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

I have to be truthful. My strategy of what an eBike is for and does was fully incorrect. I know this simply because I have expended the very last thirty day period or so using the VanMoof S3, a $two,three hundred electric powered bicycle, putting just about 100 miles on it through that time. For some, that distance might seem trivial, but I can assure you the I have not ridden 100 miles on a bicycle in the very last 10 decades combined. 

Certainly, part of the motive I set so a lot of miles on the S3 about the very last handful of weeks was to check out the bells and whistles (figuratively, and practically), but also simply because I decided to commence exercising more. And even while eBikes attribute a motorized pedal-guide to do some or all of the perform for you, I have but to arrive residence drenched in sweat immediately after a extensive experience on the S3. 

Just what can make the S3 and worth $two,three hundred? I am going to endeavor to reply that question underneath — but let me inform you, immediately after using one for a when, don’t be stunned if you see me cruising on one of my own in the in close proximity to future. 

The entrance wheel and motor of the VanMoof S3. 

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Don’t are living in close proximity to a VanMoof retail store? No problem

VanMoof only has a handful of showrooms all over the US. It is at those people merchants wherever you can e book a check experience in destinations like Seattle, San Francisco or Brooklyn. If you don’t are living in one of those people areas, it is not great, but that won’t exclude you from ordering a VanMoof bicycle. 

I are living in the middle of Colorado, so VanMoof experienced to ship a bicycle to me. The bicycle arrives partly assembled, necessitating only the set up of the entrance wheel and pedals upon arrival. 

Bundled in the box together with the bicycle itself is a toolkit with most of the resources you’ll will need to do any repairs on your own, a foot pump for airing up your tires and a kazoo — for celebrating your buy. 

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VanMoof’s YouTube channel is whole of tutorial video clips that wander you by the initial assembly, and if you run into difficulties when owning the bicycle and want to go the Do it yourself route, you can enjoy the video clips to complete any upkeep or repairs on your own. 

It took me about thirty minutes to get the bicycle set jointly, splitting my time between checking out what all was included in the box, and seeing the assembly video clip a couple of instances before tackling the job at hand. 

The bicycle arrived completely charged, and VanMoof included the exterior battery pack for extended range tests. 

In addition to attaching the entrance wheel, the relaxation of the setup course of action necessary my Iphone. Truly, it calls for an Iphone or Android mobile phone and the VanMoof app. You use the app to regulate configurations, watch stats such as your present velocity, experience record, lock and unlock the bicycle and watch its present site. 

The Uncover My app with the VanMoof S3 additional to it for Apple consumers.

Speaking of tracking site — by incorporating the potential to connect the bicycle to Apple’s Uncover My network, even if someone steals your bicycle, you need to have a great strategy of its present site at any time. The bicycle will connect to random Apple products and anonymously deliver its site back to your Apple account, enabling you to observe it. It is the very same engineering that’s crafted into Apple’s AirTags, only it is in a bicycle. Setting that functionality up took a handful of additional seconds and was taken care of by the VanMoof app. 

If you use Android or don’t want to trust Apple’s Uncover My network with finding a missing bicycle, VanMoof does offer you a  Peace of Mind deal that features either upkeep, theft security or both. It is dear, with the upkeep prepare costing $348, theft security priced at $398, or a mix deal for $690. 

Even so, if your bicycle is stolen and VanMoof can’t recuperate it using the crafted-in GSM connectivity in just two weeks, the enterprise will replace the bicycle. VanMoof has a series on its YouTube channel displaying how its bicycle hunters vacation by different metropolitan areas and identify missing bikes.

The rear wheel with digital shifter on the VanMoof S3. 

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Design and specs

The S3 has a entrance-wheel motor with a major velocity of 20 miles for every hour and electric power ranging from 250W to 350W. You will find a 504Wh LG battery that lasts anywhere from 37 to ninety three miles, centered on how substantially you use increase or pedal guide through your rides. Charging the battery usually takes about four hrs for a whole charge, or you can get to 50% in approximately eighty minutes. 

The S3 is the major design VanMoof can make. It has 28-inch wheels, weighs forty six.three lbs ., and is designed for riders five-foot eight-inches to six-foot eight-inches. The X3 has 24-inch wheels and is designed for those people between five-toes and six-foot five-inches for the very same price tag as the S3.

Each individual wheel has its own hydraulic disc brake. The whole time I rode the bicycle the entrance brake experienced a bit of a squeak to it, but it is evidently usual for disc brakes to have a split-in period of time. I have altered the brake a handful of instances and it is assisted. 

On the rear wheel you’ll locate a kick lock that stops the wheel from relocating. If someone starts off to roll off with your bicycle, a visible notify plays on the matrix monitor that’s on the bar in close proximity to the handlebars. The cranium and crossbones icon is accompanied by a loud siren, alerting any one close by that a thing is incorrect. On the opposite of the bar with the exhibit, which also exhibits your present velocity through rides, and other info at many instances, is a quite loud speaker and a electric power button. When you push the horn button, an audio file is played by the speaker to notify close by riders or persons.

That button with the yellow line is the kick lock. 

