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NAMI Burn-E Summary
Our Take: The Controversial New King of Beasts
What makes the BURN-E one of the greats?
A ride so smooth and intuitive that even in X-mode (top performance mode), you can relax, and even begin to lose track of the fact that you’re riding the quickest, most hill crushing, longest-range scooter RG has ever tested. Its performance is astoundingly good, smashing 13 of 16 RG performance records, but the riding experience is so special that it becomes almost the only thing that matters.
The BURN-E is the first scooter from NAMI, a company founded by rogue Kaabo salesman-turned-scooter designer, Michael Sha. Drawn from a blank sheet of paper, like all great scooters, it contains a shocking number of original, never-seen-before components such as a hand-welded tubular frame, spin-down stem latch, and a gorgeous display. Even the kickstand is something you will only see on this scooter.
In this review, we explore the amazing ride/build quality, as well as the quirks and controversy surrounding this $4,499 virtuoso of riding versatility.
Is It Good for Bigger, Heavier Riders? – In a Word: Yes.
The BURN-E is a big win for big dawgs.
With handlebars that stand 42.0 in above the deck, the NAMI is the tallest scooter we have ever tested. That’s 4 in higher than the handlebars on the Wolf and Wolf King.
The 11.5 in wide by 22.0 in long deck has more than enough room for any size rider, and the adjustable suspension lets you tailor the preload and damping to your needs. For larger riders, we recommend adding two full turns of preload to the front spring and removing 1 to 2 turns of preload from the rear spring, and setting damping at 15.75 out of 16 clicks.
Some riders have experienced a steering wobble at speeds above 45 mph. Removing one turn of preload in the rear spring eliminates wobble almost entirely for riders of 165 lb or less, but for larger riders removing a second turn of preload in the rear may be needed to decrease the steering angle and reduce steering wobble at speed.
The BURN-E’s sine drive motor controllers produce more torque at low RPM than square wave controllers, which make it great at climbing hills, no matter the size of rider. The efficiency of sine drive at low RPM helps the BURN-E achieve the longest range we’ve ever measured, and should also help reduce load-related range reduction when carrying heavier riders.
NAMI BURN-E Review
|Acceleration (0 to 15 mph)||
|Acceleration (0 to 20 mph)||
|Acceleration (0 to 25 mph)||3.0 seconds|
|Acceleration (0 to 30 mph)||3.7 seconds|
|Acceleration (0 to 35 mph)||4.6 seconds|
|Acceleration (0 to 40 mph)||5.7 seconds|
|Top speed||58.8 mph|
|Braking distance (15 to 0 mph)||10.2 feet|
|Hill climb||6.3 seconds|
Even the Wolf King can’t beat the BURN-E off the starting line. In fact, the BURN-E broke records for best acceleration in every category we have, and more importantly, does it without making you feel like you’re on the verge of losing control.
While BURN-E is the quickest scooter we have ever tested all the way from 0 to 58.8 mph, it’s not actually the fastest.
The Wolf King keeps it’s crown as the fastest scooter we have ever tested with 59.4 mph top speed. This is due to the King’s square wave motor controllers, which tend to deliver a little more power at the very top end than sine drive controllers can.
The BURN-E smashed our previous hill climb record by half of a second, conquering our 10% grade test hill like it wasn’t even there.
Its performance was so strong, we decided to test it against the steepest hill in San Francisco: a hill so steep, cars are only allowed to drive in the downward direction. The BURN-E scaled the hill with ease, peaking at 21.9 mph on the 31.5% grade, even catching air as it crested the hill.
Normally, you wouldn’t expect to find a scooter which is very fast, but also has very good range, so the BURN-E shocked us during the range test, when it beat RG’s long-standing all-time range record and then continued for 3 mi more. The BURN-E covered 53.3 mi of city riding, on our test loop, set to its absolute highest performance mode.
How did the BURN-E break the EMOVE Cruiser’s 47.0 mi range record?
