How to Buy A Used Electric Bike
If you are considering investing in an electric bike, but don’t want to break the bank for a new model, purchasing it used could be your cost-effective solution.
Before taking on this option though, there are some key points to consider since secondhand buying has its own unique set of risks and challenges.
Here are 5 tips that will help guide you along the way towards getting yourself a great preowned e-bike without costly missteps!
Inspect the Overall Condition of the Bike
If you’ve decided to acquire a used electric bike, the first thing you want to do is ensure it’s still usable. This will entail examining the different components of the e-bike to get a feel of how they’ll perform on the road. The state of the bike also gives you an idea of how it was cared for by the owner.
A simple way to gauge the bike’s overall care is to check whether it’s clean or dirty. If it’s dirty, then this is your cue to even further investigate the state of the bike more carefully for wear and tear of the bike’s components.
For one, you want to look at the frame of the bike. Are there any deep dents or rough scratches that point to the possibility of an accident?
What about any rusty spots? These are all signs that the stability of the frame has been compromised.
Picture credit: https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=M4ysdO6RYow
Move on to the chain and check for corrosion, grit, and dirt. A dirty and rusty chain is indicative of improper maintenance and prolonged exposure to the elements. This may not be a deal-breaker, but it may come into play with the final negotiated price. When inspecting a used bike, don’t overlook the chain. If it’s covered in dirt and rust, this likely means that proper maintenance has been neglected. which may affect how much you end up paying for the purchase.
The wheels and tires are possibly the second most expensive parts on a bike, so you want to verify that they are in good shape. Are the wheels wobbly when you spin them? Are all the spokes intact? How does the treading on the tires look like?
Do the same for other parts like the nuts and bolts to establish the level of neglect on the bike, if any. A beat-down bike may lead to additional repair costs, which you should factor into the buying price.
Check the Capacity of the Battery
Confirm the age and capacity of the battery from the owner of the bike. This information is crucial because batteries gradually and continually deteriorate over time. You should be able to estimate how many charge cycles it has undergone.
Even the best battery technologies usually become obsolete after five to six years of use, and electric bike batteries are no exception.
Approximately 700 full charge cycles. where a 0-100% fill is counted as one cycle. will cause an e-bike battery’s efficiency and performance to decline significantly, indicating that you should be wary when purchasing secondhand e-bikes with older batteries.
Picture credit: https://www.YouTube.com/watch?v=M4ysdO6RYow
Remember that the battery is the most expensive electrical component on an e-bike. If you have to buy a new one after just a few cycles of use, it will significantly drive up the cost of the used electric bike.
To ensure this is not the case, be sure to check the current market rates for the particular bike’s battery as you’ll be using it during the final price negotiations.
Check the Mileage of the Bike
Some used bike vendors might prove to be sketchy with the truth and mislead you into cutting a deal that favors them over you. This is possible when it comes to disclosing the age of the bike. As such, you need to know how to access such information without necessarily asking the owner.
Usually, electric bikes come with a built-in speedometer that will provide you with data about the number of kilometers or miles the bike has traveled.
Before buying an electric bike, be sure to pay careful attention to the mileage. By doing so you can determine if it is a good acquisition or not. as frequent cycling over time will have taken its toll on the machine.
Additionally, remember that age and mileage needn’t always go hand in hand; make note of previous owners who may have kept their bicycle dormant for extended periods of time during ownership. meaning those few kilometers logged could still mean great value!
Ask for a Test Ride
Before loosening the purse strings for a second-hand electric bicycle, take it out on the road to determine its true condition. This is essential for any potential cyclist as you’ll be able to ascertain if the bike’s size and geometry fit well with yours; plus, whether or not it can support your weight comfortably during rides!
A test ride will ensure that what meets the eye isn’t deceiving – giving an informed decision of how best this purchase could serve you down trail.
It also shows you how the different components on the bike function and interact with one another. Do you hear any clattering, clanking, or dragging when you ride the bike? How stable does the bike’s frame feel under your weight and how does it handle? How do the suspensions work on bumps and potholes?
All these questions will need to be answered and the only way to do this is to take the bike for a test ride. If it’s an electric MTB, remember to conduct the test on off-road surfaces and not on the tarmac alone. The same applies to different gradients of the road.
Eventually, you want to take as much time as possible on the test ride. By the time you’re done, there should be no doubt about the condition of the electric bike. This information is what you’ll use during the price negotiation process.
Remember to bring up every defect or fault you find during the test ride to get the best deal!
Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate/ Bargain
Shopping for a used e-bike is an exciting experience and can be made even more rewarding with a bit of mindful negotiation.
Remember that sellers usually have some flexibility when it comes to pricing, so don’t hesitate to make your own offer. in many cases you may find the seller willing to accept something lower than their initial proposal. While this process involves leveraging defects found during testing as part of negotiations, try not to take any bargaining too far or get dragged into long debates – keep focused on making sure you hit upon the best deal available!
If the seller is not budging at a price that’s within your budget, then you are free to close the deal. But if you feel like you can explore more e-bikes from other sellers and get a better deal, then by all means do!
