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VanMoof X3 review: better than a conventional bike?

VanMoof X3 featured image
Picture: TechnikNews
(Post picture: © 2022 TechnikNews)

Everything is smart these days, from the clock to the doorbell. VanMoof, a bicycle manufacturer from the Netherlands, also noticed this. I could get one Protake a closer look at the manufacturer's product, the VanMoof X3.

The VanMoof X3 aims to be a bike that's ready to go out of the box and is fun and enjoyable to ride. In addition, it wants to help the user with some technical aids and smart features without being overwhelmed. We will take a closer look at whether this works in this test report.

Unboxing and initial setup

The X3 comes in a relatively large, yellow box. It is therefore advisable to be at home when the delivery is made, as picking it up from a parcel station by car and bike rack is very tedious - I speak from experience. In the box we have the bike's frame, the front wheel, a toolbox with tools and accessories, and the charger.

VanMoof X3 Toolbox

The toolbox comes with a lot of helpful tools and practical accessories. (Picture: TechnikNews)

Although I received an assembled model, it does not seem to be too difficult to start using the instructions that came with it. Basically, all you have to do is screw on the handlebars, insert the front wheel and connect the motor cable. Once that's done, all you have to do is tighten the pedals. And if you don't get along with the instructions, you can also find various YouTube videos on assembly. After assembly, you can still adjust the saddle, for which several screws are hidden on the saddle itself and in the frame. After about 10 minutes you should be done with the manual part of the setup.

Now follows the setup in the VanMoof app. To get started, an account must be created to which the bike will be linked. After that, remove the transport mode, which works by long-pressing the button next to the charging port. A signal sounds when this process is successfully completed. The QR code, which is located on the instructions, must then be scanned. After this step is chopped off, the VanMoof X3 can be unlocked via the app.

Optionally, you can now use the location "Where is?" activate on the iPhone. A corresponding button can be found on the start page or in the bike settings of the app. If you press this, the setup startsprozess in the "Where is?" app. Then all you have to do is enter a name and choose an emoji, then you can use the X3 as a kind of person Air Tag locate.

Design

The VanMoof X3 looks very futuristic and caught the eyes of others a few times. Nevertheless, everything was kept very simple, for example there are only two function buttons on the handlebars, which I will explain in more detail later. The VanMoof is available in Dark and Light, with Light being a shade of blue. I like the color very much. Others I showed the bike to would have preferred the black.

In contrast to the VanMoof S3, the X3 is also suitable for smaller people. The manufacturer states that a minimum height of 155 centimeters is required, while the S3 is 170 centimeters. The tires on the X3 have a diagonal of 24 inches, on the S3 they are 28 inches. Despite the size difference, both models offer the same specs and features at the same price point, which is a big plus here.

A light is integrated in the frame at the front and rear. Both have a light intensity of 40 lux and are therefore noticeably brighter than many separately available lights. In any case, I never had the feeling of being seen badly. Either the lights are permanently on or off, or they turn on automatically based on the ambient light. The automatic detection always reacted correctly for me. The lights came on immediately when taking a shortcut through the Graz City Park garage and went out again immediately when leaving. You can of course leave the lights on all the time, but this takes a lot out of the battery life.

VanMoof X3 light

Picture: TechnikNews

At the back left we have the so-called Kick-Lock. You just have to push it in with your foot and the X3 is locked. Then you have several options to unlock it again. Either you press the button with the lock in the app or you use touch unlock, which must be set manually in the app. Once this feature is configured, all you have to do is press the left button on the handlebar to unlock the wheel. The prerequisite for this is that the smartphone is nearby. If this is not the case, you have to enter a previously defined three-digit code directly on the X3. This is also done by pressing the button on the left side of the handlebars – if the first digit of the code is three, press it three times. After a short wait, the next digit can be typed in. It can be a little tricky the first time, but you quickly get used to the mechanism.

VanMoof X3 Kick Lock

Thanks to the kick lock, buying a lock is no longer necessary. (Picture: TechnikNews)

The charging port is located on the underside of the crossbar. The charging cable that comes with it, along with the power adapter, is relatively bulky, although it also has to be said that it probably couldn't have been smaller. So if you plan to take the bike with you on holiday, for example, you have to be prepared that the charger will also take up a lot of space in your bag. Apropos Transport: The weight of the bike is 20,8 kilograms. A much bigger point of criticism, however, is that the battery cannot be removed for charging. For me it wasn't Problem, because we have a socket right next to our pavilion. But if you live in an apartment, things look different - then you can always take the X3 with you to charge in your own four walls. This becomes even more unpleasant if the house does not have an elevator. Alternatively, you can also buy the VanMoof power bank, which costs another 348 euros.

A status display in the form of a matrix display was installed on the top of the crossbar. This shows, for example, the speed, the battery level and the level of motor support, if this is changed. A skull and crossbones also appears, which is accompanied by an alarm sound when the alarm system is triggered. That's what happens when you move or touch the X3 while it's locked - much to my eight-year-old step-nephew's amusement and my girlfriend's dismay.

