Van Moof S3 Electric Bike - The Good, The Bad, and The AMAZING

in #blog2 years ago (edited)

Anyone who knows me will tell you a couple of things: 1) I’ve been cycling about as long as I’ve been walking; and 2) when it comes to large purchases, which is anything over $100 in my book, I do exhaustive research and am usually very happy that I’ve done so. I’m one of those unabashed nerds who like to geek out on details of products, especially electronics.

2020 was labeled, The Year of the eBike as consumers looked for alternatives to public transportation during the pandemic. Instead of riding one, I spent most of last year researching electric bikes. The more I learned about the positive ways in which they can change your life, the more I wanted one. My plan is to try to eliminate most short car trips entirely. I finally narrowed my list down to three finalists this past autumn and Van Moof, not the least expensive or even the most powerful, eventually rose to the top and I’ll tell you why a little later.

The Bad

First, I’ll share my trepidations about buying a Van Moof. The company has struggled tremendously from explosive sales last year due to Covid. They simply couldn’t keep caught up with buyer demand. As a result, ten percent of the bikes they shipped were reportedly defective and wait times were three months or more.

My other reservation was, nearly everything on this bike is proprietary, made in-house, so this means if something breaks chances are you can’t just go down to the local bike shop to have it fixed. Parts must be ordered from Van Moof or you must box it up and send it to them for the repair if you don’t live in a city with a brick and mortar Van Moof store. They also have a network of Bike Doctors that will travel to you but I think this service is limited to a few select cities.

Van Moof received an influx of over fifty million dollars of investment capital last fall and seems to be putting this money to excellent use. I ordered the S3 and my wife ordered the smaller X3 model and each of our bikes arrived at our doorstep in around ten days and in (nearly) flawless condition.

The Good

Ride The Future. This is Van Moof’s slogan and after spending a few days with one I realize why. The bike seems like something that was stolen by time-travelers from the year 2100 and taken back to our, more primitive and pathetic, time. The S3/X3 have a built-in lock, electronic horn, GPS tracking, alarm system, and automatic transmission/lighting, and all this is controlled via their mobile app. The Dutch know their bikes, the design is both beautiful and brilliant and definitely turns heads. I've had several of our neighbors already asking me about it. The build-quality is some of the best I’ve seen on any bike, the welds are so smooth the frame seems to be 3-D printed in one piece.

The S3 rides like a dream. The motor is nearly silent and unbelievably fast. There’s no throttle, so you have to pedal to get any level of assistance from the motor but I like that because I still want the exercise. The Van Moof does have a boost button on the handlebars that you can press when you need a little extra umph and I can tell you it feels like a freaking warp-drive. It’s going to take a lot of discipline not to abuse this particular feature, it’s like a happiness delivery device. The disc brakes are substantial, more than adequate to bring you back down to Earth and allow you to ride with confidence.

Assembly Process

Van Moof is headquartered in one of my favorite cities in the world, Amsterdam, but the bikes are manufactured in Taiwan. From what I understand, they own their manufacturing facility and the bikes aren't built by a third-party and rebranded like many other e-bike companies.

The bikes arrive to the customer about eighty-percent assembled. Van Moof provides lots of instructional videos on YouTube and assembly was a breeze for the most part, except for one small step...the motor wire harness cover. I won’t gloss this over, this step was an absolute bastard.

The dreaded motor wire harness.

This little plastic cover is installed over the wiring harness on the inside of the fork and secured with two tiny little flat-bottomed screws. Van Moof forum members offered warnings about how difficult this step was but I had no idea.

