Niu NQi GTS review | Life with an electric scooter


Price: £3,799 | Power: 3kW | Weight: 114kg | Overall BikeSocial Rating: 4/5


The Niu NQi GTS is an electric scooter built for city riding. And that’s key. I’ve ridden a lot of electric motorcycles, and while I’ve really enjoyed them, the range proved restrictive for me.

I want a motorcycle to do anything I want, whenever I want, and if I decide I want to go to Scotland tomorrow, I can only really currently do that with petrol power.

But a small scooter has a very different purpose for me; it’s for scything through city streets. It’s for nipping to work for yet another meeting. It’s for grabbing some shopping or a takeout. And that means range isn’t a problem.

The only way to properly review something like this is to live with it, so I borrowed the Niu NQi GTS ‘Standard Range’ model for a couple of weeks to see how it slots into my life…


Pros & Cons
  • A real laugh to ride
  • Pretty fast to charge from 13A socket
  • Removable batteries
  • Don’t expect to save a fortune over a 125cc scooter
  • Limited storage space
  • Speed restriction when battery almost empty can be unnerving


What licence do I need for the Niu NQi GTS?

The Niu NQI GTS has a top-speed of 55mph, so you’ll need a CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) to ride it, regardless of whether you passed your driving test before 2001 or not. You’ll also need to be at least 17.

For those new to riding, a CBT takes just one day, with some classroom tuition, some riding on private land (called ‘pad work’), and a couple of hours on the road. Frankly, unless you’ve got no coordination or road sense, you should be able to pass fairly easily.

A CBT typically costs about £200, but it’ll depend where you take it.


Niu NQi GTS Price

While I had the Niu NQi GTS, it cost £3,399, which was the £3,899 retail price minus the £500 government grant.

Although the scheme has been controversially scrapped for cars, it’s continuing for motorcycles and scooters, but from 1 July 2022, this ‘Standard Range’ GTS will increase by £400 to £3,799 with the grant.



How much do the batteries cost?

The Niu NQi GTS Standard Range on test here uses two removable 60V 26Ah batteries (built using 18650 cells) with a two year warranty and a claimed five year life-cycle.

From 1 July 2022, these will cost £1,299 each. The ‘Extended Range’ batteries are 35Ah and will cost £1,599 each.

Each full cycle of the batteries reduces the ‘Battery Health Score’ in the Niu app (more on that later) by 0.1 from an initial 100, meaning that after 1,000 charges it’d be at zero, and the batteries would likely be ready for replacement.


Pillion pegs tuck away when not in use


What is the range of the Niu NQi GTS?

This is the Niu NQi GTS Standard Range model, which has a claimed range of 57 miles when fully charged. Of course, it depends how you ride it and the type of roads you’re on; I’m very heavy handed, and when ‘thrashing’ the Niu on open roads I get 31 miles out of a full charge. But it’s easy to back off, and when BikeSocial’s Steve Lamb borrowed the scooter for a week, he had a spirited ride home of 20 miles that averaged 38.5mph and only used 50% of the charge. That average speed shows it was a fairly open-road ride, and he said he tended to sit at 50mph using the basic on/off cruise-control.

In the city, where you’re not aiming for that 55mph top-end all the time, it’s easier to get greater range, and 40-50 miles should be more achievable if you’re riding with the throttle on the stop all the time.

The ‘Extended Range’ version of the Niu NQi GTS will cost £4,799 from 1 July 2022 (with the £500 government grant), and should have roughly a 35% increase in range.

Something to note is that, when the battery is getting very low (an indicated 4 mile range on one trip, and 8 miles on another when I was riding it hard), the scooter automatically switches to ‘E-Save’ riding mode, which has a top speed that’s limited to just 15mph. While I understand the technical need for this, it can be dangerous on busy roads. Especially on a single-carriageway at 10:30pm when you’ve literally just overtaken a truck.

It’s possible to run with just one battery, in which case at full charge it shows a range of 29 miles on the dash. Performance does drop as well though, with the scooter losing the ‘Sport’ mode, so the max speed is the 33mph of Dynamic. It’s not as punchy as it is with both batteries, but it may be a useful option for some.