At the end of the day, the goal is to buy a used bike at a price that fairly matches its overall condition.
Buying an used e-bike is the best way to enter the electric biking experience, especially for those who have a limited budget. But doing it blindly without proper due diligence will likely end up in disappointments and frustrations.
While there are numerous things you’d want to find out about a used e-bike, the five tips discussed above should be at the top of your list. So, be sure to consider them if you hope to walk home with the right second-hand cheap e-bike!
Reasons Not to Buy Used Electric Bikes (Explained)
Electric bikes have recently become popular due to their eco-friendly nature and versatility in commuting or leisurely rides.
However, the price of a pre-owned e-bike may initially seem appealing. But before committing, you should consider the potential drawbacks.
This article will discuss 9 potential drawbacks of purchasing a pre-owned electric bike:
Risk of Damaged or Defective Batteries
E-bike batteries are among the most crucial parts of the e-bike because they power the motor.
However, batteries can also be one of the most expensive components to replace. When buying a used e-bike, there is a risk that the battery may be damaged or defective, which can be dangerous and costly to replace.
One of the main risks of damaged batteries is that they can pose a fire hazard. Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used in e-bikes, can catch fire if damaged or short-circuited.
In addition, damaged or defective batteries may not provide the same power and performance as a new battery, which can impact the overall riding experience.
over, replacing a damaged or defective battery can be a significant expense.
The price of a replacement battery depends on various factors, such as the e-bike’s brand and battery type, and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
This cost can negate any initial cost savings from purchasing a used e-bike.
Hidden Maintenance Costs
Although electric bikes are a convenient mode of transportation, they still need routine maintenance to ensure the safety of their riders.
This is especially crucial to remember when purchasing a used e-bike, as the previous owner’s maintenance routine cannot be guaranteed.
When buying a used e-bike, it is important to consider the many unexpected costs associated with maintenance.
Cleaning, lubricating, and making minor adjustments to the brakes and gears are just some of the regular maintenance tasks that must be performed on an e-bike.
However, they also require care for the battery, upkeep of the motor, and firmware updates. The new owner might incur extra costs due to the bike’s condition if the previous owner neglected to keep up with necessary maintenance.
For instance, an improperly charged and discharged battery may not retain its charge and must be replaced earlier than expected.
Likewise, if the motor hasn’t been serviced regularly, it may lose power and efficiency, leading to higher repair costs.
Furthermore, replacement parts for older e-bikes can be expensive and not readily available. With older e-bikes, you may find it harder to find replacement parts as technology improves.
This can increase the cost and inconvenience of needed repairs, potentially making it more practical to buy a new e-bike than to attempt to fix an older one.
Limited Options for Customization
Another reason to avoid buying a used electric bike is that you will have fewer opportunities to personalize the vehicle.
When you buy a new e-bike, you can choose the frame style, color, motor power, and battery type, among other things. This allows you to customize and tailor the e-bike to your riding needs.
When purchasing a pre-owned e-bike, you are limited to the components already installed on the bike.
As a result, upgrading the motor or battery to a more powerful or longer-lasting option or customizing the frame style and color to your preferences may not be possible.
This limitation can be a disadvantage if you have specific riding needs or preferences that require a certain type of e-bike.
Additionally, the limited options for customization can make it difficult to find a pre-owned e-bike that meets your specific requirements.
For example, if you need an e-bike with a certain range or motor power, you may not be able to find a pre-owned e-bike that fits the bill.
Lack of Knowledge about Previous Ownership
When considering purchasing a pre-owned e-bike, a lack of knowledge about previous ownership is a significant disadvantage that you should be aware of.
Without knowing how the previous owner maintained the bike or whether it was involved in any accidents, you may be at risk for unexpected repairs or replacement parts in the future.
Furthermore, not knowing the bike’s history can make it difficult to determine its overall value and hinder your ability to negotiate a fair price.
Most importantly, a lack of knowledge about previous ownership can pose a safety concern. You may not be aware of any underlying damage that could affect the bike’s safety and performance, especially if the bike was involved in an accident or crash.
This could put you at risk while riding the bike.
Another reason the lack of knowledge about previous ownership is a reason not to buy a pre-owned e-bike is that it can make it challenging to identify any modifications or upgrades the previous owner may have made to the bike.
Without this information, you may not know whether the modifications or upgrades were performed safely or correctly, which could affect the bike’s safety and performance.
Pre-owned e-bikes may use outdated technology, which can result in difficulties finding replacement parts and affect the bike’s overall performance.
If you buy a pre-owned e-bike with outdated technology, upgrading the bike or finding replacement parts in the future may prove challenging.
Older components may also not perform as well as newer ones, affecting the bike’s speed, range, and performance.
Here are some e-bike components that could become outdated:
- Motor: Performance can suffer if an older motor lacks the power or torque of a newer model.
- Battery: Battery life and charging times for older devices may be significantly worse than newer models.
- Display: Older displays may not provide the same level of functionality or be as easy to read as newer models.
