What does it cost?
What is it?
A vision from the future. A smartphone on wheels. It’s rather technologically advanced, so if you’re a self-confessed technophobe, this isn’t the bike for you. If you’re after something suave and urban with a touch of ‘I wonder if Elon Musk had any input on this?’ then it’s a bike to consider.
In layman's terms, it's an urban city e-bike but packed full of tech. It's part of a two-bike range the Dutch brand has released, with the X3 being for the smaller rider, and the S3 for those 5’8” and above. The X3 provides a nice upright riding position, perfect for shorter journeys, and the wide 2” tyres provide a nice buoyant ride.
VanMoof have packed a lot of technology into the bike and it represents good value at just shy of £2000. Electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes don’t come cheap, but somehow they’ve packed it all into an intuitive e-bike. However, there are certain nuances to the operation of this bike that can be a little frustrating. For one thing, you need a smartphone to get the most out of it. It provides the authentication to unlock the bike when you're close by and helps sound an alarm if the bike is being moved by someone that isn't you.
What is it like?
It’s like Robocop on wheels. But with more sound effects. It’s one of the few city bikes that has been fundamentally built to survive in an urban environment. The epicentres of bike theft lie in city centres, and if you part with nearly £2000 of your cash you don’t want it to be left to the fate of the person with the axle grinder. The VanMoof has tackled the issue of theft head-on by installing several security measures. For example, the silver Kick Lock by the kickstand activates a lock that prevents the rear wheel from moving, while the alarm can be activated and deactivated manually at any time.
But where the security measures really stack up are when you pair the bike to your phone. If you walk too far away from it, it will lock and eventually shut down. And if you walk up to it, it will turn on. If someone who isn’t identified as you tries to move the bike, an alarm will sound on the bike, and a little skull will appear on the phone display to alert you to the problem. How do I know for certain? Because I set it off twice before correctly pairing my phone to the bike.