First Impressions of the Ninebot MAX G30: What a battery!
You've probably noticed I'm all about that M365. Today I'm here to tell you that the Ninebot MAX G30 (not really the G30LP) is the next scooter to have. I'm not taking money from anyone to say this, never have and never will.
I feel like there's a parallel here with the smartphone revolution. We may have just reached that same point smartphones hit around 2013, where suddenly you don't need to fire up Unrevoked and flash Cyanogenmod on your Driod Incredible to overcome dumb shortcomings that shouldn't even exist.
Simply put, any seasoned M365 owner eventually encounters all its shortcomings, and the G30 corrects pretty much all of them.
I'm sure lots of riders would disagree it's The One and point to competing scooters. They have a point, but I like the design established by the M365 and followed by its successors. The overall aesthetic is unmatched IMO, and I like that it folds at the stem and not at the footboard.
So, what exactly am I seeing in the G30? Well, it's kind of a game changer. Here is something of a review focused on comparison to the M365.
The Battery, The Range
The battery is twice the size of the M365, favoring range (same voltage, but able to sustain torque for much longer). I know lots of people will roll their eyes here, but for those just joining me, wow! What a difference it makes. Now I blaze right past those places I previously could just barely make it to. It changes how you think about scooting. You also get used to having power noticibly reduced below 80% on an M365. You start planning the rest of your journey around avoiding slopes. No longer.
Being a tall dude, this disproportionately helps me. Still, a more robust frame means a more stable ride and not getting thrown around so much. The M365's footboard is skinny and that's why a common mod is to widen the footboard. The G30's is both wider and longer, and I can tell the difference.
It's Heavier But Not By Much
I sure don't want to carry any more weight than necessary when folded. I previously advocated for the M365 on that basis. Weighing an additional 13 pounds (5.8 KG), the G30 could be an armbreaker on paper. I do notice the difference, especially when stepping into stores and going up some stairs, but it's not actually too bad. I don't carry scooters for long periods of time in general. When you aren't moving, you tend to set it on the ground. Also this assumes you aren't installing heavy suspensions or other mods. I passed on a suspension for the M365 because it added so much weight.
Rear-Wheel Drive Actually Helps a Lot
This one blindsided me. I really didn't consider how I became used to the quirks of front-wheel drive. Two points here: first, stability. Losing traction in the front means my stem and thus the steering is going down. Losing traction in the rear means a fishtail but your steering remains operational, in contact with the ground, and as a result not as much of a shock during an evasive maneuver.
Secondly, I enjoy going up hills. You can focus on the experience and what's going on around you rather than heads-down huffing and puffing on your bike, thinking to yourself how miserable it is (but also how nice your cycling legs will look if you keep it up).
A few light kicks tend to help your scooter a lot while on a slope. In the M365 camp, it goes kick, slide, kick, slide, repeat, where the slide is the front motor losing traction as the kick causes your whole scooter to lurch forward, tip backward, and slightly lift off the ground. Not the case with a rear motor, and that means more powerful, consistent, and stable hill climbing.
The Wheels and Tires are Already Upgraded
A lot of folks improve their ride comfort via 10" tires for their M365. I never got around to that, and it's moot anyway because the G30 has 'em. I think they're not only larger in circumference but also in width. On top of that, they're tubeless. Not to be confused with solid or honeycomb, they're still pneumatic but without a tube, much like a car tire.
To me this may be the sweet spot for scooter tires. Theoretically they have a great balance of ride and puncture protection as they're thicker yet still pneumatic. I'm not going to claim victory yet because I haven't gone through patching a flat or replacing a tire. That will be a follow-up post, but I have high hopes.
The other win here is it still has a redundant hardware brake, and it's a drum rather than disc brake (the pads are located within the hub of the front wheel). This has the advantage of being protected from the elements. Even though upgrading the M365 disc brake helps tremendously, road debris still have a long term effect on the disc and pads.
The Folding Mechanism is Fixed
If you follow the M365, you're probably aware of the folding mechanism problems. In fact, if you give the official M365 page from Xiaomi a visit right now, the first thing you notice is a big heading that says Launching of Repair Programme for M365 Mi Electric Scooter with the Hook Made of Aluminium Alloy. Yeeeeeah. Xiaomi is regretting that one.
There is no more hook on the G30, it's an adjustible steel connector piece instead, fastened on both sides, that swivels into place. The mechanism is redesigned and clearly safer.
It Comes with a Good Dash
Yes, we've had a decent dash since the M365 pro, so not as big of a deal. But an honorable mention. I still love the custom M365 dashboards...maybe there's one for the G30. But you sure don't need it out of the box. And custom firmware can tweak the G30 dash to make it almost just as good.
Its Handlebars are Wider
One perhaps lesser known detail is that the G30 handlebars are wider than the M365. Might seem trivial but that extra room accommodates 130mm grips, which is a pretty standard/average size. For my M365 custom grips, I had to cut them down slightly to fit.
I don't like the G30 configuration of items on the handlebar, however. For my left hand, I rest all but my index fingers on the brake lever, and I found the result on the G30 is my index finger rests on the bell. That means I keep ringing it accidentally. So I removed the bell and I'm looking for a smaller aftermarket option. Additionally, the hook that allows the scooter to fold is on the "wrong" side and I relocated it to the brake lever side. pic
It Charges Faster, and the Battery Ports Are Covered
On the M365, the tiny rubber flap that covers the battery port sucks. It's nice they fixed that with a spring loaded door on the G30. Plus, you have the option of charging with the M365 charger at 2A or the onboard one at 3A. I always appreciate backwards compatibility.
They Don't Want you In There
This is good and bad. Good for most people who don't want anything breaking, bad for DIY type folks like me who want to take it apart and put it back together.
Opening it up and inspecting how they assembled everything, it's clear they learned from their M365 feedback. Edges are sealed, wires are secured, warranty-void stickers are placed. They even poured silicone on top of the DRV board to guarantee any water intrusion won't cause problems.
The rear fender requires desticking some edges of the footboard rubber sheet to access screws. I had to destroy the reflective stickers on rear axis bolt covers to access their bolts (you can easily buy replacements).
At the time of writing I haven't had a chance to get too far on installing the full mod package (blinkers/horn/headlight) just yet, but the signs are there that it will be more of a challenge than the M365. But it's certainly looking do-able.
And thankfully, the community has already produced a firmware patcher that lets you do all the same customization as the M365 (max.cfw.sh).
Accessories and Modding Are There
Less people have the G30, so not quite as much of a modding scene yet, but it exists. Where you have several dedicated aftermarket online stores run by M365 enthusiasts, you're pretty much left to AliExpress for G30 parts. Given that it's built on the M365's guts, I'm not too concerned about a marginal development community.
Finally, the obvious hurdle is the price. At $800-900, this isn't a budget scooter, but you do get what you pay for.
Being so jacked into the e-scooter scene, I jumped on the first Woot sale to score a G30 at $560. This is about what the M365 cost when it first came out, and it's the right price.
Either way, I think this scooter will serve me well, and so far can't recommend it highly enough.