As reported here, there was so much information about VanMoof’s new S3 and X3 e-bikes even before the official release that the actual launch event was quite unspectacular. But there were still some remaining questions about the new models, which can now be answered.
Let’s start with a general overview: Both bikes differ mainly in the frame and therefore the size of the bikes. The S3 corresponds to a standard bike in terms of frame and size, the X3 is much more compact, has smaller wheels and is also better suited for smaller people. However, the electric drive and features are largely identical on both models.
Both bikes still have a hub motor in the front wheel. This is certainly not the preferred motor position for many riders, but — compared to a motor in the rear wheel — it is only possible to combine it with a hub gear. The motor itself should now be much quieter (finally, because the predecessor S2 was sometimes really loud), in addition the torque has become stronger with 59 Nm.
One real highlight is the completely redesigned hub gear: it now offers four gears, which are shifted electronically and automatically. There is no shift lever on the handlebars, instead the shift points are defined in the app and can be changed there as desired. Both for upshifting and downshifting, a certain speed can be assigned at which the gears should be shifted. A unique system that no other manufacturer offers!
The saddle is also new, allowing not only height adjustment but also horizontal adjustment. Since both new VanMoof models are available in only one frame size each, this is at least an additional possibility to adjust a suitable seat position. And while the previous model had mechanical disc brakes, the new generation now comes with hydraulic brakes. These are also specially designed by VanMoof. The flat, non-drilled discs and the brake levers, which are flush with the handlebar-stem unit, are striking.
The battery offers a capacity of 504 Wh, which is quite decent and should be enough for ranges between 60 and 150 km. However, it is still mounted inside the frame and thus can’t be removed for charging. What makes things worse is that both new VanMoof models are not lightweight at 19 kg, making them difficult to carry around the house. By the way, the light integrated into the frame is also powered by the battery, which contributes to the unique look of a VanMoof. When it comes to the drivetrain, VanMoof still uses a regular chain instead of a modern belt drive. However, this chain is completely encapsulated and thus protected from the weather. A kickstand and mudguards complete the Commuter features suitable for everyday use, which can be optionally extended with accessories such as carriers (for front and rear).
Well-known but still exciting are the bike’s tech gimmicks: On the top tube there is an integrated matrix display that shows information about battery status or theft protection, among other things. You read it right, theft protection: the bikes are equipped with an integrated lock on the rear wheel, which is combined with a motion sensitive alarm system (and can be unlocked with a code or via the app). In addition, integrated GSM and Bluetooth modules ensure positioning tracking. Only logical with so much high-tech that even the sound for the bicycle bell is generated electronically and can also be adapted to your own taste with the app.
Considering the built-in technology, the new and lower price of the VanMoof is even more spectacular: the bikes are priced at 1,998 Euros each! most comparable with the new bikes is the Cowboy Bike (tested here), which has no gearshift, but a removable battery instead. Both have the same distribution model in common: You can only order the VanMoof online, the delivery is currently dated July or August 2020. Further information about the S3 and X3 — both available in dark or light — can be found directly on the VanMoof website.