There are plenty of relatively ordinary looking e-bikes that are capable of speeds far in excess of the 15.5mph legal limit for electrically-assisted pedal cycles (EAPCs). Less common are motorbike-styled behemoths like the NIU SQi that are restricted to below that speed.
We reviewed the Eskuta SX250 last week – in all respects a conventional e-bike other than its distinctive moped appearance.
NIU’s SQi, which looks like some chunky futuristic motorbike, goes even further. It’s probably only with your second glance that you’ll spot this thing has pedals.
Electrek reports that it’s currently only available in the firm’s home market of China. It’s also built around a 400W motor that wouldn’t meet the UK or European criteria for being considered an e-bike that you could ride without a licence, insurance etc.
We also can’t help but wonder how those pedals function. Do they need to be rotating for the motor to function or does Chinese law provide a loophole where their mere presence helps the bike fit into some lower vehicle category or other?
It’s an odd machine, but maybe there are prospective young buyers out there with 8,900 yen (about £1,100) to spare who are looking for this kind of look without the capacity for higher speeds.
It seems like it must have a lot of extra weight to carry round though and the 960Wh battery implies it’s energy hungry relative to more conventional-looking e-bikes.
NIU aren’t really an e-bike manufacturer though. They have a broader focus on all manner of light electric vehicles, but particularly e-mopeds.
It’s hard to say whether this bike will make it to the UK. Perhaps if it does, it will be with a higher top speed that would place it within the 28mph e-moped category.