E-bikes make urban cycling more practical and accessible, but they aren’t exactly sexy. In New York City, they’re synonymous with restaurant deliverymen, and in some cases are illegal. In Europe, for many years, they’d mostly been used by the elderly. The Vanmoof Electrified, made by a Dutch cycling company that focuses solely on making bikes for urban commuters, aims to change all of that with a sleek and intelligent design that gives the e-bike a practical and visual facelift.
E-bikes get a bad rap, and deservedly so. Early models were ugly, heavy, repair-prone, and expensive. In fact, calling them bikes at all can be stretch–some throttle-controlled models, like the 50 mph Stealth Bomber, are more like souped up scooters. Leave it to the Netherlands, the most bike-centric country in the world, to bring some sanity and design chops to the category. The new Vanmoof 10 Electrified is everything an e-bike should be. It’s light (42 pounds), reasonably priced ($2,998, compared to the $11,000 Stealth Bomber), and dependable (just plug and play). More importantly, it doesn’t look like an e-bike. That likely explains the 2014 Red Dot Design Award, the Oscar of the industrial design community. Judges gushed over the scratch-resistant aluminum frame, and the integrated LED lights flanking the top tube. Dutch engineers also managed to pack five battery cells in there without bloating the frame–no small feat.