Flywheel | August 22, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring Zoomo’s approach to selling retired subscription vehicles in the secondary market
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 cargo trike, a vintage neighborhood electric vehicle, an all-terrain fat-tire ebike, a compact utility ebike, and a commuter. The observation of the week explores Zoomo’s approach to selling retired subscription vehicles in the secondary market.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The AddMotor Motan is a class-2 fat-tire cargo trike. What’s most immediately noticeable about the Motan is that it’s extremely comfortable to ride. With a front fork suspension, seatpost suspension, and large cushy fat tires, the Motan soaks up most imperfections on the road and gives riders a gliding feeling. The Motan is particularly stable at low-speeds, due to its excellent suspension and wheel configuration (where the 20” rear wheels are smaller than the 24” front wheel). The powertrain features an 80Nm front-hub motor and a 500Wh battery pack, and allows riders to pull a maximum payload of 350lbs. That being said, trikes with a two rear-wheel configuration already have a tendency to tip when turning, and such a powerful powertrain further exacerbates this problem. This listing is in like-new condition (Flywheel estimates ~200 miles of usage) and makes for a fun option for casual neighborhood hauling. Listing can be found here.
The OKAI Ranger is a class-2 fat-tire ebike designed for trail and off-road riding. OKAI is a Chinese contract manufacturer that has played a massive role in the shared micromobilty space. If you’ve ever ridden a shared micromobility vehicle, it’s likely that the vehicle is an OKAI manufactured product that the shared service rebranded as their own. Recently, the manufacturer has started to sell a series of OKAI branded vehicles directly to consumers, and the Ranger is the sporty, off-road offering within that line-up. The Ranger has a powerful 85Nm rear hub motor, large 705Wh battery pack, and a front fork suspension perfect for all terrain riding. There is also an LCD display built directly into the Ranger’s stem that allows riders to control riding parameters and see basic telemetry. Riders can unlock the vehicle using an NFC key card, a neat feature that is easier to use than the smartphone bluetooth-based locks that most new ebikes tend to have. This listing is in new condition (Flywheel estimates ~40 miles of usage). Listing can be found here.
The RadRunner is a class-2 compact utility bike, designed to be a versatile hybrid capable of commuting and cargo hauling. With a cargo payload of 300lbs, the RadRunner can even comfortably carry a second passenger with the Rad Power Bring a Friend upgrade kit. The RadRunner’s powertrain features Rad Power’s standard 80Nm rear-hub motor and 672Wh battery pack. Combined with small 20” tires that give the vehicle a low center of gravity, the RadRunner is extremely maneuverable and powerful even when loaded to its max payload. What’s most interesting about this listing is that the seller provides proof of ownership by linking the vehicle’s registration on Bike Index. Given that Bike Index is the most popular registry for bicycles, linking the Bike Index registration of the vehicle is an excellent way to give potential buyers the peace of mind that the listing is of a legitimately owned vehicle. This listing has moderate usage at ~2K miles and comes with ~$500 in upgraded accesories. Listing can be found here.
The Sebring-Vanguard Comuta-Car is a vintage neighborhood electric vehicle. Motivated by the 1970s US fuel crisis, Sebring-Vanguard took inspiration from the design of Club Car golf carts to develop this small, minimalist neighborhood electric vehicle. With only 4,444 units of the Comuta-Car and similar variants produced, this vehicle is an incredibly rare find of one of the first EVs ever mass-manufactured in the US. In fact, between 1945 and 2011, the Comuta-Car held the record for the highest number of units assembled of any EV in North America (surpassed by the Chevrolet Volt in 2011). These types of vintage EVs are interesting test beds that can be updated with components from modern automotive and micromobility supply chains to create unique DIY neighborhood electric vehicles. The seller has recently replaced most of the vehicle’s electronics with new components (5.248 kWh battery pack, DC/DC converter, wiring, and other smaller parts), giving the vehicle a range of 40 miles at a top speed of 42mph. This listing was manufactured in 1981 but has less than 600 miles of usage. The seller currently owns the title for the vehicle in Oregon. From Flywheel reader and prospective buyer David Hansen: “If DIY electric cars (neighborhood electric vehicles or golf carts) were legal without paperwork like a DIY ebike, then I think hundreds of thousands would be made a year.” Listing can be found here.
The LeMond Prolog is a class-1 “everyday” commuter from Tour de France legend Greg LeMond’s D2C ebike brand. Greg LeMond has been a leading expert in bicycle materials and ergonomics, and the Prolog pays homage to the innovations he has brought to the biking world. The Prolog’s chassis has a relaxed racing geometry and is built entirely of carbon fiber, making the ebike an astonishingly light 26lbs and giving it an extremely nimble rideability. The powertrain features a Mahle M1 40Nm motor and a 250Wh battery pack. Although these are fairly modest powertrain components, the vehicle is so light that riders can still get a sufficient amount of range and pedal-assist for everyday commuting. Compared to other commuters from the likes of VanMoof or Specialized, the Prolog has lower performance specs despite being considerably more expensive. That being said, it’s a stunning vehicle with a compelling backstory. As Wired puts it, “if you are a bike person who wants an ebike, this is the one you should probably buy.” This listing is an extremely rare find, particularly at such a low usage (<100 miles). SF bike shop New Wheel even suspects that this may be the only Prolog in the Bay Area. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Selling retired subscription vehicles with Zoomo
Shared micromobility services are one of the most interesting sources of vehicles for the secondary market. One service that has recently begun efforts to find second lives for their vehicles is Zoomo, a bike subscription company focused on couriers and delivery riders. This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Danielle Castro, a sales associate at Zoomo leading their used ebike efforts, about their approach to selling vehicles that have been retired from their subscription fleet.
The most interesting takeaway from my conversation with Danielle is that subscription vehicles, despite their heavy usage, actually make for excellent used vehicles to buy. Zoomo is extremely particular about regularly diagnosing and maintaining their bikes during their subscription period. Because of this, a lot of small problems are caught before they lead to bigger issues and Zoomo's subscription bikes end up already being in great condition when they retired for resale. While Zoomo does refurbish their vehicles, this regular and consistent care means that they typically don't need to do much more than tuning up normal wear and tear (i.e. replacing brake pads, new tires).
Used bikes from Zoomo give customers a greater peace of mind than ebikes found on marketplaces like Craigslist, primarily because the company takes a very comprehensive approach when preparing their vehicles for resale. All bikes undergo a 30 point checklist (results of which are available to customers upon request), are fully refurbished, and have their software updated so that they are ready to ride by new customers. Bikes can be returned within 14 days of purchase, and some even receive a special "Certified Pre-Loved" certification that comes with a 6 month warranty. The company is currently working on launching Zoomo Care and Zoomo Care+, a set of maintenance plans that sit on top of the maintenance network Zoomo has already built up for their subscription customers. These plans will offer recurring, monthly servicing plans similar to those offered with their bike subscriptions.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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