VanMoof S4 e-bike overview: the one to purchase

Properly, it is a shock. Regardless of saying they’d be skipping straight from the 3-series to the 5-series of electrical bikes, VanMoof simply introduced two new e-bikes — the full-size S4 and smaller X4 — days after its $4,000 S5 and A5 e-bikes began transport. At $2,498 / £2,198 / €2,198 the S4 and X4 fashions usually are not solely priced to compete, they need to additionally require fewer assist calls since there’s loads much less that may go unsuitable.

The S5 and A5’s fancy Halo Ring shows are gone, as are the built-in Apple Discover My monitoring, sophisticated three-speed computerized e-shifter, and superfluous multifunction buttons that almost all common commuters don’t want.

VanMoof’s e-bikes have been infamous for preliminary high quality points and you may readily discover complaints about lengthy wait instances for assist on Reddit, the Vanmoof-ing Fb fanpage, and remark threads right here on The Verge.

In keeping with VanMoof’s co-founders (and brothers) Taco and Ties Carlier, the S4 and X4 are supposed to deal with issues that VanMoof’s e-bikes have change into too sophisticated for their very own good. 

Extra easy, extra accessible, and extra dependable

“We spend plenty of time listening to our potential rider. And what we heard clearly,” says Ties Carlier, “was the will for our key options and iconic VanMoof design — in an e-bike that was much more easy, extra accessible, and extra dependable. We designed the S4 & X4 with iconic VanMoof tech and design however a massively simplified person expertise particularly to satisfy their wants.”

We’ll see concerning the reliability declare. However what I can say already after driving an “evergreen” coloured S4 for the final 5 days is that this: If you happen to’re out there for a VanMoof, then the S4 and X4 are the e-bikes most individuals can buy — not the costlier S5 or A5.

How we charge and overview merchandise

The S4 and X4 are primarily the identical bike with completely different body varieties and wheel sizes. Referred to collectively as SX4, they’re assembled from a mixture of tech inherited from VanMoof’s older e-bikes and new flagship SA5 fashions. Notably, the SX4 have the higher kick lock from the SA5 and use an improved two-speed inner gear hub such as you’d discover on the corporate’s e-bikes from earlier than 2020’s SX3 collection. The S4 is predicated on the taller S3 body so select the X4 mannequin in case you’re not at the very least 170cm (5 toes 7 inches).

Right here’s a full breakdown that compares the SX4 with the discontinued SX3 and new SA5 fashions:

VanMoof S4 and X4 in comparison with the earlier era S3 and X3 and new S5 and A5.
Supply: VanMoof

There’s no show of any variety on the SX4 fashions which is ok by me. However the SX4 ship with an SP Join cellphone mount (you present the case) that allows you to hearth up the superb VanMoof app to make use of as a dashboard if you need. Sadly, the SX4 fashions lack the SA5’s USB-C charging port, however you do get hydraulic disc brakes which is the norm for VanMoof.

Iconic entrance and tail lamps built-in into the prolonged prime tube.

The “evergreen” colorway and orange wordmark are new.

Telephone mount as a substitute of any show in any respect.

Improved two-speed inner gear hub has its legacy in VanMoof’s pre-S3 e-bikes.

Using the S4 is a deal with. I’m six toes tall (183cm) and like the S4 which stands just a few inches taller than the S5. And since I stay in a metropolis that doesn’t require a automobile, I recognize the brand new 27.5-inch wheels with large 2.25-inch puncture resistant tires as somebody who, for twenty years, has bicycled every day in every kind of climate. I would like a powerful base to hold the children to highschool, commute to an workplace, after which return dwelling with groceries, small home equipment, or the occasional Christmas tree. The broader tire width does, nevertheless, current a problem in some bicycle racks designed for traditional tires.

And regardless of missing a torque sensor discovered within the SA5, the S4’s 250W front-hub motor tied to the automated (mechanical) two-speed shifter and RPM sensor nonetheless supplied a slightly intuitive pedal-assisted journey, particularly when supplementing issues with the occasional press of the increase button. The journey may very well be improved, nevertheless.

