- A great ride from such a small bike
- Throttle control a big plus for nipping in and out of traffic
- As with the previous version, a larger battery and another gear would be nice
I have already reviewed the 2020 version of the MiRider from the eponymous UK-based company and really liked it. Many of the features on the 2020 bike remain the same for the 2021 version. Essentially it is a funky looking single speed ‘fold-in-half’ style folder with a small 187Wh battery in its unusually-shaped magnesium frame. If still features the mid-frame elastomer suspension too, as well as adjustable height handlebars and seatpost.
It has had an overhaul for 2021 however, in the form of a new lighter motor with claimed performance benefits to boot. Still in the rear wheel, the new motor is considerably smaller and lighter and the bike has spoked rather than mag wheels which no doubt saves further weight. It also has new, narrower Schwalbe Road Cruiser tyres in place of the previous wider, heavier balloon style ones that featured on the 2020 version.
Is it Really ‘New and Improved’?
The first acid test was popping the bike on the scales; at 17.65kg against 18.95kg for the previous model, a motor and wheel change has knocked considerably more than a kilo off the weight, which is always good news in the performance stakes and doubly good news for a folding electric bike which needs to carried about.
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MiRider also claims that the new motor has 15% more torque than the old. The new motor really does look impressively small and claims 40Nm torque which is pretty respectable for a small hub motor. As I still had the previous model it was an easy matter to put them up against each other on our mile long continuous hill climb test. The 2021 bike pipped the 2020 version consistently by several seconds and was noticeably faster on the steepest sections some of which were directly into a strong headwind. Again, another impressive performance gain.
I also noticed that the battery capacity meter went down much more slowly on the 2021 bike, vindicating MiRider’s claim of a significant increase in efficiency too, of course meaning a greater range from the same-sized battery. I was impressed with its performance on my usual uphill commute, an eight mile route with nearly 1000ft of climbing using a bit more than half the battery. Of course it needed a bit more human input than you’d require on larger mid-drive e-bikes, but the simple fact it completed the route without any drama itself is impressive.
So yes, it really is new and improved.
The 2021 MiRider still retains the quirky looks that turn heads, and it remains a fun e-bike to ride.
Like the 2020 bike, the upgraded version uses a motion sensor by the crank but despite the fact this can be a crude solution, on this bike the motor kicked in pretty quickly once I started pedalling and cut out soon after stopping – so much so the brake cut out levers don’t really seem necessary.
The trigger throttle remains a great feature; although it gives a very small amount of assistance as a ‘walk assist’ feature this can be useful for hill starts to give just enough momentum to start pedalling. It really comes into its own for town use though – as long as you are turning the pedals a blip on the throttle means the motor speeds you along, irrespective of which of the five power levels you are in. In effect it acts as an instant boost button.
Away from the hills the 2021 bike feels much the same as the older bike, though with a shade less top speed. The Clarks cable-operated disk brakes stop the 160mm rotors pretty effectively, though you need to apply them carefully as the lack of modulation you get with cable discs is particularly noticeable on the small 16” (305mm) wheels. Hit a steep hill and the new bike is a much livelier performer. If you are after something to tackle the steepest gradients with ease of course you should look for something other than the MiRider but the 2021 version means moderately hilly country holds no fears.
You do need to adapt your riding style to adjust to the lively handling and keen braking. I felt the bike won’t suit riders a lot bigger than my 5’8” frame - even though the handlebars and seatpost are telescopically height adjustable it remains a very modest distance between seat and bars. However, MiRider say they advise it is OK for riders between 4ft10 to 6ft1 and that larger riders can ride it comfortably and that a longer seat stem has been incorporated on the current model specifically for bigger riders. Max advised rider weight is 120kg.
Folding is quick but not that compact, producing 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 and 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.
It’s a really good city bike; its compact size and super manoeuvrability allied with its throttle mean it can snake through congestion then cut onto your favourite traffic-free route with ease. The lighter weight will help to lift it onto public transport or up steps into a flat. Folding pedals and a fold-down handlebar stem means it’s great for storing easily in a hallway or by your desk at work without the bother of doing a full fold which in many ways makes the bike more cumbersome to cart about. The MiRider is more of a super e-scooter with pedals – pure throttle control would make it even better and if eScooters are ever legalised in the UK purely throttle-controlled e-bikes would seem to be a next natural step.
Accessories & Extras
If you want to carry modest loads you can fit the bespoke MiRider rear rack, currently £35, which is rated at 10kg. The battery is removable by undoing the frame lock latch and opening the mainframe so you can insert the battery lock key to remove the battery. An extra battery (using LG cells) is £200 – about par for the course. The 2021 bike also retains its mudguards, kickstand and front light (powered from the main ebike battery) to complete the package.
I still have a (now smaller) wish list for the bike, at the top of which is a slightly bigger battery; surely it would be possible to fit a larger battery into the that chunky frame? At 187Wh it remains at the bottom end of the capacity range. With the increased efficiency and range that comes from the new motor and lighter overall weight of the e-bike it is less of an issue than it was, but another 50Wh or so would make it much more if a serious contender for longer commuting and leisure rides. Apparently a new 259 Wh battery upgrade is in the pipeline for after spring 2021 (this will be optional, the stock bike will still ship with a 187Wh battery).
Similarly an extra gear from a micro shifter wouldn’t add too much weight and it would increase efficiency and overall usability.
Despite the £95 price rise to £1395 it remains decent value, especially with the increased performance on top of solid build quality and a two year warranty from a UK-based firm who assemble the bike here in the UK. Above all though the MiRider also remains great, sporty fun for such a bijou bike and the latest developments add a new layer of hill climbing practicality and efficiency.