Buying a used electric bike online can feel like you’re taking a huge leap of faith. There are so many things to consider when buying anything used online.
At the end of the day your taking a shot in the dark. The only thing you have at your disposal is collection of “best guesses”.
In this post we wanted to make the ultimate guide for buying a used electric bike.
Table of Contents
- Advantages of Buying A Second Hand Bike
- Is worth buying a second hand bike?
- Buying From A Dealer Or Specialized E-Bike Shops
- Shopping On Craigslist Or Private Seller
- Don’ts Of Buying A Used Bike
- Don’t Buy An E-Bike Without Seeing It First
- Don’t Assume It’s All Good, Give It Test Ride
- Don’t Buy A Used E-Bike If Keys Or Charger Are Missing
- Get To Know Who You Are Buying From
- Cross Examination Is Key
- -Inspect The Frame
- -Spin The Wheels
- -Shift The Cranks
- -Squeeze The Breaks
- -Check The Motor
- Twist The Keys
- Make Sure To Watch Out For Bad Battery’s
- Related Post
Advantages of Buying A Second Hand Bike
If your price-conscious, a new electric bike can be very expensive. A good way to avoid the cost of an expensive e-bike is to get that’s second hand.
The inexpensive price is biggest advantage of buying a used electric bike.
You’ll find loads of top branded used e-bikes on eBay or Craigslist. If you’re lucky you can find a good condition used e-bike for a bargain.
In some cases, you’re paying half the price than it is supposedly sold for new.
Also, used electric bikes can be negotiated down in pricing. You can often reach an agreement with the seller, which is not possible for new e-bike purchases.
Online isn’t the only place used electric bikes can be found. Used e-bike are also sold from specialized e-bike shops.
If keep browsing around for special buys you’ll end up finding a bargain here as well.
You can find knowledgeable employees who can speak on the behalf of the e-bike. Also, small local bike shops that specialize in electric bikes offer warranties.
Last, if your handy used electric bike can be a fun rebuild project. You can purchase a cheap used electric bike that requires a bit of TLC and work to build it up.
All the ingredients are there to transform an old used electric bike into something new.
Enhances the e-bikes frame, motor or other main parts increases its value. Afterword’s you can keep it for own enjoyment or resell the e-bike.
Is worth buying a second hand bike?
Buying a used electric bike is a smart and cost-effective option to consider. As with any purchase, there are some disadvantages that come with buying a used electric bike. First off, you don’t know the e-bike’s prior history.
What sort of condition it’s been in; has it been through lots of rain, stored too hot or too cold of temps? Does the battery get charges frequently? What sorts conditions has the battery been subjected to?
All our valid questions that our left to the seller’s discretion to share.
Depending on the source of your potential purchase it may not come with a warranty. So, if the bike turns out to be defective the next day after your purchase. You’re pretty much screwed.
Any issues that pop up would have to be serviced by you. Also, if you’re looking to insure your e-bike it might not get covered. You can read more e-bike insurance here.
The last disadvantage, your used electric bike could be stolen. Often sellers are pricing e-bikes at super gouged levels.
Low pricing can be an indication of a possible stolen electric bike. It’s to “hot” for the seller to hold onto so he or she wants to get rid of it quickly.
Buying From A Dealer Or Specialized E-Bike Shops
For first-time e-bike buyers with little experience buying a second-hand bike may seem dangerous. A good place to start your search is at a specialized e-bike shop.
You can call local shops in your area and they’ll give you a quick rundown of their discounted used bikes. Possibly selling you their ex-demo or rental bikes.
There are a few benefits to consider. E-bike shops will be familiar with the bike’s history. Local used bike shops have a team of experts who can help answer any question you may have.
Obviously “experts” don’t always know what they’re talking about. We would suggest you gauge this on an individual basis. Don’t get swooned in by a too good to be true deal.
As an added plus. A dealer or specialized e-bike shops might provide warranty on used e-bikes sold in their shop.
Also, some shops with good repair & tech staff can service used e-bike if issues arise. We recommended asking first this isn’t always the case.
Shopping On Craigslist Or Private Seller
Websites such as eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace are good places to find second hand electric bikes. There is a huge selection of bargain electric bikes found there.
They’ll come in different colors, sizes and the overall condition will vary as well. The condition will reflect on the used bike’s final listed price.
Typically, the prices can range between $500 to $2500 for branded bikes with good specs. So, what are the cons you ask?
An example of a con is finding a bargain on a more expensive e-bike is rushing to buy. You’ve got a set budget and this electric used bike has met all the criteria you’re looking for.
Seems like buying this second-hand e-bike is a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Finding fishy a deal is a challenging task this especially true for online buys.
eBay and Craigslist for example are ripe with thrown-together converted electric bikes. As you scroll through sellers’ listings. You’ll find converted used bikes with big motors ranging from 1000w and 1500w.
These motors are often paired with a small battery. This means the bike’s overall range will be affected massively.
Also, e-bikes brought online from private sellers don’t come with warranties. So, any issues that pop up with the frame, battery, or other main parts you have to fix them.
There isn’t any documented history of the e-bikes past. Unless the seller is upfront, most information about the used bike history will be left in the dark. So, try to get as much info as possible.