Putting a tiny plastic cover over a wiring harness took nearly an hour, longer than all of the other assembly steps combined. The pre-drilled holes in the fork were only a few millimeters off center compared to the plastic cover. So close, yet so far away. This forced me to drive the screws in at an extreme angle and hope for the best. After having suffered through this process with both bikes we realized Van Moof could easily fix this hassle with clearer instructions, self-tapping screws, and a slightly redesigned cover with oblong holes that allow for horizontal adjustment. The harness itself can be pushed into the fork much more easily if it’s angled at about 30 degrees (my wife discovered this online in a forum somewhere), however, all of the official instructional videos tell you to just push it straight in. I’ve given this feedback to Van Moof so hopefully they take the initiative to make this step easier for future Moofers.

Update: Van Moof responded to my suggestion on how to improve this tiny albeit painfully frustrating assembly step!

I’m still waiting the delivery of my rear rack and pannier bag which are on back-order and should arrive in a month or so.

The Amazing (and Final Thoughts)

This is the bike after the final adjustments were made and accessories installed.

On the advice of some Van Moof forum members, I bought the German-made Abus Bordo 6000 lock to use in conjunction with the built-in lock on the rear wheel for extra protection. For an additional fee Van Moof offers a Theft Protection and Maintenance Program ($390 each or $540 for both) but since we don’t live in a city with a Van Moof store I’ve opted out of purchasing these subscriptions.

For the moment, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my decision. Considering my experience with the two bikes we ordered, Van Moof seems to finally be moving beyond their initial growing pains. They have created a really special product with this new generation (S3/X3) of eBikes. This is that rare kind of product that you develop and almost instant emotion connection with.

Similar to Tesla, Van Moof has also built a community of loyal and dedicated riders, many of whom share an early-adopter mentality. Even if they experience a few difficulties the majority of them seem to love the product enough to deal with the occasional hiccups that may arise with the bikes. If Van Moof continues on their trajectory of improving quality control and customer support they'll become a household name. I sincerely hope so, because more of these Van Moof bikes on the road would make the world a more beautiful, healthier, and happier place.

I’ll be updating you on my first proper ride once Minnesota experiences it's much-anticipated spring thaw. Until then I’ll be zipping through our parking garage, trying my very best to go easy on that boost button.

(Videos sourced from Van Moof)

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Let’s Keep In Touch


hello dear friend @ericvancewalton good afternoon
You are as we all should be, looking for as much information as possible about the things that we are going to buy to check that they perfectly fit our needs.
Good thing you both got your bikes, this will be a beautiful adventure
I really appreciate all the details that you let us know.
I take this opportunity to wish you a splendid afternoon

Thank you! I can't wait for the warmer weather now. It's going to be a long wait until spring! Hope you're well @jlufer!

That is really cool. Every time I read about e-bikes I think about the TV show Weeds and the Copenhagen Wheel. It just sticks in my head. I am glad that this is working out so well for you. I like the idea that it doesn't have a throttle. I think that would be too tempting for me to just be lazy.

Thanks, this thing is truly like a piece of art. I'm not familiar with that show, what is the Copenhagen Wheel? The fact that most of the electronics are tucked into the frame and the lack of throttle were two huge factors for me choosing this bike over the others. The S3 has less power than the other two on my short-list but uses the power in a smarter way. I'll probably ride this on the lowest level of assist to get the most range from the battery but that boost button will be oh so tempting.

Here you go:

Weeds was a TV show about a mom who loses her husband and becomes a weed dealer to pay the bills. It was pretty good and ran several seasons.

I’ll have to check that show out. It sounds a little like Breaking Bad. That invention is amazing. I’d love to take one for a test-ride.

Yeah, it is older than Breaking Bad and it was on I think HBO or one of those channels so there is a lot more sex and swearing. My wife and I enjoyed it. You will laugh if you ever get around to watching the show when they get to that part about the wheel.

Ah, I'm going to have to watch a few eps now. Thanks for letting me know about it.

Until then I’ll be zipping through our parking garage, trying to go easy on that boost button.

After reading your review, I can feel the bubbling excitement and restraint.

I did not know e-bikes were a thing. You’re right, the Dutch know their bikes. That design is gorgeous. You have me thinking Eric! Hope you are well!

