In 2009, I saw a company photograph of a Van Moof and was instantly awestruck. The photo was shot in an urban street with industrial walls surrounding it; the simplicity of the lines, aluminum frame, clever use of the beat leather and overall vintage style made it pop right out at you. It looked like a piece of art that you could ride. A bike with class.
However, looks can only draw you in so far, so my goal became to ride one and see if that engineered style and class conveyed into a great ride. Not massively imported in the US market yet, it took me awhile but finally got the 6.7 earlier this month.
When it arrived, the Van Moof 6.7 came almost completely assembled as advertised. What little work you had to do was basic. Setup involved the front wheel, adding the fenders, and installing the saddle. All the things you have to do anyway with a new bike to set it to your height and liking. One thing we noticed is the containment of all the cables, whereas on something like your Surly Long Haul Trucker with its nest of cables, the engineering of the 6.7 has cleanly tucked away the cables from sight.
First thing out of the pocket you notice is that you are riding a Cadillac of a bicycle. The Van Moof 6.7 comes in at 36lbs, so for those who are used to fixed urban commuters it's an adjustment. However, the weight is nice to have and allows you to throw it around a bit more. As someone who is more accustom to a fixed commuter, I thought it was going to be an issue lugging around that weight but it was not, and had no issues with my 3 mile commute.
Steering is solid and manageable but again this is not your fixie commuter for delivering that package on time. It's getting from home to work and back safe and steady. The shifter is an all-in-one Shimano 7 speed, which is nicely contained and easy to use on the fly with its turn function. Shifting is ultra-smooth and seemingly frictionless. Shimano handles the brakes as well with their Roller line and have no issue with stopping power even at stride speed. Also, we have found a growing trend with "commuters" using inferior pads that shed dust, but not here. Tires are Schwalbe Road Cruiser and it's fitting because this bike is a cruiser. Once you get going, it feels like you are king of the road. The side stance handlebars really play into that whole feel. Steering almost seems a more fitting verb then riding.
The saddle is a Syad, and while comfortable and fitting, what helped draw me to the Van Moof was the use of leather. So the use of flat black styling of the saddle was a slight disappointment for me in the 6.7.
A major highlight in the 6.7 was the Philips headlight technology. Wow! This headlight lights up the road like a spotlight, all generated from the hub and your pedal power. It even stays on a bit after you come to stop which is nice to not have it instantly die.
In a nutshell, I'm sold. Right now in the US there is a trend towards sleek and bright single speed and fixies, but for me that focus is on aesthetics and not function. For me, the Van Moof provides the best of both worlds; sleek simplistic design from the frame to controls matched with a ride you should expect in a commuter. As more and more urban areas open in the US to commuters I see the Van Moof as a major contender. Catering to people that, while maybe wanting to ride something with style, want something that rides great for the daily routine of their ride.