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Q: Tips and advice on buying an e-bike

I have lived in Chengdu for over 2 months now, and once I get my teaching bonus at the end of the semester, I have decided I want to buy an e-bike.  Should I buy new or used?  What do I need to look for if I buy a used bike?  As a fresh expat is there anything else in particular I need to know?

6 years 29 weeks ago in  Transport & Travel - Chengdu

 
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If, after the advice above you are still keen, find out what the laws for your city are.

 

The moto lookalike ebikes go fast and have a good range but the small ones with pedals and easily removable battery are probably the legal option and only travel at about 20 km/hr.

 

It is probable that you will have to ride on bike tracks and footpaths to obey the law.  In spite of the large number of people riding them on the roads it is foolhardy for a foreigner as mentoned above. Footpaths and bike tracks are less danger to you but the risk of hitting a pedestrian as they amble about is high. Should that happen, the world is against you.

 

Theft of ebikes isn't a concern of police and is rife, especially for foreigners.

 

Stay legal and stay out of a world of misery.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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How mechanical are you?  Are you able to pick up on problems the 2nd hand bike might have? If not it's probably better to buy new if you can afford it.

Also, I don't know from experience, but have heard that 2nd hand markets are full of stolen bikes. Just something to consider if you buy from a stranger.

 

Something I learned from friends who bought e-bikes. Or, any bike for that matter..  do you have somewhere reasonably safe to park it at night? One guy I know lost two to the thieves and other friends have lost countless mountain bikes between them.

 

Also, the battery. Take it out when you park at night because they are easily stolen.

 

 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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make sure you know the areas that you are allowed to ride the bike, some cities are restricted usage in really congested areas.

 

a new one will cost between 1200 to 4000 rmb, a used black market stolen one without a receipt can run about 200 to 800 rmb, stolen ones are usually sold just outside the city limits of a metro area where they were stolen.

 

the biggest problem is the batteries, the cheap chinese battery will have an 18th month warranty, date is on the battery, so you have to pay someone to check them, a 2 year battery imported from japan is available but so many fake copies, hard to tell what your buying for the 2 year battery. it really sucks to spend money on a used one and then replace the batteries for the cost of the ebike, check the battery dates. the lead heavy ebikes are about 500 to 1000 cheaper than the lighter lithium battery ebikes.

 

battle makes a hybrid if it is allowed in your city, a battery in the frame, battery under the seat, both with range of 50 kilometers, a gas engine on the rear for 200 km that recharges the batteries while its running or the pedal power, not a bad bike for the money, new about 3200 to 3700 depending on style and design.

also check the training english schools around you, some foreign teacher is always leaving and wanting to sell the ebike they only used for a year usually for half price to a new sucker (i mean teacher coming into china).

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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This will sound morbid but please listen and follow this advice. As part of my work I have lots of foreign students in my wechat (great source of part-time cover teachers). I am forever seeing photos of their friends in hospital with life threatening injuries as a result of e-bike accidents. They don't have the money and they are asking for donations to help their friend pay for medical treatment. No money = you die. If you insist on riding one of those death traps get medical insurance so that if you are in an accident you are less likely to die in hospital whilst they wait for you to pay.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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If, after the advice above you are still keen, find out what the laws for your city are.

 

The moto lookalike ebikes go fast and have a good range but the small ones with pedals and easily removable battery are probably the legal option and only travel at about 20 km/hr.

 

It is probable that you will have to ride on bike tracks and footpaths to obey the law.  In spite of the large number of people riding them on the roads it is foolhardy for a foreigner as mentoned above. Footpaths and bike tracks are less danger to you but the risk of hitting a pedestrian as they amble about is high. Should that happen, the world is against you.

 

Theft of ebikes isn't a concern of police and is rife, especially for foreigners.

 

Stay legal and stay out of a world of misery.

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I bought an ebike six months ago.... I would suggest sending a Chinese friend to find out the price as when the shop owner sees you the price will go up....... Expect the unexpected when your riding and keep looking around and use your mirrors and common sense and youll be fine.

 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I bought an ebike six months ago.... I would suggest sending a Chinese friend to find out the price as when the shop owner sees you the price will go up....... Expect the unexpected when your riding and keep looking around and use your mirrors and common sense and youll be fine. Barter and ask them to throw in some extras, I got fake plate, two helmets, pump, rain cape and padlock...

