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When it comes to buying an electric bike, we all know that it can cost us thousands of dollars. However, there are plenty of bargains to be had on the used electric bike market. In this article, we will take a look at some of the important things to consider and look out for prior to buying a used electric bike. Regardless of if you are buying one from a dealer who has a few secondhand e-bikes to offer or directly from an electric bike owner, via the Facebook Marketplace, GoldenTree, or eBay, it is crucial that you perform due diligence and follow the following tips to ensure that you strike a good deal and attain good value against the money you spend on it.
Examine the Electric Bike Physically and Carefully Before Buying
You do not want to be buying an e-bike before not only viewing but test riding it as well. Test riding is a massive component of buying a used electric bike, as, without it, you cannot make sure that its systems properly function and that its motor works in a flawless manner. Riding an electric bike allows you to notice signs, such as noises coming out of it or its wheel alignment being off-balance, etc., of faults. When you buy an e-bike online, the photos of the product you look at could be hiding a lot of issues with the e-bike. Therefore, it is vital to get hands-on with your potentially next e-bike and physically examine it to make sure that there is nothing out of place about it.
Try To Get To Know The Seller
Another really important part of buying a used electric bike is to work on building a little bit of a relationship with the seller of the product. You can do this by casually chatting with them about the e-bike and asking them how and where they have been riding it. They might not tell you directly if they used to mistreat the bike, but you can gather insights about the history of the product just by talking about it. Another benefit of building a friendly relationship with the seller is that it can benefit you with the negotiation phase, later on knocking some grams of dough off the final sales price.
Take a Few Tools Along With You
The basic e-bike tools are really helpful for evaluating a secondhand bike, and you should take them along with you when going to view the e-bike. Checking the chain wear and the condition of bolts can offer you an idea of how well the e-bike has been treated.
Examine the Frame
The main part of the used electric bike that you are going to be buying is obviously the frame. It is vital to take your time while checking its welds and any signs for previous creasing or cracking. Check the down tube for evidence of rock strikes and have a careful look around the motor as well as its casing. You also want to check that the chain and the seat of the e-bike are solid in their places and there are no cracks and marks on them. If you are buying a carbon bike, make sure that there is no big chunk or chunks of paint missing, as that could be an indication of the e-bike having been involved in an accident.
Here is a bonus tip: Beware of things like stickers on the used electric bike in abnormal places as they could be hiding a sign of damage. Politely ask the seller if it is okay to peel off the sticker.
Check the Bearings And the Crank
A quick check on the bearings of the e-bike that you are going to be buying is definitely worthwhile. The best way to do that is to grab both the front and the back wheels one by one and give them a side-to-side push while holding on to the swing arms. If there is movement there besides the flex in the spokes, it could be signifying loose bearings that you either do not want or want to factor into the cost. Another sign of the bearings breaking down can be checked by holding the front brake with one hand, putting your other hand around the top headset curtain, and pushing the e-bike forward and back to notice if there is any movement in the headset.
Crank is a vital component of the motor and should be thoroughly checked while examining a used electric bike. You can check it by holding the crank arms and pulling them side to side to make sure that there is no significant movement in them.
Examining the Suspension
After the motor and the battery, the suspension units of an electric bike are its most expensive components. If it is a full-suspension e-bike, you might have a rear shock and a suspension fork as well. Take your time to look around these and make sure that there are no scratches, dents, big marks, or uneven wear on them. Make sure each of the adjusters is working and that every lock and click is there and damage-free. Mind you; all these things are super expensive to get replaced or even serviced.
Check The Battery
E-bike batteries have a shelf life and are costly to replace. If the e-bike you are looking at has a Bluetooth app, it will connect to the battery and tell you how much life and number of cycles are left in it. However, in case it does not have Bluetooth connectivity, an electric bike shop or dealer is the only way you can gauge how much juice is left in the battery. Do give it a visual inspection as well, though, and make sure that there are no big splits, dents, or cracks in it. Damaged batteries are a big risk and require quick replacement. Also, check the connections on the battery as well as on the e-bike to make sure they are not rusty or do not hold any moisture. Examine the key-lock mechanism and the conditions of the plug as well as the wires.
Check The Wheel Set
Give the wheels a spin to check that they are rotating in a smooth manner. They should not be buckled, and there should be no splits, cracks, or dents in the rim.
Examine The Motor
Carefully examine the motor and all its cases to check for any big hits or dents. Give the crank a spin to see if there are any funny noises coming out of it or resistance. Check the seals for rust as it could indicate water damage. Turn on the system to confirm there are no beeping or error codes on the display screen. Also, when you test ride it, check that each of the power modes is delivering as it should.
Buying a used electric bike can be risky if you do not perform due diligence on your part. However, if you follow the above-mentioned steps and tips, you should be able to hit a good deal. Whether new or old, buying an electric bike is an investment, and you should try to obtain the maximum potential value out of it.