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Buying an E-Bike Used: How To Do It Right

E-bikes add a whole lot of convenience to travel, whether you’re riding around town or commuting to work. Since they’ve been around for quite a while, you can find plenty of quality used bikes on the second-hand market. So, should you be buying used, and what should you look out for if you go down the aftermarket road?

If you’re looking to buy a good bike cheaply, going used might be good unless the bike needs repairs. On the other hand, a new bike will be in better condition and resell for higher, but will also cost more. If you go used, make sure the battery is in good condition and take it for a test drive.

So, when it comes to buying new, what do you need to know. In this article, we’ll walk you through all the important parts of buying used from the upsides to the downsides. If you’re ready to learn more about purchasing an e-bike used; read on!

Should You Consider a Used E-Bike?

Electric bike in nature

If you’re on the hunt for an e-bike, it might seem like a good strategy to save some cash and buy one used. Just like with other forms of transportation, buying used can be a double-edged sword.

On one hand, you’ve got the cost savings. On the other hand, there’s the fact that you’re not getting the same quality you would if you purchased new. In reality, there are many advantages to buying a used e-bike.

You want to weigh out your options and assess your particular needs before taking the plunge, but new or used, you can find quality e-bikes that last for years with proper maintenance. It’s often the case that people are against buying used. For some, it’s a completely superficial decision. For others, they may have been burned in the past by a less than stellar deal.

We’ll explore some of the reasons why you’d want to buy used and also show you what some disadvantages might be. If you’re thinking of going with a new bike, we’ll walk you through what that might be like as well.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Used E-Bike

Buying used is a great option for plenty of shoppers. The reality is, there could be plenty of great options in your area. Depending on how popular e-biking is there, you could see many local options for finding high-quality used e-bikes.

If this is the route you think you want to explore, what can you expect in terms of advantages in going with a second-hand bike?

Pros of buying used:
  • Cheaper — If you’re thinking of buying used, you can expect a pretty steep reduction in cost. A new e-bike can run you upward of $1000, with even more outfitted models reaching around three times that much.
  • Easy to ride — If you’re thinking about buying used, you might be paying in the same range of buying a new traditional bike. So for the same price, you can get a ride that is substantially easier.
  • Quality is still intact — You can find tons of amazing used bikes on the market. If you pair up with a trusted supplier, you have a better chance of getting a reliable ride.

Now, we don’t just want to talk about what makes buying used a good idea. If you’re really interested in making informed decisions, understanding what to look out for is always a winning strategy.

Cons of buying used:
  • Broken parts and repairs — Even if a bike is in good condition, you’ll still need to worry about other factors, like the condition of its parts. It’s just an unavoidable fact of buying second-hand. You’re always going to be more prone to needing repairs down the line.
  • No warranty — Depending on where you get your bike, buying used means you’re getting an as-is model. Usually, this means you won’t have the benefit of having the extra protection when you need it.
  • Shortened lifespan — Another unfortunate truth about used bikes is that they just won’t last as long as new ones. Sure, with repairs and proper maintenance, you can get a whole lot of use out of your bike, but if you treated a new bike the same way, you’d get a better outcome.

So that’s a lot of the good and bad of buying a used e-bike. If you’re considering buying a used bike, we hope you’ve gained some clarity on what you should be expecting.

But what about new? What do you need to know about buying fresh off the rack?

Pros and Cons of Buying a New E-Bike

So, if you’re looking at those new, modern e-bikes with wanting eyes, what should do you need to know about your decision? Let’s walk through some of the pros and cons of going new rather than used.

Pros of buying new:
  • Less risk — With new bikes, you expect a certain level of quality that you just can’t get if you go used. While things like build quality will still depend on manufacturers, you can at least expect completely new parts that will last a while.
  • Going green — Battery technology is always advancing. This means that every year, e-bikes are becoming that much better than their predecessors. Even just a few years can mean quite a bit of technological progression. If you’re looking to cut your carbon emissions, going new may be a better choice.
  • Resale value — If you’re looking at maybe selling your bike in the future, going for a new bike will give you the best chance at getting a fair price for your investment.
Cons of buying new:
  • Cost  — There’s just no way around paying more for a new bike. You can always buy from a budget brand, but then again, you always get what you pay for.
  • Taxes and fees — If you’re buying second-hand, you often have the advantage of not needing to pay premiums on taxes usually placed on e-bikes. If you buy new, you’ll be subject to these fees from the retailer.

When is Buying a New E-Bike a Better Decision?

So with all those pros and cons in your head, we hope your decision to buy either new or used has become a bit easier. If you’re looking for some specific reasons as to why you might want to buy something new, we’ll walk you through a few of those now.

