Published On: Sat, Jul 17th, 2021

VanMoof X3 e-bike review: Transportation revelation

Like some of the best consumer tech from a final decade, we didn’t know we indispensable an e-bike until we was on one, breezing down a bike line considering my newfound freedom.

Before shopping a Nintendo Switch, we would have never guessed how many a candy-colored gaming console that we could cocktail out of a wharf and into my trek for prolonged moody would fill me with joy. An e-bike, utterly this e-bike, a VanMoof X3, feels like that.

I live in Portland, Oregon, land of copiousness bike lanes and exposed bike rides. When we initial changed here, we biked everywhere, yet that robe solemnly dissolved over a years. First, we bought a automobile for weekend camping trips, that solemnly became weekday errand running.

A few years later, we got diagnosed with a ongoing illness and unexpected found myself many reduction assured in what my physique could do and where it could positively take me. Over time, my bike would customarily see a handful of rides a deteriorate on pleasing days, when I’d always whine and consider I wish we biked some-more — it creates me feel good!

Before contrast a X3, I’d find excuses to expostulate brief distances instead of roving my bike. What if we got sleepy and didn’t feel like biking home? What if it starts pouring rain? What’s if it’s too hot? What if I’m too sweaty when we get to a office? Riding an e-bike erases many of those concerns outright.

The X3 is an free adequate float that we can still wizz to work if it’s 95+ degrees out. It’s quick adequate that we can get out of a warn deluge quick if need be. If we don’t wish to be sweaty during a start of a day, we can gaunt on sweet, honeyed electricity to drive me away, rolling adult to my bureau yet violation a sweat.

And it can’t go unstated that going quick on a bike — a whole time, with as many or tiny bid as we feel like putting in — is really, unequivocally fun. If we haven’t had a possibility to try an e-bike, know that a prodigy of facilely zipping around, electricity near-imperceptibly humming underneath you, is formidable to news and best gifted first-hand.

VanMoof’s large span of high tech bikes, a X3 and a incomparable cousin a S3, are distant from a customarily options on a market, so some of their pluses would reason loyal for any electric bike. But that doesn’t make a VanMoof transmutable either. The VanMoof X3 has a unequivocally specific look, feel and underline set that will ideally fit a certain kind of supplement (myself included) yet other e-bike shoppers will still wish to play a field. We’ll get into that — here goes!

VanMoof X3 e-bike

Matrix arrangement shows battery life, speed and other pivotal info.

APPEARANCE

I tested a VanMoof X3 over a S3 not by choice — a geometry is a tiny dumb looking in cinema — yet since I’m 5’4″. The X3, that fits anybody from 5′-6’5″, is a tiny smaller and reduction normal looking than a S3, that suits anyone taller than 5’8″. The X3 has 24″ wheels rather than a S3’s 28″ wheels and it has a tiny bungee-corded height in a front where presumably we could lift something, yet we still have no suspicion what (You can also buy an appendage front basket that slots in there and looks unequivocally cute.)

Like many e-bikes, a X3 is much, many heavier than a normal highway or commuter bike. The listed weight is 45.8 lbs and you’ll feel each bruise of it if we ever need to lift it unequivocally far. we live in a standalone residence in Portland, Oregon and had to lift a X3 down a unequivocally brief front step to float it — totally fine!

I used to live in a fifth building walkup in Brooklyn and carrying it adult or down that would have been impossible. If we can’t store a X3 (or many any e-bike) around belligerent turn with entrance to a charger, it competence not be a good fit for you. (Note that in a pictures, a tiny height above a sequence area is where an discretionary outmost battery pack, discussed later, sits. The height is removable.)

Though on paper I’d cite a demeanour of a S3, a X3 doesn’t demeanour bizarre during all IRL, either parked or with somebody roving it. It’s cute, unconventional yet not celebrated and gets copiousness of compliments. My mother described a cultured as “Death Star chic” and while we don’t totally know what that means, she’s not wrong. On a approach to my bureau a sanitation lorry motorist rolled down his window to cry “HEY—THAT’S A REALLY COOL BIKE.” Thanks, my dude!