It’s also worth noting that, if you don’t ride for a while but rely on the full range, the Niu uses 5% of its battery every eight hours while parked.


How long does it take to charge?

While a full charge of both batteries in the Standard Range model is said to take six hours (seven for the extended range), I’ve found it only takes about 4.5 hours from almost empty.

The batteries can be changed while they’re in the bike from any 13A socket using the supplied charger, but if you want to take them out to charge, you should use the supplied splitter box, which the charger plugs into to allow both to be balanced together.

While not bulky, it’s likely something you’d leave wherever you charge the batteries most. If I were a city office commuter, it’d be tucked under my desk.


What does it cost to run the Niu NQi GTS?

At the time of writing, energy costs are extremely high, but Niu says it takes 3,120Wh to charge the NQi GTS Standard Range scooter, so as of June 2022 on our energy tariff, that would be 97p.

Petrol is currently about £8.30/gallon, and if I were buying something like this I’d also be considering the £3,549 Honda PCX 125, which owners are – according to – getting about 110mpg from. A friend who owns one says he can get up to 106mpg if he’s careful, so let’s say 100mpg, for argument’s sake.

If 97p can take the Niu about 40miles fairly comfortably, that means the Niu currently costs about £2.43 to cover £100 miles, which is (in today’s high energy and fuel prices) a saving of £5.87/100 miles compared to current fuel prices in a PCX125.

For a commuting and shopping machine, I’d average about 15 miles per day, so the Niu would save me roughly £320/year.

However, if we assume the claimed five year lifespan of the batteries is going to mean swapping them after that time, I’d be looking at a bill of £2,598, which is an extra £998 on top of the £1,600 I’d saved on fuel.



There’s no cost to tax an electric scooter, which would be £22/year for the PCX125. There’s also very little servicing, beyond basic checks and brake pads as there are no belts to worry about, and there’s no oil to change. So, if you did buy new batteries for the Niu, you’d roughly be looking at about the same overall cost over five years of ownership.

But many people won’t be changing the batteries, and in that case, with the fuel savings and reduced running costs, they would be better off. Though of course, resale value is an unknown for now, though a four-year-old Niu with well-worn batteries would almost certainly be worth less than a four-year old PCX125.

The Niu is the kind of machine that’s going to particularly appeal to people who’ve probably never ridden a motorcycle or scooter before. They’re most likely sick of rail strikes, and crippled by high ULEZ and congestion charges, so are looking for a way to save money.

The Niu NQi GTS could pay for itself in less than a year for some people, then add in the fact that you can charge it from a 13A socket that’s in plentiful supply at most places of work, and the canny owner will likely be paying nothing at all for their ‘fuel’ with an electric scooter, making this practically ‘free’ transport after purchase.


Living with a Niu NQi GTS electric scooter

Can die-hard motorcyclists accept an electric scooter?


Niu NQI GTS performance

The Niu NQi GTS has a 3,000W Bosch motor built into the rear wheel, and it’s really surprisingly nippy. For the purposes of science alone (honestly), I drag-raced this against mates with my Honda MSX125 (Grom) and a Honda PCX125. They both beat it, but not by much, the PCX winning by a small margin.

There’s no problem pulling away from cars after filtering to the front of a queue, and even on Peterborough’s 70mph dual carriageways, I found this surprisingly unintimidating. In town I can’t think of any point where it felt lacking in any way, and on tight country roads the Niu has plenty of torque to pull you out of bends. The only time I wished for a little more grunt was when I was stuck behind a car doing 50mph; I just didn’t have the confidence to overtake. But that’s my inner motorcyclist, where I’m used to quickly firing past with no danger of getting trapped in the wrong lane.



Handling, suspension, chassis and weight

Kerb weight (with the batteries) is 114kg; that’s 16kg less than a PCX125. The Niu NQi GTS is very easy to handle, though like many scooters the width of the footboard means it has a surprisingly large standover height. At 5’10” I can easily get both feet down, but my 5’3” wife can’t. One foot is of course fine, but new riders might want the confidence of getting both planted. The best bet is to have a sit on one in your local dealer.

