That is a bummer. I always thought they had really nicely executed product… but very expensive. Though it sounds like that wasn’t the issue if they had more sales than they could fulfill… but somehow still needed a cash infusion and the CEO and a co-founder abruptly leave? Sounds like there might have been something else going on maybe?
I don’t know if it a VanMoof thing or an ebike industry thing. Right now it is entirely wild west out there with ebikes. Companies coming and going in rapid succession. I certainly wouldn’t know who will be still around in a year.
I do know we plan to move back to Chicago proper and I’ll want a folding ebike for commuting. I want light, compact and a belt drive. GoCycles and Carbo offer something, but again, it would not surprise me if they go away. I don’t know how these companies are sustainable (economically).
I’ve been reading there isn’t a lot of regulation in the e-bike segment… which was probably ok as the category stood up, but now that it is scaling with city wide roll outs it probably needs a bit more guidance to help smooth out this stuff.
In places like Portland and Chicago there are city wide e-bike share programs and I have a lot of friends that get around their cities on those or on their own privately owned e-bikes… but for sure you would want to make sure that at least the component manufacturers would be around for awhile if there are any issues and that the batteries are well regulated (which they are not right now) for something that stays outside in the heat.
I don’t know how real cyclists feel about these things @iab and @slippyfish but I have to say they are pretty fun to ride! … my only issue is they attract a lot of non-cyclists who might not know how to bike safely in a dense urban area.
Here in the US, the biggest problem with ebikes is merika. Bike infrastructure here is limited, and to be fair it is also limited in the EU. So you have people on regular bikes going 10-15mph. The EU does a good job limited ebike to going 15-20mph. But in merika, faster is better. ebikes go 30mph. There is not enough room on the current infrastructure to accommodate bikes that go at 2 different speeds. Rentals can be controlled by the cities. Private bikes currently are not.
VanMoof is now VanPoof.
how did they miss that as the headline?
QC issues according to C77:
I heard about proprietary systems and having to send components or whole bikes back to a company location for repairs. It’s like they got so seduced by the E that they forgot about what qualities make a Bike. Also guessing they bought into their own hype (like another company I know that is associated with cycling) and like the rest of the bike industry at present has a glut of inventory they can’t move.
I have strong opinions on e-mtbs but am beginning to see a point to those sleds. And I would get great use from a cargo-bike type of machine.
VanMoof was losing money on every bike it sold and had no hope of recovering, the court’s appointed administrator was very quick to declare it bankrupt.
More relevant to this board, the design was one of its big selling points but it also added to manufacturing costs and serviceability. A bike shop owner friend told me they were very difficult to work on; several screws needed to be removed in order to service the rear wheel. Even the saddle was proprietary. One cost-cutting design was mounting the motor on the front wheel unlike most other e-bikes, it made for a less natural riding experience.
Even the saddle as proprietary? Yikes.
Also, while hiding all of the batteries in the tubes seems like one of those natural design solutions (there is already a tube there, the cells are cylindrical…), it must have been tough to service if anything went wrong vs most other bikes that use an off the shelf battery pack that essentially can be hot swapped if there is any issue, pop in a new unit, the user is off on their way and happy, return the cell to the battery maker…
I guess I didn’t realize it was a front wheel hub motor…
If I had a dollar for every idiot on an e-bike or e-scooter going 30+ kmh on shared paths with speed limits of 15kmh that do not allow e-bikes I’d be rich.
The battle to not die on a daily basis running these same paths is great. I can only imagine what it must be like in some cities where people ride these (or those stupid public scooters) on sidewalks where bike lane infrastructure doesn’t exist.
Yeah exactly. The PTON Tread+ was given a similar treatment - “let’s put all the messy mechanical bits within the tracks!” - and it’s basically unserviceable. There is probably some reliable inverse relationship between streamlining and repair access.
The bigger issue I’ve read about a bit with VM is the product as software issue. If the company goes bankrupt and the servers go offline, you can’t use the bike as it relies on an app from what I understand. Sources are telling people to download a software product key or something so that perhaps a third party can create software.
Same thing is true with Peloton bikes or all these new cars companies that rely on software. If they go bust you product is bricked!
30kmh max is fine. Nothing wrong with that and most EU ebikes govern the speed to 30kmh. The problem in the US, and sounds like our friends to the north, typical ebikes are capable of 45-50kmh. At that point, you are a car, take the lane.
30kmh is fine on a road. I was talking about a special path that’s shared with walkers/runners/cyclists that’s signed at 15kmh max.
Yes. I was specifically referring to dedicated bike lanes. MUPs are another beast altogether.
Personally… I’m a converted fan after testing this at a race a few weeks ago.
I knew the guy running the demo and he said “It’s the perfect bike for a dad with fast kids…” which is exactly me! It’s got minimal boost, as far as e-bikes go, and rides the most like a “normal” bike from any I’ve ridden. It’s also around 35 pounds, which is way lighter than most so when you do inevitably over drive the battery, it’s not too much to pedal home.
Granted, this is a pure pleasure craft, not really a practical city transporter. It’s also as expensive as a reliable 12 year old Honda…
But I digress…
E-cargo bikes I’m totally on board with because without e-assist you’ll never get the front end off the ground:
Although I used to mountain bike back in the '90s, early '00s with a Marin Bear Valley (still have it, awesome quality and feeling), now I do not bike as I am mostly found in dense urban areas and I consider it completely crazy to cycle in cities without the appropriate infrastructures or weather conditions (except while studying in The Netherlands, where using a bike is completely integrated to every-day life).
VanMoof, most likely created an expensive and highly complex product, especially by using many custom components. The first thing I learnt while working in Asia close to entrepreneurs and industrialists was to use the least and most common parts!
I remember many times I was discussing with many of them any idea for a new product/business-product I had and the first thing they would tell me is to really use non-expensive, tested, widely available parts and avoid customization until I would have either a) lots of money to back me up or b) a stable business to provide the income to support the RnD, production and maintenance of any customization.
I was seeing, and still see, many Western startups to try to customize parts (mainly to achieve premium design and brand look) and eventually fail. On the other hand, the Asian startups I would work with, because they are so close to a huge supply chain, they would immediately start developing around existing components.