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Design & Tech

Revolutionizing the ride: Our Head of Product Design, Job Stehmann, reveals the design philosophy behind the all-new VanMoof S5 & A5.

Revolutionizing the ride: Our Head of Product Design, Job Stehmann, reveals the design philosophy behind the all-new VanMoof S5 & A5.

We've never been ones to shy away from ushering in a sea of change. Deep in VanMoof HQ, our top minds have been hard at work crafting two e-bike models that will trigger a radical shift in e-mobility once again. The VanMoof S5 & A5 have been reimagined, redesigned, and remastered from the ground up. We spoke to our Head of Product Design, Job Stehmann, about the thinking behind our latest e-bikes. And it all came down to one simple thing: making it possible for more people than ever to ride electric: “The design philosophy behind the bikes is really that they can be used by anyone,” Job puts simply. But how?

Could our e-bikes ride even smoother? Could they be even more powerful? And most importantly – could we design a bike that convinces more people than ever to ride electric? When our team worked on the all-new, all-electric VanMoof S5 & A5, these questions were top of mind. And the results are impressive: it's hard to find a feature that hasn't been revolutionized to elevate the overall VanMoof experience. With 95-99% of the bikes’ parts engineered from scratch, we’ve pulled the creme de la creme of our feature updates so you can get straight to the good stuff.

From game-changing frame alterations to an all-new riding interface, what was the thinking behind each update? Well, as Job’s tells us, every unique part, wire, and fixture has been engineered with accessibility, reliability, and quality in mind: “To achieve all three meant rethinking the bare bones of the system. We restructured everything from the full electronics, down to how we produce and assemble the bikes.” Both models have been stripped back to be even more user-friendly, and offer something for both rookie e-bike riders and biking pros looking for a feature-rich riding experience.

“The design philosophy behind the bikes is really that they can be used by anyone.”

A frame for every rider

With a refreshed straight-frame look and an all-new low step-in angled frame, the S5 & A5 offer something for everyone. The iconic straight frame look was something we were set on keeping: “We wanted to fit more people on a single frame shape while keeping the riding behavior of the bike exactly the same,” Job explains, “and we achieved just that by optimizing the wheel size and lowering the frame geometry. The lower step-in of the A-frame is about getting more people than ever riding.”

And if the two sleek new looks of the S5 & A5 weren’t already enough to turn heads, Job and the team added in a new VanMoof signature feature: the High Vis Lights with a strip that cuts through the frame. But they aren’t there just to look pretty. Safety is a key concern for people in busy cities, so addressing better visibility was high on the Industrial Design team’s agenda: “‘How can we make the bike more safe for the rider; how can we make it more visible from multiple angles?’ we asked ourselves. That thinking came into the design of the little stripe that runs through the side of the lights, giving you 360 degree visibility on busy roads.”

An all-new system of smarts

If you thought the system of smarts sounds…well, smart – you’d be right. The E-shifter, torque sensor, and Gen 5 Motor work together as an intuitive power system to give you the smoothest, most silent riding experience. The bike is designed to seamlessly mold to the riding behavior for its rider. “It detects the environment, basically,” Job tells us. “So it can detect when you ride uphill or when you’re on a flat. And based on that, it changes its behavior, adapting the level of motor support that you get and the moment when it shifts gear.” The ultimate aim? To create a riding experience is so seamless, you don’t even notice it shift gear or power level: “It creates the perfect riding experience for that moment in time.” Welcome to every city rider’s dream.

Reclaiming the ride: Halo Ring Interface

Flying through the streets with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face – those are the most memorable rides, right? Sometimes knowing the difference between 23 and 25 km/ph just doesn’t matter so much. Our all-new LED Halo Ring Interface was inspired by the uncomplicated joy of a city bike ride – something people of all biking experiences should get to enjoy: “The intention behind the Halo Ring Interface is to provide an accessible feature for any level of rider,” Job enlightens us. “It provides you with the information that you need (your battery and power level) clearly within your eye-line when you ride, and the animations, motion, and colors within the LED rings allows us to maintain the distinct character and personality of a VanMoof biking experience.” Supported by our signature sounds, you’ll know it’s us when we’re coming.

There’s beauty in simplicity, but Matrix Display lovers, don’t despair: we’ve added in an optional integrated phone mount to provide riders with more technical depth than ever: “If you’re a more experienced rider and you’d like more data available as you ride, your phone can become an additional interface,” Job assures. Use the VanMoof app to track your current speed, ride duration, and distance while you ride – and look back at your ride history to see how many kilometers you’ve crunched that month. Oh, and you can keep your phone nicely charged up on your phone mount, too.

“They're really designed for a much broader audience, so more people can experience electric riding in more cities around the world.”

We boosted our Turbo Boost

The myth, the legend: the Turbo Boost. What’s a VanMoof ride without one? There’s no better feeling than outmaneuvering traffic, conquering hills, and leaving mopeds in your dust when the light goes green. And the S5 & A5’s Gen 5 Boost button takes the joy of instant acceleration to the next level. “We wanted to always have the maximum torque and the maximum power instantly available at the touch of a button,” says Job. “When you hit the Boost button, it makes you feel in control of the bike, but it also adds an element of joy to your ride.” And with stronger acceleration than ever before, get ready to jump to warp speed faster than ever.

Forget your bike keys. No, really.

With a ride this smooth, who needs the hassle of bike keys? To simplify the riding experience and make it truly fuss-free, we completely re-engineered the Kick Lock. “Previously you had to move the bike to unlock it,” describes Job, “Now, the pin will automatically retract. So when you walk over to your bike and grab it to start riding, it will instantly unlock.” The intuitive and accessible nature of the Gen 5 Kick Lock will also make it easier to share your bike with others – and who doesn’t like an easy way to make new friends?

The best part? It’ll only get better. And better.

Excited for all the things to come? Us too. But what we’re most anticipating is the impact the VanMoof S5 & A5 have the potential to make in our cities today: “They're really designed for a much broader audience, so more people can experience electric riding in more cities around the world.” Ready to join the rider revolution? The VanMoof S5 & A5 are available to order now. You can sign up to the waitlist, or use your early access code to be first in line to ride.