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Flywheel | January 23, 2022
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 or highlight of trends in the space.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
During the last two years, many used cars became more expensive than their new counterparts, and we’re starting to see that play out in the micromobility space as well. This VanMoof was originally being sold by the seller for $2500 ($200 above MSRP) because, as per the seller, “it is available right now and you don’t have to wait for months for a new one.” The current delivery timeframe for a new VanMoof S3 is 5-7 weeks out. The listing has been live for 15 days, and the seller has since reduced the asking price to a more reasonable $2,150. Listing can be found here.
The highest performance e-bike of the week is this BMW M-Sport. The bike comes standard with a 1300W mid-drive motor and 52V 12.8Ah battery, which gives a 33mph top speed and 20-40miles of range. The seller (local bike shop in LA) also offers an upgrade option to a 1600W HD motor with a 52V 17.5Ah or 20Ah battery, which gives a 40mph top speed and up to 75 miles of range. Not a bad alternative to the upcoming iX and i4 if you’re not a fan of those new kidney grilles ;) Listing can be found here.
The 2018 Cannondale Moterra 2 was a highly rated e-bike amongst trail and mountain bikers but has since been discontinued. This listing has some heavy mileage on it but is in excellent condition according to the seller. It has the same powertrain as it’s 2020 version and at roughly half the cost, it’s a pretty compelling option. Listing can be found here.
Perhaps the most unique listing of the week is an iconic recumbent bike converted into an e-bike. The base vehicle is a Tour Easy designed by Easy Racers in the 1970s. Easy Racers has a rich racing history and designed the first bike to break 65mph on level ground. The bike was retrofitted by a local bike shop Nomad Cycles in Portland and would be a great place to rely on for further maintenance and servicing. The motor and battery specs are not specified, but the description suggests that it’s a class-1 e-bike. Listing can be found here.
This listing for the Aventon Adventure Step Through is actually technically for a new vehicle, but it is being sold for $200 less than the original retailers price. However, the reason it’s featured is more because of the seller than the vehicle itself. The seller is a bike shop in the Bay Area called The Electric Bike Warehouse, and it seems to be amongst the first few bike shops to offer e-bike specific diagnostic, tune up, and safety checks for ~$100 each. As the used micromobility market continues to evolve and more and more customers who aren’t traditional bikers that are accustomed to the DIY nature of bicycling begin to explore pre-owned options, these types of services and the bike shops that offer them will become increasingly critical.
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Observation of the Week
What are the top markets for e-bikes in the US?
When starting Flywheel, it was difficult to know which markets to target first given that there is very little public data on e-bike sales. One metric that has turned out to be an interesting proxy (thanks to Sanjay Dastoor for the suggestion) is google search volumes. Search volume not only hints at consumer interest but is also likely a leading indicator of a which cities have the potential to become top markets in the future given the nascency of owned micromobility as an industry. The following is search volume interest by city according to google trends from the beginning of 2018 to today:
Keep in mind that these scores aren’t absolute search volumes, but rather represent relative popularity; scores are calculated as fractions of the total searches in the location that’s most popular.
By taking into account these scores, the population sizes of each of the top 10 cities listed above, and where major MM brands have launched in the US to date, my best guess of the top markets for owned micromobility and the initial focus markets for Flywheel are SF/Bay Area, Seattle, NYC, and LA. There’s currently an inventory of 579 e-bikes worth $1,046,840 live on Craigslist across those 4 markets.
That’s it for this week! Thanks again for joining, see you next week.
- Puneeth Meruva
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