Electric bikes are expensive, but a used electric bike can be a much cheaper option. If you’re thinking about buying a used electric bike, here are a few tips to make the right purchase!
1. Check the general condition of the e-bike
When you take a look at a second-hand electric bicycle, you should first look at the overall conditions of the machine. You will immediately understand how the electric bicycle has been treated and maintained, and whether it has been subject to accidents or bad falls.
Rust, scratches, stubborn dirt, or deflated tires should be a signal for you to control this e-bike in much more detail, as worn wheels or brakes can result in significant additional repair costs.
2. Check the battery capacity
All batteries lose a bit of their capacity over the years and recharges, offering less capacity than on paper and therefore more limited autonomy. The same applies to used electric bikes. Batteries in modern electric bicycles offer an average of 600-700 full charge cycles, which means when lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries are charged from 0 to 100%. If you only charge the battery halfway, it will only count for half a cycle.
As a general rule, an electric bicycle battery should be replaced after five or six years. So, if you’re thinking about buying an electric bicycle that’s five years old but has the original battery built-in, you should check the price of a new battery and keep this in mind when negotiating the final price of the bike.
3. Mileage according to age
Most electric bikes are equipped with an integrated speedometer that provides information on the number of kilometers already traveled by the vehicle. This is a very important element in the evaluation of the e-bicycle that must be reflected in the purchase price.
Mileage should be considered with the age of the bike. Don’t be discouraged by the purchase of an old electric bicycle per se. If it has covered not so many kilometers, it may still be a valid purchase.
4. Used parts and after-sales service
An electric bicycle has wearing parts that can be expensive when you want to replace them. For this reason, you should check the condition of the brakes, tires, chain, chainring and if necessary, have invoices presented showing the date of the last replacement of these components.
Expensive e-bikes often come with some sort of booklet and insurance similar to cars. When you buy a used electric bicycle, you explicitly ask the seller to provide you with it. A regularly checked and maintained electric bicycle reduces unpleasant surprises.
5. Try it on the street
This point should be explicit. Don’t buy a used bike without trying it out first! Not only will you understand if the frame size and geometry are right for you, but also how the components interact. Does it make strange noises? Do the brakes work properly? Is the frame robust? Is the suspension heavy or slippery?
To better understand all these aspects, just take a bike tour. If possible, ride it on different surfaces, asphalt, pebbles, or unpaved roads, both sloping and straight. Take a good quarter of an hour to do so. If the seller fears that you might run away with your bike, leave a deposit, or an identity document.
Read also: How to select the best – mountain e-bike, commuter e-bike, cruiser e-bike, junior e-bike, city e-bike, electric trike, folding e-bike, hybrid e-bike, cargo e-bike, road e-bike, gravel e-bike, kids’ e-bike – in our comprehensive e-bike selection guides.
6. Conclude a contract of sale
Used electric bicycles can be bought and sold, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, you must make sure that the e-bike was actually purchased by the seller: ask for a receipt as counter-evidence to avoid having to buy a stolen e-bike.
You must also sign a simple purchase contract to protect both parties and confirm that the agreed price has been paid. You will easily find online examples to download and print.
7. Consider recommended retailers
Buying a used electric bicycle from a retailer is generally more expensive, but has its advantages. Stores usually offer a 12-month warranty, even if the manufacturer’s warranty has already expired. You can also be sure that your used electric bikes have been inspected and serviced by experts.
Here is a quick video explaining how to buy a second-hand electric mountain bike: