VanMoof S3 review: An electric bike for Apple and Tesla fans Review

I have to be truthful. My idea of what an eBike is for and does was absolutely incorrect. I know this simply because I’ve used the last month or so riding the VanMoof S3, a $two,three hundred electric powered bike, placing nearly one hundred miles on it during that time. For some, that length could audio trivial, but I can assure you the I haven’t ridden one hundred miles on a bike in the last ten several years combined. 

In fact, element of the reason I set so many miles on the S3 about the last couple months was to take a look at out the bells and whistles (figuratively, and literally), but also simply because I resolved to start off training far more. And even although eBikes feature a motorized pedal-help to do some or all of the perform for you, I’ve but to arrive house drenched in sweat soon after a prolonged ride on the S3. 

Just what will make the S3 and well worth $two,three hundred? I will endeavor to response that dilemma below — but let me notify you, soon after using a person for a whilst, you should not be stunned if you see me cruising on a person of my possess in the close to foreseeable future. 

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The front wheel and motor of the VanMoof S3. 

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Don’t reside close to a VanMoof store? No problem

VanMoof only has a handful of showrooms all through the US. It is really at those retailers in which you can ebook a take a look at ride in places like Seattle, San Francisco or Brooklyn. If you you should not reside in a person of those locations, it truly is not perfect, but that won’t exclude you from purchasing a VanMoof bike. 

I reside in the center of Colorado, so VanMoof had to ship a bike to me. The bike arrives partly assembled, necessitating only the set up of the front wheel and pedals upon arrival. 

Included in the box alongside with the bike alone is a toolkit with most of the equipment you can expect to have to have to do any repairs on your possess, a foot pump for airing up your tires and a kazoo — for celebrating your obtain. 

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VanMoof’s YouTube channel is entire of tutorial films that stroll you by the original assembly, and if you operate into issues whilst owning the bike and want to go the Diy route, you can view the films to entire any servicing or repairs on your possess. 

It took me about thirty minutes to get the bike set together, splitting my time concerning checking out what all was incorporated in the box, and watching the assembly video clip a pair of occasions in advance of tackling the job at hand. 

The bike arrived fully charged, and VanMoof incorporated the exterior battery pack for prolonged vary testing. 

In addition to attaching the front wheel, the relaxation of the setup process necessary my Apple iphone. Actually, it needs an Apple iphone or Android cell phone and the VanMoof application. You use the application to alter options, perspective stats such as your existing velocity, ride history, lock and unlock the bike and perspective its existing spot. 

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The Come across My application with the VanMoof S3 added to it for Apple buyers.

Speaking of tracking spot — by adding the potential to join the bike to Apple’s Come across My community, even if an individual steals your bike, you must have a fantastic idea of its existing spot at any time. The bike will join to random Apple units and anonymously deliver its spot back again to your Apple account, permitting you to observe it. It is really the identical technological know-how which is constructed into Apple’s AirTags, only it truly is in a bike. Environment that performance up took a couple more seconds and was taken care of by the VanMoof application. 

If you use Android or you should not want to believe in Apple’s Come across My community with acquiring a shed bike, VanMoof does give a  Peace of Head package that consists of either servicing, theft protection or both of those. It is really pricey, with the servicing prepare costing $348, theft protection priced at $398, or a mixture package for $690. 

On the other hand, if your bike is stolen and VanMoof can’t recover it using the constructed-in GSM connectivity inside two months, the business will switch the bike. VanMoof has a collection on its YouTube channel displaying how its bike hunters vacation by distinctive metropolitan areas and identify shed bikes.

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The rear wheel with electronic shifter on the VanMoof S3. 

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Layout and specs

The S3 has a front-wheel motor with a best velocity of 20 miles for each hour and ability ranging from 250W to 350W. There is certainly a 504Wh LG battery that lasts anyplace from 37 to 93 miles, centered on how a lot you use enhance or pedal help during your rides. Charging the battery normally takes about 4 several hours for a entire cost, or you can get to 50% in around 80 minutes. 

The S3 is the largest design VanMoof will make. It has 28-inch wheels, weighs forty six.3 lbs ., and is created for riders 5-foot eight-inches to 6-foot eight-inches. The X3 has 24-inch wheels and is created for those concerning 5-ft and 6-foot 5-inches for the identical cost as the S3.

Every single wheel has its possess hydraulic disc brake. The total time I rode the bike the front brake had a bit of a squeak to it, but it truly is apparently ordinary for disc brakes to have a break-in period. I’ve adjusted the brake a couple occasions and it truly is aided. 

On the rear wheel you can expect to discover a kick lock that helps prevent the wheel from shifting. If an individual begins to roll off with your bike, a visual notify performs on the matrix display screen which is on the bar close to the handlebars. The skull and crossbones icon is accompanied by a loud siren, alerting any person nearby that one thing is incorrect. On the opposite of the bar with the show, which also displays your existing velocity during rides, and other facts at many occasions, is a pretty loud speaker and a ability button. When you push the horn button, an audio file is performed by the speaker to notify nearby riders or people.

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That button with the yellow line is the kick lock. 

