Rebecca Morley visits MiRider’s new production facility in Wigan to find more about the brand
With its new 7,000 sq ft facility in Wigan, folding e-bike brand MiRider has its eyes set on serving dealers all over the UK. And each bike is built by hand by a trained operative in the facility, which also has its very own test track so the team can ensure each model is up to standard. Each bike also has a sticker so you can see who made your bike, adding a personal touch to each model.
Marketing director Martin Higginson says: “We build the bike here, and there are a few advantages to that. Some people would ask: ‘Why don’t we get the bike made somewhere else and bring it in in complete bike form?’ The reason being, with COVID and the shipping issues, and supply chains being a big problem for the industry, what it allows us to do is if, for example, we have a component that is in short supply, we can swap that single component out of the bike being built.
“We’re able to react in terms of building a product – we can react to different colours people want. It might be that the orange model is selling particularly well, so we can up the production of that very quickly. We can react to demands of the marketplace.”
MiRider currently has around 60 dealers in the UK so far, a number it is looking to grow. The team started in the Wigan area building a dealership, and says it’s been working well with good dealers coming on board. There are still some areas where the brand isn’t yet on people’s radar, so MiRider is working on dealers becoming more aware of the brand and the history behind it, so they know its story and how it is different to what is already on the market.
Higginson explains: “One of the directors is a family friend, and he was looking for a folding e-bike that he could use on his motorhome trips. When he was looking at the marketplace, the folding bikes out there were very traditional looking and he was after a great looking bike that is small enough to fit in a motorhome or a boot for him to take away on holiday, and he couldn’t find one.
“He approached us, and as a group of companies with all the expertise we have, he said let’s see if it’s an industry that we want to be a part of. With the e-bike industry seeing high growth, we thought we could bring something to the table. We sourced a frame, got some components, and initially the bike was being assembled in Germany. It went really well, we sold the bikes but in the early days it was a much smaller scale. That was our purpose. One – we didn’t know the industry, and two – we didn’t know how the bike was going to be received.
“2019 was the first year we actually sold any bikes; in 2020, we made improvements to the bike and we brought the assembly in house. We sold 600 bikes that year and sold out in July. The industry reviewers loved the bike. We didn’t have amazing coverage in all the areas but we were definitely growing. It was quite a hard sell to the dealers because they didn’t know the brand.
“After 2020, we knew we were on to something and we’re all about building on customer service, availability of the product, quality of the product, returns and warranty. That’s all a massive focus for us. We jumped from 600 bikes last year to 3,500 bikes on commitment this year. We took this building on, moved everyone in here, increased the production, and we’ve done an excellent job in getting the frames and parts all scheduled to come in.”
The brand is in a great place now, continues Higginson, and is starting to become more well known – with its dealers now selling a lot of bikes. And MiRider’s picking up new dealers all the time with sometimes as many as five a week, the team says.
“What we’re ready for now is that next level,” says Higginson. “We’ve got great stock here for this year. It’s really trying to tell people the story behind MiRider, tell them where we are now. You’re going to get the best service in the industry, you’re going to get the bikes when you want them. That’s the message we’re trying to get across. The company’s been through its progression and it’s now in a position where it can really attack this market.” MiRider also offers a two year ‘no quibble’ warranty, the team continues, helping to give dealers confidence in the brand.
MiRider will also give dealers a demo bike for a few days so they can experience it for themselves, learn about the brand and gauge customer feedback. And because it has so much stock in, the company has been less affected by COVID than others in the bike industry. In fact, dealers often ‘can’t believe’ how much stock the brand has available, and while other brands may not be accepting new dealers, MiRiDER is looking for them.
MiRider also offers a tiered marginal structure, and dealers have the option of POS as well. “We offer the pull out banners, leaflets and swing tags,” says Higginson. “If [a dealer] has got a particular space in a window, we can do custom posters and banners etc for that store. We’re not afraid to make the best use of a shop’s floor space – some are big, some are small – whatever it is, we’ll get the right information into the store.”
The minimum order for MiRider is one bike, and the company offers free delivery for three or more bikes. This is often what dealers go for, the team says. The brand also offers a range of accessories that are shipped in separate boxes to ensure the bikes do not get damaged. About 90% of orders go with an accessory, says the team, making them hugely popular.
The brand also has a growing social community, with a Facebook group that has ‘really taken off’, with people sharing experiences and arranging meetups. “We’ve got the stock, expertise, distribution, marketing capability, great products, great reviews, so we’ve got everything from our side, it’s just tying that product and brand with the story,” says Higginson.
“If they want one of the best folding e-bikes in the UK in their store, they can have it tomorrow. They can have a demo bike, they can have it in the shop, they can get stock whenever they want. The time is now.”