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Flywheel: Benchmarking Denver's Used Ebike Market | Vehicles from Rad Power, Urban Arrow, BMW, Organic Transit, & Velotric
Benchmarking Denver's secondary ebike market and featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week
Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the used side of owned micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting used vehicles being sold in the secondary market.
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The observation of the week benchmarks Denver’s secondary ebike market against those of other major US regions. This week’s featured vehicles are a hybrid utility ebike, a compact bakfiet/box cargo bike, a performance emoped, a pod/bicycle car, and a city cruiser.
Observation of the Week
Benchmarking the Denver secondary ebike market
As mentioned in last week’s observation, Denver has implemented a highly successful ebike rebate program and is a leading example on how to set up a subsidy program for everyone from the local to the national level. As such, Denver is primed to become the next major ebike market in the US. While it may take some time to truly see the effects of Denver’s subsidy program on the region’s secondary ebike market, the upcoming 1 year anniversary of the program is an interesting time to take a snapshot of Denver’s used ebike market and benchmark it against the four largest ebike markets in the US (SF - Bay Area, LA, Seattle, and NYC).
Average Number of Active Listings per Week
The size of Denver’s used ebike market is already at par with that of the four major US ebike regions. There are ~58 active Craigslist listings per week in Denver, which is roughly the same as Seattle (~51) and LA (~60). NYC’s average number of listings per week is currently at 42, but has steadily been increasing over the past 6 months.
Average Resale Price
At an average resale price of $1791.74, Denver is ~$200 cheaper than LA ($1950.62), Seattle ($1984.05), and SF ($2035.69). I suspect that the average resale price of used ebikes in Denver will grow over time as more people use the rebate, since the rebate is restricted to ebikes bought at bike shops (which tend to be more expensive than D2C ebikes). Additionally, given that the rebate allows people to spend more on a new ebike than they normally would, I predict that there will eventually be an influx of more expensive ebikes into the secondary market that will increase the average resale price.
Denver has the lowest average mileage of used ebikes at 174mi, which is indicative of the fact that the market is still largely recreational. However, this is another metric I expect to grow as more people use the subsidy program. According to a survey by the Denver Climate Office of rebate recipients, those who used the voucher to buy an ebike are riding an average of 26 mi/week and are really using their vehicles for utility rather than sport.
Top 5 Brands in Denver
The top 5 most popular brands (in order) in Denver’s secondary market are: Trek, Rad Power, Specialized, Aventon, and Sondors.
All five of these brands have some sort of physical presence (i.e. retail store, partner bike shop) in Denver.
Breakdown by Form Factor
As mentioned before, Denver’s secondary market is largely dominated by recreational form factors. Sport ebikes on their own make up 33% of the market. However, what I think is most notable is that cargo bikes make up 6.38% of Denver’s secondary market. For context, cargo bikes only make up 2.78% of the national secondary market. 34.55% of used ebike listings on Craigslist in Denver are from D2C brands, whereas 44.35% of used ebike lists on Craigslist nationally are from D2C brands.
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Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Rad Power RadRunner is a class-2 compact utility workhorse, equally capable of commuting, cargo hauling, or even two-person riding. Its powertrain features a high torque 80Nm rear-hub motor and a 672Wh battery pack. Combined with 20” fat tires and a 300lb payload capacity, the RadRunner is extremely agile yet competent with heavy hauling. It’s Rad Power’s most versatile ebike, and their 3rd best selling model in the secondary market. What’s most interesting about this listing is that it is verified by a 3rd-party certifier SecondSpin. For $49 (paid by the seller), SecondSpin verifies sellers with a background check, ensures that the vehicle isn’t stolen by cross-referencing it against Bike Index, inspects vehicle health (including the battery), and even handles the logistics of setting up a pick-up point or shipping for the vehicle. While SecondSpin does not manage a marketplace (sellers still need to list their vehicle on Craigslist/FB Marketplace) or facilitate the transaction (SecondSpin bears no liability for the vehicle and offers no warranties), it’s an excellent service sellers can take advantage of to make their listings significantly more trustworthy. I’ve come across a few local bike shops that offer similar services, but SecondSpin appears to be the only dedicated verifier/certifier in the market today. This listing has 1200 miles, and has a battery certified by SecondSpin to be operating at full capacity. Listing can be found here.
