Want an electric bike but don’t have the money for a new one? Buying a used electric bike might be the answer. However, there are some things to keep in mind when looking for a used e-bike.
Buying a used e-bike will allow you to save money. You can find great deals on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, and local dealers. Always inspect the bike before buying it and ask for a test ride, check for things like low mileage and consistent maintenance, and assess the battery’s condition.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about buying a quality used e-bike, as well as the pros and cons of buying a used e-bike vs. a new one.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Used e-Bike
First, let’s go over the pros and cons of buying a used e-bike. This way, you can decide whether or not a used e-bike is, in fact, for you.
- You can save a lot of money. New e-bikes can be pretty expensive. Buying a used one is better for those on a budget.
- It’s better than a regular bike. If you are trying to decide between a cheap regular bike and an e-bike, a used e-bike is a great compromise. It will be less taxing on your body and allow you to get places quicker and easier.
- Less insurance and tax. Since used e-bikes cost less than new e-bikes, you will probably end up paying less in taxes and for your insurance. This will help you save even more money.
- You can find great deals. If you look in the right places, you can find e-bikes that were only lightly used. Sometimes, people need to get rid of their e-bikes because they are moving, they have no more room in their apartment, they need quick cash, didn’t end up using it, or got a new job and have to take the bus instead of their e-bike. You can find lightly used e-bikes that are almost as good as new e-bikes but at a much lower price.
- Save energy. Buying a used e-bike instead of a brand new one can help you preserve the environment. Otherwise, the old owner may end up throwing out their bicycle.
- It will have a shorter lifespan. When buying a used e-bike, it is hard to know exactly how long it will last. It will depend on how heavily it is used – and a lot will depend on the honesty of the seller. Sellers may not always disclose how heavily their e-bike was used. You may need to replace the battery sooner than they told you.
- It may be faulty. This goes back to the honesty of the seller. If you don’t know what to look for, you may end up buying a faulty e-bike that is experiencing technical problems. This can end up costing you in repairs.
- No or little warranty. By the time the owner sells their e-bike, the warranty may have already expired.
- Fewer options. If you are tying yourself into a used e-bike budget, you may have to compromise on little things like design or color.
Where to Buy a Used e-Bike
Have you decided that a used e-bike is for you? It is important to look for used e-bikes in the right places. Here are some great places to find quality used electric bicycles:
- Local dealers. Local dealers that specialize in used e-bikes are your best bet. However, regular dealers often have a bunch of used e-bikes on hand as well. They may not be advertising them, but you can find some pretty good deals if you ask around enough.
- Craigslist. You can generally find cheaper deals on Craigslist. However, make sure to inspect the bike before you buy it and make sure the seller is the real owner.
- eBay. You can find some great auction deals on eBay as well. You can either search for e-bikes being sold near you or find long-distance deals if the seller is offering shipping.
- Facebook. You can either use Facebook Marketplace, which is kind of like Craigslist or join e-bike groups in your area. The latter option is more secure and will likely land you better quality bikes, especially if the seller is a longstanding member of the group.
Checklist for Buying a Used e-Bike
Once you find a used e-bike that looks good, it is important to inspect it before purchasing it. Here is a checklist of things you should look for when inspecting a used e-bike:
- Wear and tear. How does the bike look overall? Does it look decent? Or is it dented, cracked, chipped, and rusty? This will help you figure out how well the owner has been maintaining the bike. However, beware of bikes that look too shiny or new. Some owners will try to sell a banged-up bike by giving it a new paint job before a customer comes to inspect it.
- Mileage. Check the e-bike’s speedometer. How many miles has it been ridden? A bike that has been ridden too much may come with mechanical problems and a battery that is almost dying. On the other hand, a bike that is years old but has only been ridden a few miles may not have been maintained well over the years. In general, the less mileage, the better, but keep the latter point in mind as well.
- Service and maintenance history. Ask if the owner has a record of service and maintenance checks. This will help you figure out what kind of condition the bike is in now.
- Check the parts. Always check the parts of the bike before buying it. For example, test the brakes – do they stop the bike effectively? Or are they weak and worn out? Check the sprockets – they can be worn out too. The chain should not be too rusty. If parts are old and don’t work well, you may end up having to replace them.
- Test drive. Finally, beware when the owner does not let you test drive the e-bike before buying it. If there is nothing to hide, they won’t have a problem with you taking it for a quick spin around the block (though they may ask for some deposit if you will be going for a far distance).
Beware of the Battery Condition
The driving force behind an e-bike is its battery. Usually, e-bike batteries last for around five years, depending on how often the bike has been used. It is important to find out when the battery was last replaced.
If the bike is still running on its original battery, but the bike is four years old, you may have to replace the battery in a year’s time. Factor this into account when assessing the total cost of buying the e-bike. If the bike’s battery’s lifespan is almost over, consider negotiating with the seller in an effort to lower the price. Ebike batteries are one of the most costly items to replace on the bike.
How to Find the Value of a Used e-Bike
You can figure out a used e-bike’s value by looking up other listings of that e-bike. However, that may only give you part of the picture, as the value may vary by age and condition.
A great resource to use is the Bicycle Blue Book. Find if the model is listed on the website, then choose a year and condition. For example, you can choose Excellent, Very Good, Good, or Fair. This will help you understand the general range you should be paying for the bike you are looking at.