- Braking System: Compared to more recent models with improved designs, older braking systems might not offer the same level of safety or be as effective at stopping the bike.
- Suspension: Older suspension systems may not provide the same comfort level or be as effective at reducing vibrations and bumps as newer models with improved shock absorption.
Another reason not to buy a pre-owned e-bike is the bike’s limited range.
The range of an e-bike refers to the distance that the bike can travel on a single charge of its battery. This is essential when purchasing an e-bike, as it determines the distance you can travel before recharging the battery.
Concerning pre-owned e-bikes, the range may be reduced due to the battery’s age and condition. Batteries can deteriorate over time, reducing the bike’s range and overall performance.
This can be a significant drawback because it restricts travel distance and requires more frequent charging stops.
The consequences of limited range can be frustrating, as you may be unable to complete your desired route without stopping to recharge the battery.
Additionally, you may need to plan your rides more carefully to ensure you don’t run out of battery power before reaching your destination.
This can be particularly inconvenient if you plan to use the e-bike for commuting or long-distance rides.
Limited Support from Manufacturers
Pre-owned e-bikes may not provide the same manufacturer support as new ones.
Manufacturers typically offer warranties and customer support for new e-bikes, but this may not extend to pre-owned bikes. This can result in difficulty assisting with repairs or obtaining replacement parts if needed.
Furthermore, manufacturers may discontinue support for older e-bike models, making it even more challenging to find the necessary assistance.
This can be particularly problematic if the e-bike you’re interested in is an older model or has outdated technology.
Here are some examples of support that manufacturers may provide with new e-bikes:
- Technical Assistance: Manufacturers may offer technical assistance to help troubleshoot any issues with the bike, ensuring that it operates at peak performance.
- Replacement Parts: If a component on the bike fails or needs to be replaced, manufacturers may offer replacement parts to ensure that the bike can continue to be used.
- Customer Support: Manufacturers may offer customer support to answer any buyer’s questions or concerns about the bike or its components.
- Repair Services: Some manufacturers may offer repair services for their e-bikes, providing a convenient option for buyers who need help fixing any issues.
The lack of a warranty is a factor that should be considered when purchasing a pre-owned e-bike.
Unlike new e-bikes, pre-owned ones may not have a warranty covering any defects or malfunctions in the bike’s components. This means that any repairs or replacement parts needed will be your responsibility, which can be a costly and unexpected expense.
The absence of a warranty can also make it challenging to negotiate a fair price for the e-bike.
Without a warranty, it can be difficult to determine the bike’s true value, and the lack of coverage may lower the bike’s overall value.
Additionally, the lack of a warranty can pose a safety concern. If you purchase a pre-owned e-bike that has been poorly maintained or has underlying issues, you may not be covered if any accidents occur as a result.
This can be particularly concerning if you plan to use the e-bike for commuting or long-distance rides.
Here are some examples of things that a warranty for a new e-bike may cover:
- Defects or malfunctions in the bike’s motor, battery, or other components
- Faulty wiring or electrical problems
- Manufacturing defects in the bike’s frame or other structural components
- Damage caused during shipping or transportation
- Paint or finish defects
- Issues with the bike’s brakes, gears, or other mechanical components
Higher Risk of Theft
When considering the purchase of a pre-owned e-bike, be aware of the higher risk of theft associated with pre-owned bikes.
Pre-owned e-bikes may have less secure locking mechanisms or may have been previously stolen and sold on the secondary market. This can make them a more attractive target for thieves.
Additionally, pre-owned e-bikes may not have the same theft protection features as newer e-bikes.
Newer e-bikes often come equipped with anti-theft features such as GPS tracking or alarm systems, which can deter theft or aid in recovering the bike if it is stolen.
The higher risk of theft is a disadvantage of purchasing a pre-owned e-bike because it can result in losing the bike and any investment in it.
Securing the bike is recommended, such as investing in a high-quality lock and keeping it in a secure location.
Buying Used Electric Bikes from The Pro’s Closet: What to Keep in Mind?
Buying a second-hand bicycle is an excellent way to save money, be environmentally friendly, and find the bike you want when stock is unavailable.
Since 2020, the global supply of electric and traditional bikes hasn’t been able to keep up with the increase in demand, so more and more riders are turning to used electric bikes.
Navigating the private second-hand market is tricky. There are scams, stolen bikes, and no guarantees or warranties. In addition, you must be able to check the condition of a bike before you buy it or bring someone who can.
Alternatively, you can buy from a reputable seller of pre-owned bikes, such as a local bike shop or The Pro’s Closet bikes online. These businesses take much of the risk out of buying used electric bikes.
This article will explain the service that The Pro’s Closet offers, the pros and cons, and provide ten tips for getting a good deal and avoiding scams in the used e-bike market.
The Pro’s Closet Review: What Is It and How Does It Work?
In 2006, pro mountain biker Nick Martin began selling his unwanted MTB gear on eBay to make some cash. He quickly recognized the high demand and began helping other professionals sell the contents of their closets. Hence, The Pro’s Closet (TPC) was born.
