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Flywheel | July 18, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring the price range that drives mass ebike adoption
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 a Tour de France-inspired commuter, a pod car/ebike, two longtail cargo bikes, and a scrambler. The observation of the week explores the price range that drives mass ebike adoption.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The LeMond Dutch is a class-1 Dutch-style commuter ebike from three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond’s ebike brand. Borrowing from LeMond’s previous pioneering efforts in bringing carbon-fiber to the bicycling world, the Dutch is a masterfully designed step-through ebike featuring components fit for a Tour de France cycle. The entire frame is made of carbon fiber, and LeMond even offers a series of baskets and other accessories made of the same material. This brings the Dutch’s weight to 27lbs, making it one of the lightest ebikes on the market. Featuring a Mahle M1 40Nm rear hub motor and a 250Wh battery pack, the Dutch has a range of up to 45 miles. But at such a low weight, the Dutch is actually light enough to effortlessly pedal even when out of charge. This model runs large and is better suited for taller riders. In fact, this vehicle is actually being sold despite having less than 30 miles of usage because it is too big for the seller. Listing can be found here.
The Organic Transit ELF 2FR is a class-2 recumbent trike, velomobile (bicycle car), and cargo bike all wrapped into one enclosed pod car form factor. Featuring a 750W motor and a 768Wh battery pack, the ELF 2FR is technically a street-legal class-2 ebike that can ride anywhere a normal ebike can. The ELF 2FR has a rear seat for a second passenger or extra cargo, and even has a 100W solar panel to charge the battery in ~6hrs. Organic Transit is unfortunately no longer in business, so this listing is a rare opportunity to get your hands on an icon that paved the path for new EV form factors and makes for a fun and flashy way to cruise in your neighborhood. Listing can be found here.
The Yuba Boda Boda is a class-1 compact electric cargo bike inspired by the geometry of East African boda boda motorcycle taxis. The Boda Boda’s powertrain is built on the 50Nm e6000 Shinamo Steps motor and a 418Wh battery pack. This vehicle is specially designed to make maneuvering heavy payloads easy for smaller riders, primarily due to two subtle features: The motor automatically downshifts to a lower gear at low speeds to improve torque and handling, and there is a walk mode to help riders push the vehicle by hand even when it is loaded to its maximum 220lb capacity. This listing was bought 6 years ago and has less than 750 miles of usage. It was carefully handled and ridden by its primary user, a point that the seller humorously emphasizes by saying “note that grandma rode it 99% of the time.” Listing can be found here.
The Blix Packa Genie is a class-2 Dutch-style longtail cargo bike. What’s particularly noteworthy about this bike is its powerful 90Nm motor, which gives it a much quicker acceleration than most cargo bikes even when fully loaded to its 450lb capacity. This acceleration makes the Packa Genie’s low-speed handling, one of the biggest concerns riders have with cargo bikes, incredibly smooth and stable. The Packa Genie comes standard with a 614.4Wh battery and is capable of holding a second 614.4Wh battery (a $300 upgrade). At an MSRP of $1,999, the Packa Genie is a great value option that sells at a budget price point despite having a much stronger performance and rideability than many of its more expensive competitors. This specific listing needs a replacement battery, which would cost ~$500 if bought new. This cost doesn’t seem to be factored into the resale price, so there is likely some room and cause to negotiate with the seller. Listing can be found here.
The Super73-R is a multi-class street legal “performance racer” built on Super73’s R-series drive system. Featuring a 60Nm geared hub motor that can output anywhere from 750 to 1200W, the Super73-R’s drivetrain can be set to class-1, class-2, class-3, or off-road mode. The 960Wh battery pack gives riders anywhere from 20-75 miles of range, depending on the driving mode. Super73 has also built a fairly sophisticated vehicle OS and display, which most notable enable over-the-air updates and turn-by-turn navigation on the built-in display that is pulled from a bluetooth-connected smartphone. These software features, combined with a powerful drivetrain and excellent full-suspension and brakes, make the Super73-R a comfortable and wickedly fun ride for urban speedsters. This listing has less than 400 miles of usage and is selling close to its Flywheel Vehicle Value. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
The price range that drives mass ebike adoption
I recently stopped by an ebike shop in SF that specializes in ebikes from Riese & Müller, Tern, Specialized, and other legacy premium brands. During the visit, I asked a sales agent about his thoughts on the new D2C brands and received an interesting response:
“D2C brands did a great job of getting people that didn’t bike before to be interested in ebikes. But I feel bad for the people that bought bikes from those brands. These new customers are often the ones that don’t know that they need to consider the cost/time of maintenance, and the D2C brands often have poor servicing options and use a lot of proprietary parts that we cannot maintain or even get access to.”
Easy access to vehicle maintenance is one of the most critical needs of ebike ownership. Legacy ebike brands do the best job of providing that access, primarily due to the large networks of dealerships and ebike shops that sell their vehicles. However, these brands are also often too expensive for the average consumer, leaving them to choose between affordability and servicing availability.
I contend that vehicles in the $1,500 to $3,000 range will be the primary drivers of the mass adoption of micromobility. D2C brands have arguably been the biggest players responsible for increasing ebike adoption because they brought in a new segment of customers, largely because most of their bikes fall within this price range. On the other hand, even the cheapest ebikes from the legacy brands often sell for well above $3,000 and are thereby mostly unaffordable or intimidating for new buyers.
It’s difficult for legacy brands to build new vehicles in this range without compromising on components they’ve relied on for a long time or skipping over bike shops and the dealership model. However, the used market poses an interesting opportunity for these brands to play at this price. ~35% of used ebikes from legacy brands are listed in the $1,500 to $3,000 range. Even just facilitating transactions and offering better servicing options for the secondary market allows these brands to expand their reach to a wider audience, sell to new ebike customers that may buy more expensive bikes down the line, and be more competitive with their D2C counterparts.
For the D2C brands, they already have a strong advantage due to their affordable base sale prices. Improving access to quick and seamless maintenance will allow them to build a much better after-sales experience, which ultimately helps them retain customers after their first vehicle purchase, improve brand loyalty/reputation, and keep customers riding their vehicles longer.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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