E-Bike brand Cowboy recently let me run riot for a couple of weeks with one of their bikes. It’s a well-designed e-bike that makes biking effortless, even if you’re going uphill.
Cowboy sells its bikes directly to the public on its online store, cutting out the middle-man and the passing savings on to you. Cowboy 3 is currently available in the UK (the newer version to the one I tested) just shy of £2000. For what you get, it’s a real bargain.
From the outside, the Cowboy e-bike is a sleek bike. It features a seamless triangle-shaped aluminium frame, integrated lights and a low-key Cowboy logo near the saddle. The handlebar is perfectly straight like on a mountain bike. The only sign that this is an e-bike is that the frame is slightly larger below the saddle.
The e-bike is relatively light at 16 kg (I have electric scooters that weigh much more than this). Most of the weight is at the back of the Cowboy e-bike because of the battery. The Cowboy only has one gear, which helps to keep the overall weight of the bike down. Cowboy says that the bikes motor and torque (pulling power) sensor intuitively responds to the rider’s needs, depending on the effort of the rider and the gradient of the road, removing the need for manual gear changing. Which is completely true, if you want to ‘Mary Poppins’ around the park, it’s effortless, the weight of your leg is enough to go at waking pace. Yet, if you want to ride like you have 10 mins until happy hour finishes and it’s 3 miles away, it will go with the flow.
I often found myself at the traffic lights next to one of the Power Ranger look-a-likes head-to-toe in lycra and wearing spiked shoes (in central London) where they think they are or are going blows my mind. Watching someone frantically pedal trying to keep up as you effortlessly glide your feet over the pedals was beyond satisfaction.
There are no buttons or screens on the bike, either, other than a battery level display on the frame (similar to the 1st gen Xiaomi M365) Instead, the bike is controlled via the Cowboy smartphone app. The app is available for Android and iOS, and uses Bluetooth to provide the owner with a safe digital key to activate the bike.
A live dashboard keeps the rider informed of the status of the ride in terms of speed, duration, distance and battery level. You can also control the front light, and make use of the built-in navigation system. Extra security with ‘Find my Bike’ If the bike is stolen, the ‘Find My Bike’ function in the Cowboy app helps to locate it via GPS thanks to the built-in Sim card. It’s a shame there is no built in universal phone holder, but you can pick one up on Amazon for around £10.
Customer Service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Which is actually a great touch. I struggled to get a pedal on (they screw on the wrong way!) so messaged them on the app, less than 30 seconds later, a friendly rep walked me through, and gladly assured me I wasn’t the first to have this problem. Whether this is true or not, i felt good and the bike was ready to go! Try getting that with any other company, let alone a bike company.
The bike is packed full of cool tech, like a carbon belt (no oil), puncture proof tyres (no flats), built in lights, and a flashing brake light, hydraulic breaks (a must-have). There are a couple of things that I’d like to see on a future version, like keyless battery removal, who wants another key to look after? Surely the app can do this. Folding handlebar option, I live in a flat and they constantly get in the way. More colours! It’s super subtle at the moment, I get the aesthetic they’re going for, but it feels very corporate.
If you’re shopping for a new e-bike or looking for your first, this would be a superb choice, virtually maintenance free, no gears or chain to worry about and the best theft prevention I’ve ever seen on a bike. Check out a few of the 5k+ e bikes, even they don’t have these features.