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I tried this futuristic e-bike — and now I want one

Don’t let the VanMoof X3’s minimalistic design fool you. It’s packed with smart features, plus anti-theft measures offer peace of mind

vanmoof x3
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Don’t let the VanMoof X3’s minimalistic Dutch design fool you. It’s packed with smart features for commuters and casual riders alike. Plus anti-theft features offer peace of mind.

Pros

  • +

    Overall great design

  • +

    Minimalistic matrix display

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    Turbo Boost is fun

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    Anti-theft features

Cons

  • -

    Kickstand could be sturdier

The VanMoof X3 is a commuter’s dream, if the dream is to Turbo Boost all the way to work and make sure your bike isn't stolen at any stops. Besides going fast and being secured with anti-theft measures, this bike is beautiful-looking and brimming with smart features you might not find on all the best electric bikes.

I took the VanMoof X3 for a spin around almost the entirety of Governors Island in New York City, cycling though the landmark’s variety of waterside straightaways, curvy turns and a handful of hills. As more of a traditionalist when it comes to biking — I want to close my Apple Watch rings during rides, but welcome help on inclines — the X3 strikes the ideal balance in my first impressions.

Much of my experience echoes that which my college wrote about in his VanMoof S3 review. It’s basically the same ride in terms of features, but the X3 is designed for those of a shorter stature (like myself.) This hands-on VanMoof X3 review goes over my other takeaways and everything else you might want to know about this city-certified, Dutch-designed e-bike.

VanMoof X3 price and availability

The VanMoof X3 is available now for $2,448, which is the same price as the VanMoof S3. In terms of features, the X3 and S3 are practically the same, but support different height ranges and thus have different frames. The X3 I rode is made for those who are 5 feet to 6 feet, 5 inches tall. The S3 is preferred for anyone between 5 feet, 8 inches to 6 feet, 8 inches tall.

VanMoof X3 design

The VanMoof X3 design language is obnoxiously Dutch, and there’s nothing wrong with that. All the clean lines and matte black frame looked incredibly cool. I know it’s hard to describe my sense of style on the internet, but trust me, this e-bike is definitely my style — practically minimalistic and unassuming, but secretly high-tech.

VanMoof X3 e-bike handlebar

(Image credit: Future)

When powered on, a matrix display materialized on the frame so I could glimpse down to see my speed or check my battery level during my ride. Meanwhile, the buttons on the handlebars (the left is for the horn, the right for Turbo Boost) blend in so much I didn’t notice them at first.

VanMoof X3 e-bike pedal

(Image credit: Future)

Even the mud guards and kickstand melt into the X3’s design. I did find that the bike had to be on a completely level surface for the kickstand to keep the bike upright, which isn’t a problem much in the paved city but I imagine would be a challenge in some of the gravel roads in my hometown. The pedals felt more substantial and sizable enough to keep my feet steady even when I tried standing during the ride. I wasn’t even wearing my most athletic sneakers.

VanMoof X3 performance and features

The VanMoof X3 and can be used in pedal-assist mode, or you can press the throttle button when you want the bike to do all the work. The bike has a maximum assisted speed of 20 miles per hour, which is the US legal limit, but far too fast for the quiet Governors Island. I cruised smoothly around 10 miles per hour for most of my ride, except for when I triggered Turbo Boost to get a hand up some small hills… oh, and race fellow bike riders. 

Additional gears adjusted the balance of assistance and my effort automatically. In the app, you can manually adjust the gears to your preference. The app also can track your rides and give you a sense of how much mileage the battery has left before you’re left to pedal on your own. The X3 promises a range of 93 miles, but I didn’t get to test this during my ride— that would have meant circling Governor’s Island about 45 times.

Apple Watch with VanMoof X3 e-bike

(Image credit: Future)

During my demonstration, I didn’t get to explore the most app features but I did learn about a few that are relevant to my interests. For example, you can lock and unlock the bike with your Apple Watch, which is handy when your phone is tucked away in a bag. I’m always looking for new ways how to use the Apple Watch, and since watchOS 8 tweaked the outdoor biking algorithm to better credit e-bike rides, I was as curious about my fitness tracking as the X3 itself. 

I also learned about anti-theft measures. Not only does the bike integrate with Apple’s Find My network, but it also has an alarm that’ll ring if the bike is moved after the Kick Lock is activated. This seems important for riding an e-bike around the city.

VanMoof X3 outlook 

I’m looking forward to spending more time with the VanMoof X3 for my full review. I didn’t have to deal with assembly, charging or concerns of a dwindling battery during my demonstration, and I’m sure all these user experiences are important to know about before making a purchase. But when it comes to having fun, getting around quickly and caring about style, which I do, the VanMoof X3 looks to be a compelling e-bike. 

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.