Obsolescence

George S.

Well-Known Member
I bought a Prodeco X3 three years ago. It was not a very responsive bike, kind of funny handling, but it was great exercise during a recovery. Looking at that basic kind of bike now, I see some problems. For one thing, the LiFePo battery is now pretty much obsolete. I don't think they sell them, but maybe as parts. The last time I checked, it was going for $800. I sold the bike a while ago, for about that. I'm thinking if the value of the bike is about the value of a repair, it is 'totalled'.

It was very easy to jump the connection on the X3. I put connectors on the bike and an Xt60 on the other end. The battery I used had the other side of the Xt60. For a while I used a LiPo pack I made, even though the X3 battery still worked. In the last year, a lot of other battery options have become available.

One issue is that the X3 was a 36 volt system. I didn't need to go beyond that, since it was set for 750 watts and that was fine. Right now, 36 volt battery packs are getting harder to find.

How many ebikes become obsolete when the owner can't or won't (price) pay for a new battery pack. If the old pack is done, what are the options?

How many bikes can be easily adapted to a different battery pack of the right voltage (and big enough to deliver the needed amps?)

I wish/hope that many manufacturers who have 3 or 5 year old ebikes out there, and know they are only marginally supported, if they are supported at all, will 'open up' their bikes to third party packs. Or just supply an adapter kit and a more basic battery.

I bought a 52v Luna Mini and decided there were great options for a pack you just hang on the bike. The Mini will go in a very tidy seat bag, a sweet leather handlebar bag, and a lot of other places. The Mini is a nice design. It's not great if you need a 36v pack, since it is only a 52v pack. It wouldn't ruin the look of a nice bike, though I don't know what you do with the mount or the old pack. Maybe clear the cells out and just hang it on the bike. Some people say rebuild the packs, but I am very dubious about the costs.

There have been rapid changes in ebikes over the past few years. The BH Neo I looked at three years ago had a weak motor and a 9 AH by 36 volt battery. That is tiny. Motors are stronger, and batteries are bigger. The shift to 48v is a big change.

I wonder how much that 2013 Neo, sticker $2700, is worth now? What would a replacement battery cost? Could I buy one? Would it be reasonable to buy one?

If these older bikes could be renewed with a small external battery pack, something that would blend in, what would happen? Could the connections be made to these manufactured ebikes? Would a $200 battery pack add a few years to the lifespan of an ebike like this, or would other issues doom it? What about other parts? Should they shift to an aftermarket type system?

I don't think the bikes I looked at 36 months ago are worth much now. But they probably work pretty well, now, if they could be patched up with low cost parts. Maybe they could be refurbished. That 2013 Neo would be worth about $600 to me, if the battery was good. That's not a lot of money, but do we want to junk these bikes?

When I sold the X3 I gave the new owner a jumper and a cable, explaining he just needed a 36v battery if the one on the bike failed. It made me feel better, knowing what the replacement cost from the manufacturer.

But what is the long term plan as ebikes age?
 

Dave C

New Member
I just bought a 2016 Haibike SDuro (Yamaha PW + 400W battery). Consistent with your post, I probably did more research on the battery, including all the concerns you noted, than the bike and motor combined. It's the one component that will absolutely decline and fail over time from day one. The points I looked at: Haibike, they should be around awhile for warranty and replacement parts (check). Their new line is backward compatible (check). Their pack appears to be accessible for rebuilding (check). I also bought from a long standing dealer that doubles manufacturer warranties on ebikes.

On your point about cost, to buy a second battery pack is $900! It is so expensive, it is better to buy a 2nd, complete Haibike hardtail version for ~$1800 (closeout price) just to get the pack plus a complete bike of spare parts, including the exact same motor! I could probably ebay all the parts except the battery and get my $1800 back. Even as I type this I'm thinking about it.

On your point about rebuilding, I researched that too. Seems the going rate to replace 18650 cells will run about half the cost of the new pack and you just need to look around for someone who does this work. The batteries run $5-6 each and there are 40. Shipping can be costly with the weight and hazardous charges. I understand it's not even that hard to rebuild if the case is "openable". I'm actually looking forward to doing it myself, getting a battery spot welder, and even upgrading the capacity. When I bought the bike never having seen one, I zoomed in on the battery pics to see that the case was screwed together. If it is also glued, I can't tell but I even found a pic of an opened case that showed the battery framework.

