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Flywheel | February 27, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring how businesses use Craigslist as a distribution channel.
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 featured vehicles are a cargo box bike, an e-bike conversion kit, two all-terrain road e-bikes, and an electric tandem bike. The observation of the week explores how businesses are using Craigslist as a distribution channel to sell used vehicles.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Larry vs. Harry Bullitt is a box bike, a style of cargo bike where the vehicle has an extra long wheelbase with a smaller front wheel than rear wheel and a cargo area that sits in between the handlebars and the front wheel. The cargo area of a Bullitt is integrated into the frame as opposed to being mounted onto the frame like most competing brands, allowing the Bullitt to be as light as a commuter e-bike (~50 lbs) while having almost 400 lbs in payload capacity. The Bullitt is known to be the most reliable and robust box bike in the market and is commonly used in commercial fleets. DHL actively uses the Bullitt in its parcel delivery fleet and FedEx has introduced it in a few regions, albeit in a limited capacity. This specific listing also features an upgraded 1000W Bafang mid-drive motor as opposed to the factory standard 250 W Shimano motor. Listing can be found here.
The Charge XC is the high-end offering of Charge’s three bike lineup. Reviewed to be an extremely smooth and reasonably priced all-terrain vehicle, it features a Shimano 250W motor and 504 Wh battery that give riders a range of 50 miles at a max speeed of 20mph. Charge is actually the D2C sister company of Cannondale intended to compete with new age D2C brands like VanMoof and Rad Power. The tie to Cannondale means that Charge vehicles can be serviced at any Cannondale affiliated retailer. This specific listing has less than 18 miles of usage. Listing can be found here.
The BionX is a class-2 e-bike kit sold both to consumers looking to convert their pedal bikes and to manufacturers looking for a powertrain platform for their chassis. The kit consists of a 350W hub-motor and 355 Wh battery pack, and is capable of regenerative braking as well as a “negative mode” that recharges the battery when rolling downhill. What’s most compelling about this listing is how well the seller took care of the battery and how much information they provide about the battery’s health. This kit was unused for a long period of time but the seller still charge cycled the battery every 2 months to help maintain it. The listing even includes the following picture from a dealer PC adapter that shows detailed information about the battery and motor:
Transparency is one of the most important aspects of vehicle resale. Buyers of used vehicles are ok with depreciated vehicle components, as long as they have credible and precise information on the state of the vehicle. This listing is a great example of such transparency. Listing can be found here.
The Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp Carbon EVO is a performance gravel bike, popular amongst road bikers because it both looks and rides like a pedal bike. The Turbo Creo SL is the lightest gravel bike in the market, due to its carbon chassis. It’s also a test mule for a few new technologies that Specialized has been developing; the powertrain features Specialized’s custom SL 1.1 240W motor, a custom 320Wh battery, and a “Mission Control App” that allows riders to fine tune motor assistance profiles. One unique feature this vertical integration of motor, battery, and firmware enables is an exercise mode where the bike pairs to a bluetooth heart rate monitor and adjusts the motor assistance level in real-time to help riders keep a specific heart rate. This listing is also another example of a retired shared vehicle (previously part of a bike tour rental fleet) and was only charge cycled 8 times. Listing can be found here.
Our quirkiest feature of the week is the Micargi Raiatea, an electric tandem bike. The Raiatea features a 500W motor, making it one of the few tandem bikes that can actually be comfortably used while riding uphill or on rougher terrains. It features a ~500Wh battery, giving riders a range of 35 miles. With less than 100 miles of usage, this is a fun and reasonably priced option for leisure rides. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Craigslist as a Distribution Channel for Businesses
While Craigslist is primarily known for being a peer-to-peer marketplace, a significant portion of listings for micromobility vehicles are posted by businesses. From a reader of Flywheel affiliated with a recognizable D2C brand:
“For used vehicles, Craigslist is our best wide distribution channel. Since e-bikes are still kind of niche, it’s hard for our D2C reach to compete with the size of their [Craigslist’s] existing user base.”
Looking at listings from major markets (SF, LA, Seattle, and NYC) posted on Craigslist since the beginning of December 2021, ~24.5% of all listings are posted by businesses while ~21.2% of all sold listings are posted by businesses.
The typical profile of these business sellers is mostly local bike shops selling vehicles that they’ve purchased and refurbished from individuals, but there’s a growing crop of subscription, rental, and shared services selling their retired vehicles.
I suspect that the percentage of vehicles listed by businesses, as well as the percentage of sold vehicles listed by businesses, will only continue to grow as the secondary micromobility market grows. Businesses are often more compelling sellers to buyers than individuals because of their established sales history (and associated reviews from previous buyers), more transparent, credible information (i.e. cataloging of components, reporting of usage and other diagnostics), and the availability of services (i.e. refurbishment, maintenance plans).
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next Sunday!
- Puneeth Meruva
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