The small wheels of scooters can make them a little skittish over bumps, and the Niu is no different. The twin shocks on the rear – and the front forks – are fine, doing a fair job of keeping the scooter under control, even when you’re pushing hard on backroads.

I gave the Niu to a racer mate for an hour, and he was very impressed, soon finding the limits of lean as the suspension would compress over bumpy backroad bends, but never complaining. In fact, after having a go both him and his very traditional dad were wildly excited about the Niu after initially dismissing it. I think we have some more converts to electric power…


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Mike would be the first to admit he’s sceptical of new-fangled electric bikes, but he loved the Niu!


Comfort is no problem for the length of time you’ll be on the Niu, though taller riders will notice the relatively high footboard that can push your knees up a bit; a result of the second battery being tucked in there.

While fine in the rain, the Niu NQi GTS does have a maximum wading depth of 230mm, which must not be exceeded in order to ensure the batteries stay dry.



Niu NQi GTS Brakes

The three-piston single caliper on a 200mm disc up front, along with a single-piston caliper biting a 180mm rear do a fine job of pulling up, even with my 95kg mass.

The brakes are not too sharp, and they are combined, so squeezing either lever will apply some force to the other caliper, but there’s no ABS. That’s not a major concern for experienced riders, and it’s no surprise on such a small machine, but those totally new to riding will be well advised to take care on wet, greasy city roads.

Of course, the lack of ABS also means that rear-wheel skids elicit a pleasing squeal from the CST-branded tyres, if you still have a childish streak.

The one thing I’m not keen on is the fact that pulling either brake lever cuts power to the motor. This of course stops it being burnt out by riding the brakes, but it can make hill starts quite tricky as there’s a small margin between the brakes coming off and the power returning, which can mean you roll back a little. Practice will reduce the issue, but it’s something I found a little awkward.


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A quick shopping trip was no bother for the Niu, but space is limited.



With both batteries fitted, there’s practically no storage space, though I did find that I can tuck a chain and lock under the battery that’s beneath the seat, so security needn’t be a worry.

There’s nowhere to carry the charger with both batteries in, but you’ll likely have this wherever you’re going. When I gave the scooter to Steve, we strapped it on with some Andy Strapz from Nippy Normans.


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Pop the battery out from under the seat and run in Dynamic mode, and you can get a fair bit more in, though sadly not a full-face lid. I did squeeze my medium Shoei J•O open-face helmet in, though it rubs on the sides. A larger shell might not go.

It’s surprising what you can carry thanks to the footboard and the built-in luggage hook; I managed a large bag of shopping and some dog food between my feet with no bother on one trip.

There’s also a large open cubby box that easily swallows a phone and more, with a USB outlet for charging.

Most petrol-powered scooters have the luxury of some really useful space under the seat, and I did miss that here, so I’d almost certainly invest in a top-box if I owned one.


With the rear battery out, range and performance drops, but you do get a cubby box (if not one big enough for a full-face lid). Lift the battery up though, and there is space for a lcok and chain, so security needn’t be an issue.


Rider aids and extra equipment / accessories

The Niu NQi GTS has three riding modes: ‘E-Save’, which restricts top speed to 15mph, ‘Dynamic’, which tops out at 33mph, and ‘Sport’, which fairly quickly hits a restriction of an indicated 55mph. According to the GPS on my phone, this is actually 52mph.

All three modes have slightly better throttle response than the previous one, and I really can’t see when anyone would want to use ‘E-Save’. In town though, ‘Dynamic’ can be surprisingly useful.

There’s a simply on/off cruise control that’s cancelled by squeezing either brake (there’s no option to resume, or increase/decrease speed), and the indicators chirp away while they’re on. The ignition is semi-keyless too. You still have to press a button on the remote to turn the Niu on, but then you can leave the fob in your pocket.

The LED projector headlight’s surprisingly good – I rode the Niu on unlit Fenland roads at 11pm and was impressed; some motorcycle brands could learn from this!



