The max speed test was conducted on flat ground and repeated three times. The three tests were then averaged. As for the hill tests, there are three hills that we use, beginning with a fairly shallow incline and ramping up incrementally. The stepped approach to hill climbing is a legacy feature. When we started testing scooters, many were not that powerful and hills posed a significant challenge. Many of the newer models pack significantly more power, as is the case with the Ninebot MAX, but nonetheless have to be run through all the same tests as their predecessors.
It's all fine and dandy if a scooter can go fast and do so for a long time. However, if the time spent on that scooter is rattly and insecure, then it will be less desirable to take a prolonged spin. In contrast to power, the ride metric measures how comfortable, and ultimately, safe the machine is when cruising. We are happy to report that the MAX is a class leader in this evaluation. In comparison to its peers, this whip is smooth as silk.
For this assessment, we use a particularly crack and bump ridden section of road near our lab. We run the scooters down this road with a focus on how comfortable and in control we feel. It may seem a bit subjective, but be assured that after running this gauntlet a few times, products like the MAX, with its beefy, air-filled tires, broad standing platform, and plush rubber grips really stands out.
While it's easy to get carried away thinking about blowing your hair back while carving the blacktop, at some point you'll have to hit the brakes. It's best to think about brakes before you need them. Thanks to the innovative brake system on the Ninebot, you won't have to think for very long because the system works so well.
This model makes use of a dual brake system like so many others in the class. However, the MAX stands apart from its peers because it combines a front drum brake and a rear regenerative electric brake. The pair of brakes are actuated with a single hand lever, which has the advantage of shortening reaction time while promoting stability. We ran tests both on flat ground as well as on descents, and this model impressed the entire test team.
It might not be at the forefront of your mind when you are shopping around for a scooter, but eventually, you'll have to carry and store the thing. Most manufacturers take this into account and work to reduce the dimensions and weight of their products. The Ninebot doesn't deliver in this category as it did in the performance-focused metrics. In large part, this is because you pay for performance in weight. All the components that contribute to a faster, more stable scooter add up to a bigger, heavier machine. That said, it's not all bad with the MAX's portability assessment.
This machine has an exceptionally well designed folding mechanism. This is a real weak point in scooter design, and we've had problems with other products. Not so with the Ninebot. The lock securing the hinge is redundant, but can still be operated with one hand. Additionally, the latch that connects the steering column to the rear finder, effectively making it a handle, is a simple and secure spring-loaded clip. Despite being fairly long and wide, this model can be fit into the trunk of an economy car.
We think that the Ninebot MAX is a good value. It doesn't have much competition in the power and braking departments, but the competition it does have makes this machine's hefty price tag look like a bargain. More than that, this machine has aesthetic lines and an intuitive design that's built for heavy use. If you want to put miles on your machine, this little chariot is well worth the investment.
The Ninebot KickScooter MAX is one heck of a machine. This puppy has tons of power and the brakes to bring you to a stop when the unexpected occurs. Its well-designed cockpit has wide bars for better steering, and an LED dashboard display providing pertinent information. The wide pneumatic tires add traction and smooth out the bumps in the road. Most important to the commuter crowd, its lithium-ion battery has an extremely long runtime. All and all, this is one bad machine.
— Nick Miley and Austin Palmer