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  • Flywheel: Breaking down budget ebikes | Vehicles from MOD, Pure Cycles, Trek, Himiway, & Mokwheel

Flywheel: Breaking down budget ebikes | Vehicles from MOD, Pure Cycles, Trek, Himiway, & Mokwheel

Breaking down ebikes retailing for <$2K & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week

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Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of owned and used micromobility. Each newsletter will highlight an observation of trends emerging in the industry and feature five of the most interesting vehicles/hardware in micromobility.

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The observation of the week breaks down budget (<$2,000) ebikes. This week’s featured vehicles are a longtail cargo bike, a compact fixie, and three all-terrain/trekking hybrids.

Observation of the Week

Breaking down budget ebikes

Budget-friendly ebikes have been one of the most significant drivers of ebike adoption in the US, and they have helped spread the reach of micromobility to many customers that are new to using two-wheelers (particularly in urban settings). On this week’s Flywheel, let’s break down budget ebikes in the US secondary market. For the purposes of this exercise, I’m classifying budget ebikes as any with an MSRP <$2,000.

Budget ebikes make up 56.9% of the used market, and have an average resale price of $1,143.67. Their average mileage at resale is 280.68mi, which is ~50mi lower than the average mileage of all used ebikes (328.66mi) and ~157mi less than the average mileage of ebikes retailing for >$2,000 (437.72mi).

Surprisingly, the battery capacity is consistent for ebikes across price ranges despite the fact that batteries make up a significant portion of the cost of an ebike. Budget ebikes have an average capacity of 616.16Wh, while ebikes retailing for >$2,000 have an average capacity of 625.10Wh.

A break down of used budget ebikes by resale condition:

A majority of used budget ebikes are in New and Like New condition, making up ~60% of the market. This is largely the same across the entire secondary market and all price ranges.

Used budget ebikes are listed for resale at an average discount of 25.4% off MSRP. Notably, this is actually a smaller discount than that of the overall market (30.3%) and ebikes retailing for >$2,000K (33%). Budget vehicles obviously have less room to be discounted since their MSRPs are lower, and they generally have lower mileages at reasale, but it’s worth noting that they don’t precipitously lose residual value compared to their more expensive counterparts like many people claim.

A break down of used budget ebikes by form factor:

Folding is the largest segment (30.3%), followed closely by Commuters (27.6%). This is in line with the fact that budget ebikes are often designed for very practically minded urban riders, and features like folding frames and commuter accessories are highly desirable for this customer segment.

A breakdown of used budget ebikes by regulatory class:

This data follows the point above regarding the common form factors for budget ebikes. Given that budget ebikes are designed for the most practically minded riders, it’s no surprise that 66.8% of them are throttled class-2 vehicles. Budget ebikes don’t really have room in their BOMs (bill of materials) for torque sensors or sophisticated motor controllers. Therefore, instead of trying to compete on the smoothness of pedal assistance with much more expensive ebikes, budget ebikes often lean on a throttle to provide an entirely different value proposition to a somewhat different segment of the market.

Unsurprisingly, budget ebikes are predominantly made by D2C OEMs and D2C ebikes make up 79.8% of the used budget ebike market. In fact, the D2C business model is a huge reason why their ebikes can be so cheap compared to competing incumbent OEMs that have a lot of overhead and/or lower margins due to dealerships and physical retailers.

The most commonly found OEMs in the used budget ebike market are:

  1. Rad Power

  2. Aventon

  3. Lectric

  4. Ride1Up

  5. Himiway

It’s important to emphasize that Rad Power truly DOMINATES this segment. 28.3% of used budget ebikes are from Rad Power, meaning that Rad’s market share is almost twice as large as that of its closest competitor Aventon.

The budget OEMs with the highest average mileages are:

  1. Vela

  2. Gen3

  3. Revi Bikes

  4. Pure Cycles

  5. Electric Bike Co

One key concern with budget ebikes is safety and the fact that many of them are not UL certified. While this may be the case for a majority of budget OEMs, I would argue that it’s no longer a concern for the most important budget OEMs. The top 5 most common OEMs for used budget ebikes listed above have all started to offer new UL certified ebikes, and they collectively have a 64% market share of the segment. Given growing regulatory requirements around UL certification, I suspect that many more budget OEMs will follow suit.

For more observations and resources on owned and used micromobility, check out rideflywheel.com/resources.

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MSRP: $2,499 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $0 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $2,199

Unvelied at the most recent SXSW conference, the MOD Cargo is a practical and full-featured class-2/class-3 cargo bike. MOD has made a name for itself as one of the most unique ebike OEMs in the market (check out their sidecar ebike or street chargers), and the Cargo is their latest offering designed for the practically-minded riders. The Cargo's powertrain features a 69Nm geared rear hub motor and a 720Wh battery pack, and there's also a dual battery variant available with a total battery capacity of 1,440 Wh. Pedal assistance is determined by the rare combination of a torque sensor and a throttle, and a 7-speed Shimano transmission and hydraulic disc brakes give the vehicle excellent handling and responsiveness. The Cargo is also very comfortable to ride, thanks to its front fork suspension, suspension seat post, and 20"x3" semi-fat tires. Fenders and a rear rack come built-in with the Cargo. The latter is a particularly important inclusion, as the built-in rear rack actually acts as a core structural element of the frame that makes it extra strong and gives it a 400lbs payload capacity. The rear rack is also designed such that the Cargo can be vertically parked on its rear (a neat feature borrowed from Tern). Lastly, the MOD Cargo has great software and electronics features. It comes with integrated lighting, a USB charging port, and turn signals compatible with the LUMOS LED helmet. Riders can pair their LUMOS helmet to the Cargo via bluetooth and use the built-in turn signal buttons to control the turn signals on the helmets. The power on the bike and helmet are also synced, so the helmet will turn off when the bike is turned off. This is a really cool safety integration and the best turn signals implementation I've seen to date on an ebike. Although the Cargo is more expensive than the typical cargo bike from other D2C OEMs, it has better componentry, a higher quality build, and a much longer warranty period. The $2,499 price tag may compel you to look to the incumbent OEM cargo bikes instead, but then you'd likely be losing out on a throttle and several other must-have urban riding accessories that come standard with the MOD Cargo. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $167 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $883

