E-bike designers face a conundrum of physics: How do you pack a motor and a battery into metal tubes only a few inches in diameter? Many don’t bother; they simply attach the motorized components to the exterior of a bike. But those designers don’t win international design awards like Red Dot, as the Dutch company VanMoof did last year with its S3 and X3 e-bikes, which are more accessible than ever thanks to a new rent-to-own style payment plan.
Before we get to what makes these e-bikes so awesome, here's the breaking news: VanMoof recently announced that US-based riders can now begin to purchase these award-winning bikes for as little as $83 per month. While the payments (through Klarna) are split over a 36-month period, you can start riding right away, and feel secure thanks to the included Peace of Mind Theft and Maintenance coverage. If your bike is stolen, they’ll track it down within two weeks or replace it. Bikes also get checkups every 1,552 miles and ad-hoc servicing.
As great as those perks are, they aren't what won the award, of course. The Red Dot jury states that VanMoof’s e-bike line “impresses with a purist design that epitomizes the essence of a bicycle,” reflecting a notion Gear Patrol and its bike testers have long held: the best e-bikes are those that are the most like regular bikes (only faster). The jurors elaborated, praising VanMoof for incorporating “sophisticated functionality that integrates all elements into the frame in a stylish yet unobtrusive manner.”
The functionality that they refer to includes a 250-watt motor that can get the bike up to an effortless 15 miles per hour for a maximum range of around 90 miles. VanMoof also integrated its theft protection system, which includes a keyless lock, rider recognition, built-in alarms, location tracking and a remote lockdown mode. Of course, the S3 and X3’s standard bike components are top-notch too — front and rear lights, fenders, racks, electronic gear shifting and hydraulic disc brakes are all part of the package.
Worth noting: the total cost of the bike is a few hundred dollars more with the subscription plan (around $2,988 versus roughly $2,596). Click the link for more details, and check out the bikes themselves below.