Tag Archives: qicycle

Torn Between Wheel Brothers!

Torn Between Wheel Brothers!

A commentary between Xiaomi’s electric transporters Xiaomi M365 Scooter and Xiaomi QiCycle

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I’ve previously reviewed the Xiaomi QiCycle and commentareviewed the Xiaomi M365 scooter. The past few weeks both have had niche uses. And although, I’m pretty sure nobody asked, I now write before you. A probably unfair, unscientific and purely subjective comparison of these two transportation device from Xiaomi. One of the best and reliable Chinese brand out there. So, without further ado, here it is.

 

Why Purchase either?

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Initially, the main reason I bought the QiCycle is solely as a substitute for my car on coding. Why bicycle and not a motorcycle? Well, getting a bicycle is much cheaper, it does not need any license (or modification of your existing license) and the bicycle is a proven and tested transportation device with a surprisingly large community on Facebook.

Relating to the Facebook page which is Bike to Work Pilipinas, An unsolvable problem in Manila is definitely traffic. And while this isn’t actually my main reason for buying the QiCycle, it became a retroactive smart decision that I did. Since January 2019, I’ve used my bicycle more times than I’ve used my car. It has saved me tons of gas money, though the saved money went to other frivolous spending, and it has made travel time a little bit faster much more consistently. For reference, I live about 8km from work, it takes me about 30 to 40 mins on car (60mins on a very bad day). On bicycle, it has been a consistent 27mins to and from work. I can’t comment that I have become healthier because this bicycle has Electric Pedal Assist which substantially cuts the effort and smoke is smoke regardless of mask used.

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If that would have been the case wouldn’t buying the Xiaomi M365 in the first place be the more economical route? Wouldn’t having both be redundant? Yes. Definitely. But, as mentioned from my M365 commentary, I don’t really purchase gadgets for economic reasons. I bought the M365 because I wanted to try it. I wanted to experience it for myself. Barring cellphones, I tend to fall into the  latter part of early majority in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle. I tend to purchase gadgets way beyond its release date. What I am into is experiencing them. On gaming (read on Sony gaming consoles), barring Nintendo consoles, I tend to get the latest consoles at the end of their lifespan. That way, I am able to assess if it would be worth it. My dad bought us the PS1 at 2000, I was gifted the PS2 at 2008, I bought the PS3 at 2013 and the PS4 and PS Vita at 2018. I have had no regrets since then. But I’ve digressed long enough.

I don’t know what stage are Electric Kick Scooters are in but as far as M365 goes, it has been a couple of years since its release. Today, there is a relatively big community of EKS enthusiast here in the Philippines and it is not surprising that the M365 group has about 4.2k members. The M365 has had multiple good reviews as well as good feedback months after use and I felt like this is a good time to try it out.

 

Riding in QC

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There is a familiar joy in riding a bicycle. Back in high school (2007), I used to bike to school every day. So the moment I biked to work some 12 years later, was truly awesome and nostalgic. Add the fact that the Pedal assist is nothing short of spectacular. Riding the QiCycle, is stable, fun, fast and effortless. Unfortunately, locking the QiCycle can be tricky as there are only a few spots you can safely lock it. It is too much of a hassle to lug around and it is quite heavy at 14.5kgs. Whenever I bring my QiCycle to work, I fold it and keep it in my workstation. I don’t think this is applicable to all companies so this is definitely something to look out for. Sadly, having the M365, massively dropped usage of my QiCycle.

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Other than trying it out, I initially had no use case for the Xiaomi M365 given the QiCycle. But damn, the day I got it to work properly, I felt like this was it. If QiCycle was effortless. This was, well, more effortless. Kick start it and press the throttle and that is it. It is that much easier. It is much more portable than the QiCycle and much less of a hassle to carry as well. As previously discussed on my M365 commentary, I thought to use the QiCycle to go to the gym, but I did not want to risk being victim blamed if I leave my LOCKED QiCycle on the first floor of the gym and it gets stolen. Even if I use 10000 locks, if my bike gets stolen, I will get victim blamed and get tagged as stupid for leaving the bike unattended. A solution would be ‘Then carry the damn bike to the gym’ yeah no. Carrying the 14kg Qicycle up and down 3 flights of stair is exhausting.

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The M365 has changed that. Lugging the 12kg M365 around is much easier than Qicycle. Please note that the folding mechanism of both are night and day. You can carry the M365 with one hand. If you can teach me how I can efficiently hold the QiCycle with one hand and I will take back everything I said.

