Carved from a solid piece of aluminum alloy, the simple handlebars feel solid with no embellishments or the typical wire tentacles of its competitors and, most importantly, gives me confidence in the moped’s handling characteristics. In the center of the handlebar is a simple, small LCD that shows my battery range, trip info, and riding mode. However, as I approached the first corner of my house, I noticed that there are no turn signals or side mirrors. Without them, driving is kept as easy as possible, but feels a little disconcerting on a morning commute in a city of 24 million.
Most electric mopeds like the NIU have small wheels, but the MS01 comes with large, tubeless 17-inch wheels with front and rear disc brakes. Push the stand off, turn the handle and off you go – briskly at first thanks to the 400-watt motor, then with rapidly decreasing power after about 15 km/h up to the limited top speed of 25 km/h (an admittedly pedestrian 15 mph). I easily knocked other mopeds off the line, but soon ran out of breath. All to conserve battery power – a removable lithium battery rated at 48V/20Ah – which has a range of up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) and can easily last a week in basic city driving.
I didn’t notice any rattling or wobbling of the plastic fairing, which is common on other cheaper competitor’s mopeds. Above all, everyone looked at me. The clean black frame against the pure white of the bodywork really stood out in the sea of garish, cheap plastic and lead-acid battery powered mopeds.
Hidden beneath the seat is a single shock absorber that helps absorb the impact of the bumpy roads. However, every time I smoothly accelerated past 15 km/h, there was an incessant beeping every five seconds, which was probably a reminder to stay at cruising speed. It was just irritating and spoiled the driving experience a bit.
Cruising down wide back streets on the MS01 was easy and effortless. I was always one of the first to accelerate away from lights, using one of the only two buttons to honk the weedy horn (the other puts the bike in ride mode and turned on the lights). Still, the poor performance came back to haunt me because although I passed some of the stragglers with boxes piled high on their bikes, they soon caught up and passed me on their generic lead-acid mopeds