First, some people like the best of the best. If that’s the case, buying new is just going to be a better decision. You’ll be getting new features like GPS, enhanced lighting, and extended battery lifespan by buying the latest models on the market.

Additionally, if you buy new, you’re going to get a higher resale value. This can be a great thing if you intend to sell your current bike and buy a new one in a few years.

Another thing that makes buying new is all the options. Let’s face it, if you buy used, you kind of get what you get. If you’re a stickler for design or features, you just can’t beat the selection when you choose to go for new inventory.

If you have some strong preferences on things like color, you really don’t have much of a choice other than buying new — unless you want to pay for a new paint job.

As you can see, plenty of situations crop up where buying new is really the only way to go. The only way you can decide which is your preferred buying option is to explore your needs and wants in terms of your e-bike.

When is Buying a Used E-Bike a Better Option?

So that’s buying new. You can imagine that you’ll get all the best benefits of the bike you’re choosing, but you’ll have to swallow the sticker price. So what are some of the main reasons why you might want to go with a used e-bike?

We’ve all owned, or seen, a treadmill or some other kind of brand-new exercise equipment that we purchased with some optimistic hopes about how often we’d use them. The reality is, sometimes those hobbies just don’t stick.

If you want to dip your toes in the water, the best choice is to buy used. If you do, you won’t be stuck with the price of a new e-bike if you don’t end up using your bike often.

For other people, all the bells and whistles of new bikes just aren’t worth the price. If you aren’t looking for the greatest e-bike ever, buying used means you can get the ride you’re looking for without the need to cough up the extra dough for an off-the-rack bike.

If you don’t have opinions on things like color, you can even get more savings by buying the used bikes that no one wants to ride.

Lastly, if you’re on a budget, you really can’t beat buying used. Of course, this will depend on the type of e-bike you go for. Higher-end models tend to hold their value a bit more, meaning they can still cost you a pretty penny, even second-hand.

How Much Can You Save Buying a Used E-Bike?

A new modern alternative mode of transport

If you choose to get used, you might be wondering how much you can save. For those deal-seekers in the group, this is probably the first question on your mind. So, how much can you expect to save if you opt for a second-hand bike?

In general, you can expect around a 20% reduction in costs for buying used. This is only a rough estimate, as many factors will play a role in how much a particular bike might cost.

The first factor is, of course, quality. A good e-bike is going to be expensive both on the front-end and on the used market. The fact is that these bikes are built with some high-quality components. Parts like the battery are expensive, so it follows that even with a few miles on them will still fetch a fair price.

Another factor to consider is the type of bike. Some bikes are pretty bare-bones and don’t offer much in the way of features. Others don’t need all the bells and whistles to be efficient.

E-bikes that are equipped for rough terrains, like mountain bikes, need extra suspension and rugged components to get through trials and other environments. City bikes might not need that kind of power — meaning they might fetch a lower value on the second-hand market.

Tips for Buying a Used E-Bike

So if you’re looking at used, you should know about some tips that can help you get the most out of your purchases. In these situations, a little knowledge can go quite a long way. So, what do you need to know before you go buy one second-hand?

Tips for buying used:
  • Check parts and components — Items like the main motor and drivetrain are important, but always keep in mind that this is a bike. What we mean by that is that you should still check out all the traditional bike parts like the chain, frame, and brakes.
  • Inspect overall condition — Take into account your first impressions. If the e-bike you’re thinking of getting is covered in dust and grime, it might be a sign that the owner did not regularly clean or maintain the bike. This can be an easy-to-spot red flag.
  • The battery is the most important — While there are plenty of areas to check on an e-bike, you can’t deny that the most consequential part is the battery. Check the overall condition of the battery and consider its capacity and age.
  • Mileage — Some e-bikes will come with an onboard speedometer that often has an odometer. Here you can find information on the mileage of the bike.
  • Go for a test ride — Just like a car, make sure you give the bike a test run first. Not only will this help you hone in on the sizing, but it will give you a good idea of what your rides might be like if you decide to purchase.
  • Try and purchase from a shop — While you can certainly buy a good used bike off a site like Craigslist, you are taking a risk if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you have local bike shops in your area, you could find a good used bike from a shop you can trust.

Another great tip is to look online for reviews on the bike you intend to purchase. While you might not find info on that exact bike, there are certainly new versions of the bike or other bikes from the manufacturers; you can cross-reference to see what you might be getting.

Wrapping Up

Buying a used bike has a lot of great advantages. The main one is that you’re just going to be getting a better price. While there are certainly some downsides to buying second-hand, hopefully by now, you have a good idea of what to look for if you go with that option.

Regardless of which route you choose, you can expect your next ride around town to be more convenient and less stressful on the body.