Haha, let's hope I can keep the excitement and restraint in perfect balance @lydon.sipe. Lol. Ebike tech has just gotten to the point where it's practical in the last couple of years. My first one, almost ten years ago was just a hub motor kit that I bolted on a Schwinn Crusier bike. It was super primitive compared to this one. I think battery tech, more than anything, has improved exponentially. You would be hooked on a Van Moof if you rode one. The have an outlet store online where they sell brand new older models with full warranties. Last I checked they had their previous gen (S2) for $1,300, which is about 66% off their original price. The S2 was significantly more expensive than the S3. I nearly went this route. I hope you have a wonderful week and it was nice hearing from you!

Well I can remember when you ordered it, you promised to give us feedback and you did. Almost everyone like a good ,that bike 🚲 is not a bad thing and wouls love to buy. This your post is like recommendation. I would try buy when I have the money too

It was delivered much quicker than I expected it to be. I hope to put many miles on it this spring and summer!

How wonderful to not only read you, Eric, but to know that you are well but to know about this bike that is beautiful and super functional. I'm drooling over the keys of the laptop while watching the videos and reading all the advantages it has. It really looks like it's very practical. I remembered your plan to buy a minivan or kind of a motor home because you wanted to travel. Do you remember? Did you give up those desires or did you just postpone it? It was good to hear from you, Eric. Abrazos

Thank you @nancybriti! This bike is so much fun to ride and I can't wait until it's warm enough to ride it every day. I hope you and yours are having a great 2021 so far! We just had our transition of power in D.C. and I'm hoping things will get a little better every day.

One of the things I really began looking at in 2021 is how I spend my time. I’ve been reevaluating how I spend that, most precious of finite resources, and have started to shift some of my efforts around. As much as I enjoy writing on Hive and the community here, engagement has gotten so low now that I can no longer justify writing every day or even every other day. I’m still a huge fan of the platform, will still be here curating and and supporting the community, however I can but will be cutting back to 1-3 posts a week for the foreseeable future.

We decided to postpone the RV adventure for a little while. We’re still planning on doing that but it might be another year or so. We've definitely decided against living the RV life full time and will probably use it in the winter to travel to warmer/sunnier places and come back here to Minnesota in the spring and summer.

Take care, my friend, and have a great rest of your week!

Te abrazo fuerte ;)

Thank you! Same to you.

Hiya, @ericvancewalton, I'm back ... and back to biking, so tickled to see this :)

Vowed never to buy a bike, again, after I had a couple stolen. And, I didn't have to. Friend gifted me a decent one and the weather is a sweet 70 something in South Florida, so planning on biking later, today.

Wishing you a happy weekend round the bend and hope this finds you in good health and spirits.

So glad you made it back here and back to biking! Cycling is one of my favorite pass times. Enjoy the rides! It's going to be a while before I'm able to take mine out on the road. If we're lucky the roads will be clear enough towards the end of March. Great to hear from you!

Here's to keeping healthy and engaged, in every sense of the word, until you can bike, again. Happy Sunday :)

Great bike. I hope the first ride will be successful and exciting.


@tipu curate

Riding CYCLE is still the best way to reduce your risk and keep others safe in the time of covid-19. Your observation
about Van Moof S3 Electric Bike is brilliant.


You love cycling and Moof is the biggest company is making this type of cycle.After all, really amazing photography.

Thank you.

I like the "Good" of the Van Moof inasmuch as the "bad" will totally discourage me from buying it. No one will actually like to have ha bike where they can't go to the local repairer to actually fix it. But then sometimes it's all about being wowed by the quality. Have fun riding. I know you actually like biking a lot.

I'm hoping that it doesn't break down anytime soon. Any regular maintenance like tire changes and such can be done but if anything major breaks then you have to send away for the part(s). It'll be quite a while before this cold and snowy winter weather leaves us. Hoping all is good with you!

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