If you have recently picked up an M365, I think you'll find you made the right choice. It's fun, easy to ride, and probably gives you the most for your money. Along with that comes some extra work, at least to have the best and safest experience. The Mijia is kinda like that fixer house— cheap, but renovate it here and there and you get a pretty solid place to live with some cash to spare.
So let's get started with several set-up tips and tricks to work on right out of the box. And after that, you really want to put money into upgrades. In this article I'll detail what I've learned after a year of regular riding.
Strengthen stem lock
If there's one big shortcoming of the M365, it's the stem lock or the mechanism that allows the scooter to fold in half. The hook in this mechanism can crack after lots of opening & closing the scooter, not to mention bumps and rattling from riding. In fact, mine failed at about 650 km and just about sent me tumbling.
So this is an area where some aftermarket replacement parts are really worth it. See Reinforcing the Defective Xiaomi M365 Stem Lock.
Also note this procedure tends to fix the stem lock lever initially being really hard to unlock.
Eliminate all stem wobble/creak
You may have noticed the stem quickly develops a wobble and that the steel pin above the locking mechanism falls out. This is really not good and can be addressed by tightening down the hook, intalling an extra bolt through the stem, and using a plastic dampener.
I've gone into more detail about these fixes in Getting rid of all Xiaomi M365 stem wobble and creak.
Adjust and improve braking
One feature that makes the M365 stand out from other scooters in its category is that it has a decent disk brake, though it requires calibration to actually be effective. If you haven't already realized, it engages at the same time as the motor brake when pulling the lever, which can feel jerky.
To really tune it, there are a few routes:
Calibrate the stock calipers. There are also slightly improved ones available from AliExpress. Often you need to tighten to the point of some rubbing to get them working well enough (see below).
Split out each brake into its own lever. That allows you to use the smooth hardware brake but still bring in the motor brake when you really need to stop. And you can buy a better lever with more travel.
Install hydraulic brake calipers and a bigger rotor. This is probably the best solution, but is also the most serious mod.
To adjust the caliper assembly properly (#1), you want the pads as close as possible to the rotor without rubbing too much.
I decided that some slight rubbing is actually fine. Between the possibility of being slightly warped and being at an off-angle, the assembly shifts over time while riding it such that this issue corrects itself. This makes the action as responsive as possible.
Prop the scooter up so you can rotate the rear wheel freely. While making adjustments, spin it and squeeze the lever as that can 'settle' the mechanism.
Then, you'll want to look at three adjustments. First, get the overall action tighter via the braking cable's clamp. This is not unlike any other disk brake adjustment.
Then, two screws mounting the whole assembly adjust the overall angle of the pads as they contact the disk. Try and get the close pad as close as possible to the disk without rubbing.
Lastly, bring in the rear/far pad by loosening the small set screw on the top of the unit and rotating the whole circular back pad.
To split out each brake (#2), purchase a right-hand mountain bike brake lever and slide it on the handlebar where there's a convenient gap. If you don't want to deal with any disassembly, you can choose a lever that opens up completely such as this one with the switch/wire taken off.
Otherwise, you have to slide off the rubber grip and unplug the throttle. To do that, take off the head unit's cover (where the power button is), pop out the rubber seal from the front cavity of the bar, and find the small connector behind the bluetooth unit (BLE). There are lots of photos and detailed tutorials out there for further help with this.
Once installed, it's just a matter of moving the cable over. The existing lever now only controls the motor brake and is looser. Use some rubber bands or an additional spring to retain some of the resistance given by the brake line.
If you still crave more effective and responsive braking, it's hard to beat the hydraulic caliper upgrade.
Support the rear fender
There are a few shortcomings of the rear render. The hook that secures the stem while folded has a rubber sleeve, but it can fall off and get lost. If you have some spray adhesive or superglue, put a drop/tiny spray of it on the hook. Slip the sleeve back on and evenly distribute by pressing it around.
You may have also noticed how much the fender shakes around while riding. It will eventually snap off as a result -- see how mine started to crack.
To prevent that from happening, you can install a support bracket. I made one out of a piece of scrap steel that connects the backside of the brake light to the axis bolts of the wheel. Take a look at eBay for some plug 'n play options or try out Vilda's vastly improved part.
If you decide not to use the bracket, I suggest at least protecting the light wire. It can be damaged by the spinning wheel over time especially with all the bouncing around of the fender. Before I made my fender support, I used small scrap bracket to protect it, but many are using a 3D printed piece of plastic to do the job.
Prepare for flats
The M365 is notorious for difficulty in changing tubes. I've only had two flats that were easily fixed in 1000km, but of course that's only my decent luck.
Many turn to solid/honeycomb tires. I strongly suggest you do not go this route. Getting the tubes out isn't a walk in the park, but there are a few tips to know that help a lot. Not only are solid tires even harder to install, they also harder on the scooter overall— think separating battery solder points and cracking parts in the folding mechanism and rear fender. I believe it's worth dealing with tubes for a smoother ride and a longer lasting machine.
Many also suggest using Slime or a tire liner product. I have not tried this but do think it could help, despite the Slime turning into a mess. There are tubeless tire options as well, but also haven't tried them.
