“The Vanmoof S3 is full of wonderful tech at a mid-range worth and, as a bonus, it is completely attractive.”
Built-in lights and fenders
Easy computerized transmission
Decrease energy help ranges aren’t useful
Feels cumbersome whereas using
Battery cannot be eliminated for charging
Vanmoof was effectively 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 reputation has skyrocketed lately, nonetheless. I recurrently 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 out there simply as everyone seems to be in search of a option to tour our new outdoors-only, socially distanced life-style. I attempted the extra standard 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 parts are similar between the 2.
The S3’s launch timing might hardly be higher, however it has loads of competitors. Each main bike producer is now in on the e-bike enviornment, and a few supply 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 without delay basic and trendy.
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 nearly 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 Final T10 is a private favourite, because of its mixture of ultra-modern sensibility and straightforward step-through practicality. Specialised’s new Vado SL is sort of enticing, as effectively. 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 normal with entrance and rear fenders, plus entrance and hind lights. That’s an enormous deal, particularly for an e-bike promoting at $2,000. It’s common for e-bikes within the S3’s worth vary to ditch one or each fenders, and whereas lights are often normal, they’re usually not as enticing or vivid as these on the Vanmoof. For those who purchase the Vanmoof X3, which has smaller wheels and a much less standard 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 most likely order on-line. Bikes are large, heavy objects, and they are often powerful to assemble.
The corporate does all the things it might probably to mitigate this problem. Open the field, and also you’ll instantly discover detailed meeting directions alongside a toolbox that has all the things you could put the bike collectively. There’s even a helpful pull wire 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 a clumsy plastic clip that retains the entrance motor’s wire safe towards the body. Nonetheless, the general issue isn’t any larger than assembling a chest of drawers from Ikea. For those who can deal with that, you may deal with this.
As soon as assembled, organising the app is simple. Simply obtain it to your cellphone, create an account, and the bike will join routinely. 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 function. Whereas many opponents technically have apps, they’re usually fundamental and buggy. Vanmoof’s app, however, is nice. It gives experience summaries, permits you to regulate bike settings, shows the bike’s present location, and gives 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 units I personal haven’t any downside 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 indicate pace, battery life, and different data on the middle tube. Vanmoof calls this a Matrix Show. It’s a novel contact that makes the bike’s design really feel extra cohesive. The Matrix Show is vivid and at all times straightforward to learn, even at midday on a sunny summer season afternoon. Oh, and in order for you a laptop computer to match the bike, take a look at the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14.
It’s the pairing of the app with this Matrix Show that units this bike aside in each 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 important data, pushing most management of the bike to the app.
This speaks to the bike’s concentrate on working errands and commuting to work. It’s constructed to experience carrying 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 at all times in your pocket, and also you’ll make frequent stops. Your cellphone’s show is way 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 exchange it if it might probably’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 each time 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 can be troublesome). You need to at all times 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 definitely really feel it once you first hop on the bike. The bike’s relaxed body and swept-back handlebars supply an upright really feel and wonderful visibility. As usually true of an upright using place, this comfort comes at the price of agility. It’s a simple bike to show at low speeds on a slim road, however it doesn’t really feel keen or nimble.
The S3 weighs in at 42 kilos. That’s heavier than most standard bikes, however it’s gentle for an e-bike. The Specialised Como is 45 kilos, whereas the Gazelle T10 Final is 51 kilos. The S3 doesn’t really feel gentle 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 take care of small bumps and potholes with out situation. It’s a clean experience throughout well-kept pavement or densely packed gravel. Once you encounter massive potholes, although, the bike’s stiff body and lack of suspension can ship large jolts by means of the handlebars.
The S3’s electrical motor is connected to the entrance wheel and delivers energy at your selection of 4 ranges or will be turned off totally. The bottom energy degree is nugatory, however increased settings are robust. I typically cruised round at degree 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 laws, however as you would possibly 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 Large ToughRoad GX E+. Whereas the S3 has a “turbo” button, slapping it gives solely modest go, and it’s most helpful once you want slightly further juice on a steep hill.
Whereas the S3 lacks thrills, it’s clean. The entrance hub motor pulls with calm poise. Don’t take that without any consideration. Many e-bikes within the Vanmoof’s worth vary, just like the Pedego Metropolis Commuter Lite, use a rear hub motor. A rear hub can dramatically shift a motorcycle’s steadiness rearward, making wheelies slightly too straightforward to execute. The S3’s balanced, refined energy supply is nice for any e-bike, and wonderful for one priced at $2,000.
The S3’s brakes activate with a clean, exact really feel that evokes confidence.
Energy is routed by means of a slick four-speed computerized 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 computerized 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 almost 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 clean, 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 massive 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, degree bike path. This ate up almost half the battery, suggesting I’d see complete mileage within the mid-40s if I’d continued on till the battery was lifeless. I additionally took quite a few quick journeys, round 10 miles every, at energy degree 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 needs to be sufficient to final a number of days, if not a complete week.
You’ll be able to’t simply take away the S3’s battery (Vanmoof says it might probably solely be eliminated for servicing) and cost it away from the bike. That could possibly be inconvenient if in case you have a small residence 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 wonderful selection in order for you a motorcycle for errands round city or each day commutes of as much as 20 miles round-trip.
Is there a greater different?
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 finished however use probably the most cheap parts potential, which has penalties for longevity. In addition they are inclined to have small batteries.
Propella’s e-bike is the very best low-cost different. 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 parts, 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, just like the inexpensive RadRover and its heavy-duty RadWagon. RadPower is all about operate, although, so that you’ll desire Vanmoof if design and know-how are necessary to you.
The Vanmoof S3 has few robust opponents that carefully match its $2,000 worth. Pedego’s Metropolis Commuter Lite isn’t almost as refined. Trek, Specialised, and Large skew towards the next worth bracket, so their bikes bought 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 will probably be higher for lengthy commutes and train.
How lengthy will it final?
A bicycle can final a really very long time, although e-bikes will probably be restricted by the longevity of the battery and sturdiness of different electronics. You also needs to know that e-bikes would require extra upkeep than an ordinary bike. Nonetheless, I’d count on 5 to 10 years of service, as a minimum, and that could possibly be prolonged as long as alternative batteries can be found.
The bike comes with a three-year guarantee towards defects, which isn’t notably lengthy for an electrical bike. Vanmoof has a smaller seller community than its bigger opponents like Specialised, Trek, or Large, and that would make service onerous to come back by in case you don’t reside close to a seller.
Do you have to purchase it?
Sure. The Vanmoof S3 is a mid-range commuter e-bike with standout design and nice tech options.