The Xiaomi m365 is the first great electric scooter

The Xiaomi m365 is the first great electric scooter

The Xiaomi m365 is one of the best electric scooters ever made. For budget-conscious buyers, I recommend it due to its smooth ride, reasonable weight, decent range, and super low price.

The m365, also known as the Mi Electric Scooter is one of the most popular scooters on the market. In fact, it was chosen by Bird as the starting scooter model for their rental fleet, likely due to their reliability and quality. The popularity of the m365 no doubt kickstarted the scooter industry into gear, spawning all kinds of competitors trying to live up to the Xiaomi model. I’ve owned two over the past years and have adored it ever since I tried one retrofitted for Bird scooter rental.

After 2 years of ownership, I wanted to write out some of the tips I’ve learned as a m365 owner.

Tires / Ride comfort

The large pneumatic tires on the m365 are second to none. Nothing beats the smooth ride of the m365 air-filled tires. It’s absolutely amazing. However, the drawbacks are numerous:

  • Flat tires happen. I’ve had 3 or 4 of them in the course of 2 years and they are an incredible pain in the butt
  • Replacing flats is very frustrating. The process of shimmying the rubber tire on and off and not puncturing the tube in the process is extremely frustrating. I’ve even brought my wheel into bike stores in the Boston area only to have them send me away or in one case a bike tech spent 15 minutes on the floor prying the rubber tire onto the metal wheel only to give up and tell me “its impossible”. Ha! With enough shims and effort, it is doable folks but I found its easier to buy the entire wheel on Amazon, disk brake and all.

The disk brake is fantastic

Having a disk brake is a big win for the m365. Magnetic brakes are fine but the stopping power of a disk brake is second to none, especially in the rain. Once you’ve used a disk brake, it’s hard to go back to anything else.

Weight

The weight of the m365 is right in the sweet spot, coming in around 12.5kg (27.5lbs). I’ve found that any scooter over 13.5kg (30lbs) is just too unwieldy for city use. See my review of the Mercane WideWheel scooter for thoughts on heavy scooters.

Speed / Power

The speed and power of the m365 is definitely one of the downsides. Capped at 24km/h (15mph) on the stock firmware, it can feel a bit disappointing once you get comfortable with the scooter. Thankfully, the scooter supports custom firmwares that allow you to increase the speed!

Custom firmware

One of the great features of the m365 is that it’s so popular, people have reverse engineered the firmware and allowed for a quick and easy way to increase the speed limit on the device. Using the website https://m365.botox.bz/, you can choose to adjust engine properties and subsequently load the new firmware onto the scooter with an Android APK linked on that page. It’s not too difficult and can vastly improve the quality of the ride. On mine, I removed the minimum speed needed to start the engine (which normally requires you to be rolling at about 2km/h (1.5mph) in order for the engine to kick in), which is a trade-off of battery in exchange for quick acceleration from a stop. Feel free to adjust the properties as needed for your own persona

Don’t buy off-brand!

In a moment of weakness when moving houses, I decided to buy two Mi scooters that I believed were “white label” but in fact were knockoffs. There are a ton of knockoff m365 models out there with less-than-genuine hardware, sub-par batteries, and different firmware that doesn’t allow for modification using the “Botox” custom firmware creator mentioned above.

Range

As far as range goes, the m365 is not bad per se but it’s pretty short. Also when the battery is under 50%, the speed and power suffers drastically. In practice, I’m hesitant to go to destinations over 4km (2.5mi) from my home, as a 8km (5mi) ride brings my battery percentage below 40% and then you get into danger territory. In theory the upgrade to the m365, the m365 MAX is supposed to address this issue but the MAX is so far above my weight maximum that I hesitate to mention it.

Price

By far the best feature of the m365 is its incredibly low price. Right now on Amazon, the m365 can be purchased for $377 USD but I’ve seen it as low as $299 USD. I purchased one in 2018 for $479 USD and one for my partner in 2019 for $399 USD. No regrets!

Downsides

This is well documented elsewhere, but keep in mind the folding mechanism on the m365 is flawed for some and the stem will get loose and allow a bit of motion/wiggle over time. There are some websites that chronicle the issue and potential fixes, so check that out if you have this issue! Also folks sell rubber shims that help solve the problem!

Summary

For a starter scooter, the m365 still can’t be beat but if you’re looking for the best thing out there for city/commuting, definitely check out my review of the e-TWOW GT.

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About Alex Schwartz

Alex works in tech and games in Boston, MA and has been using scooters to get around since before it was cool.

Boston, MA https://cityscoots.net

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