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What to Consider When Buying a Used E-MTB

What to Consider When Buying a Used E-MTB

Used E-MTB
Cash crunch shouldn’t deter you from buying a new E-MTB, as used rigs offer a viable alternative that’s better for your bank balance. We’ve rounded up the top tips and tricks to look out for when buying a used E-MTB to make sure you don’t get hit with a lot of unforeseen repair bills!

Whether you’re buying shiny new or used, there are a few issues that shouldn’t be ignored. Where am I going to ride this bike? How am I going to ride? Finally, what is my budget? Which is better for me to buy a hardtail or a full suspension? This may seem like a minefield of choices, but we have some much-needed advice in our buyer’s guide in issue 009.

However, for those who ruled out new models, these are the basic criteria to consider for old and new bikes:

Which used bike should I buy?

If the bike doesn’t meet your needs or just isn’t suitable for delivering cargo, there’s no benefit to discovering amazing deals on E-MTB online. First, check exactly what model is on offer and do your research – our review should be your first port of call. We have tested most markets over the years and we have collected this information on our website.

But where do I even start looking for the right E-MTB?
There are various ways to find used E-MTB, such as through local dealers, friends of friends, or sites like Ebay or Gumtree. But no matter where you find your dream bike, don’t hand over any cash unless you’ve given it a test ride and a thorough inspection.

Before you start blistering your potential new bike, it’s worth clarifying the following questions with the seller:

How old is the bike?

The newer the better. E-MTBs are undergoing rapid technological advancement, so younger bikes tend to have better geometry, better components, and better motors. This leads us to recommend that you avoid anything that is more than two years old. It sounds harsh, but it’s worth it.

How many kilometers did you ride?

The more the U rides, the more wear and tear it may have. Here, it’s also worth discovering the terrain the rider is on. Many hill climbs and descents can affect gears, brakes and tires. If the bike is heavily ridden, the brake pads will need to be replaced every 500 to 1,000 kilometers, and the chain will need to be replaced every 1,500 to 2,500 kilometers.

When was the last repair?

Any bicycle should be serviced at least once a year. This includes suspensions that will have fluid replaced, as well as brakes that use DOT fluid. Also, there may have been updates to the motor software that may already be available and should be done by a qualified dealer.

Used E-MTB
Have any worn parts been replaced?
While some wear on the drivetrain, brakes and tires is to be expected, it is critical to replace them properly.

Has anything changed other than the worn parts?

Too many parts on an E-MTB may render its CE code invalid. This could create an ambiguous legal situation for dealers who replace parts, who would legally be considered the manufacturer and thus vulnerable to legal action in the event of an accident. As the end consumer, it is important not to add inappropriate parts to the bike that could compromise safety.

Why sell bikes?

Go with your intuition. Does the seller want to get rid of the bike because it’s faulty, or is there a legitimate reason?

Is the bike tuned?
Motor tuning is illegal and will void all manufacturer warranties and licenses to operate. Tuning also puts excessive stress on the battery and motor, which means they will age faster than they would with normal use. Modified bikes are not acceptable!

Your site checklist!
Even if the seller makes you bend over with laughter and may be your new partner, don’t forget the importance of test-driving and overhauling the bike. We recommend that you print the list below and keep it in your pocket as a reminder of what’s important. Your first impressions also matter; if the bike is still covered in dirt and thrown to the ground in a hurry, chances are the owner is also lax on maintenance. It’s also easier to spot defects on a clean bike.

The frame is the foundation on which the E-MTB lives and thrives, so watch out for any damage to the paint job or welds. You can never be 100% sure about a carbon fiber frame, but the absence of any visible damage is certainly a good sign. Heavy exposure to mud, dirty conditions, and flying debris can cause wear and damage, which obviously means this bike has experienced some serious off-road use, so it could be showing signs of wear. The battery and motor covers should fit securely in the frame without any rattling. Visually, there shouldn’t be any signs of wear here. Minor scratches on the cover are negligible, but any distortion or cracks on the outside of the motor or in the battery compartment should be a wake-up call.