The Pro’s Closet company ctore in Colorado where you can pick up or drop off a bike you’re buying/selling.
Martin fostered this side business using eBay and eventually turned it into what it is today; a customer-friendly website selling an extensive selection of models from almost every brand and buying used bikes from individual sellers.
Buying from The Pro’s Closet
Each bike sold is inspected and serviced by the company’s mechanics, so it’s ready to ride when it arrives. TPC also sells unused bikes that are an older generation.
The sales part of the brand’s website works almost identically to any other online retailer. You browse the selection, narrow your search using standard filters, read the description, click ‘add to cart,’ and process the transaction as usual.
All The Pro’s Closet bikes come with a buy-back clause (Guaranteed Buyback Program). This program allows you to sell it back to them at any stage before the 18 months are up and recuperate most of what you paid.
Selling to The Pro’s Closet
Any bike owner can sell or trade their bike, frame, or wheels to The Pro’s Closet, given it meets the brand’s requirements, such as being less than five years old and free of structural damage.
You just need to provide two photos and some basic details about the bike, and you’ll get a quote within 24 hours. If you receive an offer, it will be for cash, store credit, or credit at your local TradeUP bike shop.
Shipping is free, and once the bike is received and the mechanics inspect it, they release the money to your account.
Advantages and Disadvantages of The Pro’s Closet
Used electric bikes make up a significant portion of The Pro’s Closet bikes. At the time of writing, 244 of the 1788 pre-owned bikes on the site are electric.
These 244 used eBikes came from 32 brands, ranging from 1,370 to 11,000. The range includes commuter/city, road, gravel, trekking, and mountain electric bikes.
Selling or trading to The Pro’s Closet is appealing because you avoid what is often a frustrating and time-consuming experience of selling privately.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying and selling from The Pro’s Closet.
Advantages of Using The Pro’s Closet
As mentioned, the company sells some of the best electric bikes, including hundreds of models from dozens of brands comparable to the largest online retailers, such as Jenson USA and Mike’s Bikes. In a time when stock is low all around the world, you may find the bike you’re looking for on The Pro’s Closet.
All used electric bikes on TPC are “Certified Pre-Owned,” which promises full professional inspection and service, a 30-day return period, and easy five-minute assembly upon delivery.
The Pro’s Closet mechanics hard at work, refurbishing used bikes for sale. (Image source: YouTube)
Each bike has ‘Master Mechanic’s Notes,’ which detail any issues and what they did to the bike, for example, “light scratches on the fork, top tube, down tube.” In addition, TPC e-bikes come with a mileage rating which you can use for an approximate calculation of how many charge cycles the battery has undergone.
The guaranteed buy-back program is another advantage of buying from TPC. They will purchase the bike back from you for up to 18 months, given it meets their quality criteria. Taking full advantage of this means you can ride a different bike each year without a considerable cost.
Selling or trading to TPC means you can skip listing a bike, dealing with messages from interested buyers, and meeting and haggling with strangers. Their process is quicker, easier, and hassle-free.
Finally, TPC has responsive and helpful customer service that includes mechanics and former bike shop managers who know what they’re talking about and can help with technical questions.
Downsides of Using The Pro’s Closet
The biggest downside of buying from or selling to TPC is that you won’t get as much money for selling to them, and the bikes are more expensive than the private market. If you’re patient and understand the pitfalls and how to avoid the risks of buying from an individual seller, you can find better deals.
The Pro’s Closet Workshop located in Louisville, Colorado, filled with used electric bikes ready to be sold. (Image source: YouTube)
TPC does its best to simplify the selling process, but it still requires a laborious disassembly and boxing of the bike to prepare it for shipping.
TPC only sells online, meaning all bikes require some assembly on arrival, albeit only around five minutes, and the relevant tools are included.
Finally, you’re liable for the return shipping cost if you don’t like the bike and want to return it before the 30 days are up.
Tips for Buying Used Electric Bikes
The used electric bike market is a minefield for the inexperienced buyer. With unsavory characters, scams, and poor-quality bikes to avoid, it’s essential to be alert and aware.
Consider the following ten tips to give yourself the best chance of getting a good deal when buying a used electric bike.
Choose the correct bike
There are a host of factors to consider when choosing a used electric bike. Firstly, what type of bike do you want? Some popular e-bike types include city, cruiser, mountain (hardtail or full-suspension), road, folding, and fat tire. Consider the following questions before starting your search.
- What ride position do you enjoy, relaxed, sporty, or in between?
- Do you need a step-over or step-through frame?
- Will you be hauling cargo or not?
- How long are your average journeys, 10, 15, 30 miles, or more?
- How much power do you need? (look for more power/torque if you live in a hilly area, are a heavy rider, or like to use high assistance levels)
- How much payload capacity (ridercargo) do you need?
- Do you need a throttle or just regular pedal assistance?
- Do you want a mid-drive e-bike or a hub-drive e-bike?
We also recommend reading our detailed E-Bike Buying Guide to learn more about how to choose the perfect ebike for your needs.
