Flywheel | June 20, 2022
Featuring the top 5 used vehicles of the week and exploring how to put a quantitative measure on qualitative vehicle condition descriptions
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 cargo trike, two high-end class-3 commuters, a budget class-2 commuter, and one of the most common battery packs in micromobility. The observation of the week explores how to put a quantitative measure on qualitative vehicle condition descriptions.
Top 5 Vehicles of the Week
The Taga Family Bike is a class-2 electric cargo trike specially designed for carrying kids. The Taga’s frunk is a multifunctional cargo carrier that can be outfitted with 2 child seats in various configurations and is compatible with a number of other accessories (i.e. canopies, H-bar grip) to make the ride even more comfortable. There’s also a rear rack that has enough weight capacity for a third child seat. Powering the Taga is a 250W rear-hub motor with a 468Wh battery pack, resulting in ~25 miles of range and a top speed of 15.5mph. Although a 250W may sound slim for a cargo bike, the Taga’s motor actually feels much more powerful and provides plenty of torque and acceleration even when fully loaded. It’s also extremely stable and smooth when decelerating, thanks to the Taga’s three disc brakes. One potential concern with this vehicle is turning since it doesn’t tilt like many other high-end trikes. In fact, many reviewers report that turning at high speeds can even lift up one of the front wheels. However, especially when loaded at its full weight capacity, the Taga doesn’t usually reach high enough speeds for this to be a concern. This specific listing was bought less than 2 years ago, has a very low mileage of ~200 miles, and was recently tuned by a bike shop. Listing can be found here.
The Fucare Gemini X is a high-performance class-3 ebike launched just this year. Due to its truss-style tubing, the Gemini X has a surprisingly high payload capacity of 400lbs and would make for an excellent cargo-toting vehicle. To move such a high payload, the Gemini X also has a powerful powertrain featuring a 750W rear-hub motor paired with a 1000Wh dual-battery system. The Gemini X can be software-configured to be a class-2 or class-3 ebike, and has anywhere from 55-80 miles of range depending on throttle usage. Given that the Gemini X was launched mere months ago, this listing should effectively be brand new and is selling close to its Flywheel Vehicle Value. However, the listing description is slim at best, so be sure to meticulously verify vehicle health/status if interested. Listing can be found here.
The RadMission is Rad Power’s cheapest class-2 ebike, and is rated by Electric Bike Review as the best budget ebike on the market. At an MSRP of ~$1,200, the RadMission is a little bit more expensive than budget Amazon ebikes but is of markedly higher quality and build. At ~$300 cheaper than the standard pricing of Rad Power’s other vehicles, the RadMission does come with a few compromises as compared to its sister vehicles: the motor is 500W instead of 750W, the battery pack is 504Wh instead of 674Wh, there are no extra accessories (i.e. kick-stand, fenders), and the pedal-assist cadence sensor feels a bit more laggy. However, as a commuter vehicle, these compromises are entirely acceptable and still position the RadMission as a top-tier urban ebike. Notable about this listing is that it’s excellently written, with the seller providing detailed information about the battery health and how the vehicle was charged. From the seller: “It has had 1 recharge cycle and just a few trickle charges to keep it topped off.” This specific listing is a bit more expensive than its Flywheel Vehicle Value and the RadMission’s average market resale price, but it’s still an interesting option for what is essentially a brand new vehicle. Listing can be found here.
Bosch PowerPacks are one of the most common removable battery packs on ebikes today. Although the Bosch PowerPack is more expensive than other batteries with similar capacities, its cells are significantly higher quality and it’s extremely versatile. The PowerPack is compatible with most ebikes that have a frame mounted Bosch battery system and is interchangeable with other PowerPacks, making it an excellent extra battery to carry with you as a spare on longer rides. This specific PowerPack is the 400Wh version, with a voltage of 36V and current capacity of 11Ah. Unfortunately, this listing does not do a great job of providing relevant battery health details. The seller mentions that the range this battery provides hasn’t degraded much from when it was new, but this stat is hard to contextualize (since range is also dependent on the vehicle’s motor) and isn’t nearly as informative as mileage or number of charge cycles. Listing can be found here.
The Bulls Urban Evo 10 is a luxury class-3 ebike that brings a sporty and premium feel to the commuter ebike. The Urban Evo’s powertrain is built on premium Bosch powertrain components (a high-torque 250W Gen4 Bosch Performance Line Speed motor and a 625Wh Bosch Powertube battery pack) that are cleanly and stealthily integrated into the matte black frame. There’s also a powerful set of hydraulic disk brakes that make braking quick yet smooth and a front suspension fork that can be remotely locked to improve efficiency. The closest competitor to the Urban Evo 10 is the Stromer ST3, which is ever-so-slightly better in terms of rideability and performance but also costs twice as much. This listing is an excellently maintained vehicle with less mileage than a demo bike and is selling for over $1K less than the Flywheel Vehicle Value. Listing can be found here.
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Observation of the Week
Putting a quantitative measure on qualitative vehicle condition descriptions
Used marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace usually have a “Condition” field where users can select a vague descriptor to self-report the health and condition of the item they’re selling. However, it can be difficult to make sense of what those conditions really mean. People have different interpretations of different descriptors, and buyers are often skeptical and worry that sellers overexaggerate which descriptor they use.
In the case of micromobility vehicles, these “Condition” descriptors are typically a summary of mileage, age, and wear-and-tear from use or accidents. While wear-and-tear is hard to quantify and age is often not reported, mileage is a metric that many listings provide and is therefore a great tool to put a quantitative measure on qualitative condition descriptions.
Below is the average mileage of vehicles based on their self-reported condition:
What’s surprising is that current sellers of used ebikes actually seem to be underselling the value of their vehicles with the vehicle condition descriptors they use. Given that most high quality ebike batteries are rated for 1000+ charge cycles (i.e. Bosch estimates 1500 charge cycles or 10 years for their battery packs), even ebikes in “Fair” condition are still very much at the beginning of their useful lives in terms of mileage.
That’s it for this week. Thanks again for joining, see you next week!
- Puneeth Meruva
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