Yes, you can pay a lot less for a second hand bike but there is a reason why it is cheaper. If you are not careful your ‘bargain’ can end up being a dud and costing you a lot more money than if you’d just paid a bit more money from the outset and bought a new one.
There is no warranty with a second electric bike. The warranty ceases once the ebike transfers ownership from the original buyer. This means that if, for example, there is a battery failure you will need to pay the full cost for replacing it and any labour associated with diagnostics and installation.
With ebikes, be cautious that the bike is not being sold because it has a tricky electrical problem or has been in an accident. This can end up being very expensive for you to repair.
Also be cautious that the bike has not been stolen. Frame numbers and bike details for stolen bikes are kept on a register for police. If it is traced to you it will be repossessed as stolen goods and you will not get your money back.
If you can, request to see the original proof of purchase to validate that the seller is genuine and that they originally bought the electric bike from a reputable retailer. This will be important if you need to get parts for your bike further down the track.
The older the ebike is the harder it might be to get replacement parts, particularly the electrical parts. Also, if the ebike has a drive system that is not so widely used it may be very expensive to source parts. Check if it has a drive system that is currently sold in regular bike shops.
A well used ebike is not necessarily a problem bike. We have ebikes in our workshop that have over 20,000km on their odometers and they still work perfectly. Those ebikes have been regularly serviced and well maintained by their owners.
A bike that has had little use can sometimes be more problematic if it has sat there unused for long periods of time. That is generally when the most electrical and battery faults develop. Similarly if the bike has been in an accident it can also develop major faults. Check the battery case for marks or signs of it being dropped. Check the brake levers, frame and motor casing too.
Ask about the servicing history of the bike – where it is usually serviced? When was it last serviced? Has it been regularly serviced by a workshop that is experienced with ebikes?
We strongly encourage you to inspect and ride the ebike before you buy it.
As well as the tips above, here is a checklist of things to look out for:
Please note that this is just a guide and you should use your own judgement accordingly.
For a more expensive second hand bike such as a full suspension mountain bike with a modern drive system like Bosch, you could also ask whether or not there is a diagnostic report available to show that the electrical drive system is in good working order.
Book it in for a full service at an e-bike specialist!
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