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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Would you buy a used electric bike?

    I may purchase a 2011 Kona Ute Electric that appears to only be made in 2011. It has:

    250 watt front hub motor (8-fun brushless geared)
    24-volt, 13Ah
    Controller FMN/Wettsem
    Battery HiTech Energy
    Charger HiPower
    Dropout Sensor TMM4, dropout sensor

    I understand that the bike is in fine condition, but I'm told by a friend that is familiar with battery systems that you really just don't know for sure - and replacement parts are tough to get.

    So, would you do it? If so, what questions would you ask? Do these names look common and can they be replaced easily if necessary?

    Newbie questions, but i'll continue to research while I await responses.
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    2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2012 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro

  2. #2
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    First, what do you plan on using this e-bike for? The reason I ask is that a 24v 250 watt bicycle isn't going to be very fast or much of a hill-climber imo.

    Second, how much is the owner asking for it?

    And yes, you friend is correct in saying that you just don't know for sure if the battery is still good and if everything else is in decent shape. Failure to maintain the battery properly, whether it's been used or not, can weaken it to the point that it'll need to be replaced.

    Having said that, I wouldn't feel good about buying it unless A: I could test it out thoroughly (which could take more than a few days) and/or B: the price was really right.

  3. #3
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    If you are paying for any used battery I would avoid it. If the motor can support a higher voltage, with a new <cheap> controller, and a new battery can be added, then it could be good. Buying used batteries is perilous, and 24 volts is a very lame voltage in general - you will want more, unless it is a "through the hub" mid-drive which can be decent at 24V. The motor would be decent running at 48V, as long as the amperage was suitable for the motor (you'd need a lower amperage 48V controller). Even 36V would be a lot better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMB42 View Post
    First, what do you plan on using this e-bike for? The reason I ask is that a 24v 250 watt bicycle isn't going to be very fast or much of a hill-climber imo.

    Second, how much is the owner asking for it?

    And yes, you friend is correct in saying that you just don't know for sure if the battery is still good and if everything else is in decent shape. Failure to maintain the battery properly, whether it's been used or not, can weaken it to the point that it'll need to be replaced.

    Having said that, I wouldn't feel good about buying it unless A: I could test it out thoroughly (which could take more than a few days) and/or B: the price was really right.
    I am in flat Florida, but we do have wind a lot. I'm mainly looking to commute regularly (7.5 miles on way), do light shopping, and recreational rides when i'm too lazy to ride my Salsa Vaya, but don't want to drive my 4,400 pound van.

    He's selling it for $725, plus probably $150 to box and ship. They were $2,600 new, but with out the electric I think they were $900. 2014s are $1,300.

    I do like the Ute over a Big Dummy or Yuba (so far) because the Ute is more compromise that works better for me (I think). I would consider another cargo bike used and go for a nice quality electric system. I was hoping to snag this one for cheap, but if the battery and other parts take a dump then I really haven't gotten such a deal have I?


    Quote Originally Posted by chvid View Post
    If you are paying for any used battery I would avoid it. If the motor can support a higher voltage, with a new <cheap> controller, and a new battery can be added, then it could be good. Buying used batteries is perilous, and 24 volts is a very lame voltage in general - you will want more, unless it is a "through the hub" mid-drive which can be decent at 24V. The motor would be decent running at 48V, as long as the amperage was suitable for the motor (you'd need a lower amperage 48V controller). Even 36V would be a lot better.
    Is is possible to utilize the front hub and replace the controller and battery?

    I don't need much assist and I like the smaller front hub motor (looks mostly), but really don't want to replace peddling. Pedal assist is a must for me.
    On the move!
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  5. #5
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    With what you've said I'd offer little, if anything, over what the used value of the bike is without the power system. Used e-bike power systems can very easily end up being nothing but a door stop if you can't test them out first.