For starters, the BURN-E has the largest battery of any scooter we’ve ever tested, but that’s not the whole story. Some of its astounding range can be attributed to the inherent efficiency and smooth throttle control of it’s sine wave motor controllers.
The BURN-E delivered 28% more range per watt-hour than the Wolf King, which has conventional square wave motor controllers and a relatively abrupt throttle.
An unusual feature of the BURN-E is that when charge drops to 30% while riding, the scooter automatically switches into Eco mode and is limited to a top speed of 17 mph. But, just like all of the other settings on the BURN-E, this is adjustable.
To be consistent with our other range tests, we set P13 to 0% in order to maintain full power until the very end of the range test. For regular riding, we recommend setting P13 to 10%, and setting the Eco mode speed limit to 20 mph. This gives the rider a >5 mi warning that the end is coming, and the higher speed has the benefit of making the transition less abrupt, when the scooter drops into Eco mode.
The BURN-E’s Nutt hydraulic brakes are very, very good.
It ties the Wolf King’s 10.2 ft and comes within 2 ft of the RG record set by the Inokim OXO. It has excellent brake lever feel and feedback, and the suspension does an exceptional job keeping the scooter planted, even when transitioning from hard throttle to hard braking.
In all 5 of the scooter’s performance modes, regenerative brake intensity defaults to 1 out of 5 with 5 being strongest. At intensity level 1 there is just enough regen braking to feel effective, without being intrusive. Regenerative braking can be reduced further by setting it to 0, but it turns out that it’s not possible to turn regen all the way off.
On a race track, one could defeat regenerative braking entirely, by unplugging the brake light switches. We don’t recommend this approach for street riding, as it also disables the brake lights.
Power is nothing without control. What makes the BURN-E truly special is the way it lets you control a terrifying amount of power, in an almost casual way.
One of the common complaints about the fastest scooters is that the throttles feel like they’re on a hair trigger and the slightest input at the throttle causes the scooter to jerk forward.
On the BURN-E, it’s easy to ride slowly and carefully or to completely cut loose, all without switching performance modes.
The dead space at the beginning of the throttle is definitely not ideal. However, if you anchor your thumb on the housing and rock your thumb into the throttle, it eliminates the dead space. The other advantage of anchoring is it gives you three times the precision for throttle control, than if you leave your thumb free floating, while pushing the throttle.
Together with the smooth, progressive throttle. The adjustable hydraulic suspension and large deck make it easy to make this powerful scooter do just what you want it to.
Right out of the box, the suspension felt very good, but we did notice that if we ran it up to high speed and then cut the throttle, the steering could develop an unsettling wobble. In order to improve the high speed stability, we decided to use some standard motorcycle roadracing set up technique.
Step one was to make the steering angle less steep, which increases trail and makes the front end more stable. To do this, we added two full turns of preload to the front spring and removed one full turn of preload from the rear spring.
Once steering angle was improved we turned to damping. As delivered the shocks are under-damped allowing bumps in the road to cause oscillations in the scooter. By setting damping at both ends to 15.5 out of 16 clicks, we were able to settle the suspension, making the tires track the road more smoothly.
Finally, we dropped tire pressure from 50 psi to 45 psi front and rear in order to have a larger, more blunt contact patch, to slow down the steering. Once we were done, we found that the wobble was essentially gone for riders weighing about 165 lb. For larger riders, a larger adjustment of preload would be better. Ideally +3 turns in the front and -1 turn in the rear. However, NAMI warns against going above +2 turns of preload, so the work around for larger riders would be to take one additional turn out of the rear spring.
The BURN-E’s sine drive motor controllers yield a ride that’s strikingly silent, especially considering the power they are capable of delivering. This definitely adds to the power-touring riding style of this smooth beast scooter.
Simply put: the BURN-E has the best ride quality ever.
NAMI BURN-E Features
Portability is one area in which the BURN-E does not shine.
It’s just not going to fit into the trunk of most cars with folded dimensions of 25 in wide by 53 in long by 25 in tall.
