With the VanMoof S5, the Dutch manufacturer has skipped a generation – both with new functions and in terms of price. The brand new S4 aims to close the gap between the old top-selling S3 and the high-end bike S5 – and takes a minimalist approach.
About two years ago, the VanMoof S3 was considered the top choice for urban cyclists (tested here). No wonder: Top technology and iconic design meet a low price and quick availability. What followed was an unexpected bump for the manufacturer. At the end of 2022, VanMoof was even on the brink of bankruptcy, with supply chain problems driving the company financially to the abyss.
The next e-bike, the S5, had already been announced – even if it will not be delivered until soon. But the new top model still has a catch: It has become much more expensive. The generation leap from S3 to S5 is not only for technical reasons, but is also reflected in the price: nothing goes below 3,500 euros. But they don’t want to let the original, mostly young fans down – and after two steps forwards, they’re now going back one step: The new (and ) is here.
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Almost 40% cheaper than the S5: VanMoof S4 for around 2,200 euros
The price of the S4 (like the X4) is closer to that of the S3. It is around 2,200 euros and thus almost 40 percent below the S5. Only a few old stocks from the are a little cheaper. To achieve this, the S4 follows a simple recipe: reduce to the maximum, focus on the essentials. To put it simply: a lot is missing compared to the S5. Too much? The test should show that.
Probably the most striking feature right away: The S4 is colored! While the S5 is only available in gray or dark grey, the S4 is available in lilac, yellow, dark green or mint green. The S series is aimed at people between 1.70 and 2.10 meters tall, the more compact X4 starts at 1.55 meters and reaches up to 1.90 meters. Technically, the bikes are almost identical, the S4 was available for testing.
The design is typical of VanMoof and does not deviate from other models. The core are the thick frame tubes, in which the technology and light are located. The S4 is powered by a front wheel hub motor with 250 watts and 36 volts, with a maximum torque of 59 Newton meters. It is activated via a pedal sensor and can be set in four stages – via app. The built-in battery has a capacity of 478 kilowatt hours, which according to the manufacturer is enough for a distance of up to 150 kilometers in economy mode. At full power it should still be 60 kilometers. An electric two-speed gearbox should ensure that you can always drive comfortably.
The processing of the e-bike is flawless as usual, the bike is designed for durability and stability. Only two cables on the handlebars (brake lines) are on the outside, the rest runs well protected through the frame. VanMoof explained that the cables were also bundled into thick strands to prevent damage from constant movement. This is also the case with the S5 and has proven to be a practical solution.
60 kilometers with the turbo button – no problem
As far as the range is concerned, the manufacturer’s values match the test results surprisingly precisely. In the Hamburg flat area, the bike made it to around 64 kilometers with turbo continuous fire – very good! The “Turbo Boost”, which helps to get up to speed quickly from a standing start, is a button on the handlebars which – provided you pedal appropriately – briefly provides noticeable motor support and thus makes starting after a stop and climbing from Significantly easier inclines. Of course, that drains the battery.
Some might find the built-in battery annoying – and it’s true: other manufacturers have more practical solutions ready. If you can’t put the VanMoof next to an outlet, you won’t be able to charge it. Unless you buy the manufacturer’s own power bank. For around 350 euros, VanMoof sells a portable battery that can be elegantly placed in the frame of the e-bike and also charges the S4 while riding. A small drop of bitterness: the power bank cannot bring the e-bike battery from 0 to 100 percent because the mobile battery has less capacity. For everyday use, however, this is a possible solution to the problem that affects every VanMoof e-bike.
If you charge the VanMoof S4 directly from the socket, it takes less than two hours for around 50 percent of the battery, and the bike is full after four and a half hours.
Significant savings were made on the circuit
A serious encounter with the savings VanMoof had to make on the S4 to keep the price tag came whenever the bike hit maximum speed. Because the two-speed gear shift and the front wheel hub motor result in a somewhat strange driving experience. When you reach 25 km/h, you step into the “empty space” to maintain the speed, i.e. the pedals no longer offer any significant resistance. As a result, you crank far too quickly to maintain the motor support. A third gear would have done the bike good. The solution for the S4: Take everything a little more relaxed, don’t always drive at the limit. With motor assistance 3 (of 4) and a relaxed ride around and at 20 km/h, rider and bike harmonize better.
When asked, VanMoof explained that they were working on this problem and that it was possible via software to subsequently increase the missing resistance at maximum speed. There was no update at the time of the test, but the rides were made before the market launch.
Like all VanMoof e-bikes, with the exception of the upcoming VanMoof V, the S4 does not offer suspension. Of course, this makes it less suitable for bumpy routes, such as forest or field paths. On the road, the self-damping of the 27.5-inch tires (Innova) is completely sufficient.
There are no savings with the VanMoof S4 in terms of security. First of all, this applies to the very good hydraulic brakes, which bring the VanMoof S4 to a safe stop even when driving at full speed, as well as the safety precautions to prevent accidental loss.
A stolen VanMoof should be annoying
The e-bike is both with GSM tracking. as well as with remote locking and alarm. The so-called “Peace of Mind” subscription can also be booked with the bike for three years for 348 euros. This includes a kind of detective service for stolen bikes and a replacement if, contrary to expectations, your own VanMoof no longer turns up.
VanMoof has also given the S4 the well-known “Kick Lock” for quick parking. This is a bolt that can be clamped into the rear wheel with a gentle kick and both restricts the e-bike’s freedom of movement and activates the theft functions mentioned. Important to know: the kick lock prevents it from being pushed away, but not carried away. If you really want to be on the safe side, you should at least have a small lock with you.
The S4 does not have a display, as was seen on the S3, or smart handlebar lights, which are now installed on the S5. The spartan bike features the latest generation (SPC+) on the frame’s head tube, on which you can securely attach your smartphone, provided you have the right case.
If necessary, this gives you a good look at the VanMoof app, which allows for certain settings, provides information about the ride and acts as a bike key if you want to unlock it digitally (rather than by entering a PIN). So much can be revealed: You don’t necessarily need it when driving to work or to well-known places. Fewer screens and gauges inevitably mean more attention to traffic and the road – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in big cities.
Conclusion VanMoof S4: Enough!
The main differences between the S4 and the S5 are in the equipment. While the S5 pulls out all the stops and offers the latest of the new, the manufacturer left out everything on the S4 that somehow costs too much money. But that changes very little in terms of driving pleasure.
After the test, one cannot come to any other conclusion than having to certify the (almost) unconditional suitability for everyday use of the S4. The equipment may be spartan, but it’s enough for a brisk ride through the city with completely sufficient battery capacity.
The workmanship is impeccable, the driving experience in relaxed mode is natural and the safety features that make up the brand are also available without restrictions. The only thing that bothered me was the somewhat rushed pedaling at top speed due to the reduced shifting. The fact that the battery is not removable applies to all the brand’s products.
If you are looking for a reliable, apparently durable and comfortable e-bike for around 2,000 euros, you will get a well-rounded package with the S4. The days of high-end bikes at this price are over, even the interesting alternative, the Cowboy 4, only starts at 3,000 euros.
This time, VanMoof wants to handle the delivery much faster than was the case with the crisis bike S5. The (and ) is available today for 2198 euros. In the EU, the dark green model will be sold first. The other colors follow. Interested parties can be placed on the waiting list to be notified before individual colors go on sale. VanMoof plans to ship from August.
I’m a recent graduate of the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. I started working as a news reporter for 24 Hours World about two years ago, and I’ve been writing articles ever since. My main focus is automotive news, but I’ve also written about politics, lifestyle, and entertainment.