- Flywheel: Introducing the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide | Vehicles from VanMoof, Trek, Serial 1, Wallke, & Cyrusher
Flywheel: Introducing the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide | Vehicles from VanMoof, Trek, Serial 1, Wallke, & Cyrusher
Introducing the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week
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 used vehicles being sold in the secondary market.
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The observation of the week introduces the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide. This week’s featured vehicles are two commuters, a longtail cargo bike, and two fat-tires.
Observation of the Week
Introducing the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide
From battery fires to high-profile accidents and part failures, ebike safety has come under significant scrutiny over the past few years. As we see more regulation, subsidies, etc. in the industry, it’s important to establish a list of “approved” vehicles and their varying levels of safety.
One early contender for this stamp of approval that has emerged is UL certification (UL 2271 for the battery and UL 2849 for the whole ebike system), and new regulations (i.e. NYC) and subsidies (i.e. the proposed national E-BIKE Act) are starting to require UL certification.
However, as Lava Sunder points out, UL on its own is not yet a comprehensive reflection of all safe vehicles in the market and doesn’t account for varying levels of safety:
Requirements or expectations around UL certification are fairly recent, and deeming all non-UL certified ebikes as unsafe doesn’t distinguish the important difference between ebikes from reputable brands (i.e. Rad Powers sold before Sept 2023) and cheap knock-offs on Alibaba or Amazon.
To address this issue, I’m excited to introduce the Flywheel Vehicle Safety Guide, a growing list of ebikes that have received some level of safety credibility or certification:
The list currently includes ebikes that have received UL certification or have been reviewed by Consumer Reports. As the industry establishes new metrics, verifications, certifications, etc. by which to measure ebike safety, this list will expand to include them as well.
You can also click into an ebike model’s details page and view further information regarding its safety standards at the bottom of the page:
This list is an ongoing effort still in its nascency, so it still requires some data cleanup, scraping of other data sources, etc. That being said, I hope it can be a useful resource for those trying to get a sense of the ebike landscape and understand which vehicles have some level of safety credibility.
This is also a resource I’m hoping the Flywheel community can help build and verify. So if you notice that there are missing ebikes that should be included, other signals like UL or Consumer Reports that should be considered, or any other discrepancies, please reach out by responding or emailing me at [email protected].
For more observations and resources on owned and used micromobility, check out rideflywheel.com/resources.
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Featured Vehicles of the Week
The VanMoof S3 is a class-1 commuter and a trailblazing vehicle that set the standard for the functionality expected of premium urban e-bikes. Often called the Tesla or Apple of e-bikes, VanMoof distinguished itself through iconic design, vertical integration, and cutting-edge software and electronics. While the S3's powertrain is modest, featuring a 59Nm front hub motor and a 504Wh battery pack, its true excellence lies in an array of software and UX features. From anti-theft alarms, Apple Find My integration, remote health diagnostics, automatic shifting, and a convenient boost button, the S3 has several unparalleled features that optimize the urban riding experience. S3s are also great vehicles to sell in the secondary market because sellers can easily transfer ownership of the vehicle through the VanMoof app, which also transfers all vehicle health data, maintenance records, and peace-of-mind services subscriptions to the new owner. As many of you know, VanMoof went out of business and was bought out of bankruptcy ~2 months ago by McLaren Applied subsidiary Lavoie. While the uncertainty around this acquisition raised a lot of concerns amongst current and potential future VanMoof owners about the serviceability of their ebikes, Lavoie has come out with a new statement addressing where VanMoof goes from here. First of all, VanMoof’s US entity was not declared bankrupt, so US VanMoof stores are still open and available for maintenance services. Furthermore, Lavoie is:
Building a platform to make spare parts widely accessible
Giving more third party service providers like bike shops access to the technical know-how required to repair VanMoof ebikes
Rebuilding the supply chain
Redesigning and improving parts on current models to make them more robust and easier to fix
Restarting production and sales of “a selection of VanMoof’s current models” while Lavoie’s R&D teams work on “groundbreaking new products”
This listing has a mileage of 1441 miles and is being sold by the vehicle’s second owner. The seller also does a good job describing the condition of the vehicle in the listing. They give a rough estimate of the condition of the vehicle by measuring the parts or giving a simple qualitative rating out of 10, and they even mention the fact that they can transfer ownership of the vehicle via the VanMoof app. Listing can be found here.
