Xiaomi reminds the world that it is a technology company, not just a phone company. As such, it continues to bring out electronic products for various markets, from banking to phones and tablets down to rice cookers. One of its latest releases, however, is another venture into the transportation industry — the Mi QiCycle Electric Folding Bike.

The QiCycle was unveiled during Xiaomi's product launch event last Thursday, June 23, in Beijing. The privately owned Beijing-based company defines its new release as the "smartest ride on two wheels."

"QiCycle is not an ordinary bicycle," writes a forum moderator on Xiaomi's online community. "It's an electric folding bike with an integrated electric motor which can be used for propulsion."

The said electric motor is a high-speed 250W 36V one. The bike is also fitted with IDbike B.V.'s TMM (Torque Measurement Method), which assists the rider's pedaling. Moreover, the Mi QiCycle can run up to 45 kilometers (roughly 28 miles) on a single charge using the Panasonic 18650 battery pack, which contains 20 x 2,900 mAh lithium-ion battery cells. The company claims that Tesla uses the same battery cells. This means power efficiency is further refined by Xiaomi's own battery management system.

The new Xiaomi smart folding bike uses Shimano's Nexus 3-speed gear hub. It also comes with a small monitor that displays real-time stats such as distance, speed, power and the amount of calories burned. Xiaomi also coupled it with a phone app that contains GPS navigation, bicycle status and other ride statistics.

When folded, the 14.5-kilogram (32-pound) folding bike fits into the back of an SUV. With this foldable functionality in its ads, Xiaomi shows its intentions of marketing towards urban dwellers, especially those in congested cities. However, some people have expressed their dismay with regards to the foldable smart bike's looks.

"It's hideous," BGR's Chris Smith writes.

On the brigther side of things, Xiaomi's new offering will sell for ¥2,999 or $455. Compared to most smart bikes that fall anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000, Mi QiCycle Electric Folding Bike seems like a bargain deal. Nonetheless, the bike's true worth will be decided when seasoned reviewers get their hands on one. It still hasn't been listed on Xiaomi's online store at the moment of writing.

While most did not expect Xiaomi's recent foldable bike release, it shouldn't be a big surprise either. Note that Xiaomi was previously reported to have invested in a startup company called iRiding. According to reports, it was this partnership that brought about iRiding's QiCycle R1, which was released earlier this year for $3,000. It is also speculated that iRiding had a hand in building the recent foldable bike offering. Xiaomi is yet to confirm the speculation.

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