E-bike maker VanMoof declares bankruptcy — how to make sure your bike doesn't get bricked

VanMoof S3 review: Dutch design delight
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Dutch electric bike maker VanMoof has announced it has gone bankrupt and is seeking a buyer for all company assets based in the Netherlands in “the next few weeks." 

In a statement to employees (which was subsequently shared in full on Reddit) the company noted the bankruptcy only applies to its Dutch entities while those based in the U.S., U.K, Taiwan, Japan, Germany and France remain unaffected.

The statement explained: “The bankruptcy of the Dutch VanMoof entities was needed - despite all your efforts and hard work to prevent this - as there simply is not enough cash flow to meet the current liabilities. By placing the Dutch companies into bankruptcy, it becomes more likely that a restart of the VanMoof business can be accomplished.”

The decision means a buyer could effectively scoop up the company’s assets and operations in the Netherlands without having to take on the outstanding debt. Two administrators have been named to oversee the process and are investigating whether a restructuring and asset sale would allow the company to continue operations.

VanMoof told employees they are expected to work a six-week notice period before they will receive their final payments but that there are “no funds to pay salaries” long term.

The news is a dramatic turnaround for VanMoof which, only two years ago, claimed to be the “most funded e-bike company in the world” after securing a $128 million investment. That belied the problems as, according to a report in Dutch outlet FD, the company suffered a $13.4 million gross margin loss that same year. 

The company’s e-bikes are regularly touted as some of the best on the market, and at one time were on the Tom’s Guide best electric bikes list.

What to do if you own a VanMoof electric bike

VanMoof S3 review: Dutch design delight

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you own a VanMoof bike yourself, then this news is likely to create some understandable waves of uncertainty. It’s not clear what will happen in the coming months and years in terms of support although VanMoof says its e-bikes “will remain functional and rideable, as we aim to keep our app and servers online and aim to secure the ongoing services for the future.”

For now, owners in the U.K. and U.S. are unaffected, but as ever with these things it could change at a moment's notice. You would be best advised to download the unique digital key relating to their model should the company’s servers be taken offline.

Rival e-bike company Cowboy has created an app called Bikey (which you can download here for iOS) that allows you to download your keycode, so you can continue using your bike. However, it's advised that you do so immediately, in the event that the VanMoof servers go offline. 

More worryingly, the bankruptcy announcement means all repair work and deliveries of e-bike parts in the Netherlands will be stopped. Of course, this could be reversed if the company finds a buyer.

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Jeff Parsons
UK Editor In Chief

Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.

A tech journalist for over a decade, he’s travelled the world testing any gadget he can get his hands on. Jeff has a keen interest in fitness and wearables as well as the latest tablets and laptops. A lapsed gamer, he fondly remembers the days when problems were solved by taking out the cartridge and blowing away the dust.