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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 MiJia M365 My First EKSperience

Xiaomi MiJia M365 My First EKSperience

Disclaimer: This is not a review. This is a disjointed commentary on my experiences with M365.

A few months back, I decided to buy a Xiaomi QiCycle for coding days. I bought it not to save some gas money, not for exercise, but specifically for coding days. I drive Diesel cars so my gas consumption is substantially more bearable than Gas cars so getting a QiCycle was definitely not due to economic reasons.

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Now that I have a QiCycle for coding days and going to and from near places, why did I get a Xiaomi M365? Well, for one, is because it is soooo damn fun to ride.

Frustrations Before Bliss

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I got this M365 dirt cheap on Facebook. Someone was selling for Php13,000 and that was too enticing not to grab. YES I AM VERY IMPULSIVE. After buying, this was when I experienced two frustrations. One by my stupidity, the other by luck.

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First, I was initially very disappointed as M365 was not able to pull me uphill. I am obese yes, but I am barely 90kgs. I thought M365 was weight-ist. It was really frustrating I wanted to sell it. Then I read the label. Green Light is eco mode. Damn that was idiotic. When I used in normal mode. Zip zap! That was amazing! It was so fun that I circled our village multiple times. Even my dad got in on the fun and loved it!

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Here is the second frustration. A friend of mine has been scooting for quite some time now in Makati and he never had a flat tire once. On my first ride, boom, FLAT. This was incredibly infuriating as I had to get a grab to work (Php139), if I used the car it would barely cost me Php40. (Mileage of Hyundai Accent is about 13km/L).

That was when I decided once is more than enough and bought Honeycomb Solid Tires from Bee Store Lazada (Which costed me an astounding Php1,700) and additional Php1,000 for installation. Yes I could have installed it myself right? Yeah, no. I’d rather pay someone to do it than do it myself and risk destroy it.

After the tires were installed there is assurance now that Flat tires will no longer be a problem. I’d gladly sacrifice ride comfort over unexpected unusablitiy which then includes unexpected expense. I know my route and I know when to go faster and when to slow down so personally, solid tires is the way to go.

Use Case(s?)

As mentioned earlier, I typically don’t buy stuff for economical reasons. I’ve spent Php30,000+ for QiCycle solely for coding days and getting an M365 seems redundant. Yes and no. Yes it may seem redundant but for me M365 has some niche uses.

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I love MilkTea and this love has made me suspect to diabetes. I tend to forego going to the gym because the gym near me is 3 flights of stairs with almost always no parking. I can’t leave my QiCycle on the ground floor because the chain maybe cut and people will blame me, the victim, and offer me hindsight advise like ‘Dapat kasi nilock mo ng 1000 locks’ (you should have used 1000 locks for your bike), ‘Alam mo naman na maraming magnanakaw iiwanan mo pa unattended’ (You know it is dangerous to leave unattended why leave it?). Carrying a 27kg bike 3 flights of stairs sounds and is hard. Hence this is a use case of M365. Going to the gym. As of writing I’ve already went once! How devoted will I be going to the gym moving forward? I don’t know but currently, M365 is a much better option.

Actual Usage

As mentioned earlier, I replaced the pneumatic tires with solid tires. On plain roads, riding does not feel that much different. If the road is not plain, this is where the solid tires is a literal rattling ride. There is an ongoing road reconstruction near me and I go through it all the time and that thug thug thug thug thug rattling in your head is a certainty.

I’ve read that M365 is supposed to have about 30km mileage, unfortunately for me, for the past 3 times I used the scooter to work, from my house and to the office, I go from 100% to 50%. My work is only 7km away so this is a bit of a disappointment. But I then realize, this is probably due to multiple inclines, some steeper than others as well as my heavy weight. So, I understand this mileage and do not hold this against the scooter. Better hit the gym more than I planned, I guess. LOL.

Lastly, justifying my purchase, riding a bicycle and riding an electric scooter are vastly distinct. There is a familiar joy in riding a bike (I bike to school back in the day) whereas riding my M365 is like riding a toy. A fun big boy toy that puts a smile on my face whenever I push the throttle. And I don’t know about you guys but I personally think that as long as that frivolous thing I bought makes me happy. I’m ok with it. And riding in our village, riding to work and from work, bike or scooter, devoid of traffic with extra time to spend to play games, play with your dog, chatting with family, or whatever you do is definitely worth the premium.

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I don’t want to give too much comparison between the QiCycle and the M365 as I intend to make a comparison on it in the future. So for now, Thanks for reading!