Since we often get the question why we believe bike-as-a-service is better for you than buying a bike, we have made some calculations for you. We’ve put a lot of time in it, it took us hours to write some random formulas on the board. It’s seems a long read but bear with us!
First of all, we need to make some assumptions. We compare our eBike subscription, with a similar quality model “retail” electric bicycle of which the price is somewhere between the €1,500-€1,900. We can already hear you thinking “but I saw an electric bike on Alibaba for €900 + shipping”. Of course, there are cheaper bikes in the market but the difference in quality will be huge. That means your costs for maintenance, part replacement and electronic replacements (battery, motor) will increase significantly the worse the quality of the bike. We would never recommend buying cheap, as in the long run it will only become more expensive. When you purchase an electric bicycle, always make sure to check the warranty on the battery and try to read some reviews in terms of their customer service. It can take weeks or months if you send the battery back to the manufacturer that is under warranty. Otherwise, you will need to purchase a replacement. For a decent quality battery with some capacity, the cost will already be around the €300 retail.
We look at a timeline of 2 years, from a newly purchased bicycle. The bFlex subscription is easy: 24 months x €58 = €1,392. We also have a booking fee at the start of the subscription which is €9. Meaning that the total costs for the eBike subscription will be €1,401. Now the purchased bicycle. As said the retail price will be somewhere around €1,500-€1,900. The difference is not so much the quality of the bike but the brand you choose. In our scenario we will go with the cheapest brand and pay the €1,500. Since the quality of the bicycle is average, there will be less maintenance than with a lower quality bike. The battery will have an expected lifetime of 36 months, the last year however it will have a much lower output. During the two years that we take in calculation, we estimate that you need to spend €70 on brake pads and brake adjustments, €100 on the chain replacement, cassette or freewheel replacement, gear adjustments, oils etc. Finally, €20 to replace two flat tires. We do not consider spare parts replacements, truing of spokes, cabling, tires, battery replacement, etc. as this is expected to be needed after the two years.
In the best-case scenario, that means for the purchased bicycle you will pay €1,690 vs. the price of our all-inclusive and flexible subscription €1,401. Aside from the actual price difference, bFlex has another advantage: it’s easy to budget. You know exactly each month what you will need to pay. There are no surprises. What if with your own bicycle the battery does break and needs replacement? Another important factor is time. If you own your bicycle you will need to go to the mechanic (hopefully you have one close by). The bike on average will take one day before it’s ready, depending on the workload of the mechanic and the job that needs to be done. In a total of 2 years, we expect that you need to visit the mechanic 5 to 7 times. That means bringing the bicycle there, go home without it and after to go back there to pick it up. So with bFlex you will also save time. We come to you to repair the bicycle, if we can’t we simply replace it. And we do that within 24 hours.
Flexibility we find very important too. We have people within our community that work in the summer on the islands, they only want a bike during the winter. Others say it’s too cold in the winter, they only use it in the summer. Expats that are here temporarily, who want to use a bike to move around. Flexies that change the type of subscription throughout the year, winters for example the City Bicycle and for the summers, because of the heat, an electric bike. It’s amazing to see how our subscriptions provide different solutions to different people.
We founded the first bike subscription company in Greece, to make cycling accessible for everyone. Some people tried it and say that they don’t feel comfortable enough in traffic. Others love it and are still subscribers since the very beginning! And others tried our service and decided to purchase their own bicycle afterwards.
We are super proud of the entire community. For those who no longer cycle, at least you tried it and discovered for yourself why it doesn’t suit you. For the others, you have adapted cycling into your daily life. Great job everybody!