You can buy from a dealer or a pre-owned online store like The Pro’s Closet
The safest way to buy used electric bikes is to go through a reputable dealer in your area or buy one of The Pro’s Closet bikes.
Examples of local dealers include bike shops selling second-hand models and rental or tour companies changing their fleets. The Pro’s Closet is an online dealer of pre-owned bikes.
The advantage of buying from a dealer or TPC compared to a private seller is that the bikes are inspected and serviced by professionals. In addition, you’ll usually get a short warranty or guarantee.
If you purchase from a tour or rental company, they will also have a detailed service history. Similarly, buying from a local bike shop allows you to establish a relationship with them for future questions or repairs.
Buying from a private seller has pros and cons
You can find unbeatable deals if you’re comfortable buying from a private seller and understand how to mitigate the risks.
There are many used electric bikes for sale from private individuals, giving you more choices when stock is low on new e-bikes. Many of these sellers can be negotiated with and will sell at a price significantly lower than pre-owned dealers.
That said, the quality and condition of these bikes will vary hugely, so it’s vital to be able to assess an e-bike before you buy it or bring along somebody who does. In addition, you won’t get any warranty, and you mightn’t be able to trust the seller to tell you the correct history and usage.
Avoid stolen electric bikes
Identifying and avoiding stolen electric bikes is straightforward. Firstly, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Be very skeptical of unusually low prices, as they are a good indicator of a stolen bike. Likewise, it’s probably a stolen bike if the keys or charger are missing.
If you’re suspicious of a specific situation or a seller, you should ask for a receipt or proof of purchase and check the serial number online on Bike Index or Project 529.
Ask for a diagnostic report
Electric bikes are not cheap, and you won’t get a warranty in a private sale, so do your best to ensure that everything is working and that issues won’t begin arising soon after buying.
Some ebike diagnostics apps for Garmin can connect to an ebike via ANT LEV and show you valuable info about battery life.
At a minimum, we recommend asking the seller for a recent battery life diagnostic report, which can be obtained for most e-bike systems. For example, Bosch and Yahama dealers can give you a printout of the battery life, whereas Specialized and Shimano connect to an app that provides full diagnostics.
Always view, check over, and test-ride the bike before purchase
If a seller asks for money before you meet, it’s a scam. Always arrange to view the bike for a test ride before you commit or agree on a price, and organize meetings in a public space during daylight. Take along a chain tool if you have one.
Remember, you can ask the seller if it’s possible to have an e-bike mechanic do a thorough review of the bike if you aren’t confident doing it yourself.
When you begin your test ride, listen out for strange noises or rattling. Ensure everything works, including all assistance levels, each gear shift, the brakes, the battery lock, the lights, and other components. Also, look at the battery charge/range and ensure they don’t drop rapidly.
When you finish riding, thoroughly inspect the components and frame. Use the chain tool to check chain wear, look at the frame for cracks and chips, check the shocks for fluid leakage (on MTBs), and examine each component for rust.
The benefit of using a dealer or a service like The Pro’s Closet is that a professional mechanic will do this for you.
Double-check the electrical components and battery life
Take extra time to inspect the electrical components when buying a used electric bike, as these will be the most costly if they break. In addition, it can be challenging to find and purchase a new battery if yours breaks.
As mentioned, ask for a battery life report from a dealer or through the Bluetooth app when possible.
When in person, visually inspect the battery, the connections, and the charger port looking for rust or any damage. Check that charger works and that the key(s) fit and turn.
This type of damage is cosmetic and typically shouldn’t be a cause for worry. (Source: theproscloset.com)
Look at the display for error codes, warnings, or other damage. If you don’t have a battery life report, read through the odometers and range per charge. Using this information, you can roughly calculate the remaining life using the total miles ridden and range per charge.
For example, if the odometer reads 5,000 miles, and the battery lasts around 25 miles per charge, the battery has been through roughly 200 charge cycles.
You can then check the battery model for the total charge cycles (usually around 500-800). Offer a lower price if the battery is heavily used.
Get to know the seller
When you’re with the seller, you can get valuable information about how the e-bike has been used by asking the following.
- How many miles has the bike done?
- What style of riding and terrain do you ride on?
- Which assist levels do you mostly use?
- When was it purchased and last serviced?
- Which parts have been replaced or repaired?
- Why are you selling?
- Is the bike tuned?
These questions will give you an idea of the seller, their riding style, and maintenance practices. But take any answers with a pinch of salt.
Electric bike warranties generally don’t transfer to a second owner
One important thing to remember when purchasing second-hand from a private seller is that the warranty typically doesn’t transfer, so the original owner is the only one who can claim for damage or defective parts. Likewise, you won’t have any recourse if something breaks the week after you buy it.
Without a warranty or guarantee, you’ll have to fork out for any repairs or replacements that occur, even if they happen the next day. For this reason, many people prefer the peace of mind you get by buying a used electric bike from a company like The Pro’s Closet.
Negotiate the price, especially if you foresee repairs or maintenance
Negotiations are part and parcel of private selling. An e-bike’s posted price is typically higher than what they would accept, especially if the advertisement has been active for a long time.