Craigslist ads usually have the seller’s email. Send an email with questions about age, condition, extras, history of care, etc. Don’t make buying a second-hand bike shopping feel like a mystery.
Don’ts Of Buying A Used Bike
Don’t Buy An E-Bike Without Seeing It First
Buying a used electric bike without seeing in person can lead to many pitfalls. Anything listed online will look amazing with a good quality camera. Sellers can hide all the glaring issues and imperfections.
Giving off the perception of a better-looking electric bike. It’s vital to get your hands on the e-bike to get through all the smoke and mirrors.
Sites like Craigslist allows you to meet the used bike in person before you buy.
Don’t Assume It’s All Good, Give It Test Ride
Testing an e-bike is a big advantage you can’t afford to give up. Test riding the e-bike before buying second hand can clear up a lot of uncertainties.
It gives you a chance to ensure the used bike rides well. Making sure that the motor runs efficiently, and e-bike systems run properly. Run through all the different power modes and assist levels.
Look for any flashing error codes or beeping sounds. Overall your looking for good power delivery.
It’s also a good opportunity to listen for any horrible noises. Which can indicate more serious issues. As you test ride get a feel for the overall cycling style, does it fit what you’re looking for?
Don’t Buy A Used E-Bike If Keys Or Charger Are Missing
Some sellers will try to sell an electric bike without a key or charger. They’ll hook in with a low price. Convincing you that what there offering is a great deal. Don’t buy it, you’re taking a huge risk.
If the key or charger is missing, then that might mean the used bike was found this way. Indicating that the bike might not be there’s. Also, you will not be able to access the battery without the key.
All these items should come with the electric bike.
Get To Know Who You Are Buying From
It’s always a good idea to build a rapport with the seller. Not only does it make the buying process safer, but it may shine some light as to how the e-bike was treated.
Create a dialog around the used bike. Here you can get important questions answered, “How have they rode the bike?” or ” What sort of terrains do they cycle through?” the information given can alert you to potential risk.
Also, it can help with price negotiations. After all people love doing business with people they like.
If you have the ability to do so check, their social media. Get an idea as to who the seller might be. After all, this is stranger you plan on meeting to buy something with cash.
There are too many stories of people getting robbed during these sorts of in-person transactions.
Cross Examination Is Key
When you first meet the seller, a good practice is to ask if you can examine the bike. Examining the bike will give you a good idea of any potential damages the electric bike has.
You must factor the cost of fixing these issues yourself or at a bike shop. Now, some issues you find are not deal breakers but can help with negations.
-Inspect The Frame
The frame is vital area to check when first encounter a used e-bike. Look for any obvious scratches or cracks. Any potential rock intrusion on the down tube can speak about past riders riding habits.
Check the motor case, bottom bracket, and e-bike chain for any damages. If you spot stickers in odd places politely ask if you can peel them off to see what the sticker is covering.
-Spin The Wheels
Both front and rear wheels should get a slight push from side to side. It’s way to see if the e-bikes wheel baring our damaged. Manually spin the wheels to make sure there isn’t any wobbles. Also check for splits, cracks, or any dents in the rim.
-Shift The Cranks
Shift the cranks arms from side to side to see if there are any big movements. Any movement in this area can be cause for some alarm. The cranks are directly affecting the motor and should be factor into cost if damaged.
-Squeeze The Breaks
If your test riding the electric bike than this is a good opportunity to check the breaks. Get on a empty lane, ride as fast you can and slowly squeeze the breaks
-Check The Motor
The E-bike motor is another important area that can’t go unchecked. Good place to start is to visually check the motor casing.
Look for any big strikes or marks effecting this area. Spot for rust build up in sealed off areas. If do see rust than this can be indication of water damage.
Twist The Keys
The battery is secured with a key. When seller hands you over the key make sure it actually works. Don’t ride off with bike just to find out moments later the key doesn’t fit the battery compartment.
Make Sure To Watch Out For Bad Battery’s
Knowing the batteries shelf life is important because replacing e-bike batteries are costly. You could end up spending lots of money when the used battery fails a few months after you’ve brought it.
A battery subjected to harsh conditions can influence its longevity. If the seller is honest, they can speak a bit about the batteries charging habits and condition it’s kept in. Even with all the information given.
You can never really know what an e-bike battery has been through. They are few tactics you can use to figure out the batteries shelf life.
You can use 3rd party apps to connect to with batteries that have Bluetooth. 3rd party apps can report on the remaining lifespan or charging cycles the battery has left. If the battery does not have Bluetooth capabilities.
Ask the seller to run a battery test with a bike shop before you meet. Then have him or her show you the printout of the results.
Also, visually inspect the battery for any cracks or dents. Look at the connections for both the battery and bike. Check for any rust or moisture buildup.
E-bikes are a wonderful way to get around, but it can cost an arm and leg. Buying an electric bike that is used can be awesome and cost-effective way of owning one.
Craigslist, eBay or your local specialized e-bike shops can bring good bargains. It’s just a matter of search hard enough to find them.
We recommend taking a friend with you as you begin search for an e-bike. They can help prevent rash decision and provide good feedback. Leading to a balance decision making process.
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