The fifth generation of electric bikes offered by VanMoof brings its share of new features. The S5, which takes up the emblematic lines of the clean frames of the Dutch brand -far from the “Dutch bicycle”, paradoxically-, comes this year accompanied by an A5 with a lower frame, but with an equally worked appearance. He takes over from x3 which offered a straight frame, but slightly lower than that of the S3. A way to conquer an even wider range of cyclists. With one-size-fits-all frames, the VanMoof S5 and A5 can fit riders from 1.65m to 2.10m and 1.55m to 2m, respectively. No change on the side of the wheels still showing 28 inches for the S5 and 24 inches for the A5.
The rigid frame of these two models will greatly limit their use outside of paved tracks. The lack of suspension will be felt on cobbled passageways. The tyres, which we hope will be as comfortable as the Schwalbe of previous generations, will have a lot to do.
More powerful motor and torque sensor
VanMoof has not wanted to disrupt its recipe, so effective in terms of design. This harmonious set of tubes remains undisturbed by the 250W motor. This is housed in the front wheel hub. A choice that has always seemed to us the least interesting in an electric bicycle, but that has seduced us in previous generations for a well-controlled management of the power delivered. This management should be even better with this fifth generation since the motor is now accompanied by a torque sensor that should better gauge the assistance on the cyclist’s support on the pedals.
This choice of positioning at the front is always explained by the desire not to distort the look of the bike with a mid-engine crankset. The rear wheel, for its part, is already occupied by the hub with integrated gears for an automatic and transparent transmission between the three gears, compared to the four of the S3. VanMoof still offers a Boost mode that provides surplus power to help particularly when starting. Peak torque rises to 68Nm versus 59Nm on the VanMoof S3. Both the S5 and A5 offer four assist modes. The Dutch brand continues to promise to be able to drive at more than 25 km/h without assistance.
Weight gain and stagnant autonomy
The battery is housed in the frame tubes. It shows a slightly lower capacity in the S5 compared to the S3, at 487 Wh versus 504 Wh. This does not prevent VanMoof from promising the same autonomy range as the previous generation, that is, from 60 km to 150 km. For the A5, the 463 Wh battery promises 55 to 140 km of range on a single charge. For recharging, VanMoof is revising its claims downwards with a 48V 2A charger that requires 6hrs 30mins to fully recharge the S5’s battery and 2hrs 30mins to restore it to 50% capacity. The Dutch manufacturer offers an optional fast charger that reduces the full recharge to 4 hours 30 minutes and only 1 hour to recover 50%. The battery cannot be removed from the frame of the S5 and A5, which can be difficult for users who don’t have access to a plug in their garage or who can’t cycle to their apartment. The design has a cost…
For braking, these are officiating hydraulic disc brakes. VanMoof doesn’t go into much detail about its brake system, which it advertises as the fifth generation. The brand only evokes perforated discs, promising better thermal performance. It’s also worth noting that the VanMoof S5 weighs 23kg, or 2kg more than its predecessor. Overweight is more contained for the A5 compared to the X3, the new kid showing 22kg on the scale.
Safety at the heart of cycling
VanMoof is aware that bikes, electric or not, are targeted by thieves, especially when they are conspicuous like their S5 and A5. Therefore, the brand has re-introduced its Kick Lock system that locks the rear wheel simply by pressing a pin placed near the hub. The novelty here lies in the fact that unlocking can now be done automatically when the legitimate driver of the machine approaches the handlebars with his smartphone.
The smartphone finds a place of choice on the stem of the VanMoof S5 and A5. The Dutch manufacturer’s app provides a wealth of information about the bike and its condition. It is also a privileged entry point to locate the bicycle in case of disappearance. VanMoof electric bikes integrate NFC, Bluetooth and GPS.
The S3’s horizontal tube LED display has been swapped out for a system called Halo Ring. Light rings placed on the handlebars now provide information on speed, battery level and assistance level. Fenders that hit low enough to protect the bottom of your pants are included as standard. The lighting integrated in the frame allows you to be seen, but must always find limits to effectively illuminate the road outside built-up areas and their urban lighting.
A rising price
In the accessory department, VanMoof offers front and rear racks for the S5 and A5. The Dutch brand indicates that a front basket is being developed. An additional 441 Wh battery is also available as an option and provides a range of 55 km to 140 km.
The VanMoof S5 and A5 are now available on the brand’s website, with the first deliveries expected in July 2022. After a sharp drop in the sale price of the S3 and X3 compared to the previous generation, VanMoof takes the opposite way for the S5 and A5. These are offered at €2,498, a clear increase over the €1,998 claimed for an S3.