Buying a new eBike can be a terrific investment in yourself.
But is a new eBike a better value compared to buying a used electric bike? For some, a new-to-you bike may make the perfect bike choice. For others, a factory-new eBike may be a better solution.
We’ll dig into the numbers to find some answers.
Buying used vs. buying new each has its advantages. And either way, the health benefits of buying an electric bike can’t be measured in dollars, so whichever you choose, you’re making a healthy decision.
But choosing the wrong bike for your budget and lifestyle can send you (and your wallet) down a bumpy bike path with no suspension.
We all know how quickly cars can depreciate. Both regular bikes and electric bicycles can depreciate even faster.
Many times, you’ll find the best value with a used electric bike that has already taken a big depreciation hit, but you may have to sacrifice a warranty.
And like buying a used car or any other motor vehicle, it’s important to find a ride that won’t leave you stranded. If you’re considering going with a second-hand bike, look for reputable bike brands and reliable eBike models, preferably with low miles and in good or excellent condition.
This strategy can help ensure the availability of parts, if needed, and focuses the search on second-hand bikes with a “depreciation discount” due to age rather than high mileage. You can also consider dealer-demo bikes from your local bike shop.
Depreciation: The Reason Used Electric Bikes are Cheaper
In most cases, you can expect the value of a new electric bike to drop quickly right after you take it on its maiden voyage.
The market carnage gets worse if the (now) used electric bike is a few years old. Generally, time is unkind to second-hand bicycles in regard to value. The value of (once) expensive options and add-ons also falls, often causing used bikes with an impressive list of options to sell at prices close to bare-bones models.
All of this doesn’t make it a given bike a bad bike. It might still work great, have nice features, and look as good as new. The used electric bike market may feel otherwise, however. And the lack of a warranty upon resale can play a big role in resale pricing, knocking the price level down dramatically.
Being the inquisitive type, I looked into the numbers, comparing new vs. used (or second-hand bikes, if you prefer).
The verdict: Even electric bikes with almost no miles sell for much less compared to new eBikes of the same make and model.
You can expect a drop in value of 20% to 50% within the first year, although miles of use may play a larger role in prices for newer eBikes. Buyers often expect newer bikes to have low miles.
Conventional bikes don’t suffer the same mileage snobbery in the used market.
You’ll also find some bike brands hold their value better than others.
Generally, premium brands see smaller percentage discounts in the used market, whereas big-box eBikes and bargain brands may see larger differences in price as a percentage between new and used electric bikes.
But if you want the big picture, it’s best to watch selling prices over a longer period. Average prices based on small samples can change dramatically with just one outlier.
Finding Used Electric Bike Prices
Some manufacturers offer refurbished eBikes, but this isn’t the norm. Some local bike shops also sell used (or demo) eBikes.
Checking asking prices on Facebook Marketplace or Craiglist can be misleading, though.
If you’ve ever purchased anything from a local seller, you know that the asking price often isn’t the same as the selling price.
Many times, sellers expect some bargaining, so they may set the price higher than the amount they’ll accept.
However, eBay can be a good source of information regarding actual selling prices. On eBay, you can perform a search and check the box to show sold items. Used electric bikes on eBay tend to sell to local buyers due to shipping costs.
For example, a search for Himiway shows four recent sales.
|Make / Model||Condition||Sale Type||Sale Amount||Miles||New Price|
|Himiway Cruiser||Used||Best Offer||$850||876||$1599|
|Himiway Cruiser||New||Buy it Now||$1299||0||$1599|
|Himiway Cruiser||New (Other)||Buy it Now||$1100||1||$1599|
|Himiway Escape||Used||Buy it Now||$1500||11||$1799|
Looking first at the Himiway Cruiser, the two low-mile bikes (0 miles and 1 mile) sold for $200 to $500 below the new price direct from Himiway.
The bike that sold for $850 actually sold for less than $850, but the seller accepted an offer that isn’t available for viewing.
Meanwhile, the nearly new Himiway escape sold for a $300 discount compared to the new price.
Used electric bikes with higher mileage can add an element of uncertainty that drives down the price.
- What’s the condition of the original battery?
- What’s the cost and availability of replacement battery packs?
- Has the bike been crashed?
- Was it ridden down mountain bike trails or just around the neighborhood?
- Are the wheels bent, or are the brakes warped?
- Will the bike need a tune-up right away?
- Does the electric motor work?
- Is a family of squirrels living under the seat?
Most of these questions aren’t unique to electric bikes. Buyers would have many of the same questions about a used car or even a standard bike.
If the bike needs some work, there may be a significant cost to buying a used electric bike that you’ll usually see reflected in the form of lower prices.
But you’ll typically see a drop in price even for electric bikes with low miles or no miles at all. Again, this instant depreciation isn’t unique to electric bikes.
Comparing Used Electric Bike Prices
Much like you’d find in the pre-owned car market, some electric bike makes and models hold their value better than others.
