MiRider GB3 review: is this the ultimate electric commuter bike?

MiRider GB3 review: is this the ultimate electric commuter bike?

27 November 2023Richard Beech

Overall rating:

The MiRider GB3, £2,499, is a feature-packed, premium folding e-bike with some high-tech specifications. Could this be the ultimate electric commuter bike? It’s got a funky design, it’s quick to charge, it’s made from lightweight magnesium and it even features rear suspension for a more comfortable ride. On paper at least it’s a great-looking bike, but let’s see how well it actually rides.

Good for

  • Commuters with hills to tackle
  • Rougher terrain

Pros

  • Comfortable ride
  • Faff-free belt-drive system
  • Plush ergo grips
  • Lots of power
  • Effective hydraulic disc brakes
  • Clear and bright display
  • Folds to an impressively small size

Cons

  • Not cheap
  • Saddle position might not suit everyone
  • Can feel overpowered on the flat
  • Heavy for a folding bike
  • Not much handlebar space for phone mount
Components + build quality
Safety + security
Performance + handling
Comfort + practicality
Overall rating

Buy the MiRider One GB3 Folding Electric Bike

Expert Verdict

Many folding e-bikes are great on flatter terrain but struggle when things get hilly. We did NOT find this a problem with the GB3 - it's ideal for commuters with this type of journey to tackle. We found it had bags of power to back up its three-speed drivetrain, it’s exceedingly comfortable to ride and it comes loaded with premium features which help justify its relatively high price. 

The GB3 is not without its problems, however. On flat land it can feel like you’re spinning your legs out, such is the high level of assistance. The forward saddle position might not suit everyone, either. And it’s quite pricey, even if some of its rivals – the electric Brompton and the GoCycle – are pricier still. All that said, if you fit into the ideal demographic for the GB3, it could be just what you’ve been waiting for. 

Specs

Sizing One size, suitable for adults between 152cm/5'0" and 195cm/6'4"
Max Rider Weight 120kg
Folded Dimensions 77cm x 43cm x 68cm
Frame Material Magnesium alloy
Wheel Size 16 inches
Weight 19.4kg
Gears Three-speed Efneo GTRO with kevlar belt drive
Brakes Clarks CMD-24 hydraulic disc brakes front & rear
Assembled & built Wigan, United Kingdom
Range Up to 72km/45 miles
Motor 250 Watt rear-wheel hub
Battery Samsung 7Ah 36V
Charging 2-3 hours. Charger included
Speed 15.5mph (UK e-bike speed limit)
Power Modes Five power assist modes
Display LCD display
Lights Front included
Mudguards Included
Rear Rack Optional

Components and build quality

The MiRider GB3 is priced at the upper end of the folding e-bike market, so you’d expect a pretty decent spec sheet. And you get one – a distinctive magnesium frame, a maintenance-free belt drive system with a clever three-speed gearbox and hydraulic disc brakes, as well as a large, bright and clear colour LCD screen. Then there’s the rear suspension to take the sting out of bumpy surfaces, comfortable ergo grips on the handlebars and some premium Schwalbe tyres. Overall, riding this feels like you're sitting on a high-end product. 

A bit more about that drivetrain. MiRider has tried to combine the faff-free, maintenance-free ease-of-use of a belt drive system, but with added versatility. Normally belt drives are single speed, but the GB3 uses a three-speed Efneo GTRO gearbox integrated into the chain ring. It’s a clever bit of engineering that lets you shift between three planetary gears using a twist shifter on the left handlebar. In theory - and our test rides all lived up to this - this is the best of both worlds as there's no derailleur at the back to index or risk getting knocked in the commute, no chain to oil, but with the flexibility of different ratios to tackle different types of terrain.

MiRider GB3 review – side view

Power comes from a 250W motor in the rear hub, with five levels of assist and a thumb throttle to give you a quick extra boost when you need it. The 7Ah Samsung battery is integrated into the magnesium frame and is removable to charge. Incidentally, there are cheaper folding e-bikes that offer a larger battery, but the smaller size does at least help to keep the weight down, as does the lightweight frame. At 19.4kg it’s not particularly light, but there are heavier rivals and it’s a decent figure considering its size.

Any gripes? Well, mudguards are included, as is an integrated front light, but there’s no rear light – only a reflector – and if you want a rack you’ll need to pay extra. The GB3 also comes with a cadence sensor rather than a torque sensor. It’s admittedly a fairly good cadence sensor (labelled as a “torque simulation controller” by MiRider), and we found it responds quickly especially when we used the thumb throttle at the same time. But when something like the ADO Air 20 has a proper torque sensor at half the price of the GB3, it’s a shame to see it missing here.

Safety and security

The GB3’s battery is integrated into the frame of the bike, but you can remove it quickly and easily to charge up or replace it with another.

From a rider safety point of view, we found the hydraulic brakes to be excellent and very useful if you need to slam on the anchors. The integrated front light is welcome, but the lack of a rear light as standard is another minor drawback. A rear reflector just isn’t the same.

