The tale of a £100 second hand electric bike.

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
I was on a family holiday in Devon when I spotted an Oxygen Emate City electric bike in the pedelec classified section close enough to where I live at a tempting £100 asking price. Now I have owned an Oxygen Emate city since 2011 (My first electric bike) and really like it but it has led a hard life so a spare bike to butcher for parts to keep my trusty 2011 bike going for £100 sounded a good bet.
Emate City 2 001.JPG
New Oxygen

The owner had stopped using the bike after a spoke broke in the rear wheel, and had bought a different electric bike and just left the Oxygen unused in a dusty corner of his garage. I was told the saddle had been taken off to use on another bike.

Emate City 2 010.JPG
New Oxygen

When I got there it took the owner some time to find the key for the battery, and find the charger together with a bag of bits. It looked a bit sorry for itself with quite a few wires hanging loose and disconnected, flat tyres, the saddle missing, the front light missing, and the handlebars loosened off at a 90 degree angle to take up less space making it awkward to manoeuvre over to my car and get in the back.

Emate City 2 004.JPG
New Oxygen

When I got home I put it in my own garage and that was that. A few days later I thought I would swap a brake lever over to my bike as my cut out switch had failed. I tightened up the handlebars to make it easier to move the newly acquired bike around and started to remove the brake lever. At some point I made a comparison between this newly acquired bike and my own very well used bike and thought, hang on a minute. I put the brake lever back on and reappraised my purchase.

Emate City 2 008.JPG
New Oxygen

It began to dawn on me that under the dust it was in much better nick than mine. Then I connected up the disconnected wires, removed the seat post with no saddle and the battery that I assumed was dead as dead can be. Slid the battery from my bike into place and added my seat post with saddle. Pumped up the tyres and pressed the on button.

Emate City 2 002.JPG
Re-attached front light (New Oxygen)

The display that is more sophisticated making this perhaps a later model than mine fired up. I got on board and set off up my road. The motor whirred into action and much more quietly and smoothly than I am used to with my own much loved but quite worn out bike I was away.

Emate City 2 006.JPG
New Oxygen ergonomic grip and mirror

Like any electric bike that you ride for the first time when the motor kicks in there is a grin factor. I rode it out of my road and into one with a gentle uphill, increased the assistance to maximum and with a little help from me pedalling whizzed up to an indicated 20 mph.

Emate City 2 007.JPG
Almost unused Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Back home I inverted the bike to indeed find a broken spoke in the back wheel and a very mildly buckled wheel. I have spar spokes for my bike and thought it would be easy to replace the broken one but it was the wrong size. The Oxygen labelled motor is wider than the one in my own bike. I rang Dale at Oxygen and after a bit of measuring to make sure he sent me the right length of spoke he said he would send me a few free of charge. I have always found Oxygen to be a very good company to deal with. In the meantime on a shopping errand to the Lidl I bought a saddle for a tenner.

Emate City 2 011.JPG
£10 Lidl replacement saddle

The spokes arrived and I swapped the broken one for a new one, not without some hassle. Unlike my own bike where a spoke can be changed without removing the rear wheel I ended up removing the rear wheel and also the tyre and inner tube to get at where the spokes screw into the rim. After that I put it all back together before checking and tightening where necessary all the spokes in the rear wheel.

Emate City 2 012.JPG
Spare spokes sent by Oxygen free of charge

Then by chance I came across a thread on the web site about recovering a dead battery and after reading it through thought I had nothing to lose putting the battery on charge for a few hours to see what would happen. Well after charging I attempted to turn the bike on to find it fired up with the battery indicator showing a full battery. To begin with I rode it on a few local errands but the battery seemed to hold its charge very well especially for a battery that had probably stood around for a few years.

Oxygen Emate City 001.JPG
Old Emate!

The next test was to ride it on my 10 mile road trip to work carrying two loaded panniers. Although it had a built in back light I could not figure how to turn it on and the front light was missing. I used a couple of rechargeable lights with an extra one on the back and got to work without depleting the battery completely. I charged the battery at work before my ride home which it did with about half the battery left on the charge indicator when I got home.

Then quite by chance I saw a review on a bike with the same display that included how to turn the lights on by holding a couple of the buttons down at the same time after the bike has been turned on and when I followed this advice the back light came on. I then found the front light minus the fitting screws in the bag of bits and connected it to leads on the bike to find it came on as well. Then a rummage in my nuts bolts and washers bin and I attached the front light and now have both front and rear lights working as they should.

I have so far done six return trips to work and 120 miles with no issues. The mileage recorded on the bike when I got it was 500. Rather than having two electric bikes (I also own a crank drive hardtail Yamaha Mountain bike) and a third spare parts Oxygen Emate to keep my old Oxygen going I now have two Oxygen Emates, a hardly used one and my own beloved very used one as well as a Haibike.