This portability has extended my use of M365 further. Though both are electric and therefore not advised to be splashed with water, I have seen quiet a few who braved the rain on either. I am not one of them. Instead, what I do is I fold the M365, hail a cab, ride a jeep or hitch a ride from my officemate, and put it inside the vehicle. Now try that and use QiCycle. QiCycle is too big to ride into a vehicle. Try not to get bothered by rolling eyes on the jeepney, and the incessant rambling of the taxi/jeepney driver you put your QiCycle into.

The only downsides that I see on the M365 are the range and the performance. The heavier you are, the worse the M365 performs. Worse in terms of acceleration, max speed and max range. Where the QiCycle takes me to and from work for 2 days. The M365 can barely take me to and from work once. M365 is advertised at 30km range but a 7km ride from house to work drains the battery to 50-55%. This was infuriating at first as it means I have to bring the charger all the time and charging it takes a lot longer than the QiCycle. But I have grown to live with it.

Let me stop rambling and put on a summary list of each device against the other based on my personal subjective experience:

For Team QiCycle:

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  1. Longer range, faster charging time. 45kms on 3hours charge. I get about 35kms due to my heavier 87kg weight.
  1. Much more stable and comfortable ride.

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  1. For what it’s worth, little exercise when Pedal assist is on? Turn up the cardio by going manual (not recommended due to hellish experience)

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  1. Higher payload of 100Kgs. Unlike on M365, where the nearer you are at 100kgs, the worse the performance. On QiCycle, there is no performance degradation on heavier weight (Tested by riding both with and without a 5kg backpack).
  1. Faster at stock speed at 29kph M365 is 25kph. Note: NOT EVERYONE WILL BE COMFORTABLE with Custom Firmware regardless of how easy it is. 
  1. Bikes are recognized and therefore is actually allowed on some roads. You can argue all you want that EKS are allowed but unless you show me actual writing. Biking is definitely better in terms of road legality. EKS regulation is basically non-existent. From here, LTO clarified last January 2018 that E-vehicles which “can be propelled manually” or “run solely by muscular effort” are exempted from registration. Legally speaking QiCycle is perfectly legal. Why am I not surprised to see the late great Miriam Santiago introduce this Policy. 

 

For Team M365:

  1. Much more fun to ride. (Very subjective).
  1. More portable.

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  1. Better after-market support. I had a flat tire on M365 and it was fixed by an EKS shop in QC. I am yet to find a reliable QiCycle repairman.
  1. Better community due to abundance of different available EKS on the market. (A regular bicycle and a QiCycle is NOT the same.) 
  1. Cheaper. 
  1. Easier to use CFW. (International Version of QiCycle has no Bluetooth Support.)

 

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So where does that leave us with the M365 and QiCycle? For the past few days, I have been using M365 more. Maybe because it is the newer toy I have. Look this type of comparison can be akin to, stupid analogy incoming, both owning a Sony Playstation 4 (QiCycle), and Nintendo Switch (M365). I’ve played with the switch a lot more partly because it is much more portable (oh hey another similarity with the M365 LOL) but in no way will I say that the Switch is definitively better than the PS4. Just because I use the other more does not mean it is better. This is just personal and subjective preference. As far as M365 vs QiCycle goas, I hate to do it. I have to cop out on this one and say this is entirely up to you. Factors such as use case, road to be used on, budget, etc. are things only you could decide on. As for me, I like having choices to suit my mood.  I think a rain is coming? I’ll probably use the M365 because I have an officemate I can hitch a ride on and use the M365 for the last mile. It’s a sunny day! Do I want to get to and from work faster? I’ll take the QiCycle! Don’t want to pedal? I’ll bring the M365 and its charger. LOL.  Do your research well and I can guarantee you that neither the QiCycle and M365 will disappoint.

Xiaomi QiCycle 2019 Review: Wheelie Good or Bad?

Xiaomi QiCycle 2019 Review: Wheelie Good or Bad?

Working in Metro Manila, Philippines, a common complaint and/or stressor is traffic. You can literally be stuck in traffic and move 1km in 1 hour sometimes maybe even more.

So, with traffic being seemingly an impossible problem to solve, what can we do? Obviously, since this is a review of Xiaomi QiCycle, biking maybe a possible Band-Aid type solution! But how feasible is it actually? Read on and find out!

Disclaimer: I am NOT a professional biker. This is the first bike I bought so I HAVE NO REFERENCE ON OTHER BIKES aside from cheap BMX bikes I had back in 2008.

