Flywheel | April 10, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring the new VanMoof S5 and A5
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the market followed by an observation of trends emerging in the industry.
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This week’s features are an electric moped, a compact cargo bike, a high-end commuter, and two cruisers. The observation of the week explores the new VanMoof S5 and A5.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
Similar to the RemiDemi previously featured, the Benno Boost is a compact cargo bike designed by swiss designer Benno Beanziger with the philosophy of “etility” (utility built on electric powertrains) in mind. It can be configured modularly to hold everything from rear child seats to delivery boxes, and features a Bosch Performance CX powertrain with a 250W mid-drive motor and a 400Wh battery pack. The 24” fat tires also make the Boost extremely comfortable to ride while still being low and agile. The vehicle in this listing is closely tied to SF bike shop The New Wheel. The ebike was purchased at The New Wheel, regularly maintained by them through a service plan they offer, and even certified by the shop (certification includes an inspection of ebike vitals and an estimated cost of any suggested repairs). As an aside, The New Wheel offers certification services for all used ebikes and runs a used bikes listings page to directly connect buyers and sellers. Listing can be found here.
Aventon’s Pace 500 is an award-winning cruiser-commuter hybrid dubbed by many as the “best bang for your buck” bike in the market. At an MSRP of $1,699, the Pace 500 is one of the most affordable class-3 ebikes yet comes with better features and componentry than many of its competitors. It features a powertrain with a 500W rear hub motor and a 614Wh battery pack and 180mm rotor hydraulic brakes (a shocking inclusion given how inexpensive the bike is). This specific listing was bought less than a month ago and still has 11 months of factory warranty remaining. The seller has also upgraded the vehicle with $300 worth of accessories (better pedals, handlebar, brake pads, suspension seat post, and fluid saddle) to make it a “super commuter.” Listing can be found here.
The Biktrix Stunner LT is another cruiser-style class-3 ebike with small fat tires. The powertrain is composed of a 750W Bafang rear-mounted geared motor, a 912Wh battery pack, and an 8 speed Shimano transmission. Combined with its tiny 20” tires, the Stunner LT is a very zippy and fun ebike to ride. The vehicle is designed to be configurable by riders to be a class 1, 2, or 3 ebike; riders can adjust the top speed on the vehicle settings and can even easily remove the throttle to meet different ebike classification standards. This listing has recently been tuned up and is sold by a DIY bike repair shop run by volunteers from BikeVentura. All proceeds of bikes that they sell are used to support the community bike shop and BikeVentura’s bicycle advocacy project. Listing can be found here.
The Flluid 1S is built by Fuell, a start-up founded by legendary motorcycle designer Erik Buell. Designed to be a high-end commuter, it features some of the most premium componentry found on ebikes today. The powertrain consists of a custom 500W Bofeilli mid-drive, a Gates Carbon belt drive, a Shimano 8-speed internally geared hub transmission, and a dual battery pack setup with two 504Wh batteries. It even features 27.5” Pirelli tires and suspension in both the front fork and the seat post. Unsurprisingly, the Flluid may be an ebike but has the smooth and planted rideability of a motorcycle. According to Electrek’s Micah Toll, “it’s just so smooth and planted that I feel like I’m riding more of a roadster motorcycle than an e-bike sometimes.” The bike also features anti-theft features like a PIN code start, GPS tracking, and a rear wheel kick-lock similar to VanMoof. This specific listing has less than 300 miles of usage and comes with ~$500 of upgrades. Listing can be found here.
The Onyx RCR is an electric moped hybrid that quickly became one of the best selling e-mopeds due to its affordability. The RCR has a max speed of 60mph and a range of 75 miles, powered by a 3kW rear-hub motor and a 1.66kWh battery pack. With a front suspension fork and dual rear coilover suspension, the RCR is surprisingly stable even at high speeds or off-road. Technically, the RCR is designed to be an electric moped and ebike hybrid. It has pedals and a power-limited mode to throttle the top speed and power of the motor to legally required maximums of class 2 or 3 ebikes. But at higher speeds, this vehicle enters a bit of a legal gray area. Its top speed could classify the RCR as a motorcycle, but it doesn’t have many of the features required to be registered as a motorcycle. Additionally, I’m sure most bicyclists wouldn’t be too happy sharing the bike lane with an “ebike” like this. For vehicles that are this powerful, I think that their speeds and powers should be geo-fenced as opposed to being left in the control of riders in order to remove any safety concerns that arise from this kind of regulatory ambiguity. This specific listing is in like-new condition, and comes with upgraded wiring and switches for on/off and mode changes, an upgraded throttle, and upgraded rear LED lights with indicators. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Musings on the new VanMoof A5 and S5
This week, VanMoof unveiled their new S5 and A5 ebikes. At a high level, It feels like the company made a series of seemingly small incremental changes that likely have a pretty significant user experience improvement.
First, VanMoof replaced the matrix display with halo rings - it's an interesting new UI. The current display is cool and unique but hard to see during the day, so hopefully the rings solve that problem. I also wonder if they eventually launch turn-signal functionality via the rings.
The S5/A5 now also features an integrated phone mount and charger. It’s a simple feature but probably my favorite upgrade. It suggests to me that VanMoof is working on improving the mobile app and rolling out more of a vehicle console interface. Initial screenshots of the app hints at built-in navigation capabilities.
Surprisingly, in a world where electronics get bigger batteries upon every iteration, the S5/A5 has a lower battery capacity (487Wh vs 504Wh) and charges slower than the S3/X3. The range however is reported to be the same. The battery now seems custom as opposed to the LG cells on older models. The new powerbank is a much more elegant click-on pack compared to the old strap-on pack, and provides riders with an additional 463Wh of battery capacity.
The anti-theft features are mostly the same as the predecessors (i.e. GPS tracking via Apple’s Find My, tampering alarm), but the kick-lock is now upgraded to be a bit smoother to use. I’m also glad they kept the turbo button, it's a fun feature I absolutely love using and is a great way to accelerate after stopping and maintain speed on a busy street or on a hill.
And finally, there is a new Gen 5 e-shifter, 250W Gen 5 motor, and a new torque sensor that could actually provide an amazing rideability upgrade but is hard to showcase online.
I’m excited to test ride the new S5 and A5 and see how these incremental feature changes add up. If anyone’s looking to upgrade and sell their S3 or X3, submit them to be featured on Flywheel :)
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Sunday!
- Puneeth Meruva
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