The pedals might be slippery when it’s moist exterior, and generally the S4’s pedal-assisted energy might be provided for a break up second too lengthy after pedaling stops. And sometimes after coasting at medium-to-high speeds, stepping on the pedals will trigger them to spin freely for as much as a full revolution earlier than reengaging with the chain drive. You’ll know the sensation in case you ever rode a VanMoof S2 or X2.

Nonetheless, I’ll echo what I stated within the VanMoof S5 overview, I want VanMoof supplied a single-speed belt-drive choice paired with that increase button. That may be magical and additional cut back the possibilities of issues going unsuitable.


The S4 (left) subsequent to the S5 (proper) and an S3 within the background standing in entrance of VanMoof’s Amsterdam West retailer and repair heart.

I don’t have sufficient information for a variety check, but — I’ll replace this overview with real-world numbers as quickly as I’ve them. VanMoof says that the SX4 ought to get the identical 60km (37 miles) vary because the SX3 and SA5 in max energy mode and my testing on each of these e-bikes was between 47km / 29.2 miles (S3) and 48.6km / 30.2 miles (S5). I’d anticipate the identical from the S4 and its 478WH battery, possibly extra because it’s not affected by the idle battery drain difficulty I found on the S5. Notably, the SX4’s batteries cost from 0 to 100% in 4 hours and half-hour with the included charger — two hours sooner than the flagship SA5 collection.

The SX4 fashions — like all VanMoofs — don’t have person detachable batteries which is an issue for anybody confronted with hoisting the 21.6kg (47.6 kilos) e-bike up stairs. VanMoof does supply a $348 / €348 378Wh PowerBank vary extender choice for the S4 that may be charged inside.

The S4 at dwelling in Amsterdam.

The S4 is outlined by what it isn’t. At $2,498 it’s not costly for a premium e-bike in 2023, a worth that undercuts the Cowboy 4 collection by $1,000. The S4 additionally isn’t overloaded with options most every day commuters don’t want and that would create service complications down the highway.

One factor the SX4 fashions do add is colour. You’ll be able to select a deep inexperienced like my overview bike, a purple pastel, yellow, and a don’t name it white “foam inexperienced.” Colours that ought to assist brighten up essentially the most dour metropolis streets.

The VanMoof X4 exhibiting all 4 colour choices for it and the S4.
Picture: VanMoof (edited by The Verge)

The S4 I’ve been testing is a superb e-bike — among the best, and superior to the VanMoof S5 by way of worth for cash. Whether or not the S4 and X4 proceed to be nice e-bikes after months of wear and tear and tear is anybody’s guess.

I requested VanMoof to reply to proprietor issues about reliability and assist. Right here’s the assertion I acquired from CEO and co-founder Taco Carlier:

Bettering service is our precedence. Increased reliability sits on the core of the S4 and X4 design and growth course of with tackling the highest 6 challenges of the S3 and X3 and incorporating learnings from the SA5. Our Service community technique has expanded in direction of extra concentrate on bike servicing to get nearer to our riders, supply extra choices and extra capability. Extra information right here will comply with within the subsequent few weeks.

Sure, I’m additionally curious to listen to what’s coming.

VanMoof at the moment gives probably the most in depth networks of service hubs obtainable in cities round Europe, Japan, and the US. That’s necessary as a result of most VanMoof e-bike elements are customized made and solely obtainable from VanMoof — so ensure you have a service heart close by in case you’re involved in shopping for. You’re additionally coated by a two-year guarantee in Europeone within the US, and free 14-day returns.

Gross sales start now on a staggered foundation earlier than they’re scheduled to ship in August. You’ll be able to preorder the S4 and X4 in the identical “evergreen” colour I reviewed beginning right now, purple in late Might, yellow in late June, and “foam inexperienced” in late July.

I’d suggesting ready a tick in case you’re tempted to purchase. Let the early adopters check VanMoof’s claims of improved reliability and repair — you’ve received higher issues to do along with your time.

All pictures by Thomas Ricker / The Verge

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