The tale of a £100 second hand electric bike.


Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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£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.

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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.

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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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Finding my (electric) wheels
Oct 30, 2016
What a great find. Nice story. It's nice when a bit of good luck comes you're way.


Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
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!


Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
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.


Jun 12, 2011
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.


Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 7, 2015
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.


Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
West Sx RH
GeorgeHenry this is still a great story of a cheap used bike, just goes to show what can be had.
Sep 19, 2018
Hi Guys
Its great to hear posative stories regards our bikes. Great find georgehenry and we was more than happy to help !

Team Oxygen