VanMoof S5 is a slick, turbo-boosted urban ebike that's virtually theft-proof

The best city electric bike just got better, while its step-through sibling is the sexiest ever. There's a mini cargo bike too!

VanMoof 5 Series: S5 and S5 step-through
(Image credit: VanMoof)

The VanMoof S3 electric bike is dead. Long live the VanMoof S5. Wait, what happened to S4? Never mind. Live and direct from Amsterdam, home of the considerate cyclist and legal weed cafes, VanMoof just announced the new S5 ebike in standard and step-through models, as well as the A5 cargo bike. I'll be bringing you updates from the event but luckily VanMoof furnished me with most of the 5 Series details in advance, so you can read it all here and now. One thing I can tell you straight away is the new VanMoof has scooped a prestigious Red Dot design award, and I think you can see why.

The big news here is that, as you can also see, VanMoof has actually found a way to make a step-through bike quite sexy. That's because they have slightly 'cheated' and retained a crossbar, where most step-throughs do away with them entirely. However, by steeply raking it, they have created a bike that's more like a BMX in overall appearance, but which is still easy to swing your leg over and mount up. Most step-through bikes and ebikes look like they're designed for Victorian ladies, so this is very good to see.

Both the step-through – or 'Step In' as VanMoof calls it – and standard frame look suitably urban and futuristic. They're joined by the A5, which is similar but has front and rear mounting points for carrying more cargo than you can fit in your backpack. As ever with VanMoof, they come with a raft of security features that make them theoretically impossible to steal. These include integrated locks, anti-theft warnings and alarms and a doughty group of people who will actually go and retrieve your bike should it get stolen. Yes, really. 

The VanMoof S3 was probably the best electric bike for city riders, and the S5 looks likely to elevate the experience still further. Just as well, as VanMoof-alike bikes from rival brands have been cropping up all over the place in recent years, from Cowboy to Bird. VanMoof riders include Little Simz (pictured above), Frank Ocean and Tyler Tha Creator, so I think I can safely say they aren't too fussed. 

VanMoof's launch event, which I am totally at, is fully aimed at an urban hipster audience, with talk of various creative people and brands who I have heard of in some cases. The brand's positioning probably alienates as many people as it appeals to, but I have always found their actual ebikes to be right up there with the very best you can get, so please don't be dissuaded by the marketing. Certainly in terms of step-through frames for urban environments, I've not seen anything better than this, and from experience I am sure it will ride very well. 

What are the disadvantages of electric bikes? Your questions answered.

VanMoof Step-through comparison

Step-through bikes. On the left, VanMoof S5 Step In: pretty cool. On the right: not so much

(Image credit: VanMoof/Pure Electric)

If you want to know what the S5 is broadly like to ride and use, go and read my VanMoof S3 review. Very little will have changed in terms of the brilliantly stable ride, quirky user interface, and features that make it fun and safe from bike thieves – of whom there are many, let's face it. 

The S5 can only broaden the appeal of VanMoof bikes, thanks to the addition of the Step In and the A5 cargo bike. The most notable upgrades are a re-engineered motor that's more powerful and a longer-range battery. I guarantee these will be barely noticeable to most users, as the top speed will still be 15.5mph, and the range was plenty long already.

What will be noticeable is a new handlebar interface, which tells you your speed, battery levels 'and more' via 'LED Halo Rings'. 

VanMoof 5 Series: S5, S5 step-through and A5

Your phone is the bike computer

(Image credit: VanMoof)

If you want a display that's a little less cryptic, there's also now an optional phone mount, similar to the one that's fitted as standard on the Cowboy 4 ST, which turns your mobile into a securely-attached bike computer. A USB port means you can recharge your phone as you ride.  

Speaking of secure, the anti-theft features have also had an update, with a larger locking pin and new 'auto-retract' function. Thanks to the bikes' Bluetooth connectivity, you can lock them with a tap, and unlock just by approaching your VanMoof with your phone turned on. 

The three-speed gearing is automatic, so as you slow down for traffic lights, the VanMoof 5 Series bikes change down, then as you accelerate away, they go back up again. Experienced bike riders may find this quite annoying – I certainly do – but it makes the bike as easy as possible for newcomers to cycling. 