Test No. I: Gently lift and lower the bike from a height of approximately 5 cm. Any clicks could indicate a loose battery in the mount, worn suspension bushings, or maybe just a loose screw. Whatever it is, try to figure it out.

Test No. II: Here’s a simple trick: push the rear wheel into the ground and pull the bike up through the frame. Listen to how it moves; any clicks, squeaks or clicks should set off an alarm bell. Check the bolts with the seller if there are any rattles. If there is still play afterward, it may be that the bearing has improved or the bushing on the rear shock has blown.

Motor and battery
First the good news: unlike combustion engines, electric motors do not require any regular maintenance (only changing the belts of the BROSE unit after 15,000 km), as they have a much smaller number of moving parts prone to wear. However, every time you recharge the battery there is an impact — albeit a small one. Take a Bosch battery for example: after 500 charges, it is only 60-70% of its original capacity (as stated by the manufacturer). The number of charge cycles experienced by the battery can be determined by a qualified dealer. The same dealer can also tell you how far the bike has been. Specialized’s Mission Control app provides users with the opportunity to check the status of their smartphone’s battery. Ask the seller where they store their batteries during the winter. Low temperatures can lead to premature aging, so ideally in a moderately warm space, you have about 80% battery life remaining. It’s not a good sign if the bike and battery are left in the woodshed for twelve months of the year.

Used E-MTB
The drivetrain and gears are under a lot of stress on the E-MTB, so wear and tear is almost certain. Rely on the chain wear guide, which will tell you the actual condition of your chain (since actual wear is usually invisible to the naked eye). This gadget can realistically check the action of the bike. If the chain does wear out, you can safely predict that the chainring and cassette will be out too. Switch all the gears during the test drive and make sure the chain doesn’t slip out of the gears – that means some serious wear.

The brakes are the most vulnerable part of the E-MTB. A quick look at the caliper will show the amount remaining on the pad. The rotor will show its age by changing color and markings. Pull them a few times to see how their bite points are defined. This bike does require a 200mm rotor in the front, but always keep a little budget for upgrades – discs plus adapters count at 50 euros.

No matter what size hoops you ride, there is still a risk of denting the rim, worn hub bearings, loss of spoke tension, cracks in the hub flange, and nipple problems. Fortunately, these are the problems you can spot before you put them in your pocket. Check that the wheel is running correctly by wrapping the cable ties around the chainstays and watching for proper contact with the rim as the wheel spins. Sometimes the tire is not straight and the wheel may still be in good condition.

Tires will always wear out a bit, but check that they have enough tread. Both the rolling surfaces and sidewalls need to be thoroughly inspected for any tears or damage.

Checking this involves several angles: first, make sure no fluid is leaking from the bushings during compression; then check that the struts aren’t scratched or dented; move to the red rebound dials and turn them to see how they fit both suspensions The effect of how fast the unit rebounds; finally, think about how responsive the fork is, or how dry it feels. Don’t forget to ask when it was last serviced.

In the event of a crash, the cockpit and other contact points tend to suffer the most, so they are usually the strongest. Check that the bars are wide enough, measuring at least 740mm.

dropper post
Of note here is whether it sags under load. Watch how reliably and easily it rises and falls. A little sideways play is fairly common, but make sure it’s not too extreme. If it is difficult to extend or lower, the seat clamp may be too tight. Unscrew it and use the torque key to tighten it properly – does this improve the way the dropper works?

test drive
Any car purchase goes hand in hand with a test drive, and the same applies to the E-MTB. Take note of your riding position and see how it feels. Don’t be afraid to raise or lower the saddle to better accommodate you. Does the frame feel the right size? A test drive is also your chance to test how the motor works, shift gears and try the brakes. Listen carefully for any sounds coming from the bike – notably rattling or clicking when starting or using the suspension.

If you are looking for a new way of commuting or want a healthier lifestyle, we are here to help you. Visit our website to learn more about electric bikes and electric scooter or please leave information to us.