VanMoof has announced its latest electric bikes

vMoofVanMoof has announced its latest electric bikes: the 28.5"-wheeled full-size S5 and the 24-inch wheeled A5, which features a step-through frame for the first time. In an effort to capitalize on first-time buyers' burgeoning interest in e-bikes, VanMoof has lowered prices above the emotional $2,000 mark.The S3 and X3 are no more, says VanMoof CEO Taco Carlier in a statement. Every part of this car, from the frame to the chips and sensors, is engineered for the smoothest, most powerful ride ever.In the company's new Amsterdam headquarters I had the opportunity to test-drive near-final engineering prototypes of both the S5 and A5.As of now, there are almost 900 people employed by the company, up from about 250 at the time of the S3 / X3 launch in 2020. Most of those hiring have joined the support and engineering teams, so as to avoid repeating the mistakes that plagued the early days of the S3 / X3 launch.

Halo Ring" near the Bell and Boost buttons

In addition, the S5 / A5 will have a lighted "Halo Ring" near the Bell and Boost buttons along with the left and right grips, replacing VanMoof's iconic top-tube display. The company says the lights make you more visible on the road, and the handlebar interface displays real-time information such as battery life, speed, lock status, and more without requiring the riders to look away from the road.This is a controversial decision for VanMoof. During a Q&A with reporters last week, Carlier said you must sometimes "kill your darlings," echoing the idiom that directs designers to throw out ideas that they find personally engaging but fail to add value to the user.

motor of custom VanMoof design

With a phone mount option and USB-C charging port under the handlebar, the VanMoof app can serve as a dashboard. Picture: VanMoofVanMoof, along with SP Connect, designed an optional phone mount under the handlebars, so you will have access to more information while riding. While the new dashboard is opened in the VanMoof app, your phone can remain charged. No official announcement has been made about its price or release.Featuring a modified 250W "silent" fifth-generation front-hub motor of custom VanMoof design, both bikes run at a top speed of 20mph in the US and 25kph in Europe; a boost button provides higher torque (68Nm) than before. Additionally, the car now comes standard with a three-speed automatic transmission and a torque sensor. The S5 and A5 offer a smoother ride than the S3 and X3 e-bikes with four speeds.

The batteries power that motor

The batteries power that motor. The S5's 47V/5A battery has a 487Wh capacity and the A5's is slightly smaller at 463Wh. With full power or eco mode, the 23kg (almost 50 pounds) S5 has a range of between 60–150km (37–92 miles) compared to the 22kg (49 pounds) A5. A 48V/4A Speed Charger (price TBD) drops that to 4 hours and 30 minutes for non-removable (except for service) batteries. Smaller and lighter 48V/2A chargers come with the batteries.S5 frame height has been lowered by 5cm (2 inches) to accommodate riders of 165 cm (5 feet, 5 inches) and taller, compared to the previous S-series bikes that were criticized for being too tall. It allows for easier stepping through compared to the X3 and is designed for riders as small as 155cm (5 feet, 1 inch).

Nearly doubles the battery's capacity 

An optional 463Wh battery (price to be announced at launch) nearly doubles the battery's capacity. There will be a redesigned "Click-On" battery for the "early summer." It will be able to charge (or power) the motor directly without all the messy cabling and velcro. VanMoof PowerBank will be replaced. It connects to the S5 and A5 via a new "Lock Dock" mount that doesn't fit older VanMoof e-bikes.The bike also has brighter, more visible front and rear lights, an integrated Kick Lock with an auto-retracting pin (no need to roll the bike after unlocking it), and a combination of GPS and LTE-M to track its location. For the S5 and A5, heavy-duty rear racks that can carry up to 27kg (about 60 pounds) are available. From previous generations, there are features like a built-in alarm, integrated Find My network, and theft recovery.

Shipping bikes maintain the power

At launch, only gray S5s and A5s are available.I have confirmed from my short test rides that the S5's slightly smaller wheels and lower frame height make mounting it easier than VanMoof's tall S-series bikes. Due to its new step-through design, which replaces the straight X3 frame, the A5 is easier to access than its predecessor. Due to the fact that I was testing a non-production firmware on a short track, I cannot comment directly on the much-touted improved "smoothness." My hope is that the shipping bikes maintain the power, fluid shifting, and quick torquey starts I achieved when pedaling on the prototypes.

Still unsure of the benefits of Halo Ring

I'm still unsure of the benefits of Halo Ring. As I rode, on my left side, I saw a circle of white static lights, while the opposite circle rose and fell without an obvious 1:1 correlation to what I was doing - was it pedal-assisted power, speed, or something else? Is there a time when I should use the new secondary buttons located beneath the boost and belly buttons? VanMoof says the new multi-function buttons will control the Halo Ring, allow the bike to be unlocked, and change pedal-assist power levels. In spite of VanMoof's hopes that first-time riders wouldn't need a manual, none of this was immediately apparent. Even VanMoof's old interface didn't come naturally to me after just five minutes on the bikes.

Despite chip shortages and rising transportation costs

Despite chip shortages and rising transportation costs, VanMoof, like many other e-bike makers, has been forced to raise prices. With delivery beginning in July, the S5 and A5 are now available for $2,998 / €2,498 - a significant increase over the current $2,448 / €2,348 price tag of the S3 and X3 models, as well as their $1,998 / €1,998 introductory pricing.Compared to just two years ago. According to Carlier, those prices will go up over time, not down, when to The Verge asked him.Carlier says that even at higher prices, the company is planning to produce "15 times" as many S5 and A5 bikes in its Taipei factory compared to its pre-pandemic production rate. Although Carlier wouldn't give an exact number (he'd only say "less than 100,000"), the company's production needs to increase dramatically if it is to hit its five-year target of 10 million VanMoof riders - a huge leap from the 200,000 or so riders it currently has after more than a decade in business.

VanMoof is skipping over the "S4" generation of bikes with its naming

In addition, VanMoof is skipping over the "S4" generation of bikes with its naming. According to Job Stehmann, head of product design, it deserves to skip a number since the bike is such an upgrade over the S3. A few minor tweaks made for the S3 / X3 bikes were released in early 2021, in addition to smaller refinements throughout 2020, without ever-increasing the model numbers of the bikes. (Carlier admits four is also an unlucky number in Asia.)vanMoof's extremely popular e-bikes generate a lot of buzzes. Once we can do an in-depth review of the new S5 and A5 models, we will determine if they deserve it. Here's hoping the brothers Carlier can apply all the lessons learned over the past two years to deliver a higher-quality, defect-free product without support issues to justify their higher prices