Always check for signs of damage or misuse before buying. If the blemishes are just cosmetic, you can still buy the bike and potentially lower the price slightly. (Source: theproscloset.com)
With this in mind, you can extend your budget and offer less for e-bikes listed slightly outside what you want to pay.
When viewing a bike, take note of everything wrong with it, including immediate repairs or replacements necessary and anything that you believe will arise in the short term. Then, factor these costs into your offer to the seller.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth buying a second-hand eBike?
Yes, it’s worth buying a second-hand eBike if you don’t have the budget for a new one or you want a higher-end model that you can’t afford to buy new. You can find excellent deals if you’re comfortable navigating the used electric bike market and accepting the potential risks.
What is the lifespan of an electric bike?
The lifespan of an electric bike varies based on the component. For example, an eBike battery should last three to five years and a motor up to ten years. So, you could replace individual components as they wear out and keep an e-bike running until they stop producing the parts.
Is The Pro’s Closet legit?
Yes, The Pro’s Closet is legit. It’s the largest online seller of pre-owned bikes in the US and Canada. The Pro’s Closet reviews online are largely positive, with a rating of 4.2/5 stars on Google Reviews and 4.1/5 on
How long does The Pro’s Closet take to ship?
The Pro’s Closet aims to process and ship all orders within one business day (Monday to Friday). Unfortunately, the company does not offer expedited shipping on electric bikes. The shipping time will depend on the carrier and how far you live from the warehouse in Colorado.
Where can I find used electric bikes?
You can find used electric bikes for sale in local bike shops and from time to time in bike tour and rental companies. In addition, you can find used e-bikes on marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay. Alternatively, you can find pre-owned e-bikes online on The Pro’s Closet.
Do Electric Bike Batteries Explode?
Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, seem like the new, trendy way to get around town these days. Although e-bikes can be a fun and convenient method of transportation, are there hidden dangers in riding one?
Electric bike batteries are generally very safe and can be used and enjoyed with little risk. However, there have been a few cases of e-bike-related fires and explosions in recent years. Fires and explosions may encourage some to exercise caution when using electric bike batteries.
We’ll lay out why fires and explosions occur with e-bikes, how to prevent these accidents from occurring, and what to do if your e-bike catches on fire. Hopefully, this information will leave you feeling informed and prepared the next time you set out on an e-bike.
Causes of Electric Bike Battery Explosions
If you own an e-bike, chances are it functions using a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many devices besides electric bikes, including laptops, smartphones, and electric cars.
Lithium-ion batteries have evolved to be versatile these days, so it is no surprise e-bikes also use them.
Lithium-ion batteries have become popular recently because they are easily portable yet still hold an abundance of power. Additionally, these batteries are super convenient to use because they don’t need to be replaced periodically like other types of batteries.
Just plug your device or battery into the wall socket when it loses power. One single battery could last in a device for many years. However, when the lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes malfunction, explosions can occur.
You probably use lithium-ion batteries with little to no concern, as battery explosions are rare. You are probably storing some in your home or office right now. While you shouldn’t avoid devices with lithium-ion batteries, you should nevertheless be aware of their risks.
When using lithium-ion batteries, it is important to remember that they hold a lot of energy in a small package. Their compacted energy and natural flammability can cause them to overheat. Overheating can produce dangerous chemical reactions with fire-starting potential.
Therefore, there is always a risk of explosions and fires when lithium-ion batteries overheat. The risk of overheating increases when batteries are cheaply made and old, which makes these batteries more likely to malfunction.
Preventing Electric Bike Battery Explosions
The thought of a battery exploding or catching fire while you ride your e-bike can feel terrifying. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent accidents when using a bike powered by a lithium-ion battery.
Taking precautions while choosing bikes and batteries as well as properly storing these items will help prevent electric bike battery explosions and fires. In these next sections, we’ll give you information about preventing e-bike battery explosions.
Tips For Choosing Safe Equipment
Purchasing safe equipment is one of the best ways to prevent electric bike battery explosions. All e-bikes are different, so you should stay up-to-date about how to choose the safest options.
To ensure your equipment is safe:
- Only purchase new electric bikes and batteries, as old and second-hand equipment is more susceptible to accidents.
- Check manufacturer reviews or speak with experts to ensure that your equipment is high-quality.
- Make sure all batteries are laboratory certified.
- Only purchase charging cords and other power accessories that go with your specific bike.
- Never purchase broken or damaged equipment.
It may be more cost-effective to buy a used or lower-quality electric bike. However, using the best equipment will allow you to enjoy your e-bike without worrying about safety risks. Buying more expensive equipment now can get you ahead later on.
Tips For Proper Storage of Electric Bike Batteries
In addition to purchasing high-quality equipment, it is important to ensure that your electric bike batteries are stored safely to help mitigate fire risks. While a fire-proof container is the safest storage method, you can also store e-bike batteries without one.
To safely store your e-bike’s batteries:
- Ensure that you never expose batteries to extreme temperatures that could cause them to burst; store them at room temperature.
