The fifth generation of electric bicycles that VanMoof offers brings its share of novelties. Taking the emblematic lines of the Dutch brand’s sleek frames – paradoxically far from the “Dutch bike”, the S5 is joined this year by an A5 with a lower frame, but with an equally edited look. 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 frames, the VanMoof S5 and A5 can accommodate riders from 1.65m to 2.10m and 1.55m to 2m respectively. No change to the side of the wheels, which still show 28 inches for the S5 and 24 inches for the A5.
The rigid frame of these two models will significantly limit their use on paved roads. The lack of suspension will be felt on cobbled passages. The tires, which we hope are as comfortable as previous generations Schwalbe, will have a lot going for them.
More powerful motor and torque sensor
VanMoof did not want to disturb his recipe, which is so effective in terms of design. This harmonious tubing is still not disturbed by the 250 W motor, which remains in the hub of the front wheel. A choice that always seemed the least interesting to us on an electric bicycle, but which has seduced us on previous generations through 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 block the support even better on the support of the cyclist on the pedals.
This choice of front positioning is always explained by the desire not to disturb the appearance of the bike with a central motor in the crankset. In turn, the rear wheel is already occupied by the hub with integrated gears for an automatic and transparent transmission between the three gears – against four on the S3. VanMoof still offers a Boost mode that provides a surplus of energy to help especially with starting. The maximum torque increases to 68 Nm against 59 Nm for the VanMoof S3. Both the S5 and A5 offer four assist modes. The Dutch brand still promises to be able to drive beyond 25 km/h without assistance.
Weight gain and stagnant autonomy
The battery is housed in the frame tubes. It shows a slightly lower capacity on the S5 compared to that of the S3, at 487 Wh against 504 Wh. This does not prevent VanMoof from promising the same range as with the previous generation, namely from 60 km to 150 km. For the A5, the 463 Wh battery promises 55km to 140km of endurance on a single charge. For charging, VanMoof is revising its claims down with a 48V 2A charger that takes 6 hours 30 minutes to fully charge the S5 battery and 2 hours 30 minutes to restore it to 50% of its capacity . The Dutch manufacturer offers an optional fast charger that reduces a full charge to 4 hours and 30 minutes and only 1 hour to get 50% back. The battery cannot be removed from the frame of the S5 and A5, which may hinder users who cannot access an outlet in their garage or who cannot cycle to their apartment. Design has a price…
For braking, these are hydraulic disc brakes that serve. VanMoof doesn’t go into much detail about its braking system announcing it as the fifth generation. The brand simply calls for perforated discs, which promise better thermal behavior. It should also be noted that the VanMoof S5 weighs 23 kg, or 2 kg more than its predecessor. Overweight is more limited for the A5 compared to the X3, the new kid at 22kg on the scale.
Safety at the heart of cycling
VanMoof remains aware that bicycles – electric or not – are the target of thieves, especially when they are eye-catching like the S5 and A5. The brand has therefore reintroduced its Kick Lock system, which locks the rear wheel by simply pressing a pin placed near the hub. The novelty here lies in the fact that the unlocking can now be done automatically when the legitimate driver of the machine comes to the wheel with his smartphone.
The smartphone finds a place of your choice on the stem of the VanMoof S5 and A5. The app from the Dutch manufacturer provides a lot of information about the bicycle and its condition. It is also a privileged entrance for locating the bike in case of disappearance. VanMoof e-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 on the handlebars now provide information about speed, battery level and assistance level. As standard, mudguards are fitted that reach low enough to protect the trouser legs. Lighting integrated into the frame ensures that you are seen, but must always seek boundaries to effectively illuminate the road outside the built-up area and their urban lighting.
A rising price
In the accessories department, VanMoof offers front and rear carriers for the S5 and A5. The Dutch brand indicates that a front basket is in development. An additional 441 Wh battery is also available as an option and offers a range of 55 km to 140 km.
The VanMoof S5 and A5 are now available on the brand’s website, with first deliveries scheduled for July 2022. After a sharp drop in the retail price of the S3 and X3 compared to the previous generation, VanMoof is taking the opposite path. S5 and A5. These are offered for €2498, a marked increase from the €1998 claimed for an S3.