VanMoof X3 e-bike

The stream era of VanMoof e-bikes are coated in matte paint and we can name between a classic, voluptuous matte black or a agreeably happy matte light blue. A prior chronicle of a bikes used silken coating, yet apparently a matte is ostensible to be some-more blemish resistant. The paint does seem flattering tough yet it’s not totally bombproof. Somehow a handlebars picked adult a tiny scrape in a paint, yet we still have no suspicion where it came from or what did it (owls?).

Something critical to note is that conjunction a VanMoof X3 or S3 demeanour like e-bikes. They don’t have an nauseous gush projecting out from a support and a tip tube and down tube are both thick yet uniform — and not so thick you’d consider twice about it.

The electronic components are nestled divided in a support and even a drivetrain is tucked divided and enclosed. And while there’s a deeply cold LED pattern arrangement embedded in a tip tube, customarily a supplement unequivocally sees it. For anyone looking for an e-bike that doesn’t roar e-bike!!!! a VanMoof is one of a best choices if not a best choice we could make. It’s an overwhelming looking bike — not customarily an overwhelming looking e-bike.

VanMoof X3 in a city of roses.

RIDING

The VanMoof X3 is a nice-looking bike — we get it. But what about, we know, a biking? we can sensitively news that from a initial time we bound on it to your twentieth invert to work, a X3 is an comprehensive fun to ride.

As an e-bike visitor we had reservations. Would a electric assistance taint a sorcery of roving a bike? Do we unequivocally wish a bike doing a changeable for me? As it turns out, utterly a conflicting and yes, absolutely.

The VanMoof X3 (and a kin a S3) give we an electric boost while pedaling — you’ll still be pedaling yet it feels enticingly easy and you’ll go faster with reduction effort. The bike also facilities a Turbo Boost symbol on a right-side handlebar that gives we a large boost on tip of a smoother normal electronic assistance, adult to 20 miles per hour in a U.S.

You can name a volume of assistance that we want. Using a VanMoof app, that we’ll get to, or a earthy button, we can name what turn of energy support you’d like from 0 to four. Zero is we pedaling a heavy-ass bike alone with no assistance (it sucks) and 4 creates all feel so easy there’s roughly no approach to mangle a sweat.

In my time contrast a bike, I’d use “two” when we felt like removing a bit of a examination with additional pep in my pedal, 4 when we was in a precipitate to get to my co-working space in a mornings and 3 a rest of a time, like roving to brunch on a weekend. Being means to name a turn of pedal assistance is a outrageous perk and it creates a bike feel stretchable for opposite uses.

VanMoof X3 e-bike

The flog tighten button, behind circle and enclosed chain.

Whatever mode you’re on, a turbo boost symbol is a torpedo feature. It flattens high hills and creates it feel approach safer to zip opposite bustling intersections where you’re not certain drivers are profitable attention. It’s fun and overwhelming for safe, defensive city riding.

It takes a tiny bit to get used to a involuntary electronic changeable yet that’s silky well-spoken too. we primarily insincere that, like many things that worked ideally good before carrying some unconnected “smart” high-tech nonsense draped over them (fridges! lamps! vibrators!) a record would destroy customarily mostly adequate to be a nuisance.

After a prolonged duration of testing, we can news that a X3 rides as well-spoken and seamless as ever. Every once in a while I’d break down on a pedal or a rigging won’t locate right divided yet it’s super rare. You can even use a app to customize when a bike shifts adult and down and it’s value personification around with that to find something that feels customarily right.

What else? The X3’s limit assisted speed is in a U.S. is 20 mph (32km/hr), yet anyone in Europe will be singular to 15.5 mph (25km/hr). The U.S. speed feels good and it’s painless to get adult to 20mph and say that speed with a X3 in a approach I’d have to destroy my quads to conduct otherwise, even on my zippy non-electric highway bike.

Beyond that, a chair is unequivocally comfy and a float is agreeably honest and natural. After roving a X3 for a while we had a tough time going behind to hunching over on my (adorable) tiny Bianchi and pined for a comfy float I’d gotten so used to.

VanMoof X3 e-bike

Tail light from a future.

VALUE

The VanMoof X3 is an glorious value, all things considered. The association has a uncanny robe of tinkering with a pricing, yet after a redesign and a gigantic cost dump in 2020 ($3,398 to $1,998 during a time) a bikes feel unequivocally good priced. Now they’re retailing for $2,298 — $300 some-more than a prior cost yet still a excellent understanding for anyone looking for a unequivocally full-featured e-bike yet spending some-more than around $2,000.

