At the end of 2022, VanMoof will add a speedbike to its range of electric bikes. The VanMoof V will carry two engines to go up to 50 km / h – where the legislation allows it. An interesting project, the success of which will nevertheless depend on the infrastructure of the countries where it is launched.
In the winter of 2021, we wondered on Numerama if France was ready for the speedbikes. These very fast bikes are great for traveling long distances in rural or peri-urban areas, but become completely inefficient in cities, where they do not take advantage of the advantages of the electric bicycle. But even in the places where they are most comfortable, speedbikes come with constraints: homologated helmet compulsory, registration, insurance, AM license, ban on riding on a cycle path.
As France is not the center of the world, it should be remembered, the Dutch company VanMoof has decided to launch its first speedbike soberly named VanMoof V. After Smart mechanical bikes and Electrified electric bikes, the Dutch startup will therefore seek to conquer a new audience, by repeating its formula: connected bikes that speak to amateurs of new technologies, but which do not (too) make technical concessions elsewhere. All at a fairly fair price: the VanMoof V, scheduled for the end of 2022, will be marketed at € 3,480. By way of comparison, the entry-level “speed” at Mustache starts at € 5,899.
VanMoof V: two motors for a speedbike
The company has devised a whole new concept for its VanMoof V – it is not an augmented version of an Electrified. On the 3D renderings – the V is still at the prototype stage – we can see much more rectangular shapes than on the startup’s previous bikes. The frame must withstand much more stress, since the VanMoof V will allow, if the legislation allows it, to go up to 50 km / h. In France, the law allows speedbikes to go at 45 km / h.
This speed, which can be flexibly adjusted according to the country where the bike will be sold, is achieved thanks to two motors supported by a large 700 Wh battery. This choice is surprising compared to models with a single motor or motor in the crankset and we can not wait to see its behavior on the road. Especially in terms of acceleration: will these two engines combined with the VanMoof turbo-boost button, allowing them to release all their power once the bike is started, allow ultra-fast acceleration? This remains to be seen, especially since the speeds of the bike are controlled by an automatic gearbox, which is, according to our tests, one of the black spots of the VanMoof range (too fragile and difficult to calibrate for smooth pedaling) .
On the comfort side, VanMoof has thought about the vibrations generated by such speeds and is now based on a double-suspended frame, at the front and at the rear. This changes the Electrified which are based on a rigid frame, well suited to beautiful trails, but less enjoyable on cobblestones or paths. The tires, the size of which has not been specified by the brand, are advertised as ” thick “. With a wet finger, we would bet on 26-inch wheels equipped with tires typed “fat bike”, adding about 4 inches of air to the whole, to have a big comfort.
Speedbike: a niche market in France?
It is difficult to predict the success of such a bicycle on the French market. We know that VanMoof is thinking of an international audience and it is clear that markets are very fond of this type of bicycle, which nevertheless require suitable road infrastructure. Switzerland, for example, is one of those countries more favorable to high-speed electric bicycles, Mustache confided to us at the time of our FS Speed test.
When we were testing a speedbike in the streets of Paris, motorists asked us to fall back on the cycle path, which forbids us. A remark that was even made to us by the police, obviously not knowing the category of vehicle we were using. In terms of speed, the intra-urban speedbike travel time is longer compared to an eBike trip: it cannot take authorized two-way streets or cross squares, cannot pass authorized red lights and is slower than a scooter. In short, on such routes, you lose the versatility and agility of a bike.
Attracting a new audience will therefore not only be a question of product for VanMoof, but much more adaptation to the territory in which it will launch its VanMoof V. Will the cities and our departmental roads change quickly enough to accommodate these new? modes of travel, even though communities are catching up to a considerable delay in securing the movement of bicycles, scooters and other soft mobility?
Response at the end of 2022.