Hmm, we can’t find what you’re looking for...

Don’t give up! Check the spelling, or try something less specific.

Cities & Cycling

The VanMoof Ecosystem: Disrupting an industry to get the next billion on bikes

The VanMoof Ecosystem: Disrupting an industry to get the next billion on bikes

At VanMoof we've always had disruption in our blood. Over the last 11 years, we’ve completely reimagined how a bike should look, feel, and ride. This kind of innovation lets us add functionality and services that aren’t possible anywhere else. And it’s not just one component, or a single feature. It’s a whole system of parts and processes which work together to improve your ride while driving down the cost of entry. Building and developing this ecosystem is essential if we’re going to make bikes that are a true alternative to cars in the cities of the future.

But how do we do that? As a digital first, vertically integrated company, we look at all the barriers we need to remove to make bikes more accessible, more fun, and easier to use. And then we throw out the industry rulebook, improving and iterating every aspect to produce bikes that ride better and last longer – adding smart features and updates to extend their value and lifespan beyond the competition. Let’s take a closer look.

A powerful link

In essence, the VanMoof Ecosystem is the connected platform which links our hardware, software, and services. These central pillars all work together to lift the user experience beyond what’s possible elsewhere.

Even though it’s now more advanced than ever before, this ecosystem isn’t something ‘new’. In fact, it’s the natural evolution of our quest to build the perfect city bike. From the beginning, we’ve looked at the bike industry with fresh eyes, and worked to remove the barriers that keep people from riding. You can see that spirit in our very first bikes – our now-iconic top tube lights and retractable chain locks were our first stab at producing a truly integrated product, with everyday city functionality at the forefront of our minds.

The VanMoof Kick Lock is a perfect example of this continued evolution. The lock itself is a relatively simple piece of hardware, just a pin which blocks the rear wheel from turning. But it’s more effective than the heaviest and most expensive hardened steel locks because of its connection to our suite of software and services. Kicking the button immediately arms the bike’s onboard alarm system that works with the existing sensors and chips on the main computer. The bike’s motor systems will also shut down, so it can’t be used by anyone else. And on top of that, connectivity features are activated when the bike is reported stolen so the bike can be tracked and recovered by our Bike Hunters.

So even if someone were able to bypass the alarm and Kick Lock, they’d still end up with a non-functional bike and a high risk of getting caught. There is a lot of tech in place to make this happen, but almost all of it uses our existing components and systems. That is the real power of the ecosystem and our vertical integration.

Always innovating

Our E-shifter is the first of its kind in the bike industry. But it was only possible because of our bikes’ connected pedigree. Other companies have off-the-shelf systems that are designed by a component supplier to work with other brand’s bikes. And these shifters need their own battery, computer, buttons, wiring, and sensors to control the shifting moments. That’s where we have a massive advantage – we already have those built into our bikes. The E-shifter uses the integrated battery and Smart Cartridge computer, linked to many more sensors and smarter software, making it way more powerful than any external system. And of course, the connected app allows you to fine-tune and customize your gear change moments with the drag of a simple slider.

It’s already much more advanced than any alternative out there, and it’s only going to get smarter with regular over-the-air updates. Because of the app connectivity, we can use anonymous riding data to analyze and improve the E-shifter’s performance. We already have preset and customizable shifting moments and plenty of sensor data to play with, but we’re only scratching the service of what’s possible. There’s huge opportunity to add extra functionality as we learn more, which massively increases the lifetime value of our bikes.

The time is now

Our ecosystem empowers us to think bigger than the bike companies of yesterday. We’re driven to build bikes that do things the industry thought was impossible, giving our riders the functionality they need in city life. By distilling our range to just two bikes and taking direct control of our entire supply chain, VanMoof has achieved true vertical integration. For the first time, we have full control of our hardware and software platforms.

And with this control comes the power to innovate faster than ever before. It’s why the VanMoof S3 & X3 are such a milestone for the company. They may look similar to the S2 & X2 on the surface, but absolutely everything’s changed on the inside. With full supply chain ownership, the S3 & X3 represent the future of VanMoof. Launching at a more accessible price point, they open up e-biking to a new generation of riders, and set new standards across the industry.

The ride starts here

With every new bike, we’ve iterated and evolved our connected focus. And with the VanMoof S3 & X3, we have an incredibly advanced product that’s effortlessly intuitive to use. Even the online shopping and direct shipping has been considered, so that you can remotely set up your new bike via the app, and have it ready-to-ride as soon as you open the box. And the modular design means that serviceability is just as effortless, as riders can swap in replacement parts at home, without needing to visit a bike shop.

So this is the start of something new. And it’s also the continuation of something bigger. As we move faster, we’ll continue to add functionality and improve the VanMoof experience for riders across the world. It’s with this product and this platform that we’ll get the next billion on bikes.

Ties Carlier

About this author

Ties is the co-founder of VanMoof. Dividing his time between Taipei and Amsterdam, he's always on the hunt for the next biking breakthrough.