So, tip #1 is keep your tubes at 50 PSI, always. I check and inflate mine no less frequently than every two weeks, sometimes more often. If you ride too much on flat tubes, the tire will start to pinch them and leave a ring of roughed up rubber. I have attempted to patch a tube like this which only led to a few more punctures opening up within this roughed up area. If you do not keep your tires inflated, it's only a short matter of riding before you'll have to replace the whole tube. Or, worst case would be a catastrophic failure. You wouldn't ride a bike on flat tubes, a scooter is no different.
Buy a patch kit, a set of levers (tire irons), and one front and one back spare tube. You can get metal motorcycle tire irons but know that they butcher the tubes far more quickly than their shorter plastic counterparts. They get tires on more easily, but be careful!
Tip #2 is that when the time comes, have a friend squeeze one side of the tire toward you while you wrestle off the other side with the irons. This has worked every time for me and we can fix a flat in 5-10 minutes at the most.
Do not let the challenge of flat-fixing deter you from this scooter. It's absolutely doable, and a small price to pay for such great transportation.
Improve power & controls
The M365 heavily software-limited at stock. The modding community has produced a way to tweak the scooter's firmware to unlock extra power and acceleration. There are now also several refinements to the throttle and brake controls. Brief warning, however, that it's still only a small/cheap scooter and going more than 20 MPH (32 KPH) is dangerous. Be careful. Mod at your own risk.
There's a lot to know about the versions of M365 firmware, and several places now to produce it. These patchers continue to improve and mature, given how much potential there is for designing the ideal riding experience. The oversimplified history is that the original patcher, m365.botox.bz, was forked and improved by other parties. As a result there's a common footprint to all of them.
They operate identically: you'll get a file and flash it via bluetooth to your scooter via an Android app called M365 DownG. There is an iOS version too but it's still pretty new and has some limitations.
As you might expect, Xiaomi dislikes this and is engaged in a game of cat-and-mouse to shut it all down. When they release a new version, they make a new attempt to block further custom firmware flashing. So, some versions lock you in, meaning that the new version does not take effect if you flash a version different from your the current.
This is really just scraping the surface of the firmware side of M365 modification. If you're looking for a decent bump in speed and don't care too much for the details, have a look at my brief article about each firmware patcher.
Here is a brief intro to some common terms you'll see:
DRV: "Driver" or the main controller. Covers most of the important functionality of the scooter, so this is what you customize.
BMS: Battery Management System. Manages battery charging & discharging.
BLE: Bluetooth Module or the handlebar controller. Sits behind the power button.
CFW: Custom Firmware
DYoC: Do your own CFW
KERS: Kinetic Energy Recovery System. This is when your motor runs in reverse, effectively braking and slightly recharging your battery.
Rollerplausch: Large German community centered around the M365 but also escooters in general. They produce many awesome modding ideas and improvements, such as a stainless steel footboard cover.
Get a better HUD
One absolutely underrated improvement is the ability to see how fast you're going. There are now several options to add a screen next to your power button that can show you this useful information. The M365 Pro introduces a HUD faceplate that displays your current speed, mode, and battery level. It's now common to install it on the non-pro M365. Do an AliExpress search for "m365 pro screen" to order, and join the Telegram hacking group to learn how to do this.
Although the Pro screen is cheaper, Russian modders have developed much more advanced displays that show you speed, battery level, and other metrics. There is one that mounts as a faceplate and another that clamps to the side on the handlebar. I have the one that is the faceplate, and can certainly vouch for how awesome it is.
Consider 10" Tires
You can slightly increase the size of your tires for a softer ride. This is one of the most popular mods in the M365 community, though I have not tested it. I can only offer anecdotal information I've picked up along the way.
For the wheels themselves, it's just a matter of swapping out the tire. Sourcing it is a little tricky as there are many models that come close to fitting but not quite. I'd recommend Vilda's. You do not need a 10" tube, the 8.5" tube will work just fine.
I'm not enthusiastic about this mod because it requires sacrificing some acceleration and torque. These tires also alter your contact point between the tire and the road which can change handling characteristics. Some have reported less stable turning.
To make room for the larger tire, it also requires a flatter bolt under the front fender and a custom part to raise your rear one. That means manually lengthening your taillight wire.
I'm on the fence about whether I'm going to try this out, but leaning towards no. I would suggest taking a pass on 10" tires if hill-climbing ability is important to you. Otherwise, it could help out quite a bit with bumpy roads.
Other Cool mods to consider
Bag hook - Allows you to hang stuff off of your stem. Disclaimer— not good for heavy stuff for stability reasons and strain on the stem. But excellent for a lighter bag. Finding a good one is tough. There is a common popular model but I don't recommend it because it only mounts via one bolt and doesn't stay put. Look instead for a two-hole design. For example, this model is much more secure but is 3D printed and tends to crack. I don't have an awesome recommendation at the moment.
Carrying bag - Good for taking the scooter inside. Aliexpress
Metal battery cover - Protects against debris like nails that could hit your batteries. AliExpress.
Sandpaper footboard - Several options on Aliexpress