Cowboy, maker of some of our favorite pedal assisted electric bikes, is back with two new models for 2021 Cowboy 4 is a complete overhaul too last year cowboy 3 while Cowboy 4 ST has the company’s first step-through frame. Both motorcycles benefit from a new drive train with 50 percent more torque than the C3 from last year as well as a new integrated “cockpit” with Quadlock holder that charges your phone wirelessly while driving. But that’s just a start to the myriad of improvements, big and small, that Cowboy hopes will warrant a price tag of € 2,490 / £ 2,290 (about $ 3,000) when the bikes ship in September.
I had the opportunity to ride alongside Adrien Roose, co-founder and CEO of Brussels-based Cowboy, near the final pre-production versions of the Cowboy 4 and Cowboy 4 ST. While the two bikes have the same specs, the rides couldn’t be different anymore.
“We have stayed true to our original vision of offering a better alternative to the car – in form and function – and with the Cowboy 4 it is a shift that we will accelerate and lead,” said Roose in a press release.
The fourth generation C4 retains the same sporty driving position and ultra-responsive steering as any cowboy before. However, this year’s model has a redesigned 250W rear hub motor that remains quiet as it assists riders up to a top speed of 25 km / h, although it is smaller and generates significantly more torque. The unevenness from 30 Nm to 45 Nm torque can be seen on the first tee, with the lightest touches pushing the slightly heavier 18.9 kg e-bike forward with enough enthusiasm to smooth the hills.
The C4 ST has a lower saddle and higher handles that put the rider in a more upright position. In conjunction with a lower gear ratio (2.71 for the C4 ST versus 2.85 for the C4), the ride feels more relaxed as with its brother, despite the same engine and Gates carbon belt drive. The C4 ST is the model you buy for long, lazy commutes with a laptop bag or for anyone who doesn’t fit into the C4’s larger frame.
Like their predecessors, the C4 e-bikes only offer a single power setting without throttle and without additional gears. You rely on a torque sensor to adjust power output as needed, which has traditionally resulted in one of the most intuitive pedal-assisted rides on the road.
Cowboy calls the Quadlock bracket with integrated wireless charging unit the “cockpit”. It can charge your phone with up to 15 W from the e-bike’s swappable 360 Wh battery, but requires a Quadlock-compatible case, which must be purchased separately for around € 29. Although the cockpit is bulky enough to hold another battery, the space is mostly empty as it provides a wide base for the wireless coils and access to the frame through which brake cables can be routed.
Cowboys redesigned app.
The cowboy apps for iOS and Android have also been completely redesigned, with a focus on health and fitness as well as navigation. Many new features are based on game design theory. “What we’re trying to achieve is a strange mix between Strava, Peloton and Pokémon Go“Roose said,” just to encourage people to ride bikes more. “
The fourth generation Cowboy 4 also improves on the Cowboy 3 in several other ways:
- The C4 has been redesigned down to the component level so that one of the best-looking e-bikes looks even more cohesive and elegant. According to Cowboy, the C4 now has “200 custom-made products” assembled by Flex in Hungry, including the engine and tires. The Selle Royal saddle, SunRace hydraulic brakes, and Gates drive are the notable outliers.
- The € 89 cowboy fenders are finally standard, which partly explains the additional weight and price of the new e-bikes.
- The C4 and C4 ST still don’t come with stands, but at least Cowboy is now making a name for itself as an add-on for € 29 / £ 29. An optional luggage rack will also be made for € 99.
Cowboy doesn’t currently sell e-bikes in the US, but that will change next year, according to Roose, who is particularly optimistic after hearing about President Biden’s plans to cut CO2 emissions. “Our growth and the growth of the US e-bike market are very attractive to us and we want to jump,” said Roose. “We’ll talk for the next 12 months.”
For Europeans, the purchase price of € 2,490 for a Cowboy 4/4 ST includes theft and crash detection as well as free mobile repairs on demand, which are available nationwide in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria, Luxembourg and the UK. and in selected cities in Spain and Italy. Cowboy also advertises its 94.4 percent customer satisfaction rate, noting that owners get support requests replies within six minutes on average. Maybe a little nudge against e-bike rival VanMoof, the struggled to assist buyers of the S3 and X3 e-bikes when sales rose during the pandemic.
The C4 and C4 ST are available in three colors: black, khaki (greenish) and sand (cream). The test drives begin in July before the motorcycles are delivered to Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and Great Britain in September. Pre-orders start today after a deposit of € 100.
The Cowboy 3 is now also reduced to € 2,190 and is now equipped with fenders as standard. That’s a price drop of € 189 compared to the same e-bike bought last year.
Photography by Thomas Ricker / The Verge