“The Vanmoof S3 is full of wonderful tech at a mid-range worth and, as a bonus, it is completely attractive.”
- Eye-catching design
- Helpful app
- Built-in lights and fenders
- Easy automated transmission
- Wonderful brakes
- Decrease energy help ranges aren’t useful
- Feels cumbersome whereas using
- Battery cannot be eliminated for charging
Vanmoof was properly forward of the curve when its Dutch founders, the Carlier brothers, began the corporate in 2009. Maybe too forward of the curve. Electrical bikes have been handled as a novelty in 2009. Their recognition has skyrocketed lately, nonetheless. I repeatedly ate the mud of a Vanmoof fanatic on my night commutes from the workplace — again when that was a factor.
Now, Vanmoof has a pair of reports bikes obtainable simply as everyone seems to be in search of a approach to tour our new outdoors-only, socially distanced way of life. I attempted the extra typical Vanmoof S3, which sells for only a hair wanting $2,000. It has a sibling, the Vanmoof X3, with smaller tires and a body that’s simpler to step over, however most different elements are equivalent between the 2.
The S3’s launch timing might hardly be higher, but it surely has loads of competitors. Each main bike producer is now in on the e-bike enviornment, and a few provide over a dozen fashions. Can Vanmoof retain its lead?
One factor is for certain, there’s no mistaking a Vanmoof. The corporate’s design revolves round a fats, straight middle tube that extends over the wheels on every finish of the body. It’s a glance that’s directly basic and fashionable.
This can be a basic bike constructed for contemporary life.
Vanmoof retains your eyes on this key, distinctive trait by minimizing all different distractions. Like the corporate’s different bikes, the Vanmoof S3 is painted in both matte black or blue and has virtually no branding. It’s a quick, modern design that straight speaks to the S3’s objective. This can be a basic bike constructed for contemporary life.
That’s to not say the Vanmoof S3 is with out peer. The Gazelle Ultimate T10 is a personal favorite, because of its mixture of ultra-modern sensibility and straightforward step-through practicality. Specialised’s new Vado SL is sort of enticing, as properly. Nonetheless, on design, Vanmoof completely clobbers bikes from Trek and Large, which look extra like upgraded bicycles than purpose-built e-bikes.
The S3 comes customary with entrance and rear fenders, plus entrance and taillights. That’s a giant deal, particularly for an e-bike promoting at $2,000. It’s commonplace for e-bikes within the S3’s worth vary to ditch one or each fenders, and whereas lights are often customary, they’re typically not as enticing or brilliant as these on the Vanmoof. When you purchase the Vanmoof X3, which has smaller wheels and a much less typical body, you additionally get a built-in entrance rack for carrying small objects.
Meeting and first-time setup
Whereas Vanmoof has some sellers, its community is tiny. You’ll in all probability order on-line. Bikes are huge, heavy objects, and they are often powerful to assemble.
The corporate does all the pieces it will possibly to mitigate this trouble. Open the field, and also you’ll instantly discover detailed meeting directions alongside a toolbox that has all the pieces it’s worthwhile to put the bike collectively. There’s even a useful pull twine that helps you slide the bike out horizontally, moderately than lifting it out vertically.
That doesn’t imply meeting is foolproof. I lower myself when my hand slipped whereas tightening an ungainly plastic clip that retains the entrance motor’s twine safe in opposition to the body. Nonetheless, the general issue isn’t any higher than assembling a chest of drawers from Ikea. When you can deal with that, you possibly can deal with this.
As soon as assembled, organising the app is straightforward. Simply obtain it to your cellphone, create an account, and the bike will join mechanically. It labored seamlessly, and I by no means had a difficulty with the app connecting to the bike.
The app is arguably the Vanmoof’s actual headline characteristic. Whereas many rivals technically have apps, they’re typically primary and buggy. Vanmoof’s app, then again, is nice. It offers experience summaries, allows you to regulate bike settings, shows the bike’s present location, and offers entry to help subjects, amongst different options.
I did discover the bike’s Bluetooth vary is lackluster. When saved in my storage, the app loses reference to the bike as quickly as I depart the room. Different Bluetooth gadgets I personal don’t have any drawback speaking by means of a number of partitions, so I believe Vanmoof might do higher.
