VanMoof Electrified S2 Ebike Review

A real beauty to the eye, but looks aren’t everything.

VM lifestyle shot
The Electrified S2’s sleek design is undeniably eye-catching.Jeff Allen

Born in the world’s No. 1 cycling city, Amsterdam, the Electrified S2 is intended for cycling in an urban environment and is styled with a clean, modern design.

VanMoof Electrified
Clean integration keeps most of the VanMoof’s electronics concealed.Jeff Allen

What Is an Electrified S2?

The Electrified S2 is a purpose-built urban commuter that hides its electrified persona. The only obvious electric part is the front 250-watt hub motor. The 500Wh battery and 166 LED Matrix display are seamlessly integrated into the frame. The electrically stealthy theme continues with front and rear lights that bookend the toptube.

VanMoof Electrified  Cockpit
The one-piece stem-handlebar speaks to the S2’s design aesthetic.Jeff Allen

Clean alloy fenders wrap around a pair of Schwalbe Big Ben tires, while a one-piece stem-handlebar controls steering. Disc brakes with 160-millimeter front and 140-millimeter rear rotors handle stopping chores, with chain motion transferred to the wheel by way of Sturmey-Archer’s two-speed automatic hub.

VanMoof kept things reasonably light—the 42-pound package is lighter than most, which is a welcome benefit when city life requires you to heft the bike up stairs. For load-carrying capacity, VanMoof offers front and rear carriers that maintain the design aesthetic.

VanMoof Electrified Lifestyle Shot 2
Our testing got 30 miles of range out of the Electrified S2.Jeff Allen

How Does the Electrified S2 Ride?

It didn’t take long before we were turning the assist to the highest level of the four on offer. Despite its 500W peak power, the small front motor just didn’t pull much in the lower settings. The front-hub configuration means you never really feel its help through the drivetrain, like a rear-hub or center-drive system, and there’s more resistance to speeds over 20 mph. Compounding this was the auto-shifting hub, which is probably fine on a traditional bike but shifted up too soon for our liking with the S2.

The Turbo Boost button on the brake lever clamp quickly became our favorite feature. It’s terrific for returning to speed from a stop, and kept things moving quicker on steep climbs. Despite being in maximum assist with generous use of Turbo Boost, we still extracted around 30 miles out of a full charge, which is short compared with other ebikes but is plenty for the S2’s intended purpose.

VanMoof Electrified Display
The LED display integrated into the toptube is visually striking but not convenient to look down at.Jeff Allen

The display is visually impressive: Individual LEDs display charge capacity in fine detail, and the laughing skull alarm is just cool. The intuitive sound effects are surprisingly helpful in relaying information, and make the unique electronic bell possible.

Unfortunately, the display’s integration into the toptube isn’t optimal, requiring you to look down farther. It would have been nice to see the display integrated into the stem portion of the S2’s custom integrated bar/stem. In bright sun the display’s sparse info—just current speed and battery level—was difficult to read or disappeared entirely.

The bike is extremely stable, even on big descents exceeding 40 mph. The 2-inch-wide tires take some edge off the ride, but on rougher streets the thick blade-like stays offered a harsher ride reminiscent of older aluminum aero bikes. Compounding this is a 34-millimeter seatpost with less flex than smaller-diameter options.

VanMoof Electrified Hub
The Sturmey-Archer two-speed automatic hub upshifted too soon for us, and we would have liked to see hydraulic brakes at the ebike’s $3,000-plus price point.Jeff Allen

Sticking Points

Any bike in an urban environment will get a flat sooner or later. And when that happens, the S2 takes a lot of effort to fix it. Taking off the front wheel requires removing two small bolts holding the plug cover to the fork before you can disconnect the motor wire. For the rear, you must remove two extra bolts for the chain enclosure that also tension the chain. An eccentric bottom bracket coupled to the rear hub by a belt drive would keep the clean style, reduce maintenance, and make rear wheel changes easier by getting rid of the two chainguard bolts.

We were frustrated by the lack of water bottle braze-ons. While the downtube is not an option due to the battery placement, there seems to be plenty of room on the seat tube. The braze-ons may have been omitted in the name of design, but then VanMoof should have eliminated the seatstay lock braze-ons, given the great lengths taken to design the S2’s proprietary rear-wheel lock.

VanMoof Electrified Hold
Customers can save $400 on the Electrified S2 through the end of September.Jeff Allen

How Much Does the Electrified S2 Cost?

The Electrified S2 sells at VanMoof.com for $3,398 (on sale through the end of September for $2,998), with free shipping and 30-day free return if you're not happy. VanMoof also sells through its own branded stores, with US locations in San Francisco and New York.

The price of the S2 doesn’t get you hydraulic brakes. Although the mechanical brakes did fine, anything over $3K deserves hydraulics. And on a bike where design is the main selling point, the S2 is begging for a belt drive.

The S2 has some cool unique features and looks great, but sadly it’s lost some function for the sake of form.