We found the GB3 quick and easy to fold and it's compact when you do so and light enough to hoik upstairs and keep under your desk, which is a major plus if you’re worried about someone swiping it.

Performance and handling

My standout impression from riding the MiRider GB3 is how powerful it feels. Although it has a 250W motor, which is the most you can legally spec in the UK, it’s really punchy in its delivery and you never feel like it’s running out of puff. If you face myriad hills on your commute then this will be tremendous news. Combine the five levels of power assist with the three twist-shifting gears and you’ve got flexibility that many rival folding e-bikes can only dream of.

MiRider GB3 review

While the GB3 doesn’t come with a torque sensor, the cadence sensor it uses is pretty quick to add power once your feet are moving, and getting away from traffic lights can be enhanced by the use of the thumb throttle on the right handlebar. This gives you a boost of extra power as you move away, and while it actually never really feels like you’re lacking oomph, it is rather addictive to add even more juice when you want to get moving quickly.

There’s a ‘but’, however. Riding on fast, flat surfaces, it can often feel like there’s no resistance at all when pedalling. If anything, it feels overpowered; I felt like I was spinning my legs out in any power assist mode above 2, even in top gear. It might be the kind of thing that doesn’t particularly bother you, but having come to e-bikes from regular road bikes, I never quite got used to it.

The handling takes a bit of getting used to, too, thanks to the combination of small 16-inch wheels and wide handlebars. You will get used to it pretty quickly, but it does feel unusual to start with. The saddle is also set quite far forward – too far forward for this reviewer’s personal taste, but none of my colleagues have complained. Once you’re used to the slightly unusual way it feels, the GB3 feels easy to thread through traffic and stable at higher speeds.

The Clarks hydraulic brakes are a welcome upgrade on the mechanical discs found on some more affordable folding e-bikes. You feel much more connected to the wheels when using them, and they mix serious stopping power with an ease of modulation that should avoid unwanted skids.

MiRider claims a range of 45 miles’ riding per battery charge and that doesn’t feel too far off the real-world possibility, although it’ll depend how heavy you are and how much you rely on the power assist.

Comfort and practicality

In theory, the small 16-inch wheels could make for an uncomfortable ride over Britain’s often-poorly maintained roads. But through using quality Schwalbe tyres, a rear suspension unit, a squishy Selle Royal saddle and some comfortable ergo grips on the handlebars, MiRider has worked wonders. The ride is impressively supple even over cobblestones, and not once did I fear for my fillings of spine would be jiggled out. 

As mentioned, the saddle does sit quite far forward, so it’s worth testing the GB3 to make sure you can find a riding position that works for you.

MiRider GB3 review: belt

One of the key attractions of the belt-drive/gearbox combo is that there’s next to no maintenance needed – no chain to oil and risk getting on your commuting clothes, and no need to index a derailleur. MiRider recommends changing the oil in the gearbox every 500 miles or so, however. It’s not a big job, and you can do it yourself with a supplier oil dropper, but that does seem fairly often compared to single-speed belt-drive bikes that’ll go for some 18,000 miles before they need looking at.

The large LCD colour display is really good – bright, clear and easy to use with mileage, power and battery information. It is really quite big though, and takes up quite a bit of handlebar real estate. If you want to add a mobile phone holder you might struggle for space.

MiRider GB3 review: display

Folding is straightforward and results in a very compact package, despite the seemingly chunky frame. Magnets keep the two halves of the fold together and while it’s not the lightest folding e-bike, it’s easy to pick up for short periods to get it onto a bus, train or up some steps. You can also walk it along when folded if you need to transport it for longer periods.

Buy the MiRider One GB3 Folding Electric Bike

Women rider's verdict

Eilis Barrett: "Technically there is no such thing as a woman’s ebike. All of the bikes on our store are suitable for men and women, however, as a female rider there are certain features that I look for in a bike.

"There will be days when my wardrobe beckons the call of a skirt or a dress, but the need to cycle doesn’t diminish. Having an ebike, like the Mirider GB3, with a low to the ground top tube means it's easy to get your leg over and very convenient for wardrobe choices.

"Despite the GB3 being a fing electric bike, the geometry of the bike makes for a very comfortable ride whatever height you may be. The plush ergo grips and rear suspension keeps you cushioned throughout the duration of your ride. This combination has meant even for a taller lady like myself (5ft10) i’ve had no qualms.

"Safety is also a big factor and knowing that you can whizz off INSTANTLY at the traffic lights thanks to the thumb throttle that activates when you begin to pedal means you can get ahead when the lights go green and move into a safe position on the road before the cars catch up.

"It is a heavier folder at 19.4kg, so this is something to consider if you need to do lots of carrying up stairs or are looking for a multi-modal commuter bike. This bike is a touch dense if you want to be throwing it on and off buses and trains."

Find out more

Bio

Phill Tromans has been a journalist and reviewer since 2001. As both a keen road cyclist and car aficionado, he’s fully embraced the concept of e-mobility, and while he still loves pure pedal power, he also likes not being a sweaty mess at the end of every bike ride.

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