Build:

QiCycle is my first folding bicycle. It is covered in carbon-fiber material which contributes to its relative lighter weight and overall cooler feel. It also has a free Bike Stand (earlier models does not seem to have this stand). It does not feel cheap rather, it feels very well made.

Personally, I wouldn’t call Metro Manila a bike haven so people asking me about it are impressed with its foldability, and the integrated bright lights in the bike. They would be further impressed if they would know that this baby is actually motorized. This bike is rated for 100kgs, weighting about 90kgs, I say this bike has held up pretty well amidst almost reaching the limit.

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QiCycle Mortal Enemy

I have used this almost on a daily basis for almost three weeks now and I am impressed. The major flaw of this bike is its suspension or lack thereof. Humps and Rumble Strips are your worst enemy as going through them, especially the latter, will hurt your balls. I frequently dismount my bikes on rumble strips as they hurt. A LOT.

Software / Functionality:

Software is somewhat a mixed bag. Being released way back in 2016, the official application is all but gone from the PlayStore and I can’t seem to install anything I find on Google. Ergo, I have NOT BEEN ABLE TO CONNECT my QiCycle to my PocoF1. There also seem to be something different with the module that I bought. Menus are already in English, which is a good thing, but there doesn’t seem to be a QR which could have been used to connect it to an unofficial QiCycle app on PlayStore .

Advantage of the preinstalled software is that the max speed you can achieve is already at 25km/h (though some unofficial firmware seems to enable speed up to 29km/h). This isn’t a huge deal for me as I rarely ever hit 25km/h around manila.

Using it is very easy as well. Just turn on the module, and pedal. Voila! The motor automatically kicks in and you will almost instantaneously feel the push of the motor. You still have to pedal accordingly but the help of 250W is something you can take for granted. If you turn the Assist to ‘OFF’ the bike will still be useable but this is not ideal as the pedals become significantly heavier (again, I am not a professional biker, if you find the no electric assist easy, good for you then). This is not a nitpick. This is a fact.

The 250W motor is said to last you about 40kms on a single charge, and I found that true. I charge my QiCycle every other day as my back and forth is approximately 15km. After 2 work days, I would have about 10% of battery left on the tank. Perfect for a MilkTea trip to Macao Congressional. After that topping up is about 3 Hours to full.

Manila Usability:

So the biggest question is, can you actually use this in Manila? As research (translation: Google) has pointed out, it looks like QiCycle does NOT NEED to be registered as an E-bike. Our venerable LTO maybe vague most of the time but it is stated here that E-vehicles which “can be propelled manually” or “run solely by muscular effort” are exempted from registration.

I have never been halted by MMDA and I usually go through Mindanao Avenue which is almost always rife with these blue enforcers.

My route is Congressional Ave > Mindanao Ave > Visayas Ave and you can believe those roads are prone to traffic with uneven roads here and there.

Since I’m relatively new to biking, I could not comment on how far biking feasibility in Manila has come. Barring few red light beating nincompoops, agitated motorcyclist, and the ever greedy bike lane-hogging vehicles (ehem Jeepneys), and the aforementioned rumble strips, I can definitely say biking to work is not that bad.

 

My Life Behind Bars:

At Php28,995 on Xiaomi Stores (Yes their pamphlet said Php26, 995) this is not in the range of ‘affordable’ for average consumers as there are folding bikes a quarter the price of QiCycle. This does not include all other things you MUST buy when biking like elbow pads, knee pads, helmet, bike lock, mask, etc. Honestly, I bought the QiCycle because I want an alternative to commuting on coding days. I did not want to buy a motorcycle as it is much more expensive and I am not allowed to use it, updating Driver’s License is additional hassle.

Initially, cycling 15km  daily is something I thought I won’t be able to do. But the motor assist of the QiCycle has made it drastically easier, dare I say enjoyable? If this wasn’t motorized, I would have ningas-kugoned the crap out of this bike and just use this two times and fed it to dust, but I have used it every day for two weeks now.

If I defer to commute as opposed to driving, it takes me 3 rides each costing about Php8. So commuting costs me roughly Php48/day. QiCycle plus the surplus add-ons I bought roughly cost me about Php33k. I must use the bike 690 times to and from work to break even. But with the time I save from not being stuck in traffic, switching vehicles and falling in line, I would say this is definitely worth it.

There are dangers in riding bicycle that you definitely have to watch out for, but with keen sense in safety and some common sense, The Xiaomi QiCycle is a wheelie-good choice for an alternative to commuting, beating traffic and saving some few gas Phps.