T3 Awards 2020: VanMoof S3 is the electric bike that this year was crying out for

The VanMoof S3 is theft-proof, idiot-proof, sleek, chic and effortlessly slick

T3 Awards 2020: VanMoof S3 is our #1 electric bike
(Image credit: VanMoof)

This year has been The Year of the Electric Bike (and the electric scooter). Okay, it has also been the year of various other things, but let's emphasise the positive. Romping home with the prize for the best electric bike at the T3 Awards 2020 is an e-bike that took all the best elements of the genre and then added a whole load of additional elements, just because it could.

The result was an assisted bicycle that claims to be thief-proof; which is so easy to ride it could be called idiot-proof – although perhaps that is tempting fate – and which looks the absolute bee's knees. And probably the murder hornet's elbows, too. 

VanMoof S3: we know not know how to pronounce you, but we salute you. Van Moof?  Van Mouth? Van Mauve? We may never know.

The Dr Dre Powerbeats – winner of the T3 Award for running buds – was helped to the trophy by a nifty bit of price cutting compared to its predecessor. However even that pales in comparison to the VanMoof S3. This e-bike of the hipster gods improved in just about every regard over the old S2, and then lavished us with a massive price cut compared to its forerunner. 

For under £1800/$2000 you get a helluva lot of e-bike with the VanMoof S3. Not only does it have disc brakes, bright integrated lights and automatic gear shifting, if you please. There's also an anti-theft system comprising of a magnetic lock/immobiliser for the back wheel, an alarm – complete with an animated laughing skull on the crossbar for true 8-bit thief-mocking supremacy – and even GPS tracking should anyone get past them.

Remarkably, VanMoof is even committed to going and retrieving your S3, should the unthinkable happen. 

Because of the motor and because it's so sturdily built, the VanMoof is a lot of fun to ride. It's quick but it's very stable. Or, looked at another way, it's sturdy yet fleet-footed. The weight means you probably won't want to drive it without any assistance but you can dial it down via the VanMoof app, so as to get more of a workout. 

With the motor at full strength and the five gears changing up and down by themselves, there's really not much left to worry about besides looking where you're going, and ensuring that you are looking dapper. The unique shape of the VanMoof S3 – and it's smaller sibling, the more compact X3 – will mean a lot of eyes are upon you. 

As more and more of us seek to avoid traffic jams and public transport, the VanMoof S3 is a ride whose time has come – that's why it's our winner here.

• See all the other winners so far at the T3 Awards 2020 micro-site!

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Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."