The VanMoof app for e-bikes: all smart or what?

VanMoof is considered a pioneer for connected biking. The brand's app also presents itself as progressive with a modern design and integrated "Touch Unlock" function. Find out what this is, what other features the app has and how it performs in practice in this article. We will also take a look at the Moofer app and another cross-manufacturer alternative.

About the VanMoof app in a nutshell:

  • With the VanMoof app, you can lock and unlock your e-bike without a key. It records the routes ridden and gives you data such as speed, distance, and battery consumption.
  • You can set the motor assistance and shifting torque settings and switch to manual shifting via the app. To change gears, press the boost button on the bike.
  • If you have a VanMoof S3 or X3, an iPhone or iPad and the VanMoof app, you can pair your bike with the Find My app from Apple and locate it via the Apple network if it is stolen.
  • We advise caution here! As with the Apple AirTags, the Apple Find My network is not suitable for bicycle tracking. Location tracking via Bluetooth is only possible at a distance of max. 30 metres and depends on other Apple users.
  • In contrast to the VanMoof anti-theft feature, the GPS tracker BikeTrax from PowUnity is based on real, independent satellite data. This means that you not only have a snapshot, but can also view the location of your e-bike anywhere in Europe via live tracking.

It’s no coincidence that VanMoof is often compared to Apple. Like the American tech company, the Dutch bike manufacturer relies on a combination of minimalist design and modern technologies. From early on, connected biking and smart bikes have been more than just buzzwords for the company. As you probably already guessed – VanMoof also has its own e-bike app.

The VanMoof app is intended to underline the company’s claim to create a special VanMoof riding experience. In this article, we will go into detail about what exactly that looks like and whether the app lives up to the “hype” surrounding the brand.

The manufacturer: a few words about VanMoof

The headquarter of VanMoof is – how could it be otherwise – in Amsterdam, the “bicycle capital of the world”. The company was founded in 2009 by the brothers Taco and Ties Carlier. From the beginning, their vision has been to create the perfect city bike. According to VanMoof’s fans, they have long since achieved it.

Either way, VanMoof is now recognised as the coolest brand in the e-bike sector – an image that the company has skilfully built up over the years. For example, it set standards with its first-generation “Electrified”, which was the first integrated smart e-bike on the market according to the company. VanMoof has also taken bikes without electric drive out of its range.

The trademarks of VanMoof e-bikes include – in addition to clever advertising – the purist modern design, the advanced technical equipment and the boost button. From the beginning, company’s own e-bike app has also played an important role in creating connection with the brand’s e-bikes. In the past, criticism was sparked by the fact that not all functions of the smart bikes worked in practice as smoothly as advertised. In addition, some observers accuse VanMoof of being too dependent on Apple devices.

The VanMoof app at a glance

In addition to design and driving characteristics, VanMoof places a high value on theft protection. Their customers can take out a “Peace of Mind” insurance, which allows them to benefit from the fact that so-called “bike hunters” retrieve their e-bike if it is stolen. In case the bike hunters are unsuccessful, the customers receive a replacement for the stolen bike.

Security also plays a key role in the functionality of the VanMoof app. You can use the app to lock, unlock or share your e-bike with selected friends. You can also use it to configure and operate your bike.

“Lock and unlock your bike, check its battery levels and see where you parked – it all works from your phone,” VanMoof says.

But let’s get to the details.

Functions of the VanMoof app

The VanMoof app is available to download for free on the App Store and GooglePlay. It currently offers the following functions:

How good is the app in practice? – Reviews

So much for the theory, let’s get to the practice. According to the user reviews, the VanMoof app does relatively well in practice. In contrast to many apps from other e-bike manufacturers, VanMoof’s 4.1 and 3.9 stars are good overall ratings.

Recurring points of criticism are connection problems (which occur less frequently than with other similar apps) and the relatively basic route evaluation.

Advantages and disadvantages of the VanMoof app

From what has been written so far, it is already clear: the VanMoof app has its strengths and weaknesses.

