The MiRider is a small, folding e-bike with an unusual magnesium frame that incorporates a rear shock absorber but no front shock. It only has a single gear and is not particularly light for a single speed e-folder nor is the battery particularly big. Despite the fact that I have tested several recent e-folders that look to have the beating of the MiRider on paper at least, MiRider is the one we keep to hand to use for daily journeys. To find out just why, read on.
This review comes courtesy of electricbikereport.com contributor Richard Peace. electrbikereport.com features hundreds of e-bike reviews, guides and a weekly news post to keep you abreast of all things e-bike.
Why Is It So Fun and Convenient?
Before I jump in to any of the technical detail that would normally precede a conclusion, I’ll get straight to the point of why I find the MiRider so attractive and unique, as that’s no doubt what most readers, having read the intro, will want to know!
1. It’s small and well-balanced to lift up, even without folding.
At 17.65kg it’s OK for a single speed e-folder when compared to the vast majority of e-folders, but actually almost 2kg heavier than the other single speed e-folder we tried recently, the FLIT-16. Despite that, I found it easy to lift in and out of the house or workshop where it generally lived and easy to lift up a flight of stairs if I encountered these whilst out riding.
Other e-folders I have tried of a similar weight like the Brompton Electric and the Swytch Brompton conversion kit have front hub motors and a battery that sits right at the front of the bike. Whilst this didn’t actually feel like it affected handling too much whilst riding, it certainly made a big difference when off the bike especially when lifting over even a single step – they certainly feels very front heavy and awkward to manoeuvre. No so with the MiRider – I found I could bob a hand under the frame and lift it one handed, it was so sell balanced – and no need to remove the battery as you might want to with those Brompton designs. It’s a real plus point if you want to keep a bike to hand for those quick daily trips where you just want to hop on a bike ASAP. It’s just so easy to grab it and go.
2. Loads of motor torque.
The Bafang rear hub motor is an entirely new motor for this third generation MiRider model. It has great torque from a standing start, so it’s great for beating potentially bothersome and dangerous motor traffic at lights or for whizzing up steep hills. Once you are up to speed with the help of the motor the single gear is an ideal ratio of skating along, so the torquey motor really complements the single gear.
3. It has a throttle.
Whilst twist and go throttles remain illegal on e-bikes in the UK (if you have one on your e-bike it becomes a moped in legal terms), the MiRider throttle only works if the pedals are turning, meaning you are still legal. You don’t really have to be putting in much effort at all, just moving the pedals forward and once you depress the throttle lever on the handlebars you get a rapid burst of speed up to the max legal assisted speed of around 16mph. Not only is it great fun, it’s wonderfully practical for staying safe in busy motor traffic and for conquering hills quickly and easily, without even the bother of having to change gear.
OK, Now Comes the Tech Spec Speak...
The first thing that strikes you about the MiRider 2021 is the chunky magnesium frame. Magnesium has tempted many manufacturers over the years, due to the fact that volume for volume it is lighter than aluminium and has good stiffness. Magnesium’s Achilles Heel has always been its softness and proneness to corrosion – added to which it is tricky stuff to weld. MiRider appear to have gotten around these issues by using a hugely solid looking box frame (possibly cast in some way to avoid welding) that houses the removable battery and adding suitably chunky front and rear magnesium forks. It all just looks and feels so strong and stiff though any weight saving benefits seem rather cancelled out by the sheer mass of metal involved.
The majority of MiRider’s constituent parts appear to be sourced abroad and there appear to be at least one other manufacturer using the same design of magnesium frame. However, MiRider have taken care in speccing the lovely, lightweight Bafang rear hub motor system and in setting it up correctly with an appropriate ratio of single gear. There are spoked 16inch rims and commuting style road tyres (ie not ‘skinnies’) and the tubes are pre-filled with the very effective anti-puncture ‘green goo’. There are cable-operated disk brakes. All budget choices but sensible practical ones.
There is a front light powered from the main battery, mudguards, a mini kickstand, whilst a rear pannier rack is an optional extra. Again these all look well chosen and are pretty effective in use.
Cable runs are external but tidy and unobtrusive and in general everything looks well put together and well made; perhaps the fact the bikes are assembled and quality controlled in the UK by MiRider themselves helps in this regards.
Riding and Folding
Like all small-wheelers handling can feel ‘twitchy’ at first but I soon got used to it, despite the even shorter than usual wheelbase. The most notable feature is the quick acceleration and hillclimbing verve from the small Bafang motor, especially helped by the wonderful power boost from the throttle as and when needed.
Despite the small wheels the ride is surprisingly comfortable, largely due to the rear suspension unit (which can be made harder or softer simply by twisting the top half) and also a nice and comfy seat.
The cable operated Clarks disc brakes function very keenly on the rotors – beware that, although they offer plenty of stopping power, they aren’t as progressive as hydraulic versions and so need to be applied slowly and carefully.
Range depends so much on a huge number of factors but I think even under the most testing conditions 15-20 miles should easily be achievable from the 187Wh battery and in benign conditions with a reasonably light rider probably twice this.
I am 5ft 8” and found the alterable handlebar and seat height meant I could achieve a perfect riding position, even though the seat to bars distance feels pretty small. MiRider say they advise it is OK for riders between 4ft10 to 6ft1 and that even larger riders can ride it comfortably, as a longer seat stem has been incorporated on the current model specifically for bigger riders. Max advised rider weight is 120kg. You just need to be happy with the fairly small ‘cockpit’ feeling – I certainly prefer this over having a feeling of reaching or stretching for handlebar controls.
The MiRider folds quickly to produce a 67cm x 66cm x 43cm package that uses the well-established axle magnet system seen on the likes of Tern e-bikes, though I’d like to see a ‘lock-in’ socket type design as seen on Tern’s non-electric BYB model which means there is no risk of the bike unfolding itself when picked up; this can happen with magnet systems if the wheels are knocked. Thus, if secure locking is important, it’s best to use the adjustable locking strap that comes with the bike. MiRider says a new magnet system with a lip is on the way which should provide more secure magnet-only locking. In practice, I didn’t much use the fold; it’s so small and easy to pick up unfolded that’s how I tended to store it at home, just dropping the steering-post down to the side once it’s parked in the hallway.
The single gear means the bike tops out at around 16mph, so speedsters might want to look elsewhere – but for the majority of leisure rides and stop-start commutes this is perfectly fine. The MiRider is not really about ‘sports’ type performance – more about fun and practicality.
At 17.65kg it feels a bit heavy, especially for a single-gear machine with a small 187Wh battery. Weight loss would top of my list for a mark 4 version that would make the folded package more liftable and more suitable for train style commuting.
No rear light powered from the main battery is also an omission but one that could surely be easily remedied.
Despite these shortcomings, the MiRider it remains a fantastic design whose throttle inspired, e-scooter like qualities show just why e-scooters themselves are rapidly becoming ‘the next big thing’. Private e-scooter use is booming in London, despite being illegal, and in France, where it was legalised in 2019, e-scooter sales have overtaken sales of hugely popular e-bikes. MiRider, it seems, are onto something with their design.
Motor: Lightweight Bafang rear hub motor
Battery: 187Wh frame integrated battery
Power Delivery: Pedal motion sensor
Gearing: Single speed
PUBLISHED MAY 2021