The TFT dash is easy to read, and has plenty of info, including the time, temperature, range and power use, but there are no trips to reset or anything, plus there’s a USB charging port, takeaway hook and an open cubby box.

Niu has an iOS/Android app that can also show gradient, altitude, lean angle, average speed and a few more options while you ride. It also displays a map, but it can’t be programmed to plot a route, so most people will likely just stick with Google maps.

The app does have some other, much more useful features though, including live charge status that’s relayed via the scooter’s built-in SIM card (with no subscription charge), so no matter where you are, if the Niu has a signal, you can check what the range is. You can even run a full diagnostics check remotely.

All your previous routes are automatically recorded, and there’s a useful battery info page that gives plenty of detail.

By far the most impressive feature of the app though has to be the tracker. It’s not quite up to the standard of a professional Datatool or Biketrac device, for instance, but it’s easily on a par with Monimoto, and it has the advantage of not having to pay for the SIM subscription and having an audible alarm on the scooter itself. Okay, that’s not very loud, but it helps.

The tracker will notify you if there’s any vibration, and it tracks the bike all the time; as long as it has a GSM and GPS signal, you can see where it is with very good accuracy.


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Niu NQi GTS verdict

Anybody who tries the Niu NQi GTS seems to be really surprised at just how downright enjoyable it is to ride. After spending a couple of weeks with it, I can say that it really did slot well into my routine.

There will naturally be reservations about the range, but for the right circumstances, that’s not an issue; my main concern is simply with the fact that the batteries take up the space I’d want to use for shopping.

For many riders, electric still isn’t the answer, but with the state of the railways, congestion and fuel costs, for many commuters, city riders and even those looking for a handy short-distance runaround, there’s a lot to like about the Niu NQi GTS. Take some time to do the maths for yourself and also consider if you can ‘borrow’ the electricity from your employer… this could be an incredibly cheap form of transport!


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Second Opinion: Out of Town Commuting | Steve Lamb

While John’s usage is more akin to the intended buyers of the Niu, I wanted to see how it would cope with a slightly longer commute with a mix of 30mph towns and villages, some 50mph B-Roads and Peterborough’s 60 & 70 mph parkways.

Living just over 20 miles from Peterborough, the Niu’s indicated range of 57 miles when fully charged should let me do my daily commute with some to spare, but as we all know, the indicated range and the true range rarely match. But how far out would they be?

As I didn’t fancy pushing the scooter for the final few miles home in the event of flat batteries, I decided that I’d take the charger along with me – no mean feat as the size of the charger, combined with the lack of underseat storage, meant that it needed to be strapped to the pillion seat.

With a full battery I set off on the 20-mile trip. My journey through my village and the next few towns was uneventful, switching between Dynamic mode in town, where 30 was plenty fast enough, and only switching up to Sport mode once out of town and on to the bumpy fen B-roads. Most of these bumpy fenland roads are limited to 50mph, either by law, or by common sense and so, apart from nearly running over some pedestrians who couldn't hear me coming and just decided to cross without looking, as I approached the outskirts of Peterborough I was feeling chuffed that I still had nearly 60% of the battery left.

This hubris was short lived though as the final six-and-a-bit miles to the office were yet to come and they are all 60 or 70mph parkways.

Sure enough, as soon as the speed picked up a bit and the bike is maxed out maintaining a steady indicated 55mph, you could watch the percentage remaining drop by the mile, and by the time I pulled into the office carpark, my decision to carry the bulky charger had been proven the right one - there was just 51% left on the Niu. Theoretically enough to get home again, but far too close for me to risk it.


The take-away hook feels a bit flimsy, though it carried our shopping. There’s also space to tuck even a large mobile phone, plus a USB charging port


Thankfully, the Niu is narrow enough to easily pass through a standard width door and I was able to park in our office foyer, plug it into a standard 13A socket, and recharge the battery. By lunchtime, we were back to 100%.

