With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to go outside and bike. The Netherlands is a country proud of its bike culture, having more bikes than people and more than 35,000 km of bicycle paths. But this also has its downsides, with more than 311 bikes a day reported stolen and the actual number expected to be even higher. So Dutch bike manufacturer VanMoof has made a bike with a variety of smart features to make for a better and more secure biking experience.
- 3 Speed (14,3 kg) or 8 Speed (14,9 kg)
- Rider height: 170 – 210 cm (if you’re shorter or taller, you can contact them and they’ll try to figure something out!)
- Front & rear disc brakes
- GSM anti-theft tracking
- Smartphone connected
- Keyless unlock
- Integrated high-power LED lighting
The most innovative feature is the anti-theft guarantee, which even offers a bike recovery promise. The parts most often stolen are even equipped with GSM and Bluetooth tracking. If your bike gets stolen, you only need to activate the tracking using the iOS/Android app and VanMoof will track your bike using GPS tracking, for which it works closely together with Vodafone. If your bike is not found within two weeks, they will replace it.
The bike is keyless and can be unlocked via your smartphone (using an iOS/Android app) or by touching the bike, where it will check if your phone is within Bluetooth range. Additional features are lights that turn on automatically once it gets dark and anti-theft bolds. All electronics on the bike are powered by pedalling, so no charging is needed. The bike is also weatherproof (good for Dutch/UK climate!) and includes weather alerts based on your commute.
Pros and cons
While smart sometimes means extra heavy or bulky, VanMoof managed to keep the weight at just 14.3 kilos (31 pounds) by using an anodized aluminium frame.
A downside to this bike? It’s quite expensive at 1398€ (£1200), but includes a 2-year warranty, free shipping to anywhere and a 30-day free return policy, no questions asked. It’s currently only available with a straight frame and the named price is for the 3-speed version, the 8-speed version retails for 1598€ (£1360). Another downside for me would that they currently only have a bike with straight frame, while I (and many people with me) prefer a drop-down frame. When calling the company, they could not yet say whether they are going to make a version with a drop-down frame.
While this bike seems like a good idea, I would personally probably not buy it. While I bike around 20 km/12 miles a day, I feel like the only revolutionary thing about this bike are the anti-theft features. For me, the price difference in this bike and any other ‘normal bike’ is too large. In the Netherlands, a second-hand bike retails for about 100€ (£85), the same price as the VanWoof recovery fee. Even the ‘normal’ VanMoof is half the price, while it has the same high quality. The other features – like the weather alerts or automatic lights – are nothing new: already existing apps or accessories can accomplish the same.
The bike is expected to hit the stores for a higher price this November, but can be pre-ordered from their site.