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Don't buy an e-bike fitted with solar panels.

 

They are a nightmare in the smog and pollution. 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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@iWolf: I live in a gated school at the edge of Chengdu, so there is virtually no possibility of theft at night. I will look into the laws, thats good to know. If I buy new I will have no concerns about a battery, as I will only stay in Chengdu for 6 more months after I buy my bike.
Now, I know you all are gonna ride me for how dumb it is to buy a bike when I’m only staying here for such a short time, but I really don’t care. The freedom of having personal transport is too great a lure for me to walk away from.
@lord_hansen: I do have medical insurance, thanks for the concern, I can see that being problematic.
@scotsalan: I realize my use of the word “expat” is slightly askew. Expat or migrant though, it doesn’t really change anything about what I said, and I don’t see why I need a reality check. Maybe I should of checked a dictionary first though. And yeah, damn right I want cheap transport.
@DirkBourne: I was going to take a Chinese friend with me. My Chinese isn’t good enough to make the deal anyway!

kikikillercat:

guards always sleep at night and schools are not safe from other students!

6 years 29 weeks ago
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iWolf:

You live in a gated school community with security guards....lol. In that case EXPECT it to be stolen. The security guard will call his brother or mates to come and steal it and he will get a couple of hundred rmb. And nicking one from a rookie white...well that just makes it all the more sweet. White people are too rich and stupid, don't you know that?

 

The only possibility of saving your bike from theft is to have a removable battery. And remove it each night. The battery is the valuable part of the bike and easy to resell.

 

One last point. You probably are only considering using it around the college and nearby areas so don't buy one that looks cool (attractive to theives). It will be stolen.

We have been through this whole scenario in the past....a few times.

 

Nowadays we have a car and motorbike but still keep the old ebike for short trips to the wet market and such. It is too uncool to steal and once the battery is removed it is basically worthless. It is similar to this gem:

https://www.hybikes.com/wp-content/flagallery/yadea-electric-bike-green-and-red/red-yadea-side.jpg

 

6 years 28 weeks ago
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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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I bought a "big" bike on the recommendation of my brother-in-law  for my first bike.

then my wife got a job and took the thing every day ...  I had to walk an hour to get it and then pick her up at quitting time.   

so I went and bought a second bike, a smaller one, ..very little in price difference. Think it was 2500 and then 2200.

big bike is on it's 3rd set of batteries at 600 each. it is used daily and often.

little bike is still on first battery and with the "turbo" boost button I have on it, it can keep up with the big bike.

they had rules here for a while about licenses and registration and insurance ......that has all gone..... as long as you have paid  (200rmb) for "insurance" you can drive the bikes.

once in a while they have a "blitz" on helmuts, or a "blitz" on driving on the proper side of the road. nobody really cares, except, I guees the idiots that do get caught., and they do get some income from their blitzes.

I think the e-bikes are a great means of transportation.

for you, 6 months and 2200 rmb , small potatoes...  do it....   I have a kaiqi and a luayun

http://en.tailg.com.cn/news_list.html

it has been 3.5 years here with the bikes I do not like my bike at home (gated place) wife thinks I am nuts, I do lock it everywhere else ..

Canadaboy22:

Great post, good to hear someone's opinion who has some experience. When you refer to "here" does that mean you are also in Chengdu? I ask for the sake of referencing regulations. I live just outside the 3rd ring of Chengdu, and it's about 15 km's to the centre of the city, one way, so I am a little worried about distancing of my bike. I plan to buy the bigger bike, for this reason. What I have heard is that a bike can go about 50 km's on a battery, and you can carry an extra battery, so you can go about 100 km's. Is this a fair estimation? I have heard much about bikes being stolen, and I am curious if you have any opinions on this. Obviously they are stolen, but I think there are certain patterns that form, that someone like yourself might be aware of. I hear of people picking them up and carrying it to their vehicle to steal. Would a cable tied to a tree, (Or something else that couldn't be carried away), be a good way to secure a bike? What are some places I should avoid leaving my bike, and what would some safe places be to leave it?

6 years 29 weeks ago
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BHGAL:

I am not in Chengdu, so laws rules and enforcement may be different. But really, I think much the same.

