Worry-free used e-bikes? This is how Upway delivers refurbished e-bikes!

While you can still make a rough estimate of the quality of used bicycles quite well, it is much more difficult with e-bikes! French start-up Upway offers used e-bikes that are equipped with new parts, a new warranty, and if required, new batteries. We were on location in Berlin’s Speckgürtel and took a look at how exactly this model works!

As a kid who always relied on a two-wheeler to get to school, I was exposed to bike repair from an early age. Even though my repairs were neither complex nor always successful, deep down inside, there is a certain DIY fascination with bikes. Most of it is mechanical, with only the lights connected to the dynamo via two cables. But in 2023, you will need to have some serious talent to tackle the “mechatronics” that can be found on many bikes.

Meanwhile, I would not trust myself to assess the condition of an e-bike before buying a used model. What if the battery loses power after a few hundred miles? What is the likelihood that there will be an electronics failure tomorrow because the cables are poorly soldered? And how well do the brakes work when I’m riding downhill at 25 km/h on a 30-kilogram bike?

Refurbished trend spills over to e-bikes

French start-up Upway has recognized this problem and has already established itself in France and the Netherlands as a provider of refurbished e-bikes. Upway buys used e-bikes from private individuals, companies, rental service providers, and others, performing all the necessary checks on the essential components before offering them for sale online with an additional one-year warranty.

As usual, when it comes to refurbished products, these tend to retail at a significant discount compared to the recommended retail price.

Upway team
Workshop manager Dario König and co-founder Stéphane Ficaja. / © NextPit

Compared to buying a new e-bike, this is not only cheaper but you’re also foregoing transcontinental delivery routes and, in many cases, the manufacturing of new batteries. How do the prices of refurbished bikes compare to the MSRP? I decided to do some research on selected models to find out for myself. By doing so, I based the MSRP on the online pricing instead of relying on the information provided by Upway itself.

Upway’s refurbished bikes price comparison

ModelRefurbished priceMSRPSavings
Cube Nuraroad Hybird C:62 E-road bike€3,499.00€4,499.0033 %
Moustache Friday 28:7 E-road bike€3,399.00€5,599.0040 %
Lapierre E-Explorer 6.5€2,249.00€3,199.0049 %
KTM Macina Lycan 27.1€2,749.00€5,299.0049 %
Babboe Pro Cargo€2,549.00€3,149.0020 %
Cube Hybrid Cargo€4,799.00€5,199.008 %
Winora Sinus 9€2,299.00€3,599.0046 %
Fischer Viator 4.0i€1,399.00€2,499.0045 %

How many kilometers have the respective bikes already clocked up varies greatly at Upway. You should pay attention to this when buying if you want to buy a bike that has the lowest mileage possible, just like cars. In some cases, however, it is quite attractive to see just how much the price has dropped considering a mileage of less than 50 kilometers.

Another advantage is how the sustainability of e-bikes is said to be significantly higher than that of new bikes according to Upway. In terms of quality, the e-bikes are in no way inferior to a new one,  apart from a few scratches and other cosmetic defects. But how does the business model work?

To find out, I visited Upway a few weeks ago at its new location in Berlin. Workshop manager Dario König and co-founder Stéphane Ficaja initiated me into the art of e-bike refurbishment. Since my camera was also interested, you can watch my impressions in video. I do hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes banter. 

What do you think about the idea of buying a refurbished e-bike? Would you be brave enough to take the plunge or does it necessarily have to be new for you?

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