That’s not unequivocally many some-more than you’d spend on a unchanging bike, sans electricity and many, many cold bells and whistles. And if you’re into aloft finish bikes, it could even be a lot less. It’s also roughly reduction than a high finish of e-bike competition, that a VanMoof bikes feel like they contest with, even with a wallet-friendlier cost tag.

Still, it’s kind of stressful that VanMoof is sensitively messing around with a pricing with a bikes already out in a wild. It would siphon to devise to buy one customarily to see a cost fire adult before you’d pulled a trigger.

The association should be some-more pure about this, giving set destiny dates for designed cost changes. There also seem to be updates within generations of a bikes, so an X3 we buy now competence differ from an X3 we could buy in 2020. That’s treacherous and all of it should be done clearer somewhere apparent on a website.

vanmoof-app

The VanMoof app’s in-app float tracking and outline stats.

RANGE

One of a biggest considerations with an e-bike (or an e-anything!) is range. VanMoof says a X3’s operation is 37 miles regulating “full power” and adult to 93 miles in economy mode. If you’re removing 93 miles out of a battery, we substantially aren’t even regulating a pedal assistance during all, so we can customarily toss that series out. The low finish guess of 37 miles competence be a tiny inexhaustible for someone who’s regulating a bike on a fourth energy assistance turn and outstanding a turbo boost regularly, yet 35-45 miles feels about right from my contrast (usually mode 3 or 4, spasmodic 2, light use of turbo button).

The operation feels good. Even regulating a X3 many days out of a week, charging is sparse adequate to never feel annoying. In my case, that meant daily brief rides (2.5-5 miles, usually) and a occasional longer float (10-20 miles). If you’re regulating a X3 or S3 to invert to work somewhere that’s over away, you’re going to find yourself plugging in more. Even so, we never got into a conditions where we was endangered that I’d run out of battery distant from home. And even if we do, we can still pedal a bike — it’s customarily unequivocally heavy. Most people will substantially assign adult overnight, yet we can fill adult a battery in 4 hours if we need to.

Something to note is that you’ll block in a wall horse directly to a bike to assign it. For anyone who can’t assign and store a X3 on belligerent level, know you’ll have to lift a whole dang bike to an outlet. The miss of a removable battery competence be a strike opposite a VanMoof bikes for folks who live in walk-ups or tiny apartments, yet for people with somewhere easy to store it, this wasn’t something we suspicion twice about.

While a built-in operation is totally adequate for a lot of use cases, VanMoof customarily introduced an outmost appendage battery container for both a X3 and S3. The battery slots into a tiny platform, graphic next and mounted on a exam bike, and it extends a X3’s operation considerably. VanMoof sells a PowerBank appendage for $348. The thing isn’t tiny — it weighs 6 pounds — yet VanMoof says it’ll give we anywhere from 28 to 62 miles of additional range. Again, roughly nobody is going to strike a high finish of this, yet even during a low finish it roughly doubles a bike’s existent range.

External PowerBank around VanMoof

The PowerBank is large and flattering clunky. It doesn’t demeanour awful, yet it unequivocally creates a X3 demeanour like an e-bike. It’s not superb like a removable battery on a Cowboy, another greatly large e-bike, yet it’s ok. If all else about a VanMoof suits we ideally yet we need some-more range, it’s good to have a option, even if you’ll be shelling out for it.

VanMoof X3 e-bike

TECH FEATURES

The tech bells and whistles are something that unequivocally creates a VanMoof X3 and S3 mount out from a crowd. The X3’s cost feels reasonable for a reliable, great-looking e-bike, yet on tip of that you’ll be removing an electric steed with some flattering honeyed tricks:

  • Matrix display: On a bike’s tip tube an array of LED lights built into a steel displays your speed, battery life and other useful info. This is a torpedo feature, it’s greatly cool!
  • Alarm. You can activate an alarm that will *literally growl* during anyone who jostles your bike. It’s heated and unequivocally loud.
  • Kick lock. You can flog a tiny earthy symbol to alarm a bike and tighten a behind wheel. If we live in a city with bike theft, someone could still toss a bike in a lorry simply so this isn’t a singular confidence resolution (I used a normal mini Kryptonite tighten and that worked great.)
  • Find My on iOS. If you’re an iOS user we can lane your bike’s locale easily. It’s a good feature, yet ideally if your bike is well-locked we aren’t going to be messing with this much.