The no longer spare parts Emate also came with what appears to be almost new Schwalbe Marathon plus tyres, good quality ergonomic grips and a rear view mirror. Strange the way life works sometimes. So far it has cost £100 for the bike and £10 for the saddle and a big thank you to Dale at Oxygen for sending some of the correct spokes free of charge. I really do not look at the classified section on the pedelec site that much but I am pleased I did on this occasion.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
If anyone has an idea what model year this bike is I would be interested to know.

Also if there is an instruction manual for LC Display showing how all the functions work. Now that I have managed to get the lights on who knows what other exiting functions I am unaware of!
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
Just a quick update. I have just used my £100 Emate for three return trips to work and 60 miles in total. They were early starts in cold temperatures and some persistent light rain on one trip carrying my normal two loaded panniers and 100kg plus me. The bike was as I bought her with original battery.

The bike performed very well. I used the highest assist level 5 and cruised on the flat on slightly up slightly down gradients at an indicated 18.5 to 21.5 mph and averaged around 18.5 mph. The battery does sag quite badly on steep hills but then recovers when the load reduces after the hill. I do climb one vicious but short hill which is never ideal on an older hub motor but steadily climb it in bottom gear with me pushing hard on the peddles.

On the steepest downhill (vicious hill reverse direction) I briefly hit 35mph.

The battery sag is letting me know that it has been effected by its unused garage storage but I am amazed it works at all and that it can still get a heavy rider and loaded panniers 10 miles at highest assist in cold and wet winter temperatures is pretty amazing and all I need it to do.

My biggest concern is that prior to these trips and after I had replaced the broken spoke it came with in the rear wheel it broke another two spokes again in the rear hub motor wheel that I have replaced with the ones sent to me by Oxygen, however I know that getting to a point where the wheel is in good enough shape not to break spokes can take a bit of time (and spokes) for an amateur like me, though I have succeeded on another rear hub motored bike.

I think the previous owner must have either banged up a curb way too hard or hit something as now that I have ridden the bike more I can see that both the front and rear wheels are buckled in a similar way that indicates hitting something.

On the longer flatter sections the bike is an absolute joy as the motor is almost silent with me in a nice pedaling rhythm sitting at an indicated 20mph.
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
5,580
2,068
Basildon
That bike dates back to around 2011 or 2012. Battery sag was normal due to cells in it which are not as good as what you can get today.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
Just managed a record average speed of 19.6 miles an hour for my 10 mile hilly B road return from work. Quite remarkable. It was up to 20.3 to within a quarter mile from home but unfortunately that last bit includes a steep hill. Carrying a 100kg plus of little old me and two panniers.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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GeorgeHenry this is still a great story of a cheap used bike, just goes to show what can be had.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
On Saturday I finished five days of commuting to work and back and 100 miles and am now 20 miles shy of my first 500 miles on my £100 Oxygen and the display shows that it is about to reach 1000 miles from new whenever that was, probably 2011 or there abouts.

Although I have had to replace a few more broken spokes, after doing so I checked all the spokes in the rear wheel again and found quite a few had become loose and needed re tensioning again.

Although not too scientific I used a screw driver tapped against each spoke and listened to the tone to get a idea of how much tightening was required and to ensure each spoke was adding some strength to the wheel.

Anyway it felt much better afterwards and there have been no mishaps with the wheel commuting this week. I ran out of my first "good will" package of spokes that Dale at Oxygen sent me and have bought 20 more at 20p each though the postage adds to that cost, but still not going to break the bank!

I did not get on with the cheap Lidl saddle and got a velo saddle similar to that I have on my Haibike that suits me much better.

Something that could have been a bit of a disaster on my Friday morning commute was saved by having a throttle.

Climbing a steep hill with still 4 miles to go the chain broke. I retrieved it from the road, and although I do carry a split link did not fancy finding it and doing the repair in the dark by the side of the road in the dark.

The throttle got me to work and shows how useful an un restricted throttle can be as an emergency get you home, or in my case to work devise if you get a problem that means you cannot peddle.

Anyway the chain was back on for the ride home and to work the next day.

This is the first bike I have ridden with a twist change gear change on the left hand handle bar and although it works it is quite stiff and needs to be held to avoid it changing gear involuntarily in the middle gears. It stays in gear in top or bottom gear. A squirt of silicon lubricant has helped.

Luckily top gear gets used most on my commute and bottom for the steeper hills and all the other gears work although you need to gently hold the gear change twist control with your hand. I may change it at some point but it is far from urgent.

My confidence has grown in the original battery especially after it got 100kg plus of me and my panniers 4 miles to work using just the throttle on Friday.

For commuting to work and back on the road a rear hub motored bike like this works very well and is very relaxing to ride cruising along on flatter gradients in the 18 to 22 mph range.

I now intend to share the commuting to work duties between this bike and my crank drive Haibike, using the Haibike whenever my start time allows me to use my fabulous off road routes to work and the Oxygen when I need travel on the road there and back.

I ride about 2500 miles a year to work and back and splitting this between these two bikes will mean about 1250 miles on each annually, although I expect to do a few more on the Haibike which is up to 10,810 miles since I bought it in March 2015.

