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Flywheel: Looking beyond the pandemic ebike boom | Vehicles from Giant, Tern, Aventon, Yamaha, & Charge

Looking beyond the pandemic ebike boom & featuring the top 5 vehicles of the week


Welcome to Flywheel, a weekly exploration of the 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 explores what’s beyond the pandemic ebike boom. This week’s featured vehicles are a hardtail road bike, a compact longtail cargo bike, a fat-tire all-purpose bike, an eMTB, and a practical city commuter.

Observation of the Week

Looking beyond the pandemic ebike boom

The pandemic led to an unprecedented boom for ebikes, and it drove to many OEMs and retailers rapidly scaling up their inventory to match skyrocketing demand. However, in the wake of the COVID-era demand plateauing or retrogressing back to the previous growth rates, many in the industry have struggled with the market contraction.

Some analysts are even calling it a “super cold winter”, with manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, and other partners carrying excess inventory that they don’t have effective ways of moving.

One of the most prominent brands to struggle with this issue is VanMoof. As Roadio Founder and CEO Jon Denby puts it:

“I think this tells most of the story of why Vanmoof cratered - i.e. they over-extended themselves more than others in their rush to capitalize on the COVID boom (expansion of inventory, new stores, etc.), and then subsequently got hit the hardest when the market contracted. 

However, VanMoof hasn’t been the only OEM facing losses post-COVID. “Bicycle big 3” OEM Giant reported that their half-year sales were down 12% in the EU and down 44% in the US.

Since OEMs are carrying excess inventory, they’re also placing fewer new orders for parts. This has led to the downstream effect of suppliers also suffering significnt losses. Shimano, the largest tier-1 components supplier in the bicycle industry, is projecting a ~28% drop in their revenue for the year. Smaller suppliers in Taiwan like SRAM Guimeng Groupor are also seeing 30-40% drops in half-year revenues.

This year and (likely) next year will continue to be a bit of a reset period as the bicycle supply chain adjusts back to normal. That being said, despite the bicycle industry as a whole struggling, the ebike segment is still doing its part and growing. Analyst reports on ebike sales data vary significantly, but suggest a growth of anywhere from ~9% to ~25% in ebike sales in 2023. Giant, for example, saw a 6% increase in ebike half-year revenues, with ebikes now making up 35% of their total revenues.

As the market continues to correct itself, the secondary market has become an interesting outlet for excess inventory. For ebike reseller Upway, overstock inventory is one of their primary sources of ebike supply. Similarly, on Craigslist according to Flywheel data, ~23% of listings are vehicles sold by bike shops or dealers. Of these listings, 75% are brand-new with 0mi and 10.8% have a mileage <50mi. On average, these listings are listed for ~27% less than MSRP. For prospective buyers, given this ample supply of heavily discounted ebikes selling for used prices while still offering virtually the same perks as new ebikes (i.e. warranties, low mileage), there’s never been a better time to to buy an ebike.

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Top 5 Vehicles of the Week

The Giant Roam E+ is a class-1 hybrid/hardtail road ebike. It’s Giant’s most affordable vehicle model, and comes in both a high-step frame version called GTS and a mid-step frame version called STA. The Roam E+’s powertrain features a 50Nm SyncDrive mid-drive motor and 407Wh battery pack. While it’s branded as a Giant motor, the SyncDrive is actually developed by Yamaha as a proprietary drive unit for Giant. It not only has the ultra-high reliability that Yamaha is known for, it also has smart motor controller firmware that measures wheel speed, cadence, and pedal torque to give riders an ultra-responsive and intuitive pedal assistance. The Roam E+ even has a well balanced front suspension fork and smooth hydraulic brakes that further improve its comfort. While the Roam E+ is technically designed for leisure, its excellent componentry make it versatile enough to be a strong contender for your daily commuter. Additionally, since Giant is one of the bicycle industry’s big 3, the Roam E+ can be serviced at one of the largest bike maintenance networks in the world (12K+ retailers worldwide). With the launch of the affordability-minded Roam E+, Giant is making a strong statement about its intentions to build an ebike for the masses. This listing has a mileage of <500mi and comes with ~$500 in upgrades (upgraded tires, carbon fiber seat post and handlebars to dampen vibrations, and upgraded shifters). Listing can be found here.

