uptown motorbikes, evo is essentially the existing MQi GT but with a more powerful 5kW rear hub motor, new, enlarged 72v battery and a fresh, smart, colour TFT dash which provides a few extra features via a smartphone app in place of the GT’s more basic LCD version. Everything else is the same. The result elevates the GT’s performance from, say, 100cc equivalent to around 125cc and ramps up the price. That said, there’s lots to like from the slick style, decent build quality and neat dash but its overall design is little changed. uptown motorbikes
As before with the GT the Evo has a fairly typical ‘Step-thru’ scooter riding position and one that’s not adversely affected (as with some electrics) by excessive weight. The seat height is a fairly average 815mm and is comfortable padded; there’s a reasonable amount of room for your legs and feet (I’m unusually large at 6’3”) and the handlebars and controls fall easily to hand. It can even take a pillion and a passenger backrest is available as an optional extra. The leg shields should protect your legs but there’s no other weather protection, but then that’s typical of an urban scooter.
For a round town scoot there’s little to fault. The three-pin recharging costs buttons to run, it’s a simple ‘twist ‘n’ go’, so is a doddle to ride, it’s nimble and easy to cut through traffic, the extra performance means it longer struggles on dual carriageways or ring roads and the extra security features offered by the new Smartphone app, including an alarm, bike-locator etc, are a welcome bonus. On the slight downside, though, the twin batteries take up virtually all the available underseat luggage space, which means you’ll need to add a top box if you want to transport anything significant.
Performance & braking
This is the key benefit of the Evo over the standard GT. The new motor/battery boosts top speed to a genuine, 125cc-equivilent 70mph (I saw a best indicated of 69) with the spritely acceleration to match. Of course, that’s when you’re in the sportiest of the three selectable modes – Sport, the others being Eco and Dynamic. In Sport, expect the range to come down to around 40miles, but it’s instantly switched and, around town, Dynamic will suffice. Braking is unchanged, being a linked system that reminds of Honda’s old CBS Combined Braking System, whereby front and rear levers also partially operate the other. Overall it’s more than adequate, but you do need to use both. The front alone, motorcycle style, is a little lacking.
Ride & handling
Again unchanged from the GT and the area above all others that reveals the NUI’s slightly basic, Chinese-built roots. On smooth roads the ride, mostly thanks to the plush seat, is adequate but throw in a few potholes and the slightly spindly suspension jars quite nastily. Head into some twisty bends and the NUI is revealed to be lacking against the best Japanese petrol equivilents, too. The overlong mainstand lever touches down too easily on the left. The cheap and cheerful CTS branded tyres inspire little confidence and although the 14-inch wheels are big enough to match rivals and give reasonable stability somehow it feels less secure than many – especially at speed. Although the Evo’s 70mph max is welcome it starts to get a little nervous at that speed and I, for one, wouldn’t want any more…
Any electric bike’s ace card, and the new Evo is little different. Although performance is improved consumption of consumables, which is limited to tyres and brake pads anyway, is minimal. Conventional fuel costs don’t exist, road tax is free and recharging through a household three-pin plug takes around five hours and costs mere pennies. Even servicing is cheap. On the slight downside, this is NIU’s most expensive current (sic) bike and residuals are unknown, but you can’t (yet) have everything!
There’s virtually no moving parts, few fluids, little wear and NIU are becoming an established brand so we have few concerns. On top of that the new Evo is literally an evolution of an existing model, so most of the rolling chassis and cycle parts are proven too. One word of caution, however, comes from the all-new battery pack and engine. We’ve no reason to doubt its reliability but no evidence of it either.
Warranty & servicing
As before, and as with all NIU products, the Evo comes with a manufacturer-backed two-year warranty from new for all parts and labour, which should give plenty of peace of mind, while the battery itself has a three-year warranty. The good news continues with servicing. Being electric there are very few mechanical moving parts so little requires servicing although annual, brief check-overs are required..