VanMoof's New S3 eBike is a Gadget Lover's Dream

Riding nerdy

Key Takeaways

  • The new VanMoof S3 electric bike is packed full of intelligent features. 
  • The bike’s features include an electronic shifter, an app-controlled built-in lock, and the ability to use Apple’s Find My network if it gets lost. 
  • VanMoof claims the S3 can take you up to 93 miles with its 504-watt battery.
The VanMoof S3 E-Bike.

Sascha Brodsky / Lifewire

The new VanMoof S3 might be the nerdiest bicycle ever made, and I mean that as a compliment. 

It’s got an electronic shifter, an app-controlled built-in lock, and even the ability to use Apple’s Find My network if it gets lost. This is the first bike I’ve ever needed an app to unlock, and I love it. On top of that, it looks straight out of Blade Runner

The S3 brought appreciative stares whenever I took it out for a ride. It’s got a long top tube that makes a distinctive geometric shape and also holds a handy headlight in the front. I tried it out in a beautiful bluish-grey color, but it also comes in black.

"You can certainly buy cheaper electric bicycles, but VanMoof packs many fun features into this model. I found it to be the perfect urban ride."

Not Your Average Electric Bike

Electric bikes are all the rage these days, but some bike snobs still look down on them as a form of cheating. Also, electric models tend to be more expensive than the old-fashioned kind and make a good target for thieves. 

One great thing about the S3 is that it doesn’t look like an electric bike. The battery is integrated inside the frame, so it just looks like a chunky cruiser. The downside is that you can’t take the battery off of the bike for charging. 

Speaking of battery life, VanMoof claims the S3 can take you up to 93 miles with its 504-watt battery. In my testing, the S3 was easily capable of this range, and I ended up charging it only once every few days in practice with constant usage. 

Riding the S3 was pure fun. The design is upright enough to be enjoyable for commutes, but you can lean forward to keep an aerodynamic shape when you want to speed on the downhill. There are no built-in shock absorbers like on a mountain bike, but it went smoothly over light gravel and bumps well enough, and the cushioned seat helps. 

Techie’s Dream Bike

While the S3 looks pretty standard from a few feet away, it’s packed full of gadgetry. There’s an intelligent motor that's designed for a natural ride-feel. Like most electrics, this motor runs near-silently, even at the bike’s top speed of 20 miles per hour. 

You also don’t have to worry about clunking gears, thanks to what VanMoof claims is an Industry-first automatic electronic gear shifting. It’s got four speeds, and you can adjust the responsiveness of the shifters via the app. For example, you can choose hilly as an option in the app, and the gears will change themselves. 

The VanMoof S3 E-Bike.

Sascha Brodsky / Lifewire

Hills are one instance where you’ll appreciate the S3’s electric motor. The S3 isn’t a heavy bike by electric standards, but, at 41 pounds, it’s a lot of metal to be pushing uphill. Fortunately, there’s a button on the right handlebar to give yourself a discrete boost of the juice. I felt, for a moment, like a Tour de France rider zipping along with the electric motor going. 

Other tech goodies include an anti-theft mode, which locks the bike’s wheels unless you tap in a code or use the Bluetooth on your smartphone. This feature worked reliably, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the bike on the streets of New York City, where I live, without a lock that keeps it attached to a solid object. 

If your bike does go missing, VanMoof recently added a new feature that lets you locate the S3 using the Apple Find My network. It’s easy enough to find the VanMoof on a map using the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac.

The S3 is in the middle price range for electric bikes at $2.198. You certainly can buy cheaper electric bicycles, but VanMoof packs many fun features into this model. I found it to be the perfect urban ride.

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