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

I have to be sincere. My strategy of what an eBike is for and does was fully erroneous. I know this for the reason that I have used the final month or so driving the VanMoof S3, a $2,300 electrical bike, placing just about 100 miles on it in the course of that time. For some, that distance could audio trivial, but I can promise you the I haven’t ridden 100 miles on a bike in the final ten a long time mixed. 

In fact, part of the purpose I put so several miles on the S3 about the final several months was to examination out the bells and whistles (figuratively, and literally), but also for the reason that I made the decision to start off performing exercises extra. And even while eBikes feature a motorized pedal-guide to do some or all of the function for you, I have nonetheless to appear dwelling drenched in sweat immediately after a extended experience on the S3. 

Just what helps make the S3 and truly worth $2,300? I’ll try to answer that query down below — but allow me explain to you, immediately after working with one for a even though, you should not be stunned if you see me cruising on one of my own in the close to potential. 

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The front wheel and motor of the VanMoof S3. 

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Never reside close to a VanMoof retail outlet? No issue

VanMoof only has a handful of showrooms all over the US. It is at those suppliers where you can ebook a examination experience in sites like Seattle, San Francisco or Brooklyn. If you you should not reside in one of those areas, it truly is not best, but that doesn’t exclude you from purchasing a VanMoof bike. 

I reside in the middle of Colorado, so VanMoof had to ship a bike to me. The bike arrives partly assembled, requiring only the set up of the front wheel and pedals on arrival. 

Provided in the box alongside with the bike by itself is a toolkit with most of the equipment you can want to do any repairs on your own, a foot pump for airing up your tires and a kazoo — for celebrating your obtain. 

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VanMoof’s YouTube channel is entire of tutorial films that walk you by means of the original assembly, and if you run into problems even though proudly owning the bike and want to go the Do-it-yourself route, you can observe the films to complete any servicing or repairs on your own. 

It took me about 30 minutes to get the bike put with each other, splitting my time concerning examining out what all was integrated in the box, and looking at the assembly movie a pair of periods prior to tackling the activity at hand. 

The bike arrived fully charged, and VanMoof integrated the exterior battery pack for extended array testing. 

In addition to attaching the front wheel, the relaxation of the set up procedure demanded my Apple iphone. Truly, it demands an Apple iphone or Android mobile phone and the VanMoof application. You use the application to change options, look at stats these kinds of as your present-day velocity, experience history, lock and unlock the bike and look at its present-day site. 

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The Discover My application with the VanMoof S3 additional to it for Apple users.

Talking of monitoring site — by introducing the skill to join the bike to Apple’s Discover My network, even if a person steals your bike, you must have a great strategy of its present-day site at any time. The bike will join to random Apple equipment and anonymously deliver its site back again to your Apple account, making it possible for you to observe it. It is the similar technological innovation which is crafted into Apple’s AirTags, only it truly is in a bike. Environment that functionality up took a several extra seconds and was taken care of by means of the VanMoof application. 

If you use Android or you should not want to belief Apple’s Discover My network with locating a missing bike, VanMoof does offer you a  Peace of Intellect deal that contains both servicing, theft protection or both. It is dear, with the servicing system costing $348, theft protection priced at $398, or a mix deal for $690. 

Nevertheless, if your bike is stolen and VanMoof can’t recover it working with the crafted-in GSM connectivity within just two months, the company will exchange the bike. VanMoof has a collection on its YouTube channel exhibiting how its bike hunters travel by means of various cities and locate missing bikes.

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The rear wheel with digital shifter on the VanMoof S3. 

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Design and style and requirements

The S3 has a front-wheel motor with a top velocity of 20 miles for each hour and electrical power ranging from 250W to 350W. You can find a 504Wh LG battery that lasts anyplace from 37 to 93 miles, based on how a lot you use boost or pedal guide in the course of your rides. Charging the battery usually takes about 4 several hours for a entire demand, or you can get to 50% in around eighty minutes. 

The S3 is the largest model VanMoof helps make. It has 28-inch wheels, weighs forty six.3 kilos, and is designed for riders 5-foot eight-inches to 6-foot eight-inches. The X3 has 24-inch wheels and is designed for those concerning 5-ft and 6-foot 5-inches for the similar selling price as the S3.

Just about every wheel has its own hydraulic disc brake. The overall time I rode the bike the front brake had a little bit of a squeak to it, but it truly is evidently regular for disc brakes to have a crack-in interval. I have altered the brake a several periods and it truly is served. 

On the rear wheel you can obtain a kick lock that helps prevent the wheel from going. If a person commences to roll off with your bike, a visual inform plays on the matrix monitor which is on the bar close to the handlebars. The cranium and crossbones icon is accompanied by a loud siren, alerting any person nearby that anything is erroneous. On the opposite of the bar with the display screen, which also demonstrates your present-day velocity in the course of rides, and other facts at various periods, is a extremely loud speaker and a electrical power button. When you press the horn button, an audio file is played by means of the speaker to inform nearby riders or men and women.

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That button with the yellow line is the kick lock. 