The Urban Arrow Shorty is a compact class-1 bakfiet/box cargo bike and the pick-up truck of ebikes. Urban Arrow is the leading OEM for bakfiets, and the Shorty is the lightest and most compact vehicle in their lineup. The Shorty is actually the same length as a typical commuter ebike, so it has the agility and handling of a classic bike while still having high-utility cargo capabilities. Its powertrain features a 65Nm Bosch Performance Line mid-drive motor and a 400Wh Bosch PowerPack (with mounts for a second PowerPack), and is combined with a special, cargo bike rated Enviolo Cargo continuously variable transmission. The Shorty’s 150L front cargo box with a 188lb payload capacity is incredibly versatile. It can easily transport children or pets, and there’s even a lockable hood to make the Shorty the “ultimate courier bike.” In fact, since its launch, the Shorty has become so popular for courier use-cases that Urban Arrow now mostly sells the Shorty as a B2B commercial/delivery fleet vehicle through their Business Cargo Bikes program. Urban Arrow has an incredible reputation for reliability and serviceability. Not only do they use the highest-quality components, they also have one of the largest dealer networks in the market via their parent company Pon Group (who also own Gazelle, Kalkhoff, and Cannondale, among many others). This listing has an extremely low mileage of 130mi, and is a compelling option to get your hands on a fleet-grade, high-utility vehicle that is rarely available in the consumer market. Listing can be found here.
The BMW CE 04 is a Tron-esque performance emoped made and sold by BMW’s Motorcycle group. Many auto companies have come out with concepts for modern electric 2-wheelers over the past 5 years. But only a few have actually produced a vehicle, and even fewer have produced one that looks anything like the concepts they originally put out. The CE 04 is one of those rare exceptions, and is remarkably similar to the concept BMW released in their 2017 Motorrad Concept Link. Its powertrain features a 42HP (~62.37Nm) motor and a 8.9kWh battery pack made of the same cells that are used in the BMW i-series electric cars. While there are competent disc brakes, a majority of the braking is done using the regenerative brakes (just like in most modern electric cars). The CE 04 has the performance specs of an emotorcycle, with a max speed of 75mph max speed and a thundering acceleration that allows it go from 0 to 30mph in 2.6 seconds. As such, the CE 04 obviously requires a motorcycle license. It does come standard with driver assistance features like ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ASC (automatic stability control) to make sure riders are stable and don’t lose control of the vehicle when accelerating or decelerating, but the CE 04 is nonetheless still a vehicle for expert riders. The CE 04 has a number of excellent vehicle software features, and even has a built-in car-like infotainment display with BMW’s Motorrad Connectivity platform that riders can use to view vehicle/trip data, music, navigation, etc. This listing is in like-new condition and has only been ridden for 100 miles. Listing can be found here.
The Organic Transit ELF 2FR is a class-2/class-3 velomobile (bicycle car) that is technically a street-legal ebike. Combining the recumbent trike and cargo bike form factors within an enclosed frame, the ELF 2FR is a low-powered minimobility pod for light neighborhood cruising. Its powertrain features a 750W (~60Nm) hub motor and a 768Wh battery pack, and there’s even a 100W solar panel to trickle charge the battery. The ELF 2FR features a special UPDrive powertrain that doesn’t combine motor and pedal output in the same way typical pedal-assist ebikes do. The hub motor is located centrally within the chassis and rotates a free-wheeling chain on the left side of the rear wheel, while the pedals drive a separate free-wheeling chain on the right side of the rear wheel. Combined with a NuVinci continuously variable transmission, the ELF 2FR is surprisingly smooth and torquey enough for moderate uphill riding despite its 160lb weight. The vehicle has a 350lb payload capacity, and there’s an area behind the driver’s seat for a second passenger seat or just extra cargo space. Organic Transit was one of the pioneers in pod/trike micromobility form factors, but unfortunately went out of business in 2019. ELF 2FRs are extremely hard to find. Only a few more than 1K units were sold by Organic Transit, and only four have been listed on Craigslist since December 2021. Listing can be found here.
The Velotric Discover 1 is a class-2 budget city cruiser with a stealthy and sleek design that almost hides the fact that the bike is electric. Its powertrain features a 65Nm rear hub motor and a 692Wh battery pack stealthily integrated into the down tube. The battery pack is actually made up of 21700 size Samsung or LG cells vs. the 18650 size cells typically used by most ebikes. These are the same sized cells as those in electric cars, and can handle higher and more instantaneous power outputs with low cell degradation. This allows for better motor acceleration and, more importantly, a longer battery life span. The powertrain is also UL certified (UL2849), which is rare for ebikes in this price range. UL certification hasn’t been a huge deciding factor for consumers to date. However, with recent concerns around ebike battery fires, some cities are considering banning ebikes without UL-listed batteries and future ebike subsidies/rebates/tax credits will likely require UL certification for an ebike to be eligible (i.e. the proposed federal E-BIKE Act). This listing has only been ridden for 2 miles, and is being sold because the seller was recently approved for a Denver ebike rebate voucher and is going to be upgrading to a more expensive ebike. Listing can be found here.
That’s it for this edition. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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