Design and development: How folding bike brand MiRider is investing in gearbox technology

British folding bike brand MiRider has invested in gearbox technology on its bikes. Rebecca Bland explores how it will help riders   

Gearboxes aren’t a new thing on e-bikes. In fact, if you look at some of the more premium options on bikes from the likes of Riese and Müller, you’re likely to find a Rohloff or Enviolo gear hub in conjunction with a powerful mid-drive motor. But what if you don’t want something bulky, or want to use a rear hub motor on your e-bike? That’s where British brand MiRider is stepping in. 

The family-run business has recently acquired the G3ARED gearbox company, a name you might recognise if you’ve ridden their newest One GB3 model. It’s a lightweight, three-speed gearbox that sits neatly in the centre of the bike, and after acquiring the patent and business, they want to see it on more bikes across the world. We spoke to Matt and Martin Higginson, sales and marketing directors at MiRider respectively, to understand what they’ve got planned for G3ARED and MiRider. 

Development process 

“The gearbox is something that we saw initially about two years ago,” explained Matt. 

“We got some samples in, went through the application process and the initial testing, and it seemed to tick a box for us to put a belt drive on our bike, which was the concept. 

Matt Higginson

“The more we rode it, however, the more we noticed some small little niggles which needed some development work with the manufacturer. That went on for maybe 18 months, until we were satisfied with the product as a whole, and then launched it on our GB3 model. That’s gone very well since, and only recently there came an opportunity where we could acquire the entire gearbox business.”

A gearbox like this means you can run a belt drive, which for MiRider’s target audience is appealing thanks to the lack of maintenance – and mess – required to keep your drivetrain running, as Matt explained.

“The product itself is very low maintenance, which is perfect when you combine it with a belt drive – it is attractive to consumers who don’t have much DIY ability. 

“They don’t need to worry about tensioning or replacing chains, lubricating, cleaning, et cetera. 

“From our initial testing, we’ve set our maintenance schedule at 1,000 miles, for a very small oil top up, which is applied through the small service hole on the product. A local dealer or the customer can do this. So in terms of maintenance, it’s very straightforward and with our development pathway, that should be able to increase in future years.”

Martin Higginson


As a sealed unit, however, if something goes wrong, it’s going to be nigh on impossible to fix at the roadside – one downside of an internal gearbox. But the team is keen to rectify any problems quickly through their network of dealers and in-house mechanics. 

“From a dealer point of view, if the customer has an issue, the first step will be a conversation with our mechanic,” Matt continued.

 “If something can be achieved over the phone, brilliant. A video call would be the next step. If the diagnosis is a little more serious then we will get the bike back and repair it ourselves.”

With a two-year warranty, it matches that of other leading gearbox brands, which will likely put G3ARED in good stead when attracting OEM brands to install their gearbox on their rear hub e-bikes. The company is currently looking for partners and taking enquiries for projects from 2024 across a range of e-bike categories.

“The nature of the product lends itself to urban, city commuting bikes, so folding bikes are great, or larger touring bikes, something that doesn’t have the requirement for ultra-low or ultra-high gearing. So, basically not off-road bikes. 

“We have inherited some projects which are already ongoing with the previous designers, which are all across Europe,” added Martin. “They range from folding, full size bikes, some startup businesses. And since the show we have a number of inquiries from around the world.

“Which partners we work with is critical,” Matt added.

 “We don’t think it’s going to appear on an aftermarket product that people buy and apply to their bike. It will initially be OEM, with brands specifically bringing out a model with this system on. But it’s encouraging to see in the e-bike industry itself there’s a lot of movement and investment going into rear hub motors at the moment.”

Made in-house

Currently, the team are manufacturing the gearboxes in-house at their Wigan base, but want to expand to meet growing demand, as Matt explained.

“We are producing gearboxes now on a small scale at MiRider. But we’re looking to increase capacity, and cater for 10,000-100,000 gearboxes a year. We think that’s the kind of scale we’re looking to get to.”

The difference between the G3ARED gearbox and other small gearboxes found on hub motor powered e-bikes isn’t just the weight, it’s that significant third gear, as Matt discussed.

“There’s quite a race to get more compact, more power, more efficient, and quieter e-bikes overall. So it’s good for us because it’s a perfect marriage, having an efficient three-speed gear change with an efficient, lightweight motor that you want to run a belt drive with. That’s a nice package which should give consumers a really decent, efficient bike.

“And, our gearbox is a patented design – the third gear is patented,” Martin added.

“So no one can run that system with a third gear, which is the critical difference with anything that’s similar. We’re in a position where we’ve got it running on the GB3 – which won bike of the year with, but we can’t build enough gearboxes currently because of the demand. 

“But we’re constantly in development with the gearbox and the plan is to find some large OEM people who want to run it on their bike. We’ve had a lot of inquiries, so it’s picking the right path for us now in terms of who we give it to.”

Read more: The mobility community: Looking ahead to IAA Mobility 2023

The future certainly looks bright for the Wigan-based team, with plenty of announcements coming out of Eurobike alongside their acquisition of the G3ARED brand. From new colours of their current models, to top-secret frame manufacturing techniques and even a new bike, 2024 looks like it will be a big year for MiRider. λ 

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