VanMoof Electrified S Review

Vanmoof Review

When I think of electric bikes the first thoughts that come to mind are clunky, cumbersome and ugly two wheelers that certainly don’t make me want to join the electric party, however, when I first discovered the Electrified S early last year from Dutch bike company VanMoof I instantly knew I wanted one. Electric bikes are nothing new and the likes of Gocycle had me interested years ago, but its price tag and unattractive looks left me uninterested despite a very fun test ride. Looks have always been the issue for me with electric bikes and the lack of development and execution in terms of useful features a bike should have. The Electrified S is where this all changed for me and finally, a bike company pushing the boundaries of what a modern smart bike should be.

What is The Electrified S? A is a straight frame bike powered by a 420wh battery integrated into the frame with a 250 – 350w front-wheel hub motor to power you forward, the bike is electrically assisted with 4 different modes of an assist from low to high and is different to a throttle version bike which can move you forward without pedalling. It works like any other bike in the fact that you can pedal it without the electrically assisted motor if you wish. For extra speed, there is the option of using a power-boost button on the handlebar for those tougher inclines where the assist modes aren’t quite enough. The range the bike can travel from its motor varies on what level of assist you choose with 50km on full power mode being the lowest to 120km in economy mode being the highest which, for Jersey is more than ideal.

The Good: As well as its electric capabilities the Electrified S stands out because of its extra smart features and design, it looks like no other electric bike on the market today and it’s stunning, the anodised aluminium frame feels lovely to touch and is available in black or grey. Most components are hidden and integrated into the frame such as the battery and brake cords and the anti-rust chain is fully enclosed, even the lights are built into either end of the top tube which I absolutely love. These are just but a handful of standout details worth mentioning and more can be found on VanMoof’s more specs section for the bike.

Not only does the bike look good it rides well and has been built with an urban commuter in mind, if you live in a city or large town the bike is perfect, it combines style and smart features into one full featured two wheeler. The front wheel motor is more than sufficient to get you around with speed and efficiency on any of its modes and whizzing past other cyclists with the electric assist mode on high is fun without breaking too much of a sweat, which is useful when tackling inclines and headwinds. Basic settings and tweaks can be done either manually through the bikes touch display or mobile apps which will allow you to select an EU or US mode, I highly recommend switching to the US mode as this allows for a higher top speed. In Jersey, I was pleasantly surprised with how the bike’s electric motor handled the majority of inclines, the island’s terrain is 50/50 when it comes to flats and inclines and for a front wheel motor with the added boost button, it did well.

Although the bikes main selling point is the electric motor it has more to offer and as mentioned above its style and hidden assets are executed with purpose, like the integrated touch display and front and rear lights that turn on automatically when low light is detected. Another noticeable smart feature is the bikes anti-theft tracking capabilities, when you activate the bike and pair it for the first time with the smartphone app this activates this feature which means that if the bike is ever stolen you can report it as such directly with VanMoof who provide a 24 hour service for stolen bikes, they will track the unit and deal with your local authorities to try and deliver the bike back to the rightful owner. To this date, VanMoof has a 100% success rate of retaining any reported stolen bikes.

The Not So Good: For all its good the Electrified S isn’t immune to flaws, the front motor hub is one of them because if you don’t live in a city environment like myself you will notice the extra effort needed when tackling big inclines as it’s just not powerful enough for that scenario on whichever level of assist you choose, even with the boost button which does help you still need that extra leg power to get you up and over. The motor, in general, needs to be more powerful or shifted to the back where most conventional electric bikes seem to place theirs. I was aware of this particular shortcoming before purchasing the bike and in fairness, the bike isn’t designed for use in these situations, but if you are living somewhere were lots of hills are part of your daily commute then the Electrified S is not the bike for you.

The clever automatic 2-speed gears system was a first for me and when you ride the bike it’s a nice feature, however, it soon becomes apparent that the 2-speed gears are not enough, due to the bikes weight (18.4kg) plus the rider if the electric assist modes are off it becomes a hard and laborious task to pedal on anything but the first gear even on a straight flat. This was quite a shock as VanMoof make a point that the bike is quite capable even without the electric motor but I’m not so convinced, especially if you don’t live somewhere with the continuous flat terrain.

Now here is the real killer, the Electrified S is not cheap and you are very much paying for a premium product that includes all the tech and sleek design looks of the bike plus some. After my car, the bike is one of my most expensive possessions and I knew that when purchasing and even with the early bird discount which I took advantage of, the bikes price and the current price is a lot to stomach and a serious investment. You really should weigh up the pros and cons of buying and decide if it will tick all the boxes you need it to and if you will get plenty of use from it enough to warrant the spend. The bike is electric and smart but I don’t believe the bike should be as expensive as it is and maybe future versions will be produced at a friendlier price point. VanMoof offers a 30 day return period which I came very close to using but in the end, I decided against.

Conclusion: I love what VanMoof have created with the Electrified S and although this is not the first electric bike they have produced, it is the first bike that is the full package and ultimately does what it’s advertising. It’s a solid piece of engineering fused with serious tech and attention to detail and again I can’t fault the design and integrated smart features. However, there is certainly room for improvement, a repositioning or more powerful motor would do wonders to the capability of what situations the bike could handle whereas at the moment it’s very much suited to flat urban terrain. A higher gear system would help the rider with options when the use of the electric motor is unnecessary.

Although not mentioned as to date I’ve not experienced anything the Electrified S has been plagued with technical difficulties for some riders and as an active member of a fan group on Facebook, there is clear evidence of issues on there. As mentioned above I came close to returning my bike within the 30 day trial period but ultimately I believe in what VanMoof have made and the bike is fun and enjoyable to ride under most circumstances, the smart features are worth the money and there is no other bike out there on the market that offers what the Electrified S does. I can’t wait to take longer journeys with it in the summer and enjoy all of what the bike has to offer on a more regular basis.

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5 Comments

  1. May 29, 2017 / 20:52

    Hey, I really liked your review…. so much that I also ordered a grey Electrified S myself :).
    Are you still happy with the purchase?

    • May 30, 2017 / 18:26

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment I’m glad you found the review helpful. It’s been 6 months and although I haven’t used my Electrified S ashamedly as much as I would like I have no regrets. Its a fantastic looking bike and I love the smart features and boost from the electric motor. My biggest complaint remains and I wish the motor was more powerful/quicker.

  2. sylvanexit
    August 8, 2017 / 06:19

    Yes it is a beautiful bike. I love that most of the cables are internal.

    That’s a bummer that the bike is not adequate for hills. And also that it is difficult to pedal without the motor. My commute back home is only 1 hill, but it is a slow steady 761 feet elevation gain. Since ‘a hill’ could be relative to the person… do you think the bike could assist me home? Also, I am looking at the new 2017 Electrified S. Maybe it has more oomph?

    • August 9, 2017 / 20:48

      Thank you for your comment and taking the time to read the post. I recently test rode the 2017 model and I am confident the motor is more efficient and better at offering inclines so I would highly recommend it.

  3. sylvanexit
    August 9, 2017 / 20:54

    Thanks for getting back Danny, and for the recommendation. Yay for more efficient motor!

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