- Keep batteries away from all materials that could easily catch fire, especially fabric.
- Once you fully charge your batteries, immediately take them off the charger to prevent them from overheating.
- If you notice that a battery appears to be damaged or is leaking, dispose of it immediately using e-waste or battery-disposal services.
Paying close attention to the condition of your lithium-ion batteries, whether they are in use or not, will ensure your safety and prevent damage. If you are ever suspicious that your battery is damaged, dispose of it safely and buy a new one.
What To Do If Your E-Bike Battery Explodes?
If your e-bike battery explodes, immediately call the fire department. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries are hazardous because they are very hard to stop and can spread very quickly. In addition to the actual fire, lithium-ion batteries can also produce toxic gasses that can harm your lungs.
Using a Class BC or Class ABC fire extinguisher can help control fires in many cases. However, you should call the fire department, even if you think you put the fire out. If you cannot control the fire, evacuate the area quickly and safely and wait for the firefighters to arrive.
If your battery is not on fire but you notice smoke or the battery feels hot, proceed with caution. Warning signs of fire include overheating. You should contact the fire department or Environmental Health and Safety for assistance if you ever run into this issue.
So, do electric bike batteries explode? The short answer is that, yes, electric bike batteries can explode. Electric bike batteries and lithium-ion batteries in general cause very few explosions and fires. Purchasing a high-quality e-bike and proper storage decreases the likelihood of accidental fires.
Don’t let the possibility of your electric bike exploding or combusting ruin your fun. The proper precautions and a watchful eye will allow you to experience the thrill of an electric bike without worrying about the possibility of spontaneous combustion.
Jason Hawkley is a biking enthusiast, which is a nice way of saying he’s a total nerd when it comes to bikes. One day while mountain biking through the woods in New Hampshire, the idea came him to create Our Streets as a way to share his biking passion with you.
E-bike batteries raise safety concerns amid rise in fires: ‘Very hard to examine’
Fire or overheating incidents from these devices led to 19 fatalities in 2022.
Parents file lawsuit against e-bike manufacturer following daughter’s death The parents of 12-year-old Molly Steinsapir are demanding change after their daughter died in a traumatic e-bike accident last year. ABC News
The growing popularity of e-bikes in the United States in recent years has led to a rise in fires and other hazards, local and federal officials are warning.
At least 19 people died in the United States in 2022 because of fires or overheating incidents related to battery-powered products such as e-bikes, scooters and hoverboards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said this week.
In New York City alone, fires caused by lithium-ion batteries powering these micro-mobility devices, also known as light electric vehicles (LEVs), have been responsible for at least 208 fires this year, resulting in 142 injuries and six deaths, a spokesperson for the New York Fire Department said.
In 2021, there were 104 fires caused by these batteries, 79 injuries and 4 deaths, according to city data. In 2020, there were 44 such fires, 23 injuries and zero deaths, the data shows.
Micro-mobility devices in 2022 caused four fires a week on average, based on data from the FDNY.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in a letter last week, urged over 2,000 manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of LEVs to sell products that use batteries built with standards set by Underwriters Laboratory, an industry safety organization, in order to reduce the risk of injuries and deaths.
Compliance with these standards should be demonstrated by certification from an accredited testing laboratory, the agency urged.
While many battery manufacturers like Bosch follow the standards, experts say the standards need to be industry-wide. The move to required UL standards in all these products would make them far safer overall, they say.
Some industry experts see the recent moves by the CPSC as evidence it lacks the necessary regulatory muscle to cause a change in the industry. This concern comes as more Americans are embracing LEVs, with many expected to purchase these around the holidays.
The CPSC has jurisdiction over these products. The U.S. Department of Transportation established in 2018 the Lithium Battery Working Safety Group which includes officials from CPSC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute for Standard and Technology. The group advises Congress on additional ways to mitigate fire hazards from these batteries and ways to establish uniform regulations for these batteries.
When asked about why they were not seeking to make UL certification mandatory, instead of just encouraging companies to adopt those standards, a CPSC spokesperson said it is time consuming to adopt mandatory rules, making voluntary standards a more common course of action to get important safety information to industry and consumers as quickly as possible.
New York problem
Fatiumata Dialo has been delivering food on his e-bike in New York for the last year. An immigrant from Guinea, he said his e-bike, for which he paid 1750, is the most expensive purchase he has made since arriving in the U.S.
Dialo cycles between several batteries for the bike over the course of the day. He charges his batteries overnight at his apartment, and he also pays a monthly fee to charge a battery during the day at a e-bike shop in Brooklyn.
Delivery workers pay about 40 a month to charge batteries in one of these e-bike shops, according to a worker in one store. One location in New York’s Chinatown visited by ABC News contained over 80 batteries charging at roughly the same time.
According to FDNY Deputy Commissioner Frank Dwyer, charging stations where dozens or even hundreds of batteries are being charged at the same time could pose fire hazards.
“That’s actually covered in the fire code. And we have our fire prevention people out there doing inspections on those properties if they’re not abiding by the proper fire code,” Dwyer said.
