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Flywheel | August 08, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and non-profit bike registry Bike Index
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 a folding fat-tire delivery bike, a long-tail cargo bike, and three commuters. The observation of the week features takeaways from my conversation with Bryan Hance, co-founder of Bike Index, about solving bike theft.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Lectric XP 2.0 is a budget class-3 folding ebike and amongst the best selling e-bikes in the market. The XP 2.0 is remarkably affordable, and is virtually unparalleled in terms of functionality and componentry at the ~$1K price range. Not only does it have a powerful class-3-capable powertrain (60Nm geared hub motor and 672Wh battery pack), it also has fat tires, a 7-speed transmission, a front suspension fork, and a robust folding chassis that makes it extremely comfortable on urban streets. Additionally, Lectric has done an excellent job maintaining high-quality customer service and maintenance despite making one of the most accessibly priced vehicles in the industry. This listing was used as a food delivery ebike, and comes with a number of accessories (i.e. spare battery, suspension bike seat, food delivery backpack) that make the vehicle extremely practical for ebike power users like last-mile delivery couriers. As pointed out by Reilly Brennan below, this type of no-frills, utilitarian perspective on ebikes makes delivery bikes one of the most fascinating segments of micromobility.
Although this listing is selling for quite a bit above its Flywheel Vehicle Value, it’s still a compelling option given its upgrades. Listing can be found here.
The Formula E Team ebike is a class-1 city-commuter and one of the latest vehicles from the n+ and Mercedes-Benz collaboration. There’s a few ebikes launched by automotive brands, but none come close to the Formula E Team ebike and its thoughtful design. The vehicle has a host of high-end componentry (Gates Carbon Drive CDX, Enviolo constant variable transmission) and a powerful powertrain (80Nm mid-drive motor and 252Wh battery pack), all wrapped into a stealthy and light aluminum frame. This listing has never been ridden and is being sold because the seller is moving to a new city. Shipping an ebike is extremely expensive, primarily due to the complications around shipping batteries. The difficulty of shipping an ebike, whether it be when a seller is moving to a new city or when a seller wants to return the vehicle, is one of the most common reasons why people sell their ebikes. Listing can be found here.
The Yuba Spicy Curry is a family-friendly class-1 long-tail cargo bike. With one of the highest cargo capacities (440lbs) and most maneuverable chassis in the market, the Spicy Curry is arguably the best minivan replacing ebike. Yuba made an interesting geometry design decision by making the Spicy Curry’s rear wheel smaller than the front wheel. This lowers the center of gravity for the rear cargo and makes the vehicle easier to handle, even for smaller riders. The powertrain features Bosch’s 75Nm Cargo Line mid-drive motor and 500Wh battery pack. This listing was bought in 2017 and has a moderate amount of usage (838 miles). It also comes with with bamboo side boards, two seat cushions, and monkey bars to make it easier to carry rear passengers. Listing can be found here.
The Propella 7S is a budget class-1 commuter. Weighing just 37lbs, the 7S is one of the lightest class-1 ebikes in the market and is specially designed for urban settings. Featuring a 35Nm motor and a 250Wh removable battery pack, the S7 has a small yet nimble powertrain that should be sufficient for most on-street riding. Unlike other ebikes in the ~$1K price range that compromise the build with parts from cheap suppliers, the 7S uses high-quality, well reputed components (Bafang motor, Shimano disc brakes, Samsung cells). The 7S is an upgraded, 7-speed version of the single-speed SS. This upgraded transmission is a marked improvement given that the SS struggles significantly in hillier areas. This listing is lightly used (623 miles) and includes a suspension seat post to improve riding comfort. Listing can be found here.
The Diamondback Current is a premium class-3 road bike. The Current’s most notable feature is its powertrain. Built on the latest generation of Bosch’s 85Nm Performance Line Speed motor and 500Wh PowerTube, the Current has an extremely zippy powertrain that, especially given its low weight, allows riders to climb almost all inclines with ease. Compared to other class-3s in this price range (i.e. Gazelle), the Current is a bit overpriced and has slightly worse parts (no belt drive, no integrated lights, no rack, etc.). However, this listing of an almost new Current with only 350 miles of usage selling for $1,350 below MSRP is a much more reasonably priced option. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Solving bike theft with Bryan Hance of Bike Index
Theft is one of the biggest problems facing bike ownership, and people considering buying bikes or commuting via micromobility for the first time often don’t because they’re worried about spending a lot of money on a bike and getting it stolen. No one has done more to address this pain point than non-profit bike registry Bike Index. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Bryan Hance, co-founder of Bike Index, and learn the story behind the organization.
According to Bryan, the secret behind Bike Index is the community of bicyclists that it has brought together. Most cities across the US have Facebook groups, Discord rooms, etc. of thousands of Bike Index members who voluntarily monitor used marketplaces to identify stolen bikes reported on Bike Index. Some members of these groups literally monitor on a daily basis. There are even internet groups of ex-police officers, security personnel, and bouncers who actively retrieve stolen bikes. These volunteers are motivated by their own passion for bicycling, and many people who have had their bikes stolen turn to Bike Index as a way to channel their frustrations and anger with the situation into a productive way to prevent further theft.
Bike Index works with a number of police officers to assist with recoveries. Bike theft is unfortunately not a high priority for many departments, but Bike Index works hard to identify police officers that are avid cyclists who understand the frustrations around having your bike stolen. These officers become go-to point persons for the Bike Index community, and people who’s Bike Index-registered vehicles have been stolen go to these officers first instead of going to their department through normal channels. For departments that do prioritize bike theft, Bike Index provides live dashboards of all stolen bikes in their area.
OfferUp, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace are the main secondary marketplaces that people sell stolen bikes on, with OfferUp being the most popular choice for thieves. Bryan says “OfferUp is our bread and butter, and I bet about 80% of the bikes we find are on OfferUp. I can go on OfferUp right now and find a stolen bike in minutes.” According to Bryan, these marketplaces are well aware of the rampant theft problems on their platforms, and Bike Index has even tried to partner with them to curb the issue. But, they don’t want to address the issue for bikes because that would mean that they have to address the issue for all other categories that also face problems around theft.
Despite the many friction points of trying to bring together relevant stakeholders and solve bike theft, Bike Index has been able to leverage a powerful and motivated community to make a dent in the problem. Since 2013, Bike Index has registered 878,688 bikes, recovered $19,428,405 in stolen bikes, and partnered with 1,405 government agencies, bike shops, community groups, and universities.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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