VanMoof just built what they hope is the ultimate theft-proof bike.
Dubbed the SmartBike, it’s a commuter that’s chock-full of anti-theft features, including a GSM/GPS tracking system that VanMoof will monitor (free of charge) if someone walks off with your whip. Once they locate the bike, they call the cops. This tracking technology is already in the brand's more expensive pedal-assist S model, but unlike that bike, the SmartBike (which is non-motorized) doesn’t need to be plugged in to charge the battery that runs the tracker. Your pedal strokes produce all the juice it needs.
Here’s the best part: if VanMoof can’t locate your bike after two weeks, even after getting the cops involved, they’ll sell you a new one for a fraction of the original cost. In this case, $98.
The SmartBike knows it’s you and not someone trying to pawn it on Craigslist thanks to a Bluetooth connection that works in conjunction with an app on your phone. That same app also unlocks an included, heavy-duty chain lock that will trigger a theft alert if someone tries to break it. As one more safety measure, VanMoof used specially keyed bolt and screw heads to attach the fenders, axles, and seat and bar posts, so individual components can't go missing either. Owners get specials tools to make adjustments and replacements are free if you lose the tool.
The point of all the tech, says VanMoof co-founder Taco Carlier, is to get more people on bikes. People are often scared to buy a nice ride because they’re afraid of it getting stolen. With the new release, there’s peace of mind, which should get more people pedaling.
We only got to ride the bike for a few minutes, but it was a smooth and snappy ride. The bikes are currently on pre-sale with the three-speed going for $1,098 and the eight-speed for $1,298. Those prices go to $1,798 and somewhere north of $2,000 when the bikes officially go on sale in December.