VanMoof A5/S5 Review, Yet Further Improved E-bike Design Recipe

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VanMoof has presented its new generation of urban electric bikes, the S5 and A5. These two models are very much in line with the overall philosophy of the Dutch brand – focusing on design and e-bike connectivity.

The fifth generation of VanMoof electric bikes brings its share of novelties. The S5 model takes on the emblematic lines of the Dutch brand’s sleek frames – far from the usual full up-right sitting position “Dutch bike”. It is accompanied this year by the A5 model, which has a lower frame, but with a look that is just as good. 

It follows the X3 which offered a straight horizontal frame but is slightly lower than that on S3. This is apparently a way to appeal to a wider range of cyclists. With one-size frames, the VanMoof S5 and A5 can respectively accommodate riders from 1.65 m to 2.10 m and 1.55 m to 2 m. No change in the size of wheels. Wheel sizes are still 28 inches for the S5 and 24 inches for the A5.

The rigid frame of these two models, with no shock absorption, will greatly limit their use outside of paved roads. The lack of suspension will be felt on paved roads too. The tires, which we hope will be as comfortable as the Schwalbes of previous generations, will have their work to do to manage shock absorption, at least, to some extent.

Read also: Vanmoof Electrified S3/X3 Review: finally, an ideal city e-bike? And, Vanmoof S2 Test and Review: this electric bike is like a supercharged car.

More powerful engine and torque sensor

VanMoof didn’t want to change its successful design recipe. The harmonious tube assembly is still undisturbed by the 250 W motor. This one remains housed in the hub of the front wheel. 

Easy E-Biking - Vanmoof e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo credit Vanmoof bikes

This choice always seemed to be the least interesting on an electric bike. At the same time, this very choice managed to seduce its riders in preceding generations of Vanmoof with well-controlled management of the delivered power. 

The power management should be even better with this fifth-generation e-bike since the motor is now accompanied by a torque sensor that should better adjust the assistance based on the pressure on the pedals by the cyclist.

This choice of front-motor positioning is still explained by the desire of Vanmoof not to distort the look of the e-bike with a mid-drive motor in the crankset. The rear wheel is already occupied by the hub with integrated gears for an automatic and transparent transmission between the three speeds – down from four on the S3 model. 

VanMoof still offers the Boost mode that delivers extra power to help start the engine. Maximum torque increases to 68 Nm compared to 59 Nm for the VanMoof S3. The S5 and A5 both offer four assistance modes. Vanmoof still promises to be able to ride beyond 25 km/h without electric assistance.

Read also: Vanmoof S2 test and review: this electric bike is like a supercharged car. And, Vanmoof S3/X3 test and review: finally an ideal city e-bike?

Weight gain and stagnant autonomy

The e-bike battery is housed in the frame tubes. Its capacity is slightly lower on the S5 compared to the S3, with 487 Wh against 504 Wh. This does not prevent VanMoof from promising the same range of autonomy as the previous generation – from 60 km to 150 km (37 to 95 miles). For the A5, the 463 Wh battery promises 55 km to 140 km (35 – 90 miles) of autonomy on a single charge. 

Easy E-Biking - Vanmoof e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo credit Vanmoof bikes

For charging, VanMoof is lowering its claims with a 48V 2A charger that takes 6 hours and 30 minutes to fully charge the S5’s battery and 2 hours and 30 minutes to restore 50% of its capacity. 

The company offers an optional fast charger that reduces the charging time to 4 h 30 min and only 1 h to recover 50%. The battery is not detachable from the frame of the S5 and A5. This will be an inconvenience for riders who do not have access to an outlet in their garage or who cannot ride their e-bike straight to their apartment. The design comes at a cost…

Both A5 and S5 use hydraulic disc brakes. VanMoof doesn’t go into much detail about its braking system for the fifth generation. The only thing the brand mentions is perforated discs, promising better thermal behavior. 

Not to be missed the fact that VanMoof S5 weighs 23 kg (50 pounds), 2 kg (4.4 pounds) more than its predecessor. The A5 is more compact than the X3. This newcomer model weighs 22 kg (48.5 pounds).

Read also: Cowboy 3 vs Vanmoof S3 review, top connected city e-bikes. And, Angell vs Cowboy vs Vanmoof, which one would you choose?

Safety continues to be at the heart

VanMoof is aware that bikes – electric or not – are targets for thieves, especially when they catch the eye like the S5 and A5. The brand has therefore reintroduced its Kick Lock system that locks the rear wheel by simply pressing a pin placed near the hub. 

Easy E-Biking - Vanmoof e-bike, helping to make electric biking practical and fun
Photo credit Vanmoof bikes

What’s new here is that the unlocking can now be done automatically when the legitimate rider of the machine comes to the handlebars with his / her smartphone.

The smartphone has a prominent place on the stem of the VanMoof S5 and A5. The mobile app provides a wealth of information about the e-bike and its condition. It is also very useful in case your e-bike is lost or stolen. VanMoof‘s electric bikes feature NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS.

The S3’s horizontal tube LED display has been replaced by a system called Halo Ring. Lighted rings on the handlebars now provide information about speed, battery level, and electric assistance level. 

Mudguards that go low enough to protect your clothing are now standard. Frame-mounted lighting allows you to be seen but is still rather limited to effectively illuminate the road if you are riding outside of urban areas and their street lighting.

Read also: Cowboy 2 test and review: an e-bike that rides faster than its shadow. And, Vanmoof S2 test and review : this electric bike is like a supercharged car.

The price went up

In the accessories department, VanMoof offers front and rear racks for the S5 and A5. The brand says that a front basket is under development. An additional 441 Wh battery is also available as an option, giving an extra range of 55 km to 140 km (35 – 90 miles).

The VanMoof S5 and A5 are available now on Vanmoof’s website, with the first deliveries scheduled for July 2022. After a sharp drop in the sales price of the S3 and X3 compared to the previous generation, VanMoof is taking the opposite route for the S5 and A5. The latter is offered at €2,498 retail price, a clear increase compared to the €1,989 claimed for the S3 model.

Read also: Ever considered offering e-bike as a gift? Or gifting one to yourself? Check out our suggestions – in this e-bike gift guide.

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