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The rear wheel also has an digital computerized shifting 4-gear hub that usually takes the guesswork out of when you must be in a particular gear. A software update for the bike and the application was introduced in the course of my time with the S3 that enabled manually shifting for extra manage. One common criticism I have read through about the S3 and skilled myself is that when the e-shifter adjustments gears, the chain helps make a clunk audio. The only way I can figure out to get all-around this audio is to test and guess when the shifter is likely to make a modify (it truly is finished at particular MPH measurements) and end pedaling for a temporary 2nd. Following a several rides, timing this modify became virtually 2nd mother nature. Nevertheless, the guide shifting feature will certainly remove any concerns for those who want it. 

On both facet of the handlebars is a brake lever, alongside with a solitary button. The still left button triggers your assigned horn or bell audio, even though the proper button activates boost manner to optimize your cruising velocity. There are LED lights on the front and back again of the bike to support with late afternoon or night driving. 

The design of the S3 is extremely small and feels like each piece and part has a intent. It will come in an all-black end, or sky-blue. 

What it truly is like to experience

Up until driving the S3, I assumed that eBikes demanded no pedaling. You both pushed a button or throttle and just went alongside for the experience. I was so erroneous. 

There are some eBikes that are like that, but the vast majority of eBikes I have due to the fact researched offer you pedal support. That means, the motor will convert on and support you as extended as the pedals are going. The moment you end pedaling, the motor stops. And even though that does imply you can pedal slower than common to get to a velocity of, say, 15MPH, you are even now physically active. 

With the S3, there are technically 5 various pedal guide amounts. Environment the bike to zero turns off all pedal guide, reverting it to a extra classic bike, lacking any support from the motor. Concentrations one by means of four offer you support up to a particular velocity. Level one will support you get to 10MPH even though pedaling, and stage four will preserve you at 20MPH as extended as your ft are going. 

The boost button on the proper facet of the handlebars will crank the motor to entire velocity, irrespective of your present-day pedal guide stage, and preserve you at the entire 20MPH — yet again, as extended as the pedals are going. 

When you are at a larger pedal guide stage or working with the boost button a lot, battery lifetime will the natural way reduce. The fewer you use pedal guide, the more time the battery will final. 

If you’ve got ever pushed or rode in an electrical car, you know that you will find fast torque each time the pedal is pushed. The initially time I pressed the boost button on the S3, I was a very little hesitant. I did not know if the similar torque would be present, and if I must be keeping on for dear lifetime. As a substitute, you will find a gradual improve to the motor’s electrical power until you get to top velocity. Under no circumstances did I come to feel like I was at threat of getting rid of manage. 

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The VanMoof S3 with PowerBank.

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My driving about the just about 100 miles of testing was mixed, as some of the time I was driving with my spouse and children who have normal bikes, and other periods by myself. I did not observe specifics, but I consider the most affordable the battery arrived at was all-around 30% of a demand, but with the additional PowerBank, all I had to do was press the electrical power button and the bike was charging — both even though I was driving, or even though the bike was parked. The PowerBank attaches the bike by using a locking mechanism and can increase anyplace from 28 to 62 extra miles of array. It is large, introducing 6.2 kilos to the full pounds of the bike. 

I you should not imagine I have a want or use for the PowerBank. The bike is easy enough to park following to an outlet when I want to demand it, but for a person who has to have the S3 up numerous flights of stairs just to demand it, I can see the PowerBank remaining a hassle-free accessory. 

Outdoors of the squeaky front brake disc, the only difficulty I skilled even though driving the S3 was flat tires. I am not confident if I kept running about stickers that have been potent enough to poke holes by means of the wheels and the tubes, or if I was hitting anything else on my rides, but in the course of my time with the S3 I had a full of four flats. The initially time all-around, I changed the tubes for the reason that I needed to get a come to feel for what all is involved with taking both wheels off and executing servicing myself. The 2nd time all-around, I resorted to patching the tube. 

It is not the fault of VanMoof’s, and very likely a byproduct of the spot I reside in, but with any luck , it truly is anything I can figure out must I choose to buy an S3 of my own. I want to seem into regardless of whether or not you can use slime in the tubes on eBikes, or the very best method to preserve random flats to a least. 

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All of the choices and options currently obtainable in the VanMoof application. 

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The S3, and by extension the X3, are bikes designed for a person who wants a trustworthy bike for the commute to function, or anything safe and sound and pleasurable to experience at dwelling. 

The $2,300 selling price tag could audio like a lot, and it is, but when you seem at the eBike landscape, the S3 is basically priced lessen than its competitors and features extra innovative technological innovation.

If you had requested me to produce a record of what I needed in an eBike, I would have started with connectivity and some sort of smarts. The VanMoof features both by means of the smartphone application and Discover My integration, and car-shifting based on how quick you are driving. 

The S3 definitely does come to feel like a bike which is the love youngster of Apple and Tesla, with user encounter and technological innovation at the forefront, mixed with the reality that it truly is just downright pleasurable to experience.

See also: Finest eBikes for commuting