The bike doesn’t have an LCD show, and as an alternative makes use of a nifty grid of LED lights to point out pace, battery life, and different data on the middle tube. Vanmoof calls this a Matrix Show. It’s a singular contact that makes the bike’s design really feel extra cohesive. The Matrix Show is brilliant and all the time straightforward to learn, even at midday on a sunny summer season afternoon. Oh, and if you would like a laptop computer to match the bike, check out the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14.
It’s the pairing of the app with this Matrix Show that units this bike aside in day by day use. Most e-bikes have a small, black-and-white LCD display screen, and managed by means of buttons or twist grips. That is efficient, however easy. Vanmoof as an alternative makes use of the Matrix Show just for essential data, pushing most management of the bike to the app.
This speaks to the bike’s concentrate on operating errands and commuting to work. It’s constructed to experience sporting no matter you’d usually put on, going locations you’d in any other case get to by automobile or transit. Utilizing the app is nice on this context, since your cellphone is all the time in your pocket, and also you’ll make frequent stops. Your cellphone’s show is much brighter and simpler to make use of than any LCD you’ll discover on an ebike.
Vanmoof bikes have “built-in anti-theft” know-how. This features a lock for the rear hub, an alarm, and an elective paid service that guarantees to trace down the bike if it’s stolen, and substitute it if it will possibly’t be positioned.
The lock is activated by aligning a mark on the hub with the identical mark on the rear chainguard after which kicking in a button close to the rear body dropout. As soon as locked, an alarm will sound at any time when the bike’s rear-wheel strikes.
It really works as marketed, although I wouldn’t put religion in it. The alarm could possibly be louder, and a thief might choose up the bike and haul it away (although given its sensitivity, doing it with out triggering the alarm could be troublesome). You must all the time use a beefy lock to safe your bike to a everlasting fixture. Nonetheless, Vanmoof’s alarm is an inexpensive back-up that would give opportunistic thieves pause.
If the Vanmoof S3’s commuter-friendly design isn’t already apparent, you’ll actually really feel it once you first hop on the bike. The bike’s relaxed body and swept-back handlebars provide an upright really feel and wonderful visibility. As typically true of an upright using place, this comfort comes at the price of agility. It’s a straightforward bike to show at low speeds on a slender road, but it surely doesn’t really feel keen or nimble.
The S3 weighs in at 42 kilos. That’s heavier than most typical bikes, but it surely’s mild for an e-bike. The Specialized Como is 45 kilos, whereas the Gazelle T10 Ultimate is 51 kilos. The S3 doesn’t really feel mild on the pedals, however your again will love the sunshine body once you haul the bike up stairs or over a big curb.
Fats tires assist the S3 cope with small bumps and potholes with out problem. It’s a easy experience throughout well-kept pavement or densely packed gravel. While you encounter giant potholes, although, the bike’s stiff body and lack of suspension can ship huge jolts by means of the handlebars.
The S3’s electrical motor is hooked up to the entrance wheel and delivers energy at your selection of 4 ranges or may be turned off solely. The bottom energy stage is nugatory, however increased settings are robust. I typically cruised round at stage three, or turned energy as much as the utmost for paved bike paths. The bike’s motor cuts out at 20 mph, as which is the utmost pace permitted for a Class 1 ebike just like the S3. There are settings to adjust to European and Japanese rules, however as you may count on, that nudges the utmost pace even decrease.
Adrenaline junkies ought to look elsewhere, nonetheless. Energy supply is timid in comparison with racier choices just like the Specialised Vado or Giant ToughRoad GX E+. Whereas the S3 has a “turbo” button, slapping it offers solely modest go, and it’s most helpful once you want somewhat additional juice on a steep hill.
Whereas the S3 lacks thrills, it’s easy. The entrance hub motor pulls with calm poise. Don’t take that with no consideration. Many e-bikes within the Vanmoof’s worth vary, just like the Pedego City Commuter Lite, use a rear hub motor. A rear hub can dramatically shift a motorbike’s stability rearward, making wheelies somewhat too straightforward to execute. The S3’s balanced, refined energy supply is sweet for any e-bike, and wonderful for one priced at $2,000.