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The rear wheel also has an electronic automatic shifting 4-equipment hub that normally takes the guesswork out of when you must be in a precise equipment. A software program update for the bike and the application was introduced during my time with the S3 that enabled manually shifting for far more regulate. A single popular complaint I’ve read about the S3 and skilled myself is that when the e-shifter improvements gears, the chain will make a clunk audio. The only way I can determine out to get about this audio is to try and guess when the shifter is going to make a adjust (it truly is done at precise MPH measurements) and stop pedaling for a temporary 2nd. Right after a couple rides, timing this adjust turned nearly 2nd nature. On the other hand, the handbook shifting feature will absolutely remove any troubles for those who want it. 

On either side of the handlebars is a brake lever, alongside with a solitary button. The left button triggers your assigned horn or bell audio, whilst the right button activates enhance mode to increase your cruising velocity. There are LED lights on the front and back again of the bike to help with late afternoon or night time riding. 

The design of the S3 is pretty negligible and feels like just about every piece and element has a function. It will come in an all-black end, or sky-blue. 

What it truly is like to ride

Up until riding the S3, I assumed that eBikes necessary no pedaling. You either pushed a button or throttle and just went alongside for the ride. I was so incorrect. 

There are some eBikes that are like that, but the the greater part of eBikes I’ve due to the fact researched give pedal help. Which means, the motor will transform on and help you as prolonged as the pedals are shifting. At the time you stop pedaling, the motor stops. And whilst that does indicate you can pedal slower than regular to access a velocity of, say, 15MPH, you’re still physically lively. 

With the S3, there are technically 5 distinctive pedal help levels. Environment the bike to zero turns off all pedal help, reverting it to a far more traditional bike, missing any help from the motor. Ranges a person by four give help up to a precise velocity. Amount a person will help you get to 10MPH whilst pedaling, and degree four will maintain you at 20MPH as prolonged as your ft are shifting. 

The enhance button on the right side of the handlebars will crank the motor to entire velocity, regardless of your existing pedal help degree, and maintain you at the entire 20MPH — all over again, as prolonged as the pedals are shifting. 

When you’re at a increased pedal help degree or using the enhance button a good deal, battery life will in a natural way decrease. The much less you use pedal help, the more time the battery will last. 

If you’ve at any time driven or rode in an electric powered automobile, you know that there is certainly fast torque every time the pedal is pushed. The 1st time I pressed the enhance button on the S3, I was a minor hesitant. I did not know if the identical torque would be existing, and if I must be holding on for dear life. As a substitute, there is certainly a gradual raise to the motor’s ability until you access best velocity. In no way did I feel like I was at threat of losing regulate. 

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The VanMoof S3 with PowerBank.

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My riding about the nearly one hundred miles of testing was mixed, as some of the time I was riding with my family who have normal bikes, and other occasions by myself. I did not observe details, but I think the cheapest the battery achieved was about thirty% of a cost, but with the added PowerBank, all I had to do was push the ability button and the bike was charging — either whilst I was riding, or whilst the bike was parked. The PowerBank attaches the bike by means of a locking mechanism and can include anyplace from 28 to sixty two far more miles of vary. It is really major, adding 6.two lbs . to the whole fat of the bike. 

I you should not feel I have a have to have or use for the PowerBank. The bike is quick ample to park following to an outlet when I have to have to cost it, but for an individual who has to carry the S3 up quite a few flights of stairs just to cost it, I can see the PowerBank remaining a handy accessory. 

Outside the house of the squeaky front brake disc, the only concern I skilled whilst riding the S3 was flat tires. I am not absolutely sure if I kept operating about stickers that had been strong ample to poke holes by the wheels and the tubes, or if I was hitting one thing else on my rides, but during my time with the S3 I had a whole of four flats. The 1st time about, I changed the tubes simply because I wanted to get a feel for what all is associated with taking both of those wheels off and carrying out servicing myself. The 2nd time about, I resorted to patching the tube. 

It is really not the fault of VanMoof’s, and possible a byproduct of the region I reside in, but ideally it truly is one thing I can determine out must I make your mind up to purchase an S3 of my possess. I have to have to glance into whether or not you can use slime in the tubes on eBikes, or the very best approach to maintain random flats to a minimal. 

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All of the possibilities and options now available in the VanMoof application. 

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The S3, and by extension the X3, are bikes created for an individual who desires a dependable bike for the commute to perform, or one thing secure and exciting to ride at house. 

The $two,three hundred cost tag could audio like a good deal, and it is, but when you glance at the eBike landscape, the S3 is in fact priced lessen than its competitors and delivers far more state-of-the-art technological know-how.

If you had requested me to make a listing of what I wanted in an eBike, I would have commenced with connectivity and some sort of smarts. The VanMoof delivers both of those by the smartphone application and Come across My integration, and vehicle-shifting centered on how speedy you’re riding. 

The S3 really does feel like a bike which is the love child of Apple and Tesla, with user working experience and technological know-how at the forefront, combined with the point that it truly is just downright exciting to ride.

See also: Very best eBikes for commuting