Two minutes of review
The VanMoof S3 is an extremely personable electric bike that, once you have familiarized yourself with the onboard technology and the associated app, simply devours the kilometers. Comfort is good and although there is no suspension, the bulbous tires and comfortable saddle make for an unsprung experience. Power levels and battery range are equally impressive.
Despite the fact that this is a fairly heavy bike, it also lends itself to a wide variety of terrain – although it works best on beautifully manicured bike paths, which is hardly surprising given its Dutch heritage.
While we were largely concerned with the four-speed automatic shift, the system seemed a little unsafe at times, with the weird slip occurring. It’s not enough to put you off the bike, but it can be a bit unsettling, especially when you’re doing a maneuver. VanMoof delivered a great bike and also gave it a cheaper than expected price, which makes it a pretty good price when you weigh it against a similarly priced competition.
It’s not noticeable, but the S3 does Catch the attention, although it’s still reasonably understated enough not to hopefully attract the attention of thieves, which is a good thing given the current demand for electric bikes.
Price and release date
The VanMoof S3 was released in April 2021. The bike costs £ 1,798 / $ 1,998 / AU $ 3,250.
VanMoof has two motorcycles in its range, the S3 and the X3, and the designs are impressive. Our test bike, the S3, is available completely in black or ‘Dark’, which is not completely satin and also not completely matt. The finish and overall design make it seem pretty low key, which is good from a non-stolen standpoint. Aside from a few shiny flourishes like the front and rear disc brakes and aluminum pedal inserts, everything looks pretty dark and moody. There is also a ‘light’ edition if you like something more upbeat.
Our model was suitable for riders between 5’8 “and 6’8” and has a characteristic geometry with a straight frame. It’s actually a great mix of old-fashioned Dutch “granny bike” thinking and modern elegance.
The materials used in the construction of the VanMoof S3 also impress with all-round high-quality components. We couldn’t find anything that seemed cheap, looked like it wouldn’t stand the test of time, or looked like it was falling off. Indeed this bike is very Well built, as we found out when we tried to adjust the saddle using the adjustment bolt that was hidden behind a rubber cover.
The included toolkit is not only comprehensive, but a work of art in itself. Top marks for it.
Considering the price of the VanMoof S3, we think this bike is great value for money, especially when compared to the company’s earlier VanMoof Electrified X2 model, which was extremely tempting but downright expensive.
It’s all good to do the rest of the design too. The battery is a 504Wh affair that powers a 250 watt front hub motor. This means that instead of being pushed along, you are being effectively pulled. The brakes look like they’re more than capable too, but it’s only when you literally dive into the dynamics of the frame that the VanMoof S3 shows its best feature. A multi-point display is built into the top tube that allows you to visually view the various features and functions as soon as you have access to the bike.
However, you will need to unlock the bike when it is delivered and we can safely vouch for the impenetrability of the built-in VanMoof anti-theft system. On arrival our bike was locked and we hadn’t received the code. After spending a weekend bypassing the blocked hub that is preventing the rear wheel from turning, we received the code and it took two seconds to unlock the bike.
However, this escapade also showed how heavy the S3 is. At 19 kg it is not easy to move the bike with a locked hub, but this is also a practical anti-theft device.
Once you have access to the bike, it’s a revelation, especially with the accompanying VanMoof app. This is beautifully designed and offers everything from a single source to control everything to do with the bike. The real advantage of the S3, however, is the automatic transmission, which runs on a four-speed Sturmey-Archer hub system. You can set this up in the app. Once you are out on a bike it is a fully dynamic experience. Choose Flat, Hilly or Custom depending on the landscape. A boost button on the handlebar takes care of everything that is particularly steep when necessary.
The lights are automatic but can be set to always be on or off while the digital doorbell offers the tones “VanMoof”, “Ding Dong” or “Party” to choose from. It’s loud too, but strangely slower than a traditional bell. Optional front and rear carriers seem like worthwhile additions to add to the S3’s versatility, while full fenders come as standard.
The VanMoof has an irresistible charm that invites you to try it out. While the bike looks pretty simplistic thanks to this minimalist design, it’s actually super clever, with enough technology built in to impress geeks and show offs, but kept everything simple enough not to scare off Luddites. As soon as you have navigated past the setting bit and unlocked the bike, there is not much left to do. Get in and drive is the best advice.
Once we did that it was hard to stop even though it wasn’t due to the braking which is really excellent thanks to those hydraulic front and rear discs.
When choosing a route with some inclines, we selected the Hilly option in the app, which allows the assistance to be adjusted. When docking, the S3 conveniently selects a simple gear to get started and then automatically shifts while driving. We did a 16 mile round trip for the first time and the automatic shift is mostly excellent.
However, we’ve had one or two occasions when the bike didn’t seem entirely sure which gear it wanted to be in. This resulted in chain rattle, not unlike the experience one would have as a kid on a Raleigh bike with a three-speed Sturmey Archer gear hub.
However, the VanMoof S3 offers a great ride for the most part. The Schwalbe Big Ben tires are just chunky enough to smooth the ride, while the saddle is pretty comfy too. Overall, the riding position is upright but relaxed, with handlebar grips that feel good even on longer runs.
We loved the Boost button on the right, which can be pressed for additional assistance on steeper slopes. It’s actually a bit of a hassle to push for long periods of time, but you’ll run out of battery pretty quickly if you do that anyway.
On our first outing, we also drove home at dusk and the 40 lux automatic LED lighting system turned out to be excellent. You can also change the settings in the app to “Always on” or “Always off”. Another boon when you stop for a break is the immobilizer system, which can be activated by pressing a button on the left rear hub. Cleverly, the bike then switches this off when you have switched on the app and Bluetooth and are about to access them again.
There is also a stand for convenience. The only thing that isn’t that big is the weight of the bike as it is difficult to lift around or over high curbs.
The VanMoof S3 can reach up to 25 km / h, and the journey can be assisted with the benefit of a turbo charging torque of 59 Nm, to use the manufacturer’s description. We found it nimble when we had to, but it’s a great cruiser too. The range information from VanMoof is between 37 and 93 miles. How much you get will likely depend on how much you milk the battery and motor combo, as well as the boost button. A full charge takes four hours.
Buy it when
They like style and performance alike
The VanMoof is eye catching, imaginative and offers an impressive fully automatic drive.
You are looking for value
VanMoof’s S3 offers a much better price-performance ratio than its predecessor while also offering more features and functions as part of the package.
Fully automatic appeals
There are no manual gears on this e-bike and because of this, it’s perfect for people who just want to get in and ride.
Don’t buy it, though
Heavier bikes are a turn off
Despite the fact that it is an electric bike, the VanMoof S3 can be unfriendly when handling it over curbs or hauling it up stairs or steps.
The on-board technology scares you
This won’t stop you from using it, but the S3 works best when used along with its excellent app, but this may not be for everyone.
You want a bike that you can take with you wherever you go
The chunky wheels and tires will get you over most surfaces, but this e-bike isn’t designed for off-road use and the weight adds to that.
Source link : https://www.techradar.com/reviews/vanmoof-s3/