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The rear wheel also has an digital automated shifting four-equipment hub that usually takes the guesswork out of when you need to be in a particular equipment. A application update for the bicycle and the app was introduced through my time with the S3 that enabled manually shifting for more handle. A single common grievance I have read about the S3 and seasoned myself is that when the e-shifter modifications gears, the chain can make a clunk seem. The only way I can figure out to get about this seem is to try out and guess when the shifter is heading to make a transform (it is carried out at particular MPH measurements) and halt pedaling for a brief second. Immediately after a handful of rides, timing this transform became nearly second character. Even so, the guide shifting attribute will surely remove any issues for those people who want it. 

On either aspect of the handlebars is a brake lever, together with a single button. The still left button triggers your assigned horn or bell seem, when the proper button activates increase manner to maximize your cruising velocity. There are LED lights on the entrance and back of the bicycle to assistance with late afternoon or evening using. 

The style of the S3 is quite nominal and feels like every piece and part has a goal. It will come in an all-black finish, or sky-blue. 

What it is like to experience

Up until eventually using the S3, I assumed that eBikes necessary no pedaling. You either pushed a button or throttle and just went together for the experience. I was so incorrect. 

There are some eBikes that are like that, but the the vast majority of eBikes I have considering the fact that researched offer you pedal assistance. This means, the motor will convert on and assistance you as extensive as the pedals are relocating. The moment you halt pedaling, the motor stops. And when that does necessarily mean you can pedal slower than standard to access a velocity of, say, 15MPH, you are nevertheless physically active. 

With the S3, there are technically five different pedal guide concentrations. Setting the bicycle to zero turns off all pedal guide, reverting it to a more traditional bicycle, missing any assistance from the motor. Concentrations one by four offer you assistance up to a particular velocity. Stage one will assistance you get to 10MPH when pedaling, and amount four will keep you at 20MPH as extensive as your toes are relocating. 

The increase button on the proper aspect of the handlebars will crank the motor to whole velocity, no matter of your present pedal guide amount, and keep you at the whole 20MPH — again, as extensive as the pedals are relocating. 

When you are at a increased pedal guide amount or using the increase button a ton, battery everyday living will obviously decrease. The less you use pedal guide, the lengthier the battery will very last. 

If you have ever driven or rode in an electric powered automobile, you know that there is quick torque anytime the pedal is pushed. The 1st time I pressed the increase button on the S3, I was a tiny hesitant. I didn’t know if the very same torque would be present, and if I need to be holding on for expensive everyday living. In its place, there is a gradual enhance to the motor’s electric power until eventually you access major velocity. Never did I truly feel like I was at possibility of shedding handle. 

The VanMoof S3 with PowerBank.

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My using about the just about 100 miles of tests was mixed, as some of the time I was using with my relatives who have regular bikes, and other instances by myself. I didn’t observe particulars, but I believe that the least expensive the battery achieved was about thirty% of a charge, but with the added PowerBank, all I experienced to do was push the electric power button and the bicycle was charging — either when I was using, or when the bicycle was parked. The PowerBank attaches the bicycle via a locking mechanism and can incorporate anywhere from 28 to 62 more miles of range. It is weighty, incorporating six.two lbs . to the overall excess weight of the bicycle. 

I don’t assume I have a will need or use for the PowerBank. The bicycle is quick plenty of to park up coming to an outlet when I will need to charge it, but for someone who has to have the S3 up numerous flights of stairs just to charge it, I can see the PowerBank becoming a effortless accessory. 

Outside the house of the squeaky entrance brake disc, the only situation I seasoned when using the S3 was flat tires. I am not absolutely sure if I retained running about stickers that were being robust plenty of to poke holes by the wheels and the tubes, or if I was hitting a thing else on my rides, but through my time with the S3 I experienced a overall of four flats. The 1st time about, I replaced the tubes simply because I preferred to get a truly feel for what all is included with using both wheels off and carrying out upkeep myself. The second time about, I resorted to patching the tube. 

It is not the fault of VanMoof’s, and probable a byproduct of the location I are living in, but ideally it is a thing I can figure out need to I make your mind up to purchase an S3 of my own. I will need to search into whether or not or not you can use slime in the tubes on eBikes, or the ideal approach to keep random flats to a minimum. 

All of the selections and configurations currently offered in the VanMoof app. 

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The S3, and by extension the X3, are bikes intended for someone who desires a dependable bicycle for the commute to perform, or a thing secure and exciting to experience at residence. 

The $two,three hundred price tag tag might seem like a ton, and it is, but when you search at the eBike landscape, the S3 is truly priced reduced than its rivals and presents more superior engineering.

If you experienced requested me to build a checklist of what I preferred in an eBike, I would have started with connectivity and some form of smarts. The VanMoof presents both by the smartphone app and Uncover My integration, and vehicle-shifting centered on how rapidly you are using. 

The S3 definitely does truly feel like a bicycle that’s the appreciate kid of Apple and Tesla, with user knowledge and engineering at the forefront, combined with the truth that it is just downright exciting to experience.

See also: Finest eBikes for commuting