Ninebot MAX G30 Folding Electric Scooter Review
Following the success of the ES series of scooters, Segway Ninebot are back with a larger, heavier duty, long range scooter designed for a western audience. Is bigger always better? Standing tall, the Max G30 promises a mature, refined product, targeting all of its competitors weaknesses. We put the new scooter through its paces and compare it to our current favourite, Xiaomi’s M365 Pro.
Ninebot's Max G30 scooter at a glance
- Class-leading 31mile maximum range
- Huge 551 Wh battery with built-in fast charger
- Powerful 350w rear hub motor with a 15.5mph top speed
- Mechanical drum and regenerative motor braking
- Big 10 inch tubeless pneumatic tyres
- Large frame and tall handlebars
- 116cm long by 47cm wide, 120 cm tall and 19kg in weight
There is certainly some parts sharing going on in the scooter market at the moment. The Max’s familiar silhouette is finished in a dark grey powder-coat style finish, Ninebot opting for yellow trim highlights on the wheel rims, stem logo, accelerator grip and the highly-reflective frame caps.
Unboxing, constructing and charging the scooter
Shipped in a large black box measuring 121x60x22cm, the max is well (but sadly) protected by large chunks of polystyrene. Inside Ninebot include a UK power adapter, European (2 prong) power adapter, inflation adapter, 2.5mm hex-driver, 6 hex bolts, quick-start guide, user manual and warranty card along with the scooter itself.
If you own a Xiaomi scooter or have seen one of our other unboxing articles you will be familiar with the Ninebot Max’s basic assembly requirements. Once removed from the packaging, the handlebars need to be inserted into the steerer tube. A keyed design, it is impossible to get wrong, with just 6 bolts to insert and tighten with the supplied T-wrench.
Under the deck, at the rear of the scooter is a sprung rubber-sealed flap covering the charge ports. The Max can be charged with the supplied C5 ‘cloverleaf’ mains cable, or with the older ES-series external charger via the 2.0A DC input jack. Charging direct from the mains with that integrated 3A, 121w charger will take just 6 hours to fill up that huge 551Wh (15300mAh) battery! Whilst charging the scooter dashboard will display the current charge level. Note that once charging is complete the scooter remains powered 'on’.
This is the first scooter we have seen with an integrated charger and we are big fans of the setup, the C5 cables both inexpensive and readily available on the open market should you wish to leave one at your office/home/other frequented destinations.
Although arriving inflated, it is always worthwhile checking the tyre pressures. Use a quality pump (ideally one with a pressure readout valve) in conjunction with the included inflation extension tube. Ninebot recommend riding with the tyre pressure between 32 and 37 psi, (the tyres are rated for 55psi max) inflating both equally. Note that before riding you must activate the scooter through the smartphone application.
Folding and unfolding the Max
Despite sharing design similarities with the Xiaomi scooter frame, the folding mechanism is a different and much-improved-upon design. To fold the scooter down, rotate the plastic locking ring anti-clockwise, away from the release latch. When new the large metal release latch can be stiff to operate and those with smaller hands may struggle. Ensuring your head/body is to the side of the handlebars, lever this release latch away from the front of the scooter.
This action collapses the steerer tube to hinge down across the footplate, coming to rest on the rear mudguard. Align the plastic catch on the right-hand-side of the handlebars over the rear fender and allow it to clip in. Unfolding is the reversal of this process, releasing the bars from the rear guard, erecting them, carefully closing the release lever and securing it with the plastic locking ring.
Once folded (and with the kickstand stowed) the scooter can be carried up stairs or for short distances, holding onto the steerer tube. The wide deck requires you to hold it slightly further out from your body than other scooters, this in addition to its near 19kg weight, can fatigue your arms quickly. If you are right handed we suggest carrying it ‘backwards’ with the rear wheel ahead of you to avoid catching your legs on the folded kickstand.
In control : acceleration, braking and the dashboard
The cockpit is laid out in a familiar way with the brake lever and bell to the left and the throttle lever to the right. Soft grey rubber handgrips finish off the comfortably wide (47cm end-to-end) handlebars.