    I'll also say that the $150 fee to box and ship it is a bit excessive. The truth is that the whole bike, unseen and untested by you, could be worth less than what the seller might be asking to box and ship it. The problem with bicycles, electric or otherwise, is that they can easily be bent, wrecked, or abused beyond repair. And it isn't too uncommon for people to dump such bikes off on unsuspecting buyers that aren't able to test ride them beforehand (this is especially true with electric/electronic products). Please note that I'm not saying that this is the case, I'm just saying that it could be the case.

    Btw, when it comes to electric and/or electronics, one bad component can damage another, which in turn, can damage yet another, etc, etc. This cascading destruction of components can drive the cost of repairs well beyond what the entire system is worth (and yes, I've learned this the expensive way with motorcycle electrical systems).
    Last edited by FMB42; 09-27-13 at 10:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FMB42 View Post
    With what you've said I'd offer little, if anything, over what the used value of the bike is without the power system. Used e-bike power systems can very easily end up being nothing but a door stop if you can't test them out first.

    I'll also say that the $150 fee to box and ship it is a bit excessive. The truth is that the whole bike, unseen and untested by you, could be worth less than what the seller might be asking to box and ship it. The problem with bicycles, electric or otherwise, is that they can easily be bent, wrecked, or abused beyond repair. And it isn't too uncommon for people to dump such bikes off on unsuspecting buyers that aren't able to test ride them beforehand (this is especially true with electric/electronic products). Please note that I'm not saying that this is the case, I'm just saying that it could be the case.

    Btw, when it comes to electric and/or electronics, one bad component can damage another, which in turn, can damage yet another, etc, etc. This cascading destruction of components can drive the cost of repairs well beyond what the entire system is worth (and yes, I've learned this the expensive way with motorcycle electrical systems).
    Yes, I may be getting cold feet here. I would not suspect this person as an individual because I don't know him, but you are right that one just doesn't know for sure.

    i may want to work towards a long term plan whereby I can maybe get a good price on a new bike (I would rather add a few hundred to the price from this deal if I'm really only buying the bike) and then save up for a quality electric system.

    Any more conversation on this is welcomed, but thank you so far.

    now, what would my ultimate setup be???? Hmmmmmmm.......
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  7. #7
    Rin
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    Assume that the battery is no good and try to price a battery for replacement and add that to the cost and then see if the total money would be better spent on another ebike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rin View Post
    Assume that the battery is no good and try to price a battery for replacement and add that to the cost and then see if the total money would be better spent on another ebike.
    Talked to someone today about getting a 2014 for about $1,100, so yes about pricing just the bike. 2014 at $1,100 vs. 2011 unknown for $900 - not worth it. Plus, I like disc front and back and matching wheels so a new bike fitted with a mid-drive would work well.

    Now for researching a mid-drive for the Kona Ute....care to weigh in? I may be better off researching and then later starting a new thread with any leftover questions.
    Last edited by Ridefreemc; 09-28-13 at 05:10 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I sold my electric bike to a co-worker. He's been quite happy with it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Ridefreemc's Avatar
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    Not sure which direction to take at the moment. The original seller is not taking or returning calls so I think he may not want to sell (for the reasons mentions earlier - boxing hassel, etc.). I was thinking that would be a good bike to get as it would be set up already to receive another kit if necessary.

    The other option is getting cool as I see one of the Crystalyte motors is available unlaced and is disc compatible. That would allow me to use the 2014 Kona Ute disc setup and the rim would match the rear. Priced at about $350. I might just get that and fill in the other parts as I get the Cash. So far I'm starting the narrowing process with respect to price, quality, availability, etc. I'm trying to keep in mind that I don't "need" this setup, but rather think it would be cool to have (and it would get used a lot).

    So far I like:

    -front hub, geared drive, disc compatible from Crytalyte
    -250-350 watts (I know 250 is small), with the geared versions appearing lighter and smaller so maybe go towards the higher wattage
    -Pedalec so need some form of sensor
    -Not sure on battery yet, but light weight for sure

    Edit - I think now that I'm not considering the used bike I'll start another thread later. That would be more appropriate.
    Last edited by Ridefreemc; 09-30-13 at 03:35 PM.
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