Otherwise, it was silent and glorious, allowing me to pedal along with constant pressure as the gears shifted beneath me, always returning to first when I stopped. The new gearbox is built around an electric e-shifter.
If you do run out of battery, VanMoof tells me that the bike holds enough power in reserve to operate the lights and shifting until you get home to a charger. I had to strain to hear it above the wind, easily making it one of the quietest motors around.
Likewise, popping bunny hops off speed bumps was a breeze. The button, accessible from the right grip, is now even more powerful and torquey, giving a near-instantaneous boost without feeling jerky. Push it when you want to make a fast start, climb a hill, or overtake someone quickly.
VanMoof says that the Wh-capacity battery will eke out a range of 60 km 37 miles when riding at full power or up to km 93 miles when riding in economy.
When I tested the X2 last year against similar claims, I averaged about 60 km per charge. As such, I only made it 47 km With the production firmware, my range would have been extended, VanMoof tells me. My S3 charged to full in about four hours. That could be a deal-breaker for many city dwellers, if your only option is to charge the bike in your living room. Yes, the X3 is smaller in size, making it easier to maneuver through the front door or into a liftbut it still weighs the same as the S3, making it very difficult to carry up any stairs.
I was told it would be about 2 months for delivery to my home. To compensate, VanMoof included a complementary rear rack. Delivery by UPS was routine. The packaging and instruction guide are beautifully designed and executed. Unpacking and assembly took about two hours.
With very little preparation I was able to get on my bike and ride as soon as it was assembled. I then took about two days to become acquainted with the VanMoof app and software as I ventured further from home. What stands out is the simplicity of building the bike, understanding the software and taking off on the first ride.
The joy of that first ride was only enhanced by having to stop often to show the new S3 to friends and strangers. My mike no longer functions after 1 week of usage due to water ingress into the 'bell' button.
At my expense I'm expected to take the bike into VM for repairs and be without a bike for hrs. I'm disappointed - this was not a cheap purchase.
VanMoof S3 review: a perfect e-bike for someone else, somewhere else
Reading all the negative replies here, I am reminded of the following. Unhappy customers are more vocal and the satisfied ones don't always bother to leave a rating behind. I can tell you my experience was top. The bike is thoroughly packaged and it would take the delivery partner UPS lots of effort to damage the bike inside. Next to all the precautions VanMoof takes to safely secure the bike in the cardboard box, the entire frame is wrapped in foam held together with tierips.
After following the online YouTube instructions, I tried the bike out and all works as advertised. Have the bike for a week now and no complaints. There was one item missing, namely the rubber cap of the saddle bolt. One simple mail via the VanMoof site resolved the issue and I got the replacement part within 2 days. Kudos to VanMoof. Ordered the X3 for my wife right away. I was an early adopter of the S3 and I received my bike at the end of May All was ok a couple of teething problems with connection and sometimes losing the gears - I had to manually reset a couple of times.
Then I got a error - 17 ERR. I contacted VanMoof and they said it was a known problem with the battery management system and that they had a lot of bikes with the same issue!!
They arranged for the bike to be picked up on 3rd august. I then didn't receive any more information and I contacted them after 2 and 4 weeks and they said that there were so many repairs they couldn't cope and it was taking a long time.
Then on the 7th October they said my bike was ready and I could pick it up from Amsterdam! This is a 2 hour journey and we are only supposed to make essential journeys due to Covid restrictions!If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. The new VanMoof is a very good looking bike, but I was still surprised how much of a conversation piece it became as I rode it around New York city.
VanMoof vs. Cowboy: The new and smart e-bikes in direct comparison
People regularly walked up to ask about it, and little crowds actually formed around it when I grabbed a bite to eat near Central Park, which was honestly kinda scary during a pandemic. The last thing I rode that got this much attention was a bright red, late-'60s-design Corvette. For a week and a half, it was my only transportation all over New York, which is an absurdly difficult place to bike at times.
I ran packages to the UPS Store, bounded over SoHo's fender-shaking cobblestones and the Brooklyn Bridge's wood slats, hit unavoidable potholes in East Williamsburg, and survived a couple slam-and-rams from Spandex-clad cyclists. The S3 held up. The S3 is a full-size bike with inch wheels that should be good for riders between 5'8" and 6'8". It joins VanMoof's X3, a more compact design with inch wheels that can accommodate riders between 5'0" and 6'5".
The S3 is more stable, and the X3 is more agile, but aside from the sizes of the wheels and the frames, they're the same bike. Even though these models are much cheaper, nothing about them feels downgraded. The frame construction hasn't changed, although the paint now has a matte finish to prevent scratches.
VanMoof attributes the price drop to the fact that it's moved production to a new factory which churns out bikes more efficiently. The range per charge seems to fall between 37 and 93 miles, depending on the level of pedaling assistance you select in the smartphone app. Level 0 turns off electric pedal assist completely, and level 4 gives you a heavy boost at all speeds.
One day, I took the S3 out on a mile journey from Queens, over the Brooklyn Bridge, and into the Bronx and back to see how it dealt with the hills of Upper Manhattan along the route. That trip sucked up 94 percent of the battery, which isn't bad, especially considering that I wasn't making any attempt to be economical and was using power level 3 the whole time. That's my favorite level, giving enough boost to keep me speeding along and still providing decent range.