The S3’s brakes activate with a easy, exact really feel that evokes confidence.
Energy is routed by means of a slick four-speed automated transmission. That’s proper, you don’t even the necessity to ever shift for your self. 4 speeds aren’t many, and I felt that on steep hills. Nonetheless, I’ll take this automated transmission over the bargain-bin six-, seven-, or eight-speed gearing discovered on most e-bikes on this worth vary.
The S3’s deceleration is extra spectacular than its acceleration. The bike has hydraulic disc brakes entrance and rear. Whereas practically all e-bikes have disc brakes, some mid-range bikes have a mechanical disc brakes, a setup that may really feel clunky or wood. The S3’s brakes activate with a easy, exact really feel that evokes confidence and avoids by chance grabbing an excessive amount of brake.
Battery life and vary
A 504 watt-hour battery is nestled within the Vanmoof S3’s giant prime tube. Vary is quoted at 37 to 93 miles. You’ll find yourself nearer to 37 miles than 93 in most conditions.
My most demanding journey was a 23-mile journey at most energy on a paved, stage bike path. This ate up practically half the battery, suggesting I’d see whole mileage within the mid-40s if I’d continued on till the battery was useless. I additionally took quite a few quick journeys, round 10 miles every, at energy stage three.
These outcomes are typical for a contemporary e-bike. Most bike commuters journey quick distances (fewer than 10 miles), so the S3’s vary must be sufficient to final a number of days, if not a whole week.
You possibly can’t simply take away the S3’s battery (Vanmoof says it will possibly solely be eliminated for servicing) and cost it away from the bike. That could possibly be inconvenient when you have a small condominium and intend to retailer the S3 in a communal storage space.
Vanmoof’s S3 is a feature-rich commuter bike that sacrifices little regardless of a midrange $2,000 price ticket. This bike is a superb selection if you would like a motorbike for errands round city or day by day commutes of as much as 20 miles round-trip.
Is there a greater various?
Whereas the Vanmoof S3’s $2,000 price ticket may appear steep subsequent to the $600 bikes you should buy on Amazon, I typically advocate avoiding these. They get the job completed however use essentially the most cheap elements attainable, which has penalties for longevity. In addition they are likely to have small batteries.
Propella’s e-bike is the perfect low-cost various. Beginning at $1,100 for the single-speed, or $1,300 for the seven-speed, it’s a easier possibility with a smaller battery and inferior brakes. Nonetheless, it’s a pleasant entry-level bike with respectable elements, and it’s well-suited to commutes round 10 miles or much less.
RadPower is one other robust selection. The model makes a wide range of electrical bikes that supply wonderful worth, like the affordable RadRover and its heavy-duty RadWagon. RadPower is all about operate, although, so that you’ll desire Vanmoof if design and know-how are vital to you.
The Vanmoof S3 has few robust rivals that intently match its $2,000 worth. Pedego’s City Commuter Lite isn’t practically as refined. Trek, Specialised, and Large skew towards a better worth bracket, so their bikes offered round $2,000 often aren’t aggressive with the Vanmoof.
Don’t overlook the Vanmoof S3’s sibling, the X3. The bikes are related, however the X3 has smaller wheels, a decrease prime tube, and an built-in entrance rack. I’d count on the X3 to be even higher for brief commutes and around-town errands, whereas the S3 shall be higher for lengthy commutes and train.
How lengthy will it final?
A bicycle can final a really very long time, although e-bikes shall be restricted by the longevity of the battery and sturdiness of different electronics. You must also know that e-bikes would require extra upkeep than a regular bike. Nonetheless, I’d count on 5 to 10 years of service, in any case, and that could possibly be prolonged as long as substitute batteries can be found.
The bike comes with a three-year guarantee in opposition to defects, which isn’t notably lengthy for an electrical bike. Vanmoof has a smaller supplier community than its bigger rivals like Specialised, Trek, or Large, and that would make service onerous to come back by in case you don’t dwell close to a supplier.
Must you purchase it?
Sure. The Vanmoof S3 is a mid-range commuter e-bike with standout design and nice tech options.