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Design & Tech

Let’s clear this up: Why that ‘We stole a VanMoof’ article is misleading

Let’s clear this up: Why that ‘We stole a VanMoof’ article is misleading

Heard the news? This week, an article appeared on Digital Trends claiming to have hacked the Electrified S2’s security system. In the piece and accompanying video, a ‘security expert’ removed the bike’s Smart Cartridge and detached the internal SIM card. This, he claimed, would make the bike untraceable, without activating the anti-theft alarms. And all in under 60 seconds.

Sensational? Definitely. Technically impressive? Maybe. True? Not quite.

Now, everyone likes a good headline. But sometimes a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on.

In this instance, the information published was deeply misleading. Yes, it is possible to remove the Smart Cartridge and SIM card, but the ‘security expert’ had not locked the bike or activated the onboard alarms.

If he had locked the S2 —as any VanMoof rider would, before leaving their pride and joy alone—the Stealth Lock would permanently block the rear wheel, and the bike’s motor would not power-on. Without the rightful owner’s authorization, the bike would be useless. That’s not to mention the alarms, which would have sounded immediately and alerted anyone nearby.

What our ‘security expert’ is demonstrating is actually a feature of the bike. When the bike is unlocked, the alarms won’t sound and the lock won’t close. That's so the Bike Doctors can work on the bike without getting deafened, and remove the rear wheel to replace the tire if necessary.

And yes, the Smart Cartridge is easy to remove. It’s supposed to be. We spent years finding a way to fit all of our bike’s smart tech into a module riders can remove themselves. That means international riders don’t have to ship their whole bike for servicing – they can just pop the Smart Cartridge in the mail, while we send them a replacement. Eagle-eyed riders will remember we even highlighted this feature in the Electrified S2 & X2 launch film.

It might make for a less sexy headline. But it’s the truth. Theft is public enemy number one in our books, and the Electrified S2 & X2 have the most advanced integrated security the bike world has ever seen. It’ll take more than a hex key to outsmart that.

Digital Trends has since redacted the piece – you can read their statement here.

Peter Gigg

About this author

Peter Gigg is VanMoof's resident Brit. He enjoys writing, running, and remaining in the EU.