Sun 24 Jun 2018
VanMoof Electrified S2
Price £3,198, but the first 2,000 orders are £2,198, vanmoof.com
Charge 4 hours
Range 93 miles
“We can carry on building bigger and tougher locks,” says Taco Carlier, “or we can truly solve the problem of cycle theft by making bikes which are pointless to steal in the first place…” Taco, along with his brother Ties, co-founded the VanMoof bike brand in 2009 in Amsterdam. The ground-breaking machines which the siblings produce are definitely models you’d want to pinch. Their bikes have an unusual and eye-catching geometry. The top tube appears to be far too long for the frame and protrudes at both the back and the front. It’s a look that is not to everyone’s taste, but once you realise how clever these bikes are in every other respect, you’ll quickly begin to fall into line.
The brothers have taken a radical approach to the design of their bikes, so it stands to reason that when they applied their minds to security the results would be unexpected. Peace of mind comes in three phases. First is rider recognition. Bluetooth technology allows the bike to respond to you when you approach. It automatically unlocks the bike and disarms the theft-defence system. If this fails and someone tries to grab your bike from you, there is then also a “stealth” lock. It’s a tiny integrated system that immobilises the bike’s electric motor when you press a hidden button on the frame. If this also fails, there is then a tamper-detection setting. Anyone meddling with the bike will set off an earsplitting alarm after which it disables its own motor and flashes SOS with its lights. The message to thieves is pretty clear: this bike is way too much hassle to steal. I am sure there must be art masterpieces protected by far flimsier arrangements. Anyway, that’s not the end of it. If some enterprisingly light-fingered thief does outsmart all these measures, the app on your phone will follow an electrified tracking signal which VanMoof’s “Bike Hunters” will respond to. They will spring into action to recover the stolen bike and if they fail to find it within two weeks, VanMoof will replace it.