In summary:

  • easy unlocking and locking of e-bikes
  • many valuable setting options (for example, manual gear shifting)
  • modern design and user-friendliness
  • coupling with AppWatch and Find My network possible
  • good functionality in practice
  • regular updates with incoming features and improvements (including firmware update)

  • locking with app and connecting with Find My network are not sufficient as theft protection
  • no navigation function
  • no real-time view of fitness data
  • route tracking with limited functionality

The risky alternative: the Moofer app

In many cases, e-bike riders who want to make settings or track routes on their smartphone are dependent on the application of a manufacturer. This is usually an e-bike brand or a manufacturer of e-bike drives.

With a VanMoof e-bike, the choice is greater.

In fact, in addition to the official VanMoof app, there is also the Moofer app.

This is an application of an indepedent Dutch developer. Like its official relative, it is available in the App Store and on Google Play. If you want to install and use it on your smartphone, you need to pay a one-time fee of $9.99.

The Moofer app is primarily promoted as a way for riders to exploit the full potential of their e-bike and unlock “hidden features”.

Currently, three features of the Moofer app stand out:

  • Navigation: Unlike with the official VanMoof App, drivers can navigate with Moofer. In the future, this will even be possible with voice announcement.
  • Higher speed: As with all e-bikes on the German market, the motor support of VanMoof is limited to 25 km/h – unless you use Moofer. You can increase the speed limit to 37 km/h using the app. Whether this makes sense is a topic we will discuss in a moment.
  • Fifth support level: Do you want to ride permanently with the boost button? Moofer makes this wish come true with an additional support level.

There is also the Smart Speed function, which controls the motor assistance based on the average speed.

However, there is at least one catch: as soon as an e-bike motor accelerates to more than 25 km/h, the bike’s road permit expires. If you ride on public roads, you risk high fines and even worse consequences in the event of an accident. In addition, tuning apps bring with them the risk that regulations for e-bikes in general will be tightened. For this reason, we strongly advise against using them. The developer himself suggests that the increase in speed is only intended for “off-roading”.

WLess serious is the fact that some Moofer features place a heavy load on the battery, which noticeably decreases the battery life.

In addition, some Moofer users also have to deal with the same problem, such as connection issue or error after update.

Conclusion on Moofer: Moofer sounds tempting, especially for speed fanatics and for people who are looking for previously inaccessible features. However, we recommend that you keep your hands off it. After all, it is a tuning app that comes with many risks.

The better alternative: the PowUnity app

Are you looking for an e-bike app that efficiently protects your expensive e-bike from theft, reliably records all your routes and can also do a lot more?

With the PowUnity app and the GPS tracker BikeTrax, you stay flexible. Whether Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha or Brose – as a manufacturer-independent solution, both are compatible with e-bikes and drives of different brands.

How it works:

  • The GPS tracker is invisibly installed inside your e-bike motor.
  • As soon as someone tries to tamper with your e-bike without permission, the PowUnity app alerts you on your smartphone.
  • If you arrive too late to prevent the theft, the chances are great that you will still get your e-bike back. This is because with the help of the GPS tracker and the PowUnity app, you can track its location in real time and send it directly to the police.
  • In addition, the PowUnity app automatically records all your routes without you having to do anything.

In 2023, our app will be even more advanced and will have even more features. The incoming features geared towards viewing speed and performance data and scheduling maintenance service directly via the app will enable using the PowUnity app as an e-bike display.

For e-bike manufacturers who cooperate with PowUnity, we offer a white label solution of the PowUnity app.

Conclusion on the VanMoof app – good solution with minor weaknesses

As a pioneer in the field of connected biking, VanMoof was quick to focus on apps as an important part of the e-bike experience.

Accordingly, the VanMoof app scores with its many configuration options. Whether changing from automatic to manual gear shifting or adjusting the motor assistance, individual settings increase the riding pleasure. On the other hand, the keyless unlocking and locking of the bike is practical, but cannot be compared with efficient theft protection. The same applies to the option to locate your e-bike with Apple’s Find My network.

All in all, the VanMoof app is a solid e-bike app that can make the VanMoof riding experience better. However, it does not represent a groundbreaking solution, as some might expect from VanMoof. If you want to get more out of your e-bike, you can turn to Moofer. However, we advise you to be cautious when it comes to the Moofer app.

Professional theft protection and complete route tracking is made possible thanks to the PowUnity app and the BikeTrax GPS tracker – and not only when you ride an e-bike from VanMoof.

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