Xiaomi QiCycle full review
Cycling can be hard work, especially over long distances, but Xiaomi's QiCycle builds in an electric motor to help power you along the way.
Electric bikes such as the QiCycle are perfectly legal for use on roads and cycle paths in the UK, provided the rider is over 14. With a 250W motor and top speed of 20km/hour the Xiaomi is treated under UK law as a normal bicycle, so you don't need to have a driving licence, pay road tax or register the bike. We do advise taking safety precautions such as wearing a helmet, of course.
There are different types of electric bike: read our review of the Volt Alpine if you'd prefer a mountain bike.
Xiaomi QiCycle UK Price & Availability
If you want to buy the QiCycle in the UK you will have to go through a Chinese importer such as GearBest, which supplied our QiCycle for review. Currently it lists the QiCycle for £602.41 ($788.00/656.96€).
However, GearBest is offering Tech Advisor readers a discount on the QiCycle. When they use coupon code XMQEF1 at checkout the QiCycle will cost £443.39.
Be advised that on its arrival in the UK you may be asked to pay import duty (20 percent of the value on the shipping paperwork plus an admin fee of around £11).
Chinese retailers have different rules to us over in the EU, which can make it less straightforward to get a refund should something go wrong. Delivery times, naturally, can also be longer. Read up on buying Chinese tech before you take the plunge.
(You might also like: Best electric scooters)
Xiaomi QiCycle Setup & Usability
Given that this electric bike is made by Chinese Xiaomi, it's worth pointing out to our largely English-speaking audience that the language barrier can make setup and use a little tricky. The instructions are all in Chinese but, more importantly, so is the trip computer.
In essence to set up the QiCycle you'll need to download the QiCycle app from the App Store or Google Play, then link it to the bike over Bluetooth by scanning its QR code. This can be found on the underside of the trip computer, or in the trip computer settings (third option down).
When you link the trip computer to your phone it will adjust the time, but everything else will remain in Chinese. We resorted to using Google Translate to work out what options were offered, and you'll be pleased to know there's not really anything here you particularly need to worry about.
When you begin to pedal the screen automatically switches to a real-time counter of your speed and mileage, and this is all in English. (You can select either metric or imperial units in the app.)
While this screen is in view you'll see four menu options running down the side, and can use the two buttons to the side of the 1.8in display to select an option. These are power modes, and from top to bottom they are Enhanced (maximum assistance), Balanced (normal assistance), Eco (minimal assistance) and Off (no assistance).
The only other thing you really need to use the trip computer for is to turn on and off the lights, which is achieved by pressing and holding the up button. A rear reflector is paired with a couple on the wheels to aid cycling at night.
The app is useful for monitoring the remaining battery level as a percentage, how many calories you've burned, and the distance you've traveled that day. The QiCycle will track historical data, too, so you can see your progress over time.
Xiaomi QiCycle Design & Build
The QiCycle has a premium design that feels very well made. We wouldn't go so far as to call it attractive, but as electric folding bikes go it's certainly more appealing than most.
With an aluminium alloy chassis the QiCycle is reasonably lightweight, despite the 5800mAh battery inside. At 14.5kg it's slightly heavier than the F-wheel DYU D1, but it folds up better for carrying around.
Rather than keeping the whole thing as compact as possible, which doesn't lend itself well to comfortable riding, Xiaomi has designed the QiCycle such that you can fold down the handlebars, lower the seat, and fold in the wheels and pedals. The saddle is fully adjustable, as are the handlebars.
As such the QiCycle feels more like it was designed for adult use, and it's easy to envision yourself taking it on longer journeys than you would the DYU.
The fact its battery lasts longer also helps in this regard, of course. By combining a larger battery with pedal power, the Xiaomi is able to go further. The exact distance will obviously depend on how much you resort to the motor for assistance, but Xiaomi says it can go up to 45km.
There is no switch to turn on the motor (though one of the four power modes does allow you to turn it off). You start riding and it automatically kicks in, using a torque sensor to automatically sense your own input and output the appropriate electrical power to assist cycling.
It's a system that works very well, and it felt seamless in our tests. You just pedal and go, and it handles the controls to assist you on your ride. We found riding up hills significantly easier than on a standard push-bike, and journeys in general much faster to complete. Our only real annoyance with it was that when you do want to pedal fast speed is limited.
Unlike the DYU D1 the QiCycle has front and rear brakes, as well as a three-speed gear hub. However, a couple of glaring omissions in its design include the absence of a kickstand (we really don't want to throw down a £600 bike on the ground) and any mud guards.
Okay so you're probably not going to be riding the QiCycle across muddy terrain, but with its larger 16in wheels and rainproof design you could give it a go. It does wheel skid and slide a little when the roads are wet, though, so do keep your wits about you.
Xiaomi QiCycle: Specs
- Available in black or white
- aliuminium alloy frame with folding design
- 16in wheels
- 250W motor
- max speed 20km/hour
- max distance 45km
- 7.3N.m torque
- torque sensor
- three-speed gear hub
- three-mode derailleur
- electric boosting system
- front caliper brake, rear roller brake, braking distance 4m (dry), 15m (wet)
- 1.8in (160x128) trip computer, Bluetooth 4.0 (range 15-30m)
- max load 75kg
- 5800mAh lithium-ion battery, charges in three hours
- 124.7x55.6x92.88cm (unfolded), 100x45x65cm (folded)
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