This electric scooter broke me

2 months ago 81
Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra ridden by a man side on

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Sometimes we get used to things “as they are” and kind of forget that they could be better. That old breakdown-prone car you’ve had for years. The same boring breakfast you make all the time. For me, it’s rental scooters, which I’ve been riding for years. In that time, I’ve come to accept certain not-so-great things about them as par for the course. That was until I got my hands on the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra. This scooter broke me.

In the couple of weeks I spent riding it, the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra changed what I thought I knew about electric scooters. Until now, I had no real idea what you could actually expect from a half-decent electric scooter for adults. And now that I know, I don’t think I can go back to crappy rentals.

I got used to switching rental scooters because a wheel was wonky, the brakes didn’t work, or the tire was flat. These, or any one of a myriad of other basic problems, plagued my experience. Scooters were, in my mind, cheap, flimsy, and unreliable. In a matter of days, Xiaomi’s scooter transformed my perspective on an entire product category.

About this Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra review: I tested the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra for two weeks. The unit was provided by Xiaomi, but Xiaomi had no say in the published content.

Setting up the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra standing on grass

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

The 25-kilogram box arrived; I quickly unboxed it and realized how easy it was to assemble. It came with the steering column folded, so all I had to do was extend it, lock it in place, and attach the handlebars. This took all of two minutes.

Once the scooter was set up, I connected it to the Mi Home app (also available for iOS) via Bluetooth. It’s important that the country in the Mi Home app is the same as the country you’re resident in. This means the scooter will abide by any local laws limiting its top speed. Where I live in Europe, that’s 25 kilometers per hour or just under 16 miles per hour.

Assembling the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra took all of two minutes.

In case you’re thinking you just could bypass the above step and enjoy the maximum 35-kilometer-per-hour speed of the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra, not so fast. You need to activate the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra in the Mi Home app first. Otherwise, it will be speed-limited to 10km/hr and will beep constantly. Perhaps more importantly, you won’t find yourself getting a ticket, or worse, your scooter impounded, for ignoring local road safety laws.

First ride impressions

When I hit the road, the first thing that jumped out at me was just how amazing dual suspension is on a scooter. This alone has changed the way I think about scooter comfort. To give you an approximation of what it feels like, think of riding a bike with semi-flat tires. It’s that same kind of soft, bouncy feel, only this is how it’s meant to be. This is Xiaomi’s first dual-suspension scooter and it’s incredible.

This is Xiaomi’s first dual-suspension scooter and it’s incredible.

My tire pressure was at the recommended 45psi but the ride was so smooth it felt like a dream. I had grown accustomed to the unholy union of suspensionless rentals and the bone-jarring cobblestones of Europe. Even now, two weeks later, I still can’t get over how smooth a ride the Scooter 4 Ultra provides. This is the first time I’ve not studiously avoided any kind of bump, lump, or pothole on a scooter. It’s also super quiet, lacking the electric whine I typically associate with adult scooters.

The second thing I loved about the Scooter 4 Ultra was the braking. I had gotten used to sloppy, spongy braking on rentals. The first time I squeezed the brake on the Scooter 4 Ultra, when a pedestrian stepped into the bike lane no more than 30 seconds into my virgin ride, I almost went over the handlebars it was so effective. This thing stops on a dime. Fortunately, there’s also an included bell.

The Scooter 4 Ultra has E-ABS on the front wheel to help avoid skidding when braking and a user-adjustable mechanical disc brake on the rear. Right out of the box, the brake is plenty sensitive. If your weight is a little forward it is still possible to skid, by accident or for fun, when locking up the rear brakes. With your weight over the back wheel, however, it will go from 25 kilometers an hour to a standstill in a heartbeat.

Putting the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra to the test

After a quick spin around my neighborhood, I reluctantly went back to my desk. I topped up the battery overnight and planned a big ride for the next day to test the scooter’s range. If it says 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) on the box, I figured, then I could probably count on 40-45 kilometers of effective range. The best way to test that in my mind was to blindly pick a destination 20+ kilometers away and take my chances.

The next day, I geared up, hopped on, and took off to a lake 21 kilometers away from my house. It was cold, just 2°C (35°F) so I figured the battery might not do as well as if it were a little warmer. What I didn’t expect was that it would be my feet that would succumb to the cold long before the battery did.

The S+ drive mode reaches the scooter's maximum speed in just four seconds.

The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra has four drive modes. Pedestrian mode is limited to six kilometers an hour, perfect for when you’re scootering alongside someone walking or you’re making your way through crowds. D, which I assume means Drive, is a 20km/hr mode I don’t ever see myself using considering I only ever ride at full speed. Then there are the Sports and Sports Plus modes (or S and S+). Both top out at 25km/hr with S+ providing faster acceleration, hitting top speed in just four seconds.

I chose Sports mode for my trek, figuring the rapid acceleration of S+ wasn’t necessary and would probably eat into my maximum range. The fine print on Xiaomi’s claimed 70-kilometer range states a 75-kilo rider on flat ground at a constant speed of 15 kilometers per hour. I’m a 78-kilo rider on bumpy-but-flat ground doing 25km/hr the entire time unless I’m stopping or accelerating. The Scooter 4 Ultra can handle loads up to 120 kilograms.

