Flywheel | July 04, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring average usage of ebikes before they are listed on the secondary market
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 features are two cargo bikes and three commuters. The observation of the week explores the average usage of ebikes before they are listed on the secondary market.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Urban Arrow Family is a box-style class-1 cargo bike that sets the benchmark for family-focused cargo bikes. With a front box large enough to seat three children and a staggering total weight capacity of 550lbs, the Urban Arrow is the ultimate family hauling vehicle. The powertrain consists of the high-torque (85Nm) Bosch Performance Line Cargo motor and a 500Wh Bosch battery pack. Despite the fact that the Urban Arrow is heavy, long, and only has 2 wheels, it’s actually surprisingly stable and nimble. A front wheel that’s smaller than the back wheel makes the steering of the Urban Arrow super responsive and agile, and the Enviolo 380 continuously variable transmission makes shifting and bringing the vehicle up to max speed very efficient. Urban Arrow actually shares the same parent company as Gazelle and Kalkhoff, so Urban Arrow owners have access to an extensive maintenance and dealer network. It’s incredibly rare to find a used Urban Arrow, especially one that’s as well priced as this listing. This listing is actually being re-sold for the second time but has less than 600 miles of usage and has been carefully maintained and recently tuned-up. Listing can be found here.
The Kalkhoff Sahel Compact Impulse 8 is a high-quality and compact class-1 ebike. Its powertrain features a 70Nm Impulse 2.0 motor, a 417Wh battery pack, and a Shimano Nexus internally geared hub transmission. Although the Sahel doesn’t fold in half like most other compact ebikes, its pedals fold down and the handle bar can be twisted to be parallel with the frame. These few space saving tricks combined with an extremely durable drivetrain and highly adjustable chassis make the Sahel a perfectly balanced compact ebike that is almost as portable as a folding ebike while having the rideability and comfort of larger commuter ebikes. Bike shops and refurbishers often say that Kalkhoff bikes are some of the most robust ebikes in the industry, so this listing should require very little aftersales and maintenance effort. This specific listing is being resold by its second owner, and is shockingly listed for ~60% less than MSRP despite only having 140 miles of usage. Listing can be found here.
The Juiced CrossCurrent X is a high power, beefy class-3 commuter bike. When looking at the componentry of the CrossCurrent X, there are a lot of parts that almost seem overpowered compared to those found on other commuters. The powertrain features a 750W, 80Nm Bafang motor with a 994Wh battery pack, both of which are almost unheard of on vehicles at this price point. The CrossCurrent X sits across a few different vehicle classifications. There’s a throttle that can be used to get the vehicle up to 20mph in class-2 mode, but the vehicle can go as fast as ~30mph in pedal-assisted class-3 mode. The pedal-assist mode is particularly smooth because Juiced uses both a torque and cadence sensor to determine assist levels. This makes the CrossCurrent X a lot less jumpy and much more smooth and natural in acceleration than its competitors. This listing has less than 300 miles of usage. Listing can be found here.
Tern’s GSD line is the best set of cargo bikes available on the market, and with the GSD S00 LX, Tern continues to improve on its already dominant position in this category. The GSD S00 LX is a class-1 longtail cargo bike and the middle tier offering within the GSD product line. As compared to the lower-end GSD S10 that is $1,400 less expensive, the GSD S00 LX has a continuously variable Enviolo SP hub instead of a 10-speed Shimano transmission, a Gates CDX Belt Drive instead of a chain drive, and a suspension system in the seat post. These upgrades not only make the S00 LX smoother and more comfortable to ride, but also markedly reduce the maintenance required for the vehicle. Given that many of the riders looking at cargo bikes are typically not people that already cycle, the maintenance-free nature of this vehicle is one of its biggest selling points. The powertrain features Bosch’s 85Nm Cargo Line motor and a 900 Wh dual-battery system, components which provide more than enough torque and range even when loaded to the max payload capacity of 440lbs. Although it may seem trivial, one of my favorite features about the Tern GSDs is that their handlebars can be folded down so that the bike can be stored vertically on its back. The S00 LX is the hardest GSD to find in the secondary market, and this listing is extremely well maintained. It has a low mileage (670 miles) and comes with a number of useful commuting accessories (padded cargo seats, saddlebacks, locks, and lights). Listing can be found here.
The Ride1UP Roadster V2 is a class-3 budget stealth commuter ebike. At an MSRP of ~$1,100, the Roadster V2 is one of the cheapest class-3 ebikes in the market. This is primarily due to its simple design and componentry. The vehicle is single speed and doesn’t have a suspension system or a removable battery. While these are typically must-have features for a class-3 ebike, the lack of these components does make the Roadster very lightweight. Weighing less than 35 lbs, the Roadster can easily be carried into an apartment and is very agile, both of which help compensate for the simplified chassis and lack of a removable battery. The powertrain consists of a 40Nm 350W geared hub motor and a 250Wh battery pack neatly integrated into the frame. This listing has almost no usage (83.5 miles) and still has about a year left in its warranty. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Average usage of ebikes before they are listed on the secondary market
Used ebikes across the top 5 major US markets are sold with an average usage of 252.81 miles. As pointed out by Nathan Stevens, “that’s likely less than 10 charging cycles on the batteries.”
At 252.81 miles of usage, most of these ebikes are virtually new. Looking at the listings of these bikes with low mileage, the most common reasons cited for selling them so early are:
It’s too difficult/expensive to return the vehicle or the manufacturer doesn’t accept returns.
The vehicle is not the right size for the intended rider.
The intended rider didn’t end up using the vehicle as much as they had hoped.
A glaring problem this uncovers is the lack of a great aftersales ecosystem and customer experience for many riders. Given the brands of ebikes that are being sold this early on in their functional lives, it’s not just the newer D2C brands facing this issue.
As an aside, this does present an interesting near-term opportunity for sophisticated buyers based in the cities that these bikes are being sold in. Despite such low usage, many of these vehicles are selling at a 20%-25% discount off MSRP with degradation/mile often times in the double digits. Manufacturers with local dealerships or local bike shops can buy back these ebikes and resell them at close to original MSRPs with very little spent in refurbishing costs, while fleets can acquire almost new vehicles with significant savings.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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