VanMoof X3 display

Beware the VanMoof! (Picture: TechnikNews)

The handlebar has only two buttons. The one on the left is for the ringer, unlock, and toggle back. One of three integrated sounds can be set for the bell. In my opinion, however, this could be a little quieter - I never wanted to trigger it right next to people to be warned. With the right button, the boost mode can be activated and the motor support and the gear can be changed.

There's also a rack attachment at the front, with VanMoof selling one themselves. Thanks to the flexible fastening method with the cords, you can also transport a shopping bag on it.

driving experience

The VanMoof X3 is an e-bike. However, the built-in motor only supports you when driving, you still have to pedal. If you don't do this, you will stop once even with the boost mode activated.

This boost mode allows up to 25 kilometers pro hour at lightning speed (on the level and on slight inclines). You should definitely do this once in a safe environmentproBeer before using it on the road to get a feel for it. In any case, it is so discreet that it does not knock the driver off the saddle, as some other test reports suggest. And where is this practical? The feature helped me, for example, not just once, in situations where the oncoming traffic rule is to get away quickly. Otherwise, the boost also helps if you have to brake lightly and then want to get going again quickly. Of course, it also supports you when driving uphill, even if you don't do the full 25 kilometers pro hour comes. It would be useful here if you didn't have to keep the button pressed all the time. Of course, it is important to remember that the battery will run out faster with frequent use.

VanMoof X3 driving experience

Picture: TechnikNews

Parallel to this there is the already mentionedprosome motor support. This can be adjusted in four stages and can be completely deactivated if desired. This also helps when accelerating, although not as much as the previously explained boost. The whole thing is so noticeable that even when pedaling lightly, you continuously get faster. This function is now particularly useful in the warmer seasons, as it means that you don't arrive at your destination so sweaty.

I also liked the brakes. These react pleasantly gently and yet you quickly come to a standstill. It is therefore not uncomfortable for the user even when braking hard.

An e-shifter with three gears is integrated as a circuit. In the app, four different modes can be used to determine how it acts. These are called "Flat", "Hilled", "Manual" and "Personalized", where the gear changes based on speeds you set yourself. The two automatic settings are very practical, but shifting gears here is occasionally jerky. The manual gearshift, on the other hand, takes a lot of getting used to. It is very difficult to operate, especially when downshifting, as you have to hold down the left button on the handlebars and double-press the right button. It can also be uncomfortable if you don't hit the suggested speed limits very precisely.

Otherwise I can only say at this point that the X3 rides like any other bike. You can get from A to B quickly and especially in city traffic you get the feeling that you can keep up more easily.

For me personally, riding an e-bike, especially in the city, was a little strange at first. Depending on the situation, overtaking is difficult, and the motor support is particularly annoying when you are slowly behind someone or when you are slowly passing people in the city centre. Yes, you can also change the level of support while driving, but this is also slightly cumbersome, like shifting gears manually.

Battery life

According to VanMoof, you can travel 3 to 60 kilometers with the X150 before the bike needs to be recharged. The exact distance depends on the use of the boost mode, the incline, the motor support level and the light setting.

To increase the battery life on the ProI drove a 12,5 kilometer long test route to make sure. This ran in equal parts flat in the city, quite steeply uphill and then downhill again. During this ride the battery level went to 21 Procent back. If you add that up, you don't quite get what the manufacturer promised. Accordingly, I would not use the VanMoof X3 for longer mountain tours, otherwise that would end sooner than you would like.

VanMoof app

The VanMoof app is required for setup, unlocking and various other settings. It is available for free on the App Store for iOS and the Play Store for Android.

It particularly impresses with its simple structure, which is divided into three tabs. First we have the home screen, which shows the last known location of the bike and allows you to unlock the bike. In the next tab, all trips protocolted. You can see the distance, the speed, the battery consumption and the number of stops pro view journey. For an exact ProHowever, there is no way around recording the route with a fitness tracker or an additional app. Finally, we have the so-called garage, where you add a new bike and make all the settings, such as the light or the lock. It also gives you the option to share your bike with others so they can unlock it too, and set up “Where is?” afterwards.

Prices and availability

The best way to buy the VanMoof X3 is via the VanMoof online store. There it currently costs 2348 euros.

VanMoof X3: Conclusion

What convinced me most about the VanMoof X3 was that a lot of things were plug-and-play. As soon as a few parts are connected, you can start driving straight away. Things like a bike lock, a bell or lights are no longer needed. In my opinion, VanMoof is very up-to-date with its modern design and smart features.

VanMoof X3

Picture: TechnikNews

Other than that it's just a good bike that's fun to ride around and very accessible. It offers good support, and thanks to the larger VanMoof S3, there should be a suitable size for everyone. Rounding out the experience is that setup is so easy you don't need to be an expert.

As good as the X3 may be, I still have a few criticisms. VanMoof could definitely reconsider charging, and the e-shifter could also be revised a bit. Then I would wish that the ridesprotokoll will host even more information in the future.

So I'm really excited to see how the two will fare already available successor ride. A test on these will be on here in the near future TechnikNews consequences!

Thank you for providing the VanMoof X3!

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1115 articles and left 104 comments.

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