Once rolling, you can speed up by rotating the throttle control with your right thumb. Powered by a 350w rear-hub motor, the scooter can climb a gradient up to 20% (naturally, dependant on rider weight) and go on to hit its top speed of 15.5mph in a matter of seconds. Inboard of the throttle is the fender latch, securing the upright to the rear fender, allowing the scooter to be carried.
The brake lever to the left of the handlebars operates the mechanical drum brake on the front wheel as well as the regenerative brake in the rear hub motor. The braking action is smooth although the front-drum setup lacks initial bite, as if the system is short on immediate power compared to some of the mechanical rear-disc setups on the market. Adjusting the regenerative braking force of the rear-hub motor (through the smartphone app) improves the overall performance of a system that is doubtless strained by the additional mass of the scooter. In-board of the brake lever, somewhat resembling a ‘grip’ gear-shifter is the bell and rotating the rubber-dial rings it to warn those around you.
Bolted to the top of the stem, a bright LCD display shows the current speed (indicated in km/h as standard but switchable to mph) drive mode, bluetooth status, scooter health and remaining battery capacity, the later displayed as five segments. Recessed towards the bottom of this panel, a single button is responsible for powering up, adjusting and shutting down the scooter. Press to turn on, tap to switch mode, long press to turn on/off the lights and finally press and hold to turn the scooter off.
As mentioned drive modes can be cycled between by double-tapping the power button (even when moving), switching between ECO, Drive and Sport. Each have their own acceleration gradients and top speeds, assisting you in maximising your potential range or provide the most performance when riding.
Lights and safety
Mounted under the handlebar stem, sat behind a lens is a bright LED headlight. When powered up, the beam focuses down on the ground a useful couple of meters ahead of the scooter with a crisp, strong beam cutoff. Brighter than the standard M365 setup and with enough spill in the reflector housing to make the scooter visible from a wide angle up front, this is by far the best factory-fit unit we have seen so far.
As mentioned the Max features a ‘twist’ bell. This somewhat unorthodox design allows for multiple ‘hits’ of the bell in quick succession, maximising the potential alert capability. It's position allows you to mute the bell immediately by placing a finger on the black metal body. It took some getting used to but we actually prefer using this integrated design which is less likely to injure a rider than the traditional 'bell' seen on the M365, in the event of an accident.
At the rear is a horizontally mounted red LED that flashes red when the brakes are applied. With the headlamp lit it is also constantly lit, still flashing when braking. It can be configured to be ‘always on’ through the application.
Configured for pedestrian safety mode (again through the app) the scooter speed is capped at 6km/h and this rear light will flash rapidly to warn those behind of the observed limit, the passenger is notified of this by a small ‘walking human’ icon on the dashboard aside of the drive mode. We feel that modes like these demonstrate that manufacturers are committed to responsible scooter use in built up areas.
Size matters. Just ask anyone relatively tall who rode the original M365 for a stint. Xiaomi partically addressed this with the recent enlarged Pro model and for the Max, Ninebot have also redesigned the scooter frame to make it suitable for those 6ft and over. For reference, our 5 foot 11 inch tall model found the footplate roomy and the controls at a comfortable height.
Stepping off the spacious base back on to electric scooters like the original M365 makes it feel positively cramped. The footplate is a good 16.5cm wide with 50cm clear space between the downtube and the rear fender whilst the usable griptape area stretches out to 63cm around these elements. The wide and long stance is topped off with raised handlebars, sat around 118cm from the ground.
The upscaling doesn’t end there, with large 10inch-diameter tubeless tyres fitted front and rear. These feature a larger air volume and can run at a lower-than-average pressure for improved ride comfort. Designed for hard paths, the compound is soft enough to grip whilst the tread features a directional pattern to clear water on wet surfaces.
Anyone who has ever had to change an inner-tube on a small hub-motor wheel will know just how frustrating the process can be. We welcome tubeless tyres with their separate valve stems and will be extensively testing the puncture protection promised by a new inner tyre layer.
