Commuting On a Xiaomi M365 Electric Scooter

Xiaomi M365 has the potential to become a commuter’s dream

Increasing number of people are switching to alternative methods of travel for their commute to and from work.  Whether it is for money savings, time savings or ecological reasons, electric scooters such as the Xiaomi M365 are a popular choice for many commuters worldwide.

Is Xiaomi M365 good for commuting?

Xiaomi M365 is an excellent micromobility vehicle for most commuters. However, there are a few important points to consider before buying one:

  • Length of the commute
  • Quality of the road on the commute
  • Time of the commute (night vs. day)
  • Weather
  • Personal safety

Xiaomi M365: Pros

  • Inexpensive – the M365 and M365 Pro are well-priced, giving the owner good value for the money.
  • Xiaomi M365 is a popular e-scooter.  There are plenty of original and custom parts, as well as websites (such as this one) with plenty of useful information for the riders.
  • Simple, classic design
  • Relatively good range of distance
  • Faster than walking

Xiaomi M365: Cons

  • Some design flaws, most of which can be fixed
  • Safety – riding e-scooters will never be as safe as riding a car.  Fortunately, a great deal of safety depends on the rider.
  • Dependent on weather – riding an e-scooter in cold or rainy weather is not recommended.  It can be done, but it carries extra risks.
  • Illegal in some places – some places, such as London (as of February 2020) still have not enacted legislation that would make e-scooter travel legal.  It’s a shame, but hopefully it will be only a matter of time until the legislators get to work on this issue.
  • Limited cargo-carrying ability

Throughout the years I bought tons of stuff, all kinds of gadgets of good to questionable quality and purpose.  I tend to buy things on the spot, without giving it much thought.  I’m a gadget guy, I admit…  

It was no different when I bought my first electric scooter – the Xiaomi M365.  I am not sure exactly why I bought it.  I had no practical purpose planned for it, other than just owning my own electric scooter and riding it from time to time senselessly.  

By that time I’ve used those rentable electric scooters to some extent and I really enjoyed riding them.  But the only times I’ve used any of them (Bird, Lime, Circ, etc) it was for the pure joy of riding.

So, on one sunny spring day I ordered my brand new white Xiaomi M365.  It arrived a day or two later in a box that I thought was too big for it.  Anyway, the assembly was relatively straight forward, quick and easy.  After charging the battery to its full capacity I was on my way in no time.

Since it was the beginning of spring at the time, the days were getting nicer and the temps warmer.  I started using the M365 more and more, without even realizing it.

I consider myself a “car guy”.  In the past, everywhere I went, I went by car. It was either that or not going at all.  Walking, public transport, even bicycling, none of that appealed to me.   However, with the electric scooter things began to look a little bit differently:

  • Quick run to a local convenience store to get some milk – I took my M365 instead of driving 1 mile.
  • Picking up the kids from school – traffic around the school is a nightmare, I often take the M365 to pick them up.  My kids have their own push scooters and bicycles, so we ride back home and actually have some fun with such a mundane activity as commuting home from school.
  • Dropping off my car at the mechanic – I went home on my M365 and it took me less time than ordering and riding Uber home.  Not to mention the savings on fare.
  • When I’d be working from home, I’d take the M365 for a short (less than 2 miles) ride to a local lunch place.  
  • Running out of bread?  Same thing, I would take the M365 to the bakery, which is about a mile away from my house.  Parking in that area is really scarce, so in the past I would have to either walk or not eat bread.
  • I even take the scooter to pick up packages from a local self-service drop off point.  But with packages things are a bit tricky.  Small things I can put in my backpack and ride back home, larger packages are impossible to carry on the scooter.  The few times that I got stuck with a large package, I had to either open the package, place the goods in my backpack and dispose of the box; or another time I simply placed the box on the scooter and walked home. Bummer.
  • With time, I even started taking the M365 to one of my jobs.  It’s a 4 mile trip each way.  By car it takes me about 30, sometimes 40 minutes if the traffic is really bad.  With the scooter, I’m there in 20-25 minutes.  10 or 15 minutes savings doesn’t seem like much, but I must admit I actually having fun commuting to work.

Anyway, the point that I’m making is that your Xiaomi M365 will become very handy for the short trips where you don’t have to carry too many things with you.  Longer commutes also make riding an electric scooter unlikely. My other job is about 7 miles away and although the route is fairly decent (bike lanes, wide sidewalks most of the way), I haven’t even tried riding the M365 there.  Mainly because the trip would take me about 40 or 45 minutes and I know that this would be tiresome.