Conscious that I had nursed the Niu along on the outward journey with gentle acceleration and keeping the bike a few miles an hour away from its max speed in each of the modes, (which I also switched between depending on the types of road) for the return leg, I decided to see what difference it would make if I just left the bike in Sport mode the whole time and (while still sticking to posted speed limits) got home as quickly as I could.

Apart from the higher top speed, the other benefit of Sport mode is that the acceleration is that bit snappier than Dynamic mode, meaning that away from the lights, your 0-30 time is much quicker than most cars. This does help give you a feeling of safety on the roads, despite the diminutive size of the scooter, as you always feel that you can create some space behind you.

With the Niu happily whirring along at a posted 55mph and the bike tearing away from the lights as fast as 3kW (4hp) can tear, the impact on the remaining charge was soon noticeable and I was still a few miles from home as the indicator passed the 50% remaining mark.

Once parked in the garage, it was clear that I had used quite a bit more power through my heavy handedness – the gauge was showing 44% remaining, so had used an additional 7% of the total capacity, or in other words, by journey was nearly 15% more uneconomical - but was it faster? Well, yes, but not by much. My outward journey was 20.8 miles in 35m56s mins, averaging 36.7mph. My return was 21.1miles (due to roundabouts and parkway interchanges) yet had taken 34m15s at an average of 38.3mph - just 1m41s (or 4%) quicker. A small time saving, considering the extra energy used (who would have thought it!).

So, does the Niu work for the longer commutes? I guess the answer is yes, but also no.

Carrying the charger on the pillion seat is both a faff and potentially costly if, for example, the charger was to slide out of its straps at 55mph, slide along the road and end up well- hidden in the verge, wasting a couple hours of your day looking for, and eventually finding said charger… for example... ahem, sorry Niu!

If you were to spend around £300 on an additional charger that could be left at work, and so long as your employer is ok about you ‘borrowing’ power once you get there, then I think it could be a viable solution. Without this forward planning though, the range just isn’t quite there to make this fit into the daily commute for me.

Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s unfair to give a blanket statement that the Niu GTS+ doesn’t work for commuting. In my case, it doesn’t give me the confidence that I’ll be able to go to work and back with the odd detour or trip to the supermarket at either end, and get home with a decent amount of range left, but if I lived just 10 miles closer, then the story would be very different.



Niu NQi GTS Standard Range spec

New price

£3,799 (including £500 govt grant)


3,000W Bosch

Charger type

13A standard socket

Time to charge

Up to 6 hours

Energy use per charge






Top speed

55mph (indicated), 52mph (tested)


Single speed


55 miles (claimed), 30-40 miles (tested)

Rider aids

Three rider modes, cruise control combined brakes


Tubular steel

Front suspension

Standard fork

Front suspension adjustment


Rear suspension

Twin shock

Rear suspension adjustment


Front brake

200mm disc, three-piston caliper

Rear brake

180mm disc, single-piston caliper

Front tyre

90/90 14 CST

Rear tyre

110/80 14 CST




1,890mm x 740mm x 1,223mm (LxWxH)



Ground clearance


Seat height


Kerb weight



Chassis: 2 years parts, 1 year labour, 1 year breakdown cover. Battery: 2 years

MCIA Secured rating

Not yet included



Looking for scooter or moped insurance? Get a quote for this machine with Bennetts moped and scooter insurance


Niu NQi GTS review honest electric scooter_01


What is MCIA Secured?

MCIA Secured gives bike buyers the chance to see just how much work a manufacturer has put into making their new investment as resistant to theft as possible.

As we all know, the more security you use, the less chance there is of your bike being stolen. In fact, based on research by Bennetts, using a disc lock makes your machine three times less likely to be stolen, while heavy duty kit can make it less likely to be stolen than a car. For reviews of the best security products, click here.

MCIA Secured gives motorcycles a rating out of five stars, based on the following being fitted to a new bike as standard:

  • A steering lock that meets the UNECE 62 standard
  • An ignition immobiliser system
  • A vehicle marking system
  • An alarm system
  • A vehicle tracking system with subscription

The higher the star rating, the better the security, so always ask your dealer what rating your bike has, and compare it to other machines on your shortlist.