The other Oxygen will continue to be used for all the local errands and shopping trips.
 

georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
Super Sub, the tale continues.....
fairclough.jpg
I have used my super sub £100 Oxygen to ride to work and back yesterday and today. Such a comfortable and relaxing bike to ride on my 20 mile B road return trip. I spend most of my time in top gear cruising along at around 20mph in maximum assist.

When I got the bike in November 2018 the previous owner had covered an indicated 500 miles from around 2011 before throwing it into a dark corner of his garage.

I have now ridden the bike 516 miles, so I have now ridden it slightly further in the six months than the previous owner and cannot see any reason why I cannot continue to ride her a lot further still.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
11,541
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David Fairclough remember him from the 70's, fantastic sub to bring on.

Sadly back in the day he never qualified for many winners medals as he never started enough games.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
I got reacquainted with my super sub £100 Oxygen.

I rode to work and back for three early shifts. 60 miles in total.

What a lovely bike it is for commuting on the road. The simple cadence system provides full power and you add the pedal power, and whiz along on flatter gradients in a very relaxed way but deceptively fast staying around 20mph, a bit more on the slightly down gradients and a bit less on the slightly up gradients.

My route also has a few hills and one vicious but short one and as the speed reduces the motor support seems also to reduce although the display shows a lot of watts are being supplied, 500 or just over. The vicious hill requires bottom gear and me pedaling as hard as I can and although the motor still helps it feels a bit like a car going up a hill in too high a gear.

The best approach with medium hills is to try and hold onto your speed to keep the motor working efficiently.

There is a medium hill to climb right at the start of my journey home and with my effort it quickly builds speed and holds between 15 and 19mph, so it is really only hills beyond a certain gradient that are more of a problem.

I now use it with its original battery as although it sags quite badly on hills the bike never cuts out and it gets me to work using full assistance. I charge it back to full at work before riding it home. Judging by the battery gauge the bike has to work a bit harder getting me to work than getting me home.

But I still can average above 19mph and not much more than 30 minutes for my 10 mile journey. Going home after work in the sunshine in shorts and a tee shirt is great fun.

And even though it is a simple cadence system I still get a decent work out, just in a very relaxed way.

Long may it continue.

I have now done about 850 miles and the bike had 500 miles on it when I bought it, so this circa 2011 bike has now covered a modest 1350 miles in total.
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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GH got to be the best bargain bike on the forum, good you are still getting usage out of what is a perfectly good running bike. A £100 bike that is certainly worth a lot more.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
£100 ebike comes to the rescue.

Last week I was looking forward to three consecutive off road rides to work on my Haibike, returning home on the road.

Sadly it only managed one and then only just! To be fair to the bike I do tend to push components right to the end of their life and in this case perhaps too far.

The narrow wide chain ring that I have been very impressed with finally decided enough was enough. I should have kept a closer eye on it. I knew it was getting quite worn. It died a noble death by getting me back home, just, after a paltry 3,600 miles of riding. You just can't get quality components these days!

The warning signs were there as it had uncharacteristically dropped the chain a couple of times on the way to work and then was a bugger to get the chain to stay on going home on the road.

But no need to despair in my household as I have my supper sub £100 second hand bike primed or should I say charged and ready to come on. After that analogy I am quite tempted to use the David Fairclough picture again. Yes I will use the David Fariclough picture again.

fairclough.jpg

So two consecutive rides to work and back on the road on my super sub £100 Oxygen it was. In daylight in the afternoon and at a time when there were a few roadies out and about as well. I knew they were going to love her! Cheat one cried as I eased past on a slight uphill incline. I'm not cheating, I'm commuting I replied. Give us a tow he then shouted as the gap began to grow. "Only if you catch me up", I replied. In fairness all in extremely good nature and great fun.

I have to say I had as much fun riding this bike on the road as I do off road on The Haibike.

As I write this "The Haibike" is restored to good health with a new chain ring as well as a new chain and cassette to boot. Extravagance I hear you cry. It even has a new gear cable and two new brake pads. I even went so far as to remove the quite worn but still serviceable to my eye, rear tyre, (only 6,500 miles, I might keep it just in case) and replaced it with the one from the front (also over 6,000 miles covered) but still looking in surprisingly good shape having led an easy life, on the front.

The Haibike will have to wait its turn as coming up next starting on Wednesday is a possible 5 early start return trips to work and back on the road and a total of 120 miles that will be done on my super sub.
 
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Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
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You should do the Oxygen an honour and rename it David but others you meet won't understand why it is your super sub.
 
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georgehenry

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
866
824
Surrey
So today I have just completed 4 return trips to work and 80 miles.

Early morning rides to work on the road, work in between, and then afternoon rides on the road home.

Such a great bike for this task. So relaxing to ride.

Some darkness, some dawn, some sunshine and today a little rain on the way home.

My last day of work is tomorrow but I am on stand by at home so today was my last ride in before a few days off.

The irony of this bike is that despite its 2011 vintage it has had such little use and done so few miles compared to my other bikes, that it feels like the newest bike I own.