I recall seeing there are some bikes that don't even have a removable pack anymore. They're integrated into the down tube. 3-4 years from now what will the cost be to replace those cells?
 

bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
The e-bike solution as an ecological revolution needs a cost lowering evolution. Bikes and batteries are too expensive for the typical person interested in economical-ecological transportation. Manufacturers are missing the demand potential for e-bikes.
 

bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
I bought a Prodeco X3 three years ago. It was not a very responsive bike, kind of funny handling, but it was great exercise during a recovery. Looking at that basic kind of bike now, I see some problems. For one thing, the LiFePo battery is now pretty much obsolete. I don't think they sell them, but maybe as parts. The last time I checked, it was going for $800. I sold the bike a while ago, for about that. I'm thinking if the value of the bike is about the value of a repair, it is 'totalled'.

It was very easy to jump the connection on the X3. I put connectors on the bike and an Xt60 on the other end. The battery I used had the other side of the Xt60. For a while I used a LiPo pack I made, even though the X3 battery still worked. In the last year, a lot of other battery options have become available.

One issue is that the X3 was a 36 volt system. I didn't need to go beyond that, since it was set for 750 watts and that was fine. Right now, 36 volt battery packs are getting harder to find.

How many ebikes become obsolete when the owner can't or won't (price) pay for a new battery pack. If the old pack is done, what are the options?

How many bikes can be easily adapted to a different battery pack of the right voltage (and big enough to deliver the needed amps?)

I wish/hope that many manufacturers who have 3 or 5 year old ebikes out there, and know they are only marginally supported, if they are supported at all, will 'open up' their bikes to third party packs. Or just supply an adapter kit and a more basic battery.

I bought a 52v Luna Mini and decided there were great options for a pack you just hang on the bike. The Mini will go in a very tidy seat bag, a sweet leather handlebar bag, and a lot of other places. The Mini is a nice design. It's not great if you need a 36v pack, since it is only a 52v pack. It wouldn't ruin the look of a nice bike, though I don't know what you do with the mount or the old pack. Maybe clear the cells out and just hang it on the bike. Some people say rebuild the packs, but I am very dubious about the costs.

There have been rapid changes in ebikes over the past few years. The BH Neo I looked at three years ago had a weak motor and a 9 AH by 36 volt battery. That is tiny. Motors are stronger, and batteries are bigger. The shift to 48v is a big change.

I wonder how much that 2013 Neo, sticker $2700, is worth now? What would a replacement battery cost? Could I buy one? Would it be reasonable to buy one?

If these older bikes could be renewed with a small external battery pack, something that would blend in, what would happen? Could the connections be made to these manufactured ebikes? Would a $200 battery pack add a few years to the lifespan of an ebike like this, or would other issues doom it? What about other parts? Should they shift to an aftermarket type system?

I don't think the bikes I looked at 36 months ago are worth much now. But they probably work pretty well, now, if they could be patched up with low cost parts. Maybe they could be refurbished. That 2013 Neo would be worth about $600 to me, if the battery was good. That's not a lot of money, but do we want to junk these bikes?

When I sold the X3 I gave the new owner a jumper and a cable, explaining he just needed a 36v battery if the one on the bike failed. It made me feel better, knowing what the replacement cost from the manufacturer.

But what is the long-term plan as e-bikes age?
The EG Zurich 350IX was a fabulous ride and could continue to be just fine but for the cost of replacing the battery.
What discourages me most is a limited accessibility for replacement batteries and their cost. EG doesn't offer a battery upgrade, but for $580 they can supply a replacement battery with less capacity. A 10.6Ah-36V battery to replace the original 12Ah battery, what's up with that?
 

Trail Cruiser

Well-Known Member
There is a huge potential for business opportunity on battery replacements on old ebikes as well as current models. Competition is good for consumers.
 

dermbrian

New Member
This is why I continue to bide my time and look at after-market friction drive systems like the Rubbee and ShareRoller and Add-e. It's better to have an accessory be obsolete instead of the bike itself, which surely should be expected to have a usable life in the tens of thousands of miles. Without the manufacturer commitment to decade-long support and parts I can't treat an e-bike as anything other than an expensive hobby with some short-term value.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
What would a replacement battery cost? Could I buy one? Would it be reasonable to buy one?

Yes, you could get a replacement pack.
It costs $390 for 36V, 12Ah pack and it lasts 3-4 years easily with good care.
Whether it is Bosch or Yamaha or BH, one can get replacement packs through their dealers.

$350- $400 spread over 3 years is peanuts compared to the benefits one gets from E-bikes. In the case of Yamaha or Bosch, it is still worth it compared to what one would spend on medical care and the important thing is, one has to use E-bike regularly. Then, cost becomes irrelevant. That's why in countries like Netherlands, E-bikes are lot more expensive and people are willing to pay $4k for a good quality bike.

