• “Cheaper on Ebay…” The danger of unknown E-Bikes.

    E-Bike Quality Control

    Going back a few years, it looked as if that the electric bike market was being flooded with cheap, low quality bikes that seemed destined to stall the rise of their reputation. The designs were crude and the workmanship even more so. Components used for the electrics were shoddy and nowhere near the quality standards required for consistent reliability.

    Well regarded manufacturers that had laid the foundations for electric bikes, now found themselves being undercut by inexperienced opportunists looking to make fast money. New companies seemed to be popping up every week trying to supply retailers with inferior products. Unsurprisingly, this did not last long as retailers, such as ourselves, employed a policy of quality control and assured back up for all products we sold. This led to countless containers of dodgy e-bikes without any reputable retailer to sell them. The short sighted opportunists had nowhere to turn but to sell them even cheaper than they originally planned on sites like Ebay to ensure they could at least recoup some of their investment.

    “But I can get one cheaper on Ebay?”

    This is a phrase I have heard from customers all to often over the past couple of years…and I do understand. E-Bikes are expensive and you want to look for the best deal for your money. Why would someone spend £1000+ on an e-bike when you can find one of almost identical specification for a fraction of the price?

    My answer would be for the same reason you wouldn’t buy an unbranded car that uses different engine components to nearly every other car in the country. It can be next to impossible to find like for like parts without getting super lucky. Not to mention, your local mechanic will often refuse to service or repair your car because it is unfamiliar and time consuming. On the odd occasion that a mechanic might be able to help you, be prepared to pay an astronomical fee in relation to what you paid for the car in the first place. You do get what you pay for.

    Unfortunately, despite my advice, temptation proves too much to some and they take the risk with the cheaper options that they see online. The following story will demonstrate…

    A few months ago man come into my shop looking to buy a Cylotricity Wallet. He was impressed with everything, but the price he said was a “little too high.” After a bit back and forth, he still seemed interested and said he would have a think and let me know. Two weeks later he arrived in the shop with a folding electric bike that I had never seen before. He had bought it off Ebay for a couple of hundred pounds and wanted to know why it wasn’t working. He mentioned it hasn’t worked since he bought it. Of course I had seen similar circumstances before. Maybe the controller was faulty or the battery cells had depleted as they almost certainly hadn’t been maintained. I think he knew by this point that he had made a mistake. As we began to locate the problem, I noticed the bike was a little light. I opened up the bike to inspect the electrics and battery…but there was no battery. The bike had been sold on Ebay as a bargain and advertised as a fully working electric bike…and it had no battery. Of course the embarrassed customer tried to get in contact with the seller, but to no prevail.

    Although this ranks as one of the most unfortunate stories I’ve witnessed with dodgy internet ebikes, stories of scams and rip-offs are way to common. Feel free to contact me with any questions or doubts when buying 2nd hand or new bikes. We will always be happy to help.

    Just remember…If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!