Rideables have become all the rage these days. It all started off with the Segway with long handles, which featured an unique type of perpendicular transport we haven’t quite seen before. Now they are everywhere, usually in short-handled versions. How you manoeuvre with them is by leaning to accelerate and brake, and twisting your feet to turn and rotate.
Old Segway (left), Xiaomi’s Ninebot Mini (right)
Xiaomi apparently saw something they loved with the Segway and made a surprising, but little-known move of acquiring the company of the same name. Ninebot, one of Xiaomi’s subsidiaries, then went on to produce a product for everyone looking to replace walking. The Ninebot Mini is its name, with a concept similar to the AirWheel Q5. The self-balancing weights in the AirWheel Q5 have proven to make riding reliable.Ninebot’s implementation, however, is just a tad different: a knee-high steering stick detects the rider’s motion to determine its direction like any ridable, but it is far easier to learn with its more spacious and secure leg support. The Ninebot Mini is also capable of travelling up to 22 km on a single charge.
This would mean riders would be going further with the Ninebot Mini, but its move speed is what gets them places faster: 16 km/h with a 85 kg weight load. As a bonus, if they are riding over puddles, they get splash protection and IP54-certification as well.
So, lets put it to the test:
To begin, it was a little hard to get used to, but the Bluetooth-enabled controls from the smartphone app thankfully never added to the difficulty. I opted to go without the smartphone app at times, but I was only be capped at 7 km/h as a result. So going without it wasn’t an option. Configuring it was actually very easy, with step-by-step instructions that guided me through in an intuitive manner.
But riding on it was something of a challenge nevertheless. It felt light even with its sturdy build, but if I wasn’t looking forward at the distance, and instead down at my feet it felt like nothing could stop me from lurching forward. However, with some practice, I was able to control my centre of gravity a little better, and actually start controlling it via the app to go in directions I was wanting it to go.
The first km: it felt like there was a big tendency to sway to the sides, but towards the end I was beginning to control it like a pro, making left and right turns without any physical tilts in my physical posture. So, if you are a novice like me, most likely you would have to conquer that first km learning curve before getting to the fun.
All in all, it’s sleek, stylish and definitely a form of stable personal transportation you can easily flaunt on the go. But you just need to put in the time and effort in that first 100 metres to truly become a rideable champion with the Ninebot Mini.