I Still remember the first time I saw a VanMoof bike tethered unceremoniously to a tree in Brighton. Even then I was intrigued by the slightly awkward design.
It looked like the modern love child of my old Triumph peddle bike and a utilitarian soviet era machine, immensely practical but somehow cool. The cross bar light configuration was so simple it was genius, it still is, and now its electric!
VanMoof had previously issued the S2 and the X2 in 2018 to rave reviews and healthy sales. The new VanMoof S3 and X3 electric bikes look fairly similar but we are assured they are very different. They are also, surprisingly, cheaper!
The S3 looks like a futuristic upright Dutch bone-shaker which should be ridden by a robot with a handlebar moustache. The uncluttered exterior is free of wires, cogs and electrical components and even the batteries are hidden in the frame, at first glance you wouldn’t know it was an electric bicycle at all.
The matt black finish gives it a super sleek look and conceals all the technology. It’s also nearly silent, has really smooth automatic four speed electric shifting and has all the anti theft devices that we have come to expect from Van Moof.
As features go though VanMoof’s Turbo Boost is absolutely wicked. Whether accelerating up a hill, getting out of the way of a particularly annoying car driver or just for fun, this is something every electric bike should have. The button, accessible from the right grip, is now even more powerful and torquey, giving a near-instantaneous smooth boost without feeling jerky.
Front and rear hydraulic disc brakes also offer accurate braking and less maintenance which gives you confidence with the boost. You can choose from four levels of electric pedal assist: 1 being minimal assistance (I still want to get fit), 4 being much less human effort (I’m tired and late). Its top speed is 15mph, when on the EU setting on the app. The US setting ups this to 20mph which we wouldn’t be able to use in the UK unless you broke current laws!
According to Van Moof the 504Wh-capacity battery will eke out a range of 37 miles (about 60Km) when riding at full power or up to 93 miles (150 km) when riding in economy.
The integrated Kick Lock secures the rear wheel and activates the alarm with a kick of the protruding button. Like the S2, it still requires proper alignment of the rear wheel to engage, which can be awkward, especially at night when you can’t see the guides.
The lock can be opened in the app or by tapping out your secret code on the Horn button mounted on the left grip. The built-in alarm system slowly escalates in intensity before disabling the bike’s motor and begins broadcasting its location to your phone; it does however mean you need to rely on VanMoof 100%.
Most cables are hidden, but two cables still snake out of the handlebar, making them susceptible to snagging in bike racks. This is just annoying, occasionally, and could have been avoided. The chain tensions automatically and only requires a few drops of oil now and then.
There is a large amount of custom accessories, including front (coming this summer) and rear carriers and panniers, and as with everything else, I worry that repair costs will be higher because of all those bespoke components.
At £1800, the cost of the VanMoof S3 electric bike is very reasonable, especially given the quality of design and for an extra £270 VanMoof will cover your maintenance costs for three years.
Check out vanmoof.com to buy your VanMoof S3 electric bike now!
Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest offers on the S3 and X3 – we hope to be doing a full user review later in the year too!
If you like the S3 – why not check out our review of The Angell – a very similar minimalist dutch style e-bike
VanMoof S3"The Dutch Style Classic"
Top Speed: 25km/h
Motor: 250 - 350W
Range: 60 - 150km
Charge Time: 4 hrs
Bike Weight: 19 kg
Rider Height: 5'8" - 6'8"
Keyless Lock/ Touch
GSM/ Bluetooth Tracking
Display: Via Phone App
Lights: Front/ Rear Auto LED