The Pure Cycles Volta is a premium, sleek, and compact class-1 ebike. Designed with the classic fixie single-speed pedal bike in mind, the Volta is a lightweight and stylish option perfect for neighborhood cruising. Its powertrain features a 50Nm AIKEMA rear hub motor and a 243.6Wh battery pack, and provides smooth and intuitive pedal assistance due to its torque sensor and single-speed Gates carbon belt drive. The Volta is also quite nimble and agile; it has a low weight of 35 lbs, a compact frame measuring 64.5" in length, and small 22” tires. Although it doesn’t have hydraulic brakes, the Volta does have several advanced electronic features like regenerative braking and motor inhibitors that help compensate for the weaker mechanical disc brakes. Additionally, the Volta is also equipped with urban-friendly functionality like internal GPS for location tracking and integrated lighting. This ebike is a bit too underpowered for daily commuting, but it’s a high-quality, enjoyable, and convenient bike for leisurely rides. This listing is in good condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 788.35mi) and is retrofitted with a modified controller so that it can be used as a class-2 throttled ebike. Listing can be found here.

The Trek Allant+ 7 is a class-1 hardtail hybrid ebike, ideal for both city streets and light trail use. As the successor to Trek’s Dual Sport+, the Allant+ 7 builds on the model’s strong frame and responsive rideability and continues to be a great ebike for trekking. Its powertrain features an 85Nm Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive motor and a 500Wh Bosch PowerTube battery pack, and there’s also additional mounting points on the frame for Bosch’s 500Wh Range Boost extender battery. The Allant+ 7 has sophisticated motor controls. Pedal assistance is determined using a torque, cadence, and wheel speed sensor, and there’s also shift detection technology to safeguard the 9-speed Shimano transmission. As one of the "big 3" bicycle OEMs, Trek has an extensive maintenance network that makes already-reliable ebikes even easier to keep running. This listing is in excellent condition (Flywheel estimated mileage of 564.28mi), was “always ridden on paved trails,” and was “always kept inside the air-conditioned home.” It’s still under warranty and was recently inspected and serviced by a local Trek store. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $224 less than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $1,999

The Himiway Zebra is a class-2/class-3 all-terrain fat-tire ebike. An upgrade to the Himiway Cruiser, the Zebra is now Himiway’s flagship ebike and their 3rd most popular model in the secondary market. The first thing likely to catch your eye about the Zebra is its size — it stretches to about 79” in length, weighs 79 lbs, and boasts a massive powertrain and tires. These features give the bike a robust and reassuring presence, though it may feel somewhat daunting for smaller riders. Its powertrain features an 86Nm rear geared hub motor (controlled by a torque sensor) and a 960Wh battery made of Samsung/LG cells, and is paired with a 7-speed Shimano transmission. This setup with both a torque sensor and a throttle is hard to find, and makes it feel intuitive and easy when accelerating the vehicle to its max speed of 25mph. The bike’s 26”x4” fat tires and front fork suspension deliver a supremely smooth ride, while strong hydraulic disc brakes ensure rapid stopping, even when the bike is fully loaded to its 400lbs payload capacity. Although Himiway primarily operates as D2C brand, it has a physical presence of 300+ dealers for servicing. The Zebra is an incredible value option that offers a better powertrain, more responsive pedal assistance controls, and more readily available servicing options than most other ebikes despite only being priced at ~$2,000. Some riders have noted that the bike can have some understeer at times, but this shouldn’t really be a concern unless you’re doing some serious off-roading. This listing is sold by Seattle bikeshop AE and comes with a 2-year warranty. It’s sold for the discounted price of $1,499, which is actually $224 less than the model’s average resale price. Listing can be found here.

MSRP: $1,999 | Flywheel Price Comparison: $573 lesse than avg resale price | Flywheel Vehicle Value: $1,287

The Mokwheel Basalt is a cutting-edge class-2/class-3 all-terrain ebike crafted to be the ultimate partner for trekking and other outdoor excursions. Its powertrain features a strong 90Nm rear hub motor and a massive 960Wh battery pack. The motor is controlled by either a torque sensor or a throttle, which combines with the 7-speed Shimano transmission and hydraulic disc brakes to make the Basalt both responsive and high-performance. Rounding out the drive features are a front-suspension fork and 26” by 4” puncture-resistant fat tires, which both eat up bumpy trails and make riding the Basalt comfortable and cushioned. While all of these components are impressive, what truly makes the Basalt stand out is the fact that it is "the world's first power station ebike." The Basalt's battery can be linked to a Mokwheel 1000W inverter and 18V-48V solar panels, transforming it into a fully independent energy storage system. This capability allows the Basalt to provide useful power to camp sites and other outdoor setups, and allows riders to take advantage of the Basalt’s large battery even when not on the move. While similar power storage functionalities are emerging in electric vehicles (i.e. the Ford F-150 Lightning’s onboard generator), the Basalt is one of the first ebikes to incorporate and market this technology. Having just recently completed a successful Indiegogo campaign, the effectiveness of Basalt's mobile power station remains to be seen. That being said, it’s still an excitng feature and a compelling step forward in evolving the traditional roles of ebikes from just transportation to versatile, utility-driven machines. This listing has only been charged three times and is in like-new condition. 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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