VanMoof 5 Series: S5, S5 step-through and A5

TURBO BOOST!

(Image credit: VanMoof)

Also aiding acceleration is the excellent 'Turbo' button, which applies maximum thrust, regardless of your pedalling speed. Don't get too excited – you'll still only be able to reach 20mph in the USA and 15.5mph in the rest of the English-speaking world – but this is a handy feature for hills, pulling away from lights and general acceleration without needing to exert yourself.

When you aren't using the Turbo, the VanMoof 5 Series will intelligently apply electric motor assistance in a way that matches your pedalling and the prevailing riding conditions. Earlier VanMoof bikes did this very well indeed and apparently the S5 and A5 have been improved so the ride experience is even more natural. 

And how about the VanMoof A5?

VanMoof 5 Series: S5, S5 step-through and A5

The A5 means business, with luggage mounts front and rear

(Image credit: VanMoof)

The A5 is another step-through – sorry, Step In – design, but adds some suitably sturdy looking luggage racks for transporting 'the near equivalent to a small city car.' Erm, really? There are definitely some luggage racks, anyway. It's a smaller bike than the S5 and has 24-inch wheels rather than full-size ones. 

VanMoof S5 and A5: price and availability

VanMoof 5 Series: S5, S5 step-through and A5

The VanMoof 5 Series: remarkably svelte for a bike that weighs 23 kilos

(Image credit: VanMoof)

The VanMoof S5 & A5 come in gray only and are on sale worldwide from April 5 and ships from July. 

Pricing is USA: $2998; UK: £2298; EU: €2498. Australian pricing and availability are TBC.

  • Sign up for the waiting list at vanmoof.com (opens in new tab)

VanMoof 5 Series: key spec

Unisex S frame: for riders 165-210cm

Weight: 23 kg

Wheels: 27.5’’

Unisex A frame: for riders 155-200cm

Weight: 22 kg

Wheels: 24’’

Front wheel hub motor

Power: 250W

48V

Boost torque: 68Nm

Torque sensor

4 custom power levels

Battery 

487 Wh capacity 47V/5A (S5)

463 Wh capacity 47V/5A (A5)

Integrated 26 cells

Removable for servicing only

Range

60 km-150 km (S5)

55 km-140 km (A5)

Gen 5 Charger

48V 2A

6h 30 min (0 - 100%)

2h 30 min (0 - 50%)

Security features

Updated smart Kick Lock, with auto detract pin

Automatic Rider Recognition with Manual Disarm

Anti-theft nuts and bolts

Apple Find My* 

*Available pending certification

LPWAN and Bluetooth theft tracking

Wheels

Anodized aluminum rims

Stainless steel spokes

VanMoof Gen 5 Tires with premium puncture protection

Lights

Gen 5 Hi-Vis Lights

*EU/UK: ISO 6742-1 & Germany: K mark

2x 20x LED color Halo Ring Interface

Handlebars

One-piece adjustable handlebar and stem with VanMoof co-designed SP CONNECT phone mount with USB Type-C (5V) charging port

Brakes

Front & rear perforated Gen 5 Hydraulic Disc

Gears

Integrated automatic 3-speed hub

Automatic smart shifting for most natural shifting

Range extending battery (optional extra)

463 Wh capacity 48V/5A

6h 30 min (0 - 100%)

2h 30 min (0 - 50%)

Added range: 55 km ~ 140 km*

Other features VanMoof would like you to know about…

Fully enclosed drivetrain

Automatic chain-tensioning system

One-piece integrated design

Electronic Sensors; Air quality, Temperature & Humidity and Light, NFC, GPS, BLE, LTE-M, NB-IOT

Immediate motor response (torque sensor)

Integrated Kick Stand!

Duncan has been writing about tech for almost 15 years, during which time he has attended every event going, apart from Apple ones, as he mysteriously doesn't get invited to them. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. 

Duncan's 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. Duncan also edits T3's golf section because fuck it, someone has to. Dave Usher does all the real work on that bit, though. 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."