Dutch electric bicycle company VanMoof has announced plans to increase its global footprint from eight cities to 50 over the next six months. It also intends to add new service facilities in multiple cities, which is great news for owners, or those considering joining their ranks. Unfortunately for those of us in the U.S., VanMoof’s footprint here remains small, and largely limited to the coasts, but at least it’s growing.
VanMoof’s CEO and founder, Taco Carlier, broke the news at this year’s virtual SXSW and says the move is in line with the company’s efforts to get even more people on two wheels, safe in the knowledge they needn’t worry about the availability of after-sales service or maintenance of their $2,000 e-bikes.
Improved service online and off — VanMoof’s expansion will mean certified workshops in more than 30 cities, service hubs in nearly 15, and brand stores in eight. While the U.S. gets three brand stores (New York, San Francisco, and Seattle), the company only has service hubs in New York and LA, and only has workshops in Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Still, it’s growth, and considering how car-centric the U.S. is, we’ll forgive a European e-bike brand for testing the waters before committing.
In addition to better hands-on service, VanMoof is promising “more intuitive app support and remote diagnostic solutions.” As Tesla’s demonstrated, that’s one of the advantages of adding an on-board computer to a mode of transport: You can improve it via software updates.
The company is also aspiring to offer “offer on-demand and on-the-spot service at all times to all riders, no matter where they are.” As someone who recently had to wheel a bicycle that took a giant screw to the rear tire most of a mile in Brooklyn a few weeks back — and then kill two hours while the repair was done — this sort of roadside assistance sounds great. We eagerly await further details.
Pedaling through the pandemic — The pandemic, which has brought with it an increased desire to avoid public transports and cabs, has been good for VanMoof’s business. The company says its customer base has grown “fivefold” since 2019, and that it now has more than 150,000 customers globally.
It’s little wonder. When the pandemic set it, many U.S. consumers looking to buy bicycles — electric or not — struggled to find them, while bike makers battled to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, adjacent businesses like moped rental company Revel expanded its business, as did e-scooter seller and renter, Unagi. Revel, in fact, is launching an e-bike rental service of its own... with bikes that look an awful lot like VanMoofs.
Perhaps rentals are on the horizon for VanMoof, too, but if they are, it’s not saying anything about it yet. Clearly, though, the company is betting demand for e-mobility solutions isn’t going to die down any time soon. Hopefully, that demand turns into a wider selection of frame sizes, too. Because while we love the VanMoof S3’s aesthetic and creature comforts, we’re not tall enough for it, and we don’t like the geometry of the smaller X3. Fussy? Us? Absolutely. What about it?