The Tern GSD S00 is a premium class-1 compact longtail cargo bike and a versatile powerhouse to replace your minivan or pickup truck. Tern is regarded as one of the best cargo bike makers in the market, and their GSD line is one of their most popular. Its powertrain features a 75Nm Bosch Performance Line CX mid-drive motor and a 500Wh Bosch PowerPack (with an optional dual-battery 1000Wh configuration), and is combined with a continuously variable Enviolo SP transmission and a Gates CDX belt drive to give riders a ~400lbs payload capacity and a powerful yet low-maintenance ride. The GSD S00’s shortened frame, 20” wheels, front fork suspension, and suspension seat-post further enhance the vehicle’s maneuverability and comfort. Looking at the remainder of the thoughtful accesories built into the vehicle, it’s clear that the GSD S00 is purpose-built for hauling. Its dual kickstand helps keep the vehicle stable when loaded, and its integrated rear-rack and dedicated trailer hitch provide all the mounting points required to add even more cargo hauling add-ons to the vehicle. This listing has a mileage of 1250mi and comes with the “Captain’s Chair” 2nd passenger set-up. Listing can be found here.

The Aventon Aventure.2 is an all-terrain class-2/class-3 hybrid ebike. Unveiled just at the beginning of this year, the Aventure.2 is a noteworthy upgrade to the acclaimed Aventure that became popular with budget-minded urban riders for its practicality and ease-of-maintenance. While the powertrain remains the same as its predecessor—a 75Nm rear geared hub motor coupled with a 720Wh battery pack—the Aventure.2 introduces a host of compelling new elements that justify the $400 increase in price. The most notable improvement is that Aventon has replaced the cadence sensor with a torque sensor, making the pedal assistance almost as intuitive and responsive as a mid-drive motor while still retaining the reliability and utility of a throttle powering a hub motor. Additionally, the new model also comes standard-equipped with a frame-integrated rear rack and turn signals. The Aventure.2 is yet another example of budget-brands selling vehicles that come out of the box with all the accessories a rider would need instead charging extra for them like higher-end brands. Particularly for new riders that may not know how to accessorize their vehicles to get the most out of them, this approach helps make micromobility much more accessible and approachable. This listing was purchased in May 2023 and has only been ridden a few times (<100mi). Listing can be found here.

The Yamaha YDC-Torc is a high-performance class-1 electric mountain bike (eMTB). Its powertrain features an 80Nm Yamaha PW-X mid-drive motor and a 500Wh Yamaha battery pack, both of which are known for how incredibly light they are and how they are up to par with the other leaders in the sector despite being cheaper and smaller. The PW-X is also particularly smooth given that it determines pedal with a Triple Sensor System that measures torque, cadence, and vehicle speed. It measures vehicle speed using a proprietary speed sensor directly integrated into the rear hub, a configuration that is unique to Yamaha ebikes. The YDC-Torc also has an excellent front suspension fork and strong hydraulic disc brakes, which help with managing the awesome agility of the vehicle. This listing is brand new and is sold by recently opened Denver bike shop Vickery Motorsports. It’s a great way to get your hands on a YDC-Torc with 0mi and a full 3yr warranty from Yamaha for $500 less than MSRP. Listing can be found here.

The Charge City is a practical, straightforward class-2 commuter. Charge is a subsidiary of incumbent bike manufacturer Cannondale, and was launched as an attempt to rival the slew of new D2C ebike brands that became popular during the pandemic due to their affordable ebikes with fresh designs. Designed with space-constrained urban riders in mind, the City is light (45lbs), has folding pedals and handlebars, and has a removable battery pack to make storing, parking, and charging the City as simple as possible. Unlike other ebikes from Cannondale, it even comes standard with city commuting essentials like fenders, lights, and a rear rack. The City’s powertrain features a 45Nm Bafang rear-hub motor and a 418Wh battery pack. While this is modest compared to the powertrains of other commuters, the City has a throttle that allows riders to cruise without draining the battery too much and helps them accelerate and decelerate super easily. The throttle is a clear statement from Charge that the City is focused on high-utility urban travel rather than recreational leisure. Being part of the Cannondale family, Charge ebikes have access to the extensive and easily available maintenance network of their parent incumbent brand. This listing has a Flywheel estimated mileage of ~570mi and comes with puncture-resistant tires and a wrap-around child seat with its own suspension. 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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