Expect to see lower resale values for entry-level electric bikes, particularly for lesser-known brands or eBikes built from a kit.
Below are some examples of used electric bikes from other well-known manufacturers, specifically Rad Power and Lectric.
|Make / Model||Condition||Sale Type||Sale Amount||Miles||New Price|
|Rad Power RadRover 5||Used||Auction||$1001||242||$1699|
|Rad Power Rad Mini||Used||Best Offer||$1275||36||$1499|
|Rad Power RadRover (2019)||Used||Auction||$600||1786||$1499|
|Lectric XP 1.0||Used||Auction||$690||50||$879|
|Lectric XP 2.0||New||Buy it Now||$800||0||$999|
Electric Bikes with higher mileage can see a larger drop in price.
For example, the 2019 Rad Power RadRover in the table above was listed more than once as an auction sale on eBay and ultimately sold for $600. In a previous listing, bidding closed at $610.
On eBay, sellers might relist an item if the buyer doesn’t pay within a specified time.
Average Savings When Buying a Used eBike
If you’re lucky enough to find a barely used eBike, you may be able to save a few hundred dollars compared to retail.
In the examples above, the average savings by buying a used eBike with 50 miles or less is $285. In fairness, it’s a small sample. But the used eBike market is smaller than the used car market, so it could take a long time to collect more meaningful data.
Assuming the examples above reflect market trends, savings could be ah much as 35% off retail even for barely-ridden eBikes. However, in most cases, the savings were closer to 20%.
Electric bike manufacturers often run sales or holiday promotions, so there’s a good chance of picking up a new eBike for less than the full retail price if you time it right.
While 20% off sales are rare, it isn’t uncommon to see discounts of $100 or even $200 off retail price. Discounts that big tighten the gap in price between new and used.
Potential Additional Costs for Used Electric Bikes
The lower prices often found with used eBikes reflect uncertainty about the bike’s condition.
Hot and cold temperatures can wreak havoc on stored batteries.
Ideally, an eBike battery should be stored at about 60 degrees Fahrenheit, although room temperature is also fine in most cases.
As a buyer, there’s no way to know how the battery was cared for or whether the bike may have been stored in a garage or shed.
Frequently, the battery is the single most expensive component to replace, potentially costing several hundred dollars to replace. If the used eBike you buy needs a new battery, budget about $250 on the low end, although many replacement batteries cost between $300 and $700.
Other common wear items include tires and brakes.
With normal riding, tires generally don’t wear quickly. So, if you find a low-mileage eBike, it probably won’t need new sneakers right away.
However, if the bike has been sitting in a garage or shed exposed to heat and cold winters, the rubber can deteriorate, causing checking and cracks. It isn’t uncommon to spend $100 or more on a set of new tires. Be sure to replace the tubes at the same time.
Many eBikes come with disc brakes, which can be expensive to repair if the discs are warped. If possible, check for rubbing or visual distortion before making a purchase.
If the bike you’re considering needs a few replacement parts, the true cost of the purchase climbs, possibly making the bargain you found a more expensive option than it seems.
Should You Buy a Used Electric Bike or Purchase New?
You might find some great deals in the used eBike market, but the market is still young, and well-cared-for eBikes can be rare. Expect to invest some time and patience if you want to purchase a clean second-hand bike with only light usage.
Be prepared to bargain for more savings. Some used eBikes you find may be in near-perfect condition, while others might require a new battery or tires or could even need a tune-up. The extra savings from asking for a better price can help offset the cost of replacement eBike components or needed repairs.
As an added bonus, by buying a used bike or dealer demo bike, you’ll help reduce the environmental impact electric vehicles can have. It’s better for a pre-owned bike to be rescued by a new electric bicycle rider than to end up in a landfill.
In the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, the cost of new eBikes is often just a few hundred dollars more than a used bike with low miles.
If you’re willing to shop around, you might find a new model with a warranty on sale.
Whether you buy used or new, you win. eBikes help you stay active and can help you save money on gas and the costs of car ownership. Besides, now you can tan the right arm as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does a used electric bike come with a warranty?
Most used electric bikes do not come with a warranty. Typically, the warranty only extends to the initial buyer. However, some eBike manufacturers will extend the warranty to a second owner after an inspection from an authorized dealer.
Contact the manufacturer for more details regarding a specific brand and warranty transferability.
Is it worth buying a used eBike?
With some careful shopping, you can find a used eBike at a price that allows room for possible repairs the bike may need. However, the market is still small, so you may have to consider different brands or models.
How much should a used electric bike cost?
Prices for used electric bikes vary based on brand, age, and how many miles the bike has been ridden.
In general, used eBike prices tend to be about 20% lower than buying new if the used eBike has light use. Expect prices to range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, depending on brand and condition.
Older electric bikes or eBikes with higher usage can see much steeper discounts compare to new purchases for the same model.