After analyzing the last two years of frequently commuting on my M365, I can honestly say that getting the Xiaomi M365 was one of the best purchases I have ever made…and I buy lots of gadgets and gizmos many of which soon end up in a dark corner of my garage never to be seen again.

Xiaomi M365 Mods for Commuters

M365 Pro display

The Xiaomi M365 Pro comes with a nice and useful display, that shows your current speed, has a headlight and speed mode indicators.  It’s much better than the basic “four dots” indicator that is included with all standard M365s.  You can buy an M365 Pro display online and install it on your standard M365.  The process takes less than 20 minutes.

Xiaomi M365 Pro dashboard

Solid rear tire

It’s no secret that the Xiaomi M365 inflatable tires are prone punctures.  Without a doubt they provide a nice, relatively cushy ride, but the increased frequency of flats can be a problem for regular commuters.  I replaced both tires with solid rubber ones, but the ride became stiff and  somewhat uncomfortable.  So, I decided to keep an inflatable tire in the front and install a solid rubber tire in the rear.  This is because based on my own experience, the rear tires got flat most often.  Following this scheme you will end up with the best of both worlds.

Solid tires provide a piece of mind for regular commuters

Security lock

If your place of work has a place to safely store your M365 where it’s not going to get stolen, then you’re in luck.  If not, then you will most likely be parking outside next to the bicycles.  For this you will need a good security lock to keep your e-scooter safe.  There are plenty of security locks available on the market, but keep in mind that the bigger your lock will be the harder it will be to carry it along with you.  On the other hand, a small, poor-quality lock will not keep your M365 secure.

Grocery bag hook

One of the drawbacks of electric scooters, including Xiaomi M365, is that it’s fairly difficult to ride with cargo.  The best option is a backpack, but what to do if you happen to be riding without one and need to transport some things?  I have found that a small grocery bag hook that gets attached to the top of the steering column can be a lifesaver.  There are a few different models designed specifically for the M365 that you can purchase online.  They are cheap and install in about a minute.  I highly recommend getting one.

Please note: the manufacturer (Xiaomi) does not recommend placing any objects, such as bags, on the steering wheel while riding. Use a grocery bag hook at your own risk.

Custom front headlight

Not every commuter will need a custom headlight, but if you happen to be returning from work late and your ride home is not in a particularly well-lit area, then you need a decent-size custom headlight.  The stock headlight that the M365 comes with is strong enough to see and be seen in dark environments.  I will be posting detailed instructions on how to add a custom headlight for your M365 or M365 Pro.  It’s an inexpensive modification that can be done in under an hour.

Tips For Commuting on a Xiaomi M365 (based on my own experience)

Try to ride with a backpack, even if it’s empty.  You never know what you may happen to buy along the way.  Without a place to put the things in, you won’t be able to take them home with you.  Certainly don’t expect to carry things in one hand and ride your M365 with the other hand.  It’s very difficult to do so, it’s dangerous – don’t ride single-handed.  Another alternative is to install a grocery bag hook (as I mentioned in the previous section) on the steering column.  It’s small and unobtrusive, and will surely come handy numerous times.

Avoid riding uphill whenever you can.  The Xiaomi M365 is fairly capable of riding uphill for a short distance, but it will slow down considerably when the distance is a couple hundred feet long.  It will eventually get you to the top, but at near-walking speed.  So, if there is an alternative route, even slightly longer, but not uphill, certainly take that path.  You will get to your destination in a shorter amount of time despite the detour.

Be careful when riding in freezing or near-freezing temperatures. Ice may form in some spots and even the smallest patch of ice can easily make you fall and make your teeth bite the asphalt.  I’m making this point because with an electric scooter you can’t make sudden turns, otherwise you’ll fall, too.  I’ve had a few experiences when I was riding on a seemingly dry surface only to discover a patch of ice right in front of me.  Most of the time I was unable to changes paths, so I zipped right through the ice.  I never fell, but each of these times my adrenaline shot up and my heart began to pound uncontrollably. So be careful.

I don’t think that there is much use of carrying tools with you while riding the Xiaomi M365.  The most common problem commuters experience is a flat tire and you certainly won’t be able to fix it while away from your garage.  Just be sure to regularly check and tighten the screws on the top of the steering wheel, the folding mechanism and both wheels.  Do this once a week, and you shouldn’t have any problems with the bolts coming loose while riding.

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