Dutch e-bike maker VanMoof is refreshing its entry-level lineup with a pair of new bikes available in some very springy colors. The X4 and S4, out this month, retain the frame and philosophy of VanMoof’s previous X3 and S3 e-bikes while trimming some of the complexities that made those models notably high-tech but less reliable for some riders.
Gone is the Matrix display, the impressive screen on the bike’s top tube that displayed critical info like speed and battery levels. The X4 and S4 swap that display, which was well-loved though arguably excessive for this price tier, with a spartan phone mount (for built-in charging, you’ll need to move up to the luxury S5 and A5 models). These models have also swapped out the previous three-speed gear-shifting system for a simpler two-speed shifter while retaining the speed boost button, most of the anti-theft technology with the exception of Apple integration and the general design and vibe.
Fans of last-gen’s X3 and S3 models may be skeptical about some of the changes, but VanMoof could win them over with one big improvement: color options. VanMoof’s always built some of the most stylish bikes around and it’s high time that potential buyers have more color choices. Prospective buyers now decide between evergreen, purple fog, sunbeam yellow and a foam green, with some fun contrasting bungee cord options that make those hues really pop. The two handsome green options are personally making me question buying a relatively unexciting sky blue X3 on sale last year.
Last year, VanMoof debuted a pair of higher-end e-bikes known as the S5 and A5, adding in a handlebar LED display, USB charging and a new motor for $3,998 (at the time of writing; VanMoof has a bad habit of tinkering with its pricing way too often). The company also previously announced an even higher-end, high-concept, high-speed bike called the VanMoof V, though who that’s really for or how much it will cost remains to be seen.
Hopefully the X4 and S4’s substantial design changes along with VanMoof’s $2,498 price point for these new bikes helps the company’s operation become more sustainable. VanMoof was apparently in trouble toward the end of last year, nearly running out of cash and scrambling for an infusion of investment. While some reviewers, myself included (full disclosure: I bought an X3 last year) haven’t run into many problems, VanMoof needs to clean up its track record of reliability and quality control issues and offer a customer support experience that matches the thoughtful elegance of some of the best e-bikes on the market.
That crisis appears to have been averted, for now at least, and hopefully VanMoof is able to chart a smoother course and stay on the map for the foreseeable future.