Vanmoof Find My iOS

VanMoof support for “Find My” app in iOS

  • Lights. The VanMoof X3 has good built-in lights, front and back.
  • App: Surprisingly, a app is indeed flattering good. You can customize lots of tiny things (bell noise, alarm on or off, changeable preferences), use it to lane your rides and more. You also don’t have to be connected to a bike with a app to do a many essential stuff, fondness roving it, unlocking it and changing your turn of electric assistance. we had an occasional connectivity problem with a app (usually on Android) yet this was simply resolved and never kept me from biking anywhere, yet it did meant some rides weren’t automatically tracked. Importantly, we can also lane your bike’s locale by a app and VanMoof touts this underline total with a alarm complement and liberation group for assisting people get their bikes back.

VanMoof X3 e-bike

Overall, something good about a X3 is that a tech facilities aren’t customarily imagination tricks — they unequivocally raise a experience. And even so, they’re optional. You can float a bike and advantage from a energy assistance yet regulating a app. You can use a unchanging tighten and skip a alarm complement if we name to, or use a earthy symbol formula to invalidate it manually. You can change a energy assistance mode with a same button. This is all outrageous and lets we use a e-bike how we wish to. Personally, I’d never buy an e-bike that compulsory connectivity, a phone or an app to work it; that’s customarily seeking for trouble.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Shipping and Assembly: The VanMoof X3 and S3 come in a mail in a large box. The public routine was roughly painless — solely for this one unequivocally fiddly bit we have to slip into another fiddly bit that took me a improved partial of an hour and some acid on a VanMoof subreddit (not a customarily one with this problem!)

Extra Support: VanMoof offers 3 paid skeleton to keep your bike in operative sequence and in your possession. You can buy a three-year upkeep devise for $348, a three-year burglary liberation devise for $398 or a total devise for $690 (broken down around VanMoof below).

VanMoof support plans

Maintenance: Where we live should be a vital care when meditative about shopping a VanMoof. In my time contrast it for trustworthiness over an extended period, we was astounded by how few problems came up. we had to disaster around with re-centering a front circle during some indicate since a stop pad was rubbing, yet aside from occasional app connectivity issues, that was flattering many it. Of course, poignant wear and rip means any bike could advantage from a pro balance adult from someone who knows a model.

VanMoof has bone-fide stores in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Tokyo. Beyond a flagship stores, a association relies on an expanding network of use centers and “certified workshops” to say a bikes, so be certain to check what’s nearby you. Personally, I’d wish to be nearby adequate to a VanMoof store or during slightest a use core to pledge my $2,000+ investment and a many, many technological pieces could be confirmed in ideal health. Nobody wants to boat a bike behind for repairs, generally a heavy, technologically formidable one.

Prior to contrast out a X3, e-bikes aren’t something I’d suspicion a lot about and we wasn’t unequivocally certain who they were for. we initial listened of VanMoof a integrate of years ago when a tighten crony and many some-more critical biker than me bought one for towing her dog (the goodest girl) on a prolonged work commute. We rode to a farmer’s marketplace together and her bike looked unequivocally cool, yet we was doubtful that something with so many record underneath a hood could infer arguable over time.

Bikes are automatic and elementary — that’s something smashing about them! Could an e-bike unequivocally interpret a joyous morality of biking into something many some-more high tech? As it turns out, yes. After exam roving a VanMoof X3 to get a clarity of a trustworthiness over time and how a facilities reason adult in normal day-to-day use, we bewail my early skepticism.

I don’t know if we can exaggerate how many roving an e-bike, privately this e-bike, extended my life in tiny ways for a improved while we attempted it out. Biking some-more — and e-bikes do get people biking some-more — creates me happier and healthier. Biking some-more has helped me palliate out of a greatly sedentary pestilence duration into new habits that make me feel some-more connected to a universe around me. I’m saying my city with uninformed eyes, biking to new neighborhoods I’ve never explored and appreciating all of a tiny things we took for granted. My customarily e-bike bewail is not hopping on one sooner.

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