There was a lot of stop-and-go traffic in the Financial District, and once I got to Riverside Park I worked it to the maximum speed of 20 miles per hour as often as I could. You can extend the range if you ride a little more easily, but even if you're a power hog you'll have enough battery for a work commute and a daily errand run without worrying about the battery. The frame's top tube has an array of LED lights that show the battery's charge level whenever the bike is on, and show the current speed whenever you're moving.
The VanMoof is driven by a front hub motor. In European markets, continuous power is limited to watts. If you go into the app and select the US setting and swipe away a disclaimer, the motor will allow the full W of continuous power. Peak power is W, and when you hold down the Boost button on the right handlebar, the motor puts out a healthy When red lights turned green, I could launch ahead of any car next to me.
The standard electric pedal assist was strong enough to easily bring me up to a comfortable speed from a standstill in normal riding, though, so I only tended to activate Boost when I had to dip into traffic, get ahead of a car quickly, or ride up a hill. Both the S3 and X3 have available front and rear racks that you can buy as accessories. So, you can attach pannier bags, cargo boxes, or a child seat if needed.
VanMoof does not want your bike to get stolen. Everything except the handlebars and seat post are held together by security bolts and nuts that require unusually shaped tools, so a thief is unlikely to have the kind of screwdriver required to steal your bike parts. The headlight and taillight—which can be programmed to turn on and off automatically—are integrated into the frame and can't be easily stolen, either.
The tires are puncture-resistant Schwalbe Big Bens that live underneath metal fenders with integrated mud flaps. I ran through a few mystery puddles to test out the fenders and made it through dry. There's also a kick lock on the rear hub that you tap with your foot. It locks the rear wheel so it can't turn and activates the antitheft system. If anyone touches the bike when it's locked, it blasts out a very loud, angry sound that will likely scare everyone nearby.At the time I was a student living in a quiet college town in Kentucky, and VanMoof was a Dutch company making high-end mechanical bikes.
Luckily I have a few more dollars in my bank account these days, and instead of living in the suburbs, I live in Brooklyn. In reality, though, the situation is a little more complex. No longer do potential buyers have to choose between something affordable and something attractive.
Throughout the years VanMoof has made a habit of making incremental improvements to the S series, but this time the company is taking a big bet on the new automatic, electronic gear shifter. For those people, the S3 is one of the most accessible bikes on the market.
That said, there are caveats. When you first look at a VanMoof, the eye is naturally drawn to the frame of the bike. Even the rear triangle formed by the seat tube, chain, and seat stays has an attractive geometry to it. It just looks very good on a number of levels. VanMoof has also put an applaudable amount of work into hiding the e-bike-ness of the S3 and its predecessors. The S3 has fewer visible wires and lines than my regular Peugeot street bike. There are no visible gears: the S3 uses an internal gear hub rear, and the chain guide fully surrounds the chain and the chainring in the front.
An unbelievable amount of work has gone into making sure you never have to see the reality of how the bike works.
The handlebars on the S3 contribute to the bike's clean look considerably. This leaves the handlebars completely clean save for two well-hidden buttons: a horn button on the left, and the boost button on the right. I recommend the regular bell.VanMoof S3 is finally here - S2 and S3 side by side close up shot #VanMoofS2 #VanMoofS3
Riding the S3 feels like riding a regular bicycle, but several times easier. The boost button is great, though, because once you've started it makes getting up to speed or passing someone a lot easier. I tend to bike aggressively, even on a normal bike, so on the VanMoof I also pushed it up to top speed as fast as it would go.
This left me slightly winded most of the time while riding, but I was regularly hitting 20mph between stop lights. Then the power is delivered with a regular chain to the Sturmey-Archer internally geared hub, which is also an interesting but necessary choice.
The gear shifting setup, on the other hand, is definitely a curveball compared to most electric bikes. A cassette of gears, which is what you normally see, allows bike makers to pack more gears onto the rear wheel, which is generally considered a good thing.
Here, all the gears are packed into a cylinder inside the wheel, and there are only four of them. While cassettes allow you to have more gears, you have to be moving for the derailleur to change from one gear to another. An internally geared hub, on the other hand, can change gears any time, which is critical for the automatic gear shifter.
When you put all these pieces together, you get a system that can detect when you stop and automatically shift down, then shift up as you accelerate. It felt like a chain skip, but quieter and milder. With the S3, I think it is at least plausible that VanMoof could improve the automatic gear shifter because there are actually settings for gear shifting in the VanMoof app.
Still, the phenomenon that I experienced only made me raise an eyebrow, it never impacted the mechanical operation of the bike. When it comes to the overall riding experience, I really felt the lack of front and rear suspension. Here in Brooklyn, where the streets are terrible, I was regularly shaking and jostling on the S3. Even with the substantial price cut, these bikes still cost a lot of money. It's natural to worry about your investment being snatched off the street.
When I first got my Sur Ron, for example, I was so worried about it getting stolen that I repurposed an old Android phone as a security camera. That is until I got a really thick chain and a custom insurance plan.