USA runs it's own tough brand of capitalism where certain technologies like E-bikes doesn't carry the competitive edge they have in EU.
 

Dave C

New Member
Yes, you could get a replacement pack.
It costs $390 for 36V, 12Ah pack and it lasts 3-4 years easily with good care.
Whether it is Bosch or Yamaha or BH, one can get replacement packs through their dealers.

Point me to the $390 Haibike Yamaha battery. I'm seeing $900 in California. Even on a UK site it's 650 pounds.
 
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pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
I have noted that the easy motion and haibike ebikes with the Yamaha motor do appear to have the same external battery packs on the 2017 models (and are the same ad prior year models). This is definitely something the motor companies for these bikes are at least giving some consideration to add the market grows.

Keeping a standard mount year to year and building in backwards compatibility for those upgrading in the future will be a big selling point in a few years time.
 

bikerjohn

Well-Known Member
This is why I continue to bide my time and look at after-market friction drive systems like the Rubbee and ShareRoller and Add-e. It's better to have an accessory be obsolete instead of the bike itself, which surely should be expected to have a usable life in the tens of thousands of miles. Without the manufacturer commitment to decade-long support and parts I can't treat an e-bike as anything other than an expensive hobby with some short-term value.
Well, there is no real obsolescence with an ebike which is equipped with a hub motor. The bike remains operable and can be converted over to a standard bicycle or modified with a crank or friction e-drive system without too much hassle.

From my perspective, it comes down to price and availability of a replacement battery. Battery life, replacement availability, and replacement cost are the weak links for all e-bikes whether hub, crank or friction drive. However, an e-bike even without a battery continues to be rideable, albeit a heavier bike than a typical non-electric bike. Stripping off the added weight of a controller and battery can make a very sturdy but slower mode of transportation. A conversion kit may be the best upfront value.
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
Yes, you could get a replacement pack.
It costs $390 for 36V, 12Ah pack and it lasts 3-4 years easily with good care.
Whether it is Bosch or Yamaha or BH, one can get replacement packs through their dealers.

$350- $400 spread over 3 years is peanuts compared to the benefits one gets from E-bikes. In the case of Yamaha or Bosch, it is still worth it compared to what one would spend on medical care and the important thing is, one has to use E-bike regularly. Then, cost becomes irrelevant. That's why in countries like Netherlands, E-bikes are lot more expensive and people are willing to pay $4k for a good quality bike.

USA runs it's own tough brand of capitalism where certain technologies like E-bikes doesn't carry the competitive edge they have in EU.

http://www.motostrano.com/BOSCH-Electric-Bike-System-Parts-s/8181.htm

So that would be a Lenny price? He doesn't advertise it. The Motosrano price is much higher.

Can I really buy a bike today and count on your price? If they shift to 48v systems will they catalog older 36v? Should people be able to plug in a 36v battery, not that brand?

We went through this with cameras and proprietary batteries and chipped batteries.
 

pxpaulx

Well-Known Member
http://www.motostrano.com/BOSCH-Electric-Bike-System-Parts-s/8181.htm

So that would be a Lenny price? He doesn't advertise it. The Motosrano price is much higher.

Can I really buy a bike today and count on your price? If they shift to 48v systems will they catalog older 36v? Should people be able to plug in a 36v battery, not that brand?

We went through this with cameras and proprietary batteries and chipped batteries.

I'm sure it is a Lenny price...but for the easy motion 36v 9ah battery you were originally asking about maybe? I would guess a Bosch or Yamaha replacement would be higher.
 

flymeaway

Well-Known Member
But what is the long term plan as ebikes age?
Stick with DIY, the parts are easily accessible and not specific to the bike. The BH Emotion Neo's are a great example. The Carbon I have needs a new battery pack and I cringe thinking of the replacement cost. On any of my DIY builds if the battery I'm using is no longer available, just swap out the mount and install the new available battery, usually at a lower cost.

Court J.
 

JohnT

Active Member
Battery swapping and rebuilding isn't trivial.

Anyone involved in DIY should have enough knowledge to make smart choices about a swap, but most production bike buyers don't want to spend that kind of time learning the technical stuff. However, if you're looking at off-the-shelf battery packs, most vendors can help you make the right choice.

Building or rebuilding a battery pack is a lot more complex. There are many qualified professionals with the skills to safely build a pack, but as in any new industry, there are some out there without much experience, who are still learning the ropes. Here, you need to be especially sure you trust whomever you choose to do the work.