And we don’t recommend it for daily commutes that include more than three stairs. That said, it is significantly easier to pick up and move around than the Wolf Warrior or Wolf King, in spite of being only slightly heavier.
It turns out that how you pick up the BURN-E is very important. There is a potential pinch-point if you place your forward hand near the steering head bearings while lifting. The front end can pivot, catching your fingers between the upper part of the swingarm and the neck of the frame.
Some other details to consider about daily riding and portability of the BURN-E: the handlebars don’t fold, the stem doesn’t latch down, and it’s heavier than it looks, tilting the scales at 103 lb.
The cockpit is gorgeous, but not as practical as we would like.
The display is not as bright as we would like it to be, and it’s a little small for the amount of information packed into it.
On the other hand the grips feel great and they’ve got little clamps at the end which lock them down and keep them from rotating.
The NAMI has a super bright, high mounted headlight.
The output is very wide side to side, and narrow top to bottom, so you’ll want to get it aimed just right. You’ll also want to make sure to bring your tools with you when aiming it, because just grabbing the headlight and moving it by hand will cause the mounting bolts to loosen, and you’ll end up with a downward-pointing headlight within the next mile or two. Once tightened down again with an Allen wrench, the headlight will stay put though.
The BURN-E has lovely swag lights running the length of the deck, which turn into impressive sequential turn signals when you activate the rubber covered turn signal switches with your right thumb.
The signals would be much more impressive, however, if you could see them from the rear of the scooter. As configured, only the brake/tail lights are visible from the rear, not the turn signal, and even the brake lights are somewhat blocked by the rear wheel and fender.
Another very strange quirk of the BURN-E is that honking the horn while the turn signals are on, will switch them from sequential, to all-on. We’re not sure if this is by design, or a bug.
The BURN-E comes standard with tubeless 11.0 in by 3.5 in CST-branded road tires, which are the same as you normally find on the Wolf Warrior or Wolf King. Recently supply chain issues mean that other tires, presumably of similar quality have been substituted, but we haven’t tried them yet ourselves.
Advantages to tubeless tires include being less vulnerable to pinch flats, better road feel than tubed tires, and much better compatibility with tire sealant such as tire slime or Armor-Dilloz. The main disadvantage of using tubeless tires is increased difficulty of tire changes, since split rims cannot be used because they aren’t air tight without a tube.
This deck is epic, endless, and inspired an entirely new stance.
At first glance, the deck just looks like two strips of off-the-shelf grip tape stuck to a mat-black aluminum plate, in the shape of an elongated stop-sign: not super impressive. Once the ride started it all made sense though. When you push on the throttle and feel the entire earth being shoved backward beneath you, it really helps to have a solid place to stand. The large deck lets you place your feet as far apart as you could possibly want, for front to back balance.
How did it inspire a new stance? Normally I ride with my feet in a backward “L” shape: Left foot being the base of the L and right foot pointing forward at 12 o’clock. The shape of the BURN-E deck, invited me to cant my forward foot to point at 11 o’clock, making my footprint effectively twice as wide and greatly improving side-to-side stability.
The charging ports are located just ahead of the front foot, but on an inclined aluminum plate that puts them just out of reach of being stepped on while riding. Easy to plug into, hard to damage.
There were some shipping damage issues with the first batch shipped to the US, and that’s where most of the controversy surrounding the BURN-E comes from, but build quality is overwhelmingly good on the whole.
The innovative stem latch seems durable and easy to use, though not quite as quick to fold as scooters like the Apollo Phantom. The carbon fiber stem is the centerpiece of the BURN-E’s visual appeal, but also adds to the ride-feel of the scooter.
There is such a thing as a scooter which is too stiff (Ninebot Max, I’m looking at you), but the BURN-E’s stem has a perfect amount of flex. Whether pulling yourself on board while applying throttle, or hanging on over speed bumps it has just enough give to avoid hand fatigue.
