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E-bike designers face a conundrum of physics: How do you pack a motor and a battery into metal tubes only a few inches in diameter? Many don’t bother; they simply attach the motorized components to the exterior of a bike. But those designers don’t win international design awards like Red Dot, as the Dutch company VanMoof just did with its S3 and X3 e-bikes.

The Red Dot jury states that VanMoof’s latest e-bike line “impresses with a purist design that epitomizes the essence of a bicycle,” reflecting a notion Gear Patrol and its bike testers have long held: the best e-bikes are those that are the most like regular bikes (only faster). The jurors elaborated, praising VanMoof for incorporating “sophisticated functionality that integrates all elements into the frame in a stylish yet unobtrusive manner.”

The functionality that they refer to includes a 250-watt motor that can get the bike up to an effortless 15 miles per hour for a maximum range of around 90 miles. VanMoof also integrated its theft protection system, which includes a keyless lock, rider recognition, built-in alarms, location tracking and a remote lockdown mode. Of course, the S3 and X3’s standard bike components are top-notch too — front and rear lights, fenders, racks, electronic gear shifting and hydraulic disc brakes are all part of the package.

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Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

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