Ninebot state that the Max is suitable for passengers 3’11” to 6’6” (120–200 cm) with a maximum payload of 100kg. We have tested the scooter with a rider of 110kg with little hit to the performance beyond the usual range reduction. The tough deck, strong motor and powerful brakes appear to be capable of handling a load slightly beyond these limits, at the customers risk.
Only the kickstand, mounted up the front on the left hand side of the base (likely due to the weight distribution) feels clumsy in use, having experienced Xiaomi’s unit, positioned at the rear.
Companion smartphone app
The Segway-Ninebot app is required to activate/register the scooter before it can be ridden. If you have unboxed yours and have been unable to ride it whilst it beeps at you, this is likely the reason. Upon activation, a series of timed safety messages are displayed (that cannot be skipped) with advice for safe and responsible use of the device.
A simple home-screen design provides you the information you need plus shortcuts to the most commonly used functions of the app such as locking the hub motor wheel when parked and adjusting energy recovery levels. Cruise control can be activated, allowing the scooter to automatically maintain a throttle input (confirmed with a beep), after holding the accelerator at a set position for around 5 seconds. Pedestrian mode can also be engaged, limiting the scooter to 6km/h, ideal for safe control in built up areas. Double-tapping the dashboard view will swap the background for your rear camera feed, allowing you to effectively see 'through' your phone when glancing to check your speed/battery levels.
Riding the Max
As per other electric scooters, the Max requires a kick push up to 3km/h before the motor will take over. Under power, acceleration is smooth with reasonable punch when ridden on the flat in sport mode. In our tests sport mode topped out at 25km/h, 20km/h in drive and 16km/h in eco mode. As mentioned the braking performance is great, progressive in its action even on the strongest regeneration mode and offering riders real confidence.
Those 10inch tyres are a revelation on the move. Jumping off of an ES4 (with its small, solid wheels) and onto this Max and an increased stability (and confidence when travelling at higher at cruising speeds) is immediately evident. We are yet to experience a puncture with our test unit but we are confident that the larger, tubeless design will make swapping tyres markedly easier, the pinch of the tube re-fitment often the real snagging point of any repair.
With the majority of our scooters powered by the front wheel, it was great to experience a ‘rear wheel drive’ chassis. On loose inclines there is none of the skittish front wheel scrabbling regularly experienced on front-hub motor setups, potentially due to a more ‘even’ weight distribution of rider and battery thanks to that larger footplate.
With a water resistance rating of IPX5 for the whole body (and IPX7 for its core components) you can use the scooter on a damp path, just avoid riding in heavy rain or through a puddle that would submerge the tyres to the depth of the motor hub. One last thing to note with this ‘oversize’ model, Ninebot’s own suggested age rating of 14+ advises that is not for kids.
How does it compare to the competition?
The Max commands a premium pricetag, higher even than that on the Xiaomi M365 Pro and Ninebot’s very own ES4, but it is one that the polished platform truly justifies. With its large pneumatic tyres, it offers a confident, comfortable ride on surfaces that a small wheeled scooter (such as InMotion’s L8f) would really struggle on. It avoids the nervousness and vibration of solid wheel models, allowing you to carve turns on rough tarmac with ease. With a range of 31 miles it can theoretically go further than any of the other scooters we sell today.
Beyond budget, its greatest weakness is a result of that class-leading range and build quality; the sheer weight of it. 19kg never feels that heavy in a dumbbell, but spread across a sizeable metal scooter it becomes quite a struggle; carrying the Max any distance is something that should be avoided.
Overall, it is the details that set this scooter apart and justify its pricetag. That freshly engineered quick-release clasp, right down to the metal caps used on the valve stems, the refinements are plentiful.
Should I buy the Ninebot Max?
If you desire a ‘proper’ scooter, one that offers both refinements alongside a long real-world range this is the one to buy. Likewise if you are tall or heavier than average, or are just sick of carrying your charger around with you (and assuming you can afford it!) the Ninebot Max is a must-buy. The Max can truly be considered as the current ‘Mercedes’ of the scooter world and Ninebot should be proud of successfully ‘out-pro’ing Xiaomi in their own game. You can buy the Ninebot Max from our webstore today, with free-next-working-day delivery to mainland UK!