The hand-welded tubular aluminum exoskeleton is unique to the BURN-E. According to Michael Sha the frame is a little over-built, but the stoutness comes through during hard riding, helping the rider’s feet feel planted. The tubes themselves are internally reinforced with x-shaped cross members.
In spite of having the largest battery of any scooter we’ve tested, the scooter can be fully charged in just 6 hours using the two, included, 2.8 A chargers. To put that in perspective, it’s exactly four times as many amps as the standard charger delivered with the Dualtron Storm.
Even the brake pads on the Nutt hydraulic brakes are top shelf, including metal cooling fins to help them shed heat during spirited riding. A great feature to have on a heavy, high powered scooter. Ideally, we’d like to see 3mm thick brake rotors, like the ones used on the Wolf King, as they would do a better job of resisting warping or bending on impact, and the increased mass keeps peak brake temperatures down, reducing brake fade.
Ever since we first heard about the BURN-E we were excited about riding a scooter with adjustable hydraulic suspension. The suspension did not disappoint. We do wish that the shocks had more damping, so the adjusters didn’t have to be set at 15.5 out of 16 clicks. At 165 mm long, the shocks are a fairly standard size for mountain bikes, so there could potentially be some aftermarket solutions for those looking to upgrade. The 1800 lb/inch spring used by the BURN-E, is more than double the typical spring rate used by mountain bikes though, so be sure to take that into consideration if you’re shopping for aftermarket shocks.
The BURN-E has an exceptionally high water resistance rating (IP55), but as with all other scooters, the real proof will come after the first full winter of riding. Water always seems to find a way to surprise us. Looking at the construction of the scooter, however, we have high expectations of its water resistance.
The only weak spots immediately apparent are the backsides of the charging ports. These can easily be sealed up with a little black silicone. Looking at the fenders, they don’t seem like they would provide the best protection for the rider, but they fared very well in our standard fender test.
After being disappointed by a few very well built scooters with fragile side stands, we were very happy to see a motorcycle grade side stand on the BURN-E. It does have potential to catch the rider’s ankle when pushing the scooter, but nowhere near as perilous as the Wolf Warrior and Wolf King side stands.
Another motorcycle-like feature is a 118 dB horn: the loudest we have ever tested. It’s mounted in an exposed location, but so is the horn on my motorcycle, and after 40,000 mi that horn still works just fine.
There is a lot to like about the way this scooter is constructed. So what’s not to like? There are a few things we’d like to see changed:
- Reduced dead zone in the throttle
- Beefier steering stop, to prevent it from bending or breaking
- Better sealing of the back side of power ports
- Headlight which can be adjusted without tools
- Brake cable could be a little longer, to reduce risk of damage when folding the scooter
One quality change which has already been made, has to do with the way the scooter is shipped. Some units shipped to the United States, including ours, suffered shipping damage which ranged from bent rotors to bent stem latches preventing the stem from being able to engage. At this time, U.S. units are being shipped strapped to pallets, which has eliminated the vast majority of shipping damage.
NAMI BURN-E: Review Conclusions
NAMI and Michael Sha, in particular, should feel very proud of having knocked it out of the park on their first time at bat, creating a scooter with world-beating performance, and ride quality.
The early scooters are now facing close scrutiny, which is to be expected given people’s high expectations and the scooter’s relatively high sticker price. For us, once we got through the disappointment of dealing with shipping damage and spent some real deck-time riding the BURN-E, we feel that teething issues and all: this scooter is well worth the price of admission.
NAMI BURN-E Manufacterer's Specifications
|Folded dimensions||53 by 25 by 25 in|
|Motor power, continuous||3000 W|
|Top speed||60 mph|
|Battery capacity||2520 Wh|
|Battery recharge time||6 hrs|
|Max rider weight||330 lb|
|Brake type||Disc (Hydraulic) + Disc (Hydraulic)|
|Tire type||11.0 in Pneumatic (Tubeless) + Pneumatic (Tubeless)|
|Built-in lights||Front + Rear|