VanMoof's anti-theft features are thankfully far more robust: the bike has onboard cellular and bluetooth hardware that you can read more about here that allows VanMoof to track the bike no matter where it's taken. The company even has a YouTube series about tracking down stolen VanMoofs.We stole it in 60 seconds.
VanMoof responded to our story with a blog post and video showing the bike functioning correctly — when they locked the bike and removed the SIM card, the rear wheel lock remained engaged — effectively rendering the bike useless. Initially, the company suggested that we had a defective model but further testing has been unable to replicate the original error. All functions of the bike appear to operate as intended.
As far as we can tell, it is not, as we had earlier believed, a lemon and therefore we see no reason to believe that this is a widespread issue for the VanMoof S2. To further vet the original claims, we purchased a used S2 to conduct another test. The bike was essentially rendered unusable.
Since this story was first published, we have been in constant contact with VanMoof in order to troubleshoot the issue experienced during the first test and determine its root cause.
Testing extravagant claims — like that a bike is nearly impossible to steal — is exactly the type of journalism Digital Trends endeavors to offer consumers. But we hold ourselves accountable, too. The best hatchbacks for The best tablets for 3 days ago. The best cargo vans for small businesses in September 23, Amazon devices event Everything announced September 24, The best radar detectors for October 1, The best Android Auto head units for October 1, Every upcoming electric pickup truck October 1, The most reliable cars of October 1, The coolest car gadgets for October 1, The best infotainment systems for October 1, The best trucks for October 1, The best road trip cars for October 1, In April VanMoof presented the new S3 and shortly afterwards in June Cowboy followed up with the third generation of the smart bike.
What both innovations have in common is that the smart functions of the bikes are in the foreground and the drive systems have each been improved. But there are also numerous differences, which this article is intended to highlight. There is no classic display on the bikes, instead there are lights integrated into the frame that inform about the battery status.
The VanMoof can also display information about speed or theft protection. All further information is outsourced to the corresponding free Smartphone app, which is a fixed part of the use of both bikes. In addition to technical settings, the apps are also used for navigation or for locating the wheels, for which both models have an integrated GPS transmitter. Both bikes are equipped with hydraulic disc brakes and a lighting system is also integrated.
Due to the integration into the frame, the headlights on both models do not illuminate into the curve either. The frames of the bikes are only available in one size each.
Cowboy recommends this frame size for riders from cm height, VanMoof for riders from cm. The VanMoof X3 should also be mentioned — this is suitable for smaller drivers, but looks quite different in form. Fenders are fitted as standard on VanMoof, but can be ordered as an option on Cowboy. Despite all the — especially smart — similarities, there are also some differences. First of all the battery should be mentioned here: VanMoof has integrated it fixed in the frame and offers a capacity of Wh.
Cowboy, on the other hand, relies on a smaller battery with Wh, which is, however, detachably mounted in the seat tube. The VanMoof has a larger capacity, but the bike has to be brought to the charger for charging. There are also big differences in the motor and drive system: Cowboy uses a single-speed drive with only one gear, with the motor in the rear wheel. The power transmission now uses a high-quality Gates belt drive, which is largely maintenance-free, quiet and free of oil or grease.
The drive system is controlled via a torque sensor. This provides a very natural support as it is linked to the pedalling force of the rider.Classic straight-frame geometry supercharged with next-gen innovation.
VanMoof S3 e-bike review: better than the best
Learn more. See checkout for updated shipping info. Effortless to use, useless to steal — onboard alarms and smart location tracking are specially designed to give bike thieves nightmares. Tamper detection. Remote lockdown mode. Tuned for maximum power and a natural ride-feel, our new motor runs near-silently — even at top speed. Top speed.
Turbo Boost torque. Industry-first automatic electronic gear shifting gives the smoothest ride ever. With four speeds to flatten every urban incline. The Smart Cartridge controls all onboard systems, processing real-time motor feedback to ensure maximum range and motor responsiveness. Battery capacity. Unlock your bike effortlessly, configure everything from the gear change moments to the digital bell sound.
Front carrier. Rear carrier. The X3 packs the same motor, battery, and smart tech as its bigger sibling. Compact wheels and extra-agile handling make it perfect for quick getaways. Recommended for riders 5'0"-6'5". Close video. Theft Defense Effortless to use, useless to steal — onboard alarms and smart location tracking are specially designed to give bike thieves nightmares.
Intelligent motor Tuned for maximum power and a natural ride-feel, our new motor runs near-silently — even at top speed. E-shifter Industry-first automatic electronic gear shifting gives the smoothest ride ever. Super-smart electronics The Smart Cartridge controls all onboard systems, processing real-time motor feedback to ensure maximum range and motor responsiveness.
Hydraulic brake system Fully integrated hydraulic brakes deliver precision stopping power in all weather conditions. Accessories Extend the VanMoof S3's cargo capacity with our tailor-made front and rear carriers. Upgraded superpowers. Kick Lock. Immobilize the rear wheel and activate the onboard alarms with the tap of a toe. Front wheel hub. Matrix Display. S3 or X3?