The Trek Fetch+ 2 is a premium class-1 longtail cargo bike. Launched just this past February, the Fetch+ series represents Trek’s first meaningful foray into the cargo bike sector. The Fetch+ 2 is a familiar longtail cargo bike form factor, while the Fetch+ 4 is a bakfiet more popular in the European market. As expected given Trek’s pedigree, the Fetch+ 2 is packed to the brim with high-end componentry that make it a joy to own. Its powertrain features an Bosch’s cargo-specific 80Nm Performance Line CX mid-drive motor and a 500Wh Bosch PowerTube battery (additional mounting points available for a second battery), and the full ebike system is UL 2849 certified. This powertrain is part of Bosch’s latest BES3 “smart system,” which also includes several improved software features like a digital lock, ABS, eShift, and smartphone docking. Rounding out the Fetch+ 2 is a 10-speed Shimano transmission and hydraulic disc brakes, which give an often cumbersome form factor great acceleration and deceleration capabilities. The chassis is strong and can carry a max payload capacity of 440lbs. Its 20” wheels (a popular configuration amongst cargo bikes) help keep the center-of-gravity low while retaining agile handling, and the adjustable dropper seatpost makes it easy for riders to get on and off. The Fetch+ 2’s closest competitor is the Tern GSD S10. While its performance and parts are comparable, the GSD S10 retails for ~$1K less. This listing bridges that price difference. It’s a brand new Fetch+ 2 sold by Bay Area bike shop Big Bowl, and it’s listed for $1K less than MSRP. Listing can be found here.
The Serial 1 RUSH/CTY is a class-1 city cruiser by Harley-Davidson’s ebike spin-off brand. Designed to be the ultimate urban vehicle optimized for commuting, the RUSH/CTY has premium componentry that maximizes smoothness and reliability. Its powertrain features a high-end 90Nm Brose mid-drive motor and a 529Wh battery pack, and is paired with an Enviolo AUTOMATiQ automatic continously-variable transmission. That combined with a Gates Carbon belt drive makes the RUSH/CTY effortlessly smooth and effectively maintenance free. There’s even a built-in rack, fenders, and lighting, so the RUSH/CTY is ready for daily commuting right out of the box. The vehicle’s app is fairly standard and has expected features like ride recording, but its Google Maps-based route planning & navigation is a notable plus. Serial 1 was recently acquired by Florida-based light electric vehicle outfit LEV Manufacturing. While it’s still unclear what this means for the future of Serial 1, LEV stated in the initial deal announcement that they will be shifting Serial 1’s production from Taiwan to Florida and expanding the brand’s distribution and servicing presence in the US. This listing is brand new and was purchased earlier this year. Listing can be found here.
The Wallke H6 is a class-2/3 fat-tire folding ebike and one of the most powerful folding ebikes in the market. It has a diminutive frame with 20” wheels, but it weighs 90lbs, has a monstrous powertrain, and a 400lbs payload capacity. Featuring an 80Nm geared rear hub motor and a 1536Wh battery pack, the powertrain is operated by a high-performance controller that gives the motor a peak power of 1400W. This powertrain is also combined with an 8-speed Shimano drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, which gives the H6 strong and sporty rideability. The H6 is also extremely comfortable to ride. It has a full suspension suite with a hydraulic front fork, double rear shocks, and a suspension seat post, not to mention the plush fat tires of course. While the H6 is Wallke’s entry line model and doesn’t feature the upgraded software functionality of the H6 Max (rider app, built-in Apple Find My tracking, and navigation), it is still a highly performant ebike. Its specs make it capable of far more than just day-to-day commuting, and it’s a great option for high-utilization commercial users like gig delivery riders. This listing has a mileage of 1300mi. Listing can be found here.
The Cyrusher XF650 is a class-2/3 off-roading fat-tire ebike that is equally well suited for trail riding or urban commuting. Its powertrain features an 80Nm rear hub motor and a 624Wh battery pack rated for 800 charge cycles, and is paired with a 7-speed Shimano transmission. The XF650 is limited to 15mph out of the factory, but it can easily be unlocked to go up to 26mph. As one would expect with an off-roader, the XF650 is very comfortable to ride. Its 26” by 4” fat tires and front suspension fork cushion bumps on your path, and the hybrid hydraulic brakes (cables still trigger the brakes, but the braking force comes from hydraulic pistons) provide confident stopping power. Lastly, the vehicle has built-in racks, fenders, and lighting. The XF650’s closest peer is the RadRover. While the Rad Power costs less, it has worse brakes and a lower max speed. This model has been sunsetted by Cyrusher, so this listing for an XF650 with only 150mi on its odometer is a compelling option. 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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