What it’s like to ride the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra ridden by a man front on

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

My sojourn started with roadside bike lanes and pedestrian footpaths with a little stop-start traffic. Once I got out of the city and hit some proper cycle paths I spent the rest of the time at top speed. I missed the presence of cruise control on the Scooter 4 Ultra which is not allowed in the EU. Normally, after a 30-minute scooter ride, my hands have been shaken numb and I can’t wait to get off. This time I was pleasantly enjoying the ride, not even noticing the surfaces I was riding over.

A few kilometers from my destination, I checked the app. It said I had 57% battery remaining and 40 kilometers range remaining. Considering I had ridden 18 kilometers by this point, I figured I’d be OK. I only had three kilometers to go and then the whole way back. I felt so confident I decided to take an off-road trail to the water’s edge. I’d never even dream of doing this on a rental.

I continued at top speed, weaving around rocks and tree roots, letting the suspension do its thing. The wide, puncture-resistant 10-inch DuraGel tires did great on most surfaces — asphalt, dirt, rubble — but they do get a little squirrely on slick mud. The best part is they are self-healing, so I felt secure should I encounter an unruly piece of glass. As long as any pointy objects are smaller than 3.5mm in diameter the gel tires should close up once they are removed.

I splashed through puddles, confident in the Scooter 4 Ultra’s IP55 rating.

I splashed through puddles and over small jumps, confident in the Scooter 4 Ultra’s IP55 rating and no-slip grip handles. I was an hour into my ride now and my feet and hands were starting to feel the cold. The water I had been splashing through reminded me that it was still winter. I made it to my destination, checked the app, and realized my off-road frivolity might have been a bad idea. The battery was down to 48% and I was only halfway through my ride.

Asphalt bike lanes seemed like the better choice for the ride home to increase my chances of not having to walk. As I neared my second hour I started reconsidering the choices that got me there. A two-hour round trip in freezing temperatures suddenly seemed like an obviously bad idea. My hands and feet were frozen, and even though the ride was smooth I was getting sick of standing up. And then my top speed started to slow down.

How good is the battery life and range?

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra top down view of deck

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

I was perhaps a kilometer and a half from home when I noticed it. First, my acceleration at traffic lights wasn’t quite so snappy, taking longer to hit top speed than before. Then my maximum speed gradually dropped from 25km/hr to 23, then 22, then 20.

As the final few blocks rolled by I got slower and slower, limping the last few hundred meters at just 12km/hr. But I made it. The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra managed a two-hour, 42-kilometer round-trip and didn’t make me walk despite arriving home with zero battery. For regular commuters, I’m confident in saying it has a reliable 40-kilometer (25-mile) effective range.

The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra managed a two-hour, 42-kilometer round-trip.

My only real gripe with the Scooter 4 Ultra is that the range calculations in the app are off. They’re based on the ideal scenario mentioned above, with a 75-kilo rider on flat ground at a constant 15kms/hr. They’re not at all representative of what you’ll get as a normal rider. Knowing I can reliably hit 40 kilometers on a full battery means it’s a simple bit of math to calculate the remaining range myself. It would be better if the app’s optimistic calculations were more indicative of real-world usage.

For regular errands and commuting, however, I never found myself needing to check the battery levels in the app. I just knew I could run about all day on a single charge using the battery indicator on the handlebar display as a rough guide. That display could be a bit brighter for outdoor legibility in strong sunlight, but it’s good enough. Considering how much fun this is to ride, I can see myself riding it even more when it’s warmer.

What else do I need to know about the Scooter 4 Ultra?

XIaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra headlight beam

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Since then I’ve taken it out on a few shorter rides around town, discovering more new stuff as I go. The taillight flashes while braking to help you stand out in the dark. In the app, you can set the rear light to constant illumination for increased visibility. The front headlight is turned on and off quickly by pressing the power button on the stem. It offers a better cone of light than my bicycle light and is bright without being blinding.

A full charge from zero to 100% only took me six hours with the 124W charger.

In the app, you can choose from three different levels of regenerative braking. Depending on your riding style, this could add a few additional kilometers to your range and even save you from braking as much manually. Regenerative braking, which also recovers power when using the hand brake, means more riding between battery charges.

A full charge from zero to 100% only took me six hours with the 124W charger. This is a half-hour faster than Xiaomi’s stated recharge time. The little rubber gasket covering the charging port ensures it stays clear of mud and dirt.

Any downsides?

One downside I found after using the Scooter 4 Ultra for running errands is that there’s no natural place to run a chain through the frame. You can lock the scooter in the app, which locks up the wheels, disables the power button, and makes the scooter beep if anyone moves it. But there’s no metal loop anywhere to make chaining it up possible.

I just wish there was a secure place to run a chain through the frame.