First thing I did with my bike….. to my wife’s dismay, is drive it ‘til it died. How far can I go? I only spent an hour at a local guys place, bowing and thanking him for his charger. (I did forget mine). I have a google kmz file of my journey .. want it?   Forget how far it was.  Tricky deal if they are used every day and not confident for 2 days, before recharging, flip a coin.

Mostly the locks are bullshit…  the thieves, the guys that steal bikes for a living, they have a truck and they take 10-20-30 at a time and a wheel  lock means nothing to them.

Gated communities have security and for the most part are just that, secure.  Leaving your bike unlocked at Walmart is not much different than anywhere else …… if a thief notices, he will do his job. Hundreds of bikes locked, he will take your unlocked one.

6 years 29 weeks ago
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kikikillercat:

you dont use the lock at night? you must be having fun gambling! Ive had an extension cord stolen from my ebike while charging, friends have had helmets stolen and rain covers, all from where they live.  you think the guards are looking at for YOU?

good luck with that.   i always keep my charger inside the seat locked when charging.

6 years 29 weeks ago
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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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ok...i have had ebikes for the past four years.. that being said, my current one for the past three years with 16,000 kms. ebikes are the best!  i have motorcyles too

everytime i visit a city i wish i had one to explore, see 1000 times more things than walking!

CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT     CONVENIENT

--quiet and always full of energy in the morning

--cheap for what you get

--batteries will last a long time and depends how many days a year you drive

--they are safer than a bicycle if you fall because you are closer to the ground (i have ridden bicycles my whole life)

IF YOU BUY ONE

--only buy new, becareful because they can cheat you by giving fewer batteries

--dont buy a small wheel one, narrow tires, they are more likely to slip on wet

--never quick charge, it will kill the battieres very quickly

--always get a discount or leave, shop around first until you think you know the price

--if while driving it just stops, or wont start, there is a switch under the seat that clicks off frequently and is very cheap to replace and break frequently.

--there is no such place as completely safe to park, but dont park near the roadside where it can be easily put into a van. at night batteries can be stolen.

--change the headlight bulb for an LED bulb, burns less energy and brighter cheap

--get one with a box on the back for grocery and helmet storage for walking about

--always wear a helmet

--never hit anyone

--get a local license plate if required, ive never bought insurance or was required on an ebike because its considered a bicycle. my motos im required to have insurance.

--usually pay 30 kuai a month to rechage as a numbered plug outlet

--put a hook under the steering column to hang groceries, look for ebike with a cup holder space

--buy a bright colored one for safety

--on longer trips charge when your eating, rest. let you charge when you eat there

--you get less distance on cold days/seasons, mine has four double size batteries so i can go 100km if i watch my speed

--hills will eat up energy 10times faster than the flats

--keep rear tire fully inflated to prevent a flat, but front time not as much so it doesnt slip

--everything you buy for you ebike or replacement part is cheap! labor is usually 5 kuai to fix almost anything. dont over pay because you have a foreign face!!!

--find a good mechanic and make friends as it will keep you from being frustrated or ripped off!

--enjoy every minute and convenience 

 

 

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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Buy a new one. My e-bike has 110 KM range at most (But I think it does about 80 or so due to stopping and stuff). It cost me 3,000 RMB when it was on sale, I recently saw it going for 4,400 RMB. Lucky me!

 

Don't go cheap on an e-bike or you will completely regret it. Buy those e-bikes that look like mopeds.

 

My 3,000 RMB when on sale (But now it's worth 4,400) does 80-90 km's in range and it is faster then 40 kmph. Pretty good if you ask me! Well worth the money!

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6 years 29 weeks ago
 
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There are some great deals on 58.com. It is China's version of Craigslist. If you buy second hand, see if you can take it to a bike shop for them to look it over. Don't forget to take your Chinese friend with you for translation purposes.

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6 years 27 weeks ago
 
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just a little more FYI

 

https://www.gvabrands.com/

 

these bikes end up in Canada ( you are Canadian, right?)  a couple years ago you could have got one at a no reserve auction for a $1  ....  under the name GIO .... now they have retailers, in Canada, that will sell you the same bike I got here in China for $400, ..in Canada $1500 minium.

 

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6 years 27 weeks ago
 
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