Flywheel | April 17, 2022

Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring how mileage can be used to estimate vehicle depreciation and residual value


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 two folding ebikes, a cargo bike, a commuter, and a Harley-Davidson inspired taildragger. The observation of the week explores how mileage can be used to estimate vehicle depreciation and residual value.

Top 5 Vehicles of the Week

The GoCycle G3 is a high-end folding ebike designed by former McLaren engineer Richard Thorpe to be “the world’s most innovative and technologically advanced ebike.” The G3 is the sleekest folding ebike on the market; the vehicle features a powertrain (custom 250W motor, 297Wh battery pack, and internally geared hub) that is entirely integrated and enclosed within its frame made of ultra-lightweight and sturdy Magnesium. Weighing just 36lbs, the G3 folds small enough to fit into a small storage bag. Unlike most folding ebikes that tend to feel flimsy, the G3 is extremely stable and smooth to ride due to its titanium joint, rear suspension, and automatic three-gear shifter. This specific listing was ridden for less than 90 miles and is in like-new condition. Listing can be found here.

The Riese & Müller Multicharger GT rohloff HS is a class-3 mid-tail cargo bike. As the reputation of the brand would suggest, the Multicharger is chock-full of premium componentry. The powertrain consists of a 250W Bosch Performance motor, a 14 speed Rohloff hub, a Gates belt drive, and a dual battery-pack that provides a staggering 1125Wh of capacity. The cargo rack has a capacity of 125 lbs, and is long enough to hold two child seats. While this level of componentry is impressive, the Multicharger feels overbuilt and likely a bit overkill for the average user (it weighs a hefty 76lbs and costs almost $10K when buying new). The Multicharger also has a lead time of 3 months or more because its custom specced and many of its components are hand-assembled in Germany. That being said, this listing of an immediately available and lightly used Multicharger that is selling at a similar price to other cargo bikes is a worthwhile option. Listing can be found here.

The Priority Current is a class-3 commuter ebike that is surprisingly affordable given its quality and componentry. Most new class-3 commuters typically cost $4K to $6K, but a new Priority Current sells for $3,299 despite having many of the same, if not better, features and components as its counterparts. The powertrain features a 500W mid-drive motor with 140 Nm of torque (one of the highest in the industry), an integrated 500Wh battery pack, and a Shimano integrated gear hub with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive. The bike’s rideability is so smooth that its lack of suspension is hardly noticed, and its belt drive, dual-piston hydraulic disk brakes, and thru-axle quick releases for the wheels all make the Current effectively maintenance free. Listing can be found here.

This week’s most unique listing is a custom class-3 ebike inspired by the Harley Davidson taildragger design. This ebike features a 1040Wh battery, a 1500W motor, and a hydraulic front brake. It even pays homage to the Harley-Davidson inspiration by incorporating a Harley front fender and Harley 2003 anniversary bags. Ebikes are often frankensteins composed of an array of parts selected by riders, and some of the best used micromobility vehicles are custom-made. The ability for riders to easily customize and build their own vehicles opens up an exciting and creative spectrum of designs similar to this listing. Listing can be found here.

Touted as the “Swiss Army knife of the fat-tire e-bike world,” the RadMini is the most versatile offering of the Rad Power portfolio. The RadMini solves the biggest challenge with fat tire ebikes: their size. With smaller 20” wheels and a folding design, this ebike can actually fit within a 41” by 22” by 28” space when folded and not in use. While originally designed for trail riding, the RadMini makes for an excellent commuter vehicle. The same front-fork suspension and fat tires that help users comfortably ride on trails also provide a smooth cushion for riding on streets and avoiding potholes. Similarly, the powertrain featuring the standard Rad Power package of a 750W geared hub motor, 672Wh battery, and 7-speed Shimano suspension makes the RadMini a more agile and space-friendly counterpart to its sister vehicles. This specific listing has less than 600 miles of useage and comes with a new tires, an extra tube, and an extra battery. Listing can be found here.

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Observation of the Week

Estimating depreciation and residual value with mileage

Residual value and depreciation of ebikes are parameters that are extremely hard to estimate. The lack of residual value or depreciation models makes it difficult for riders to know how much to buy or sell a used ebike for and ultimately is one of the biggest reasons why micromobility doesn’t have an established secondary marketplace or services for used vehicles.

One factor that can be used to estimate the residual value of an ebike is its mileage. On average, ebikes in fair or better condition posted on Craigslist over the last 4 months were listed for ~$0.22 per mile ridden less than the original MSRP. This is in line with recommendations from a few bike shops I spoke to, who suggest that used ebikes should be sold for $0.25 per mile ridden less than the original MSRP.

Simply using mileage alone is obviously a crude model since depreciation is likely not linear and mileage alone doesn’t account for component health or damage. That being said, ~$0.25/mile ridden is a useful starting point given that there are currently no standardized vehicle diagnostics or verification/assessment services that sellers can use.

Notably over the last 4 months, there are a crop of ebikes that broke this rule of thumb and were listed for roughly equal to or even greater than the original MSRP regardless of mileage. These ebikes were mostly vehicles from the brands Juiced, Lectric, or VanMoof.

That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Sunday!

- Puneeth Meruva

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