ABC News reached out to the fire departments for the 25 largest cities in the United States. New York City leads its metropolitan competitors with the highest number of fires caused by these devices, according to a review of city data. It’s also the leading city actively tracking the fires and working with government officials to understand and regulate the issue, according to interviews with fire officials.
The Los Angeles Fire Department said it does not have any data about fires attributable to e-bikes, and the San Francisco Fire Department does not actively track fires from LEVs like New York does.
Despite concerns about charging safety, Dialo said he was less concerned about the risk of fire than getting into an accident or getting robbed, he said. Other delivery workers ABC News spoke to seemed to agree with this prioritization of concerns.
However, recent reports of fires due to charging e-bike batteries have raised calls for action by many New Yorkers. A Nov. 5 fire at a high-rise building in midtown Manhattan that sent 38 people to the hospital was caused by a lithium-ion battery connected to a micro-mobility device, fire officials determined.
In this Nov. 5, 2022, file photo, firefighters perform a rope rescue after a fire broke out inside a high-rise building on East 52nd Street in New York. New York Daily News/TNS via Getty Images, FILE
“It’s not just that there are fires, it’s that there could be a fire in my building where I sleep and my children’s sleep,” New York City Council Member Gale Brewer told ABC News.
The FDNY is attempting to learn more about how the fires are started. Often, the bikes and the batteries are too damaged by the fires to learn about the cause of the fire, type of bike and battery involved, and whether the cause could have been a manufacturing defect.
“So, it’s very hard to examine the actual battery that fails due to the explosive nature of these fires, and the damage that they’re subjected to after the fire occurs,” Dwyer noted.
Brewer sponsored recent legislation focused on e-bikes. The bills currently under consideration by the city council, which the FDNY has voiced support for, include measures to increase education about fire risks from batteries, ban the sale of second-hand batteries that have been reconditioned or manipulated and which are sold on the secondary market, require UL standards for bikes and improve reporting measures.
Some activists say the move is too late.
“They pass a law to legalize [e-bikes], but they never thought about the batteries? I mean, they’re talking about the batteries three years later,” said Hildalyn Colon Hernandez, the director of policy and strategic partnerships for New York City advocacy group Los Deliveristas Unidos.
The rise of LEVs
Light electric vehicles gained popularity as many Americans rethought common methods of transportation during the pandemic. A projected 1 million LEVs are expected to be sold in the U.S. in 2022, compared to the 288,000 sold in 2019, according to Ed Benjamin, chairman of the LEV Association.
But most consumers have gravitated to affordable models.
One of the priciest e-bikes listed in Consumer Reports retails at nearly 4,000, with the cheapest recommendation at 1,300. Some budget bikes retail on sites like Amazon for under 500.
In this Nov. 15, 2022, file photo, a delivery person rides an electric bicycle through the streets of New York. Spencer Platt/Getty Images, FILE
According to Mike Fritz, a chief technology officer for micromobility industry consulting firm Human Powered Solutions, the economics of the 500 e-bike points towards concerns with the quality of the bike’s battery. Just to buy a high-quality battery costs around 750. A complete bike that costs less than that amount raises questions about the quality of the battery and other components.
Some manufacturers have cut corners to lower manufacturing costs, according to Jack Hao of battery manufacturer Phylion. This includes reusing parts of used battery packs from electric cars, which can increase the likelihood of a fire hazard, he said.
Combined with a weak regulatory environment in the U.S., consumers are sometimes left with poor options, said Percy Chien, the executive chairman of the Taiwan-based Fairly Bike Manufacturing Company.
How lithium-ion batteries fail
A battery charges or releases energy by moving an electron-carrying ion between a node and a cathode, across a semipermeable barrier, Fritz said. If that barrier begins to fail and overheat because of a manufacturing defect or from an issue stemming from a faulty charger, an electrolyte liquid in the battery will begin to boil, trigger a pressure release valve, and push a gas out of the battery, which can then ignite when interacting with outside air.
An e-bike battery, which is made of dozens of small battery cells about the size of an AA battery, can cause a cascading chain reaction where one cell triggers other cells to fail, which can lead to a fire or an explosion in a worse-case scenario, he said.
A combination of cheap batteries, mismatched chargers, overuse, damage from weather, poor servicing, and other factors can combine to create deadly consequences, according to Fritz.
Keith Moravick, a vice president of engineering for Swiftmile, a manufacturer of charging systems for LEVs, noted factors that can cause battery deterioration include poor management system communicating between the battery and charger, a lack of weatherproofing for electric connectors, and the damage possibly done to a removable battery that is knocked around.
According to multiple industry experts, a move towards requiring UL standards for all batteries sold would reduce the risk of fires; however, the CPSC is only recommending such a standard at the moment.
Chris Nolte, founder of New York retailer Propel Electric Bikes, which only sells UL-certified Bosch batteries, said the issue has been mainly centralized in New York City in recent years, which is why the federal government has been slow to crackdown on the problem.
“I feel that the federal government likely will step in by 2024 and require a certification,” Nolte said.