There’s also no built-in GPS, so if anyone did steal it, once it’s out of Bluetooth range you’d have no idea where it is. You could, of course, hide a Bluetooth tracker somewhere on it, which is what I did. A locked scooter only displays a Bluetooth icon and a lock icon. Otherwise, it displays your speed, drive mode, warning lights, battery level, and headlight indicator.

With its folding stem and clip over the rear mudguard, it is possible to carry the Scooter 4 Ultra. At 25 kilograms though, it’s a bit heavier than I’d want a scooter to be to lug it around. It is light enough that you can easily carry it up or down the stairs or throw it in the back of the car. On the upside, I really like the new multi-stage locking mechanism which feels sturdy and reliable.

Leaving rental scooters in the dust

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra sitting on tarmac

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

After a week, my favorite thing about riding the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra around town was taking off at traffic lights in S+ mode. While all scooters here have the same speed limit, being able to leap ahead of the rest of the pack to assume my rightful place in pole position was great. It’s a small and possibly silly thing to appreciate, but it somehow feels… right.

The whole experience crystallized when at one point while the scooter was charging, I needed to take a rental on an errand. It was awful. Besides the obvious differences in suspension and range, the rental suddenly felt incredibly small. The Electric Scooter 4 Ultra has a much higher deck for the dual suspension to do its thing. But the handlebars are also taller and wider, making for a far more comfortable ride than the comparatively cramped rental scooter.

The Scooter 4 Ultra has a 500W motor with 940W peak output. That’s a 35-40% increase over its predecessor.

Throughout all the above I haven’t even mentioned power. The Scooter 4 Ultra has a 500W motor with 940W peak output. That’s a 35-40% increase over its predecessor, the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Pro. It can climb hills of up to 25% gradient and has a larger 561.5Wh battery. Both represent more than a 25% increase over the Scooter 4 Pro.

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra review: The verdict

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra standing in a puddle

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

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It took less than a week for the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra to break me. But now I’ve tried it I can’t go back to rental scooters. It offers a smoother ride, better tires, more power, faster braking, longer range, more comfortable dimensions, sturdier build quality, superior hill climbing, and better features.

Despite riding it over far rougher terrain than I would a rental, I never heard a rattle or a squeak. And I never had numb hands after commuting over cobblestone streets, patchwork asphalt, and tram tracks — just from the cold. Its impressive range took this scooter from a last-mile mobility solution for me to an every-mile solution.

Its impressive range and comfort make the Electric Scooter 4 Ultra an every-mile mobility solution.

The long-range comfort factor really played into how long I rode it, where I felt comfortable taking it, and how often I wanted to use it. I completely stopped riding my bike which I normally take out daily. The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra is so enjoyable to ride it makes you want to ride it more. That’s a big win for a product type I previously thought of only as a clunky convenience.

Price and alternatives

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra handlebar detail

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

At €999, the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra isn’t even super expensive for a 500W/940W scooter with this kind of range. I took a look at my rental scooter apps and I’ve spent about that on rentals in the last two years. I’m not going back, and nor will you if you make the switch. Now, if only I could figure out how to add a foot warmer to this scooter I’d be set.

The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra officially launches in April 2023 via Xiaomi’s website and Amazon in Europe — it is only available in black. If you’re in the US, Xiaomi scooters are not officially sold in the country although you can buy scooters made by the company that makes Xiaomi scooters: Segway Ninebot. The ever-popular Segway Ninebot Max is available via Amazon for $649 with a less powerful 350W motor but 65-kilometer (40-mile) range, and 30-kilometer (18-mile) max speed. If I’ve sold you on the benefits of dual suspension, the Fluid Horizon is worth checking out for $829 (down from $979) with a 500W motor, dual suspension, 48-kilometer (30-mile) range, and 37-kilometer (23-mile) per hour top speed. If front-only suspension sounds sufficient, check out the Apollo Air which usually retails for $999 but is currently on sale for $799. It offers a max speed of 35km/hr (21 miles/hr), 50-kilometer (31-mile) range, and a 500W motor. For more great recommendations check out our best electric scooters list.

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

Impressive range • Smooth drive • Sturdy build

Xiaomi’s first dual-suspension scooter

Impressive range and comfort make the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra an every-mile mobility solution.

Top questions and answers about the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra

That’s easy: the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra. It has the best range, most powerful motor, and dual suspension for the most comfortable riding experience.

The Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra is rated for 25km/hr in the EU. This is only to obey local laws however, it can actually reach speeds of 35-40km/hr.

The 561.5Wh battery on the Xiaomi Electric Scooter 4 Ultra is advertised as having a 70-kilometer range or 43.5 miles. This is under very specific conditions (75kg rider, flat surface, constant 15km/hr speed). For a normal rider (80kgs, uneven ground, stop-start usage at max speed), it can reliably reach 40kms or 25 miles.

If you regularly rent electric scooters, then yes, buying one is worth it. Keep in mind that most scooters only last for about three years and all the maintenance will be on you.

No. Xiaomi scooters are manufactured by Segway Ninebot which sells scooters under its own brand name in the U.S.. It is still possible to import a Xiaomi scooter to the U.S. if you really want one.

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