Beneath its classic looks, Cowboy 3 is a sturdy, lively, and connected (to a good extent) electric bicycle.
Does an electric bicycle have to be connected? Cowboy is convinced it does. For the third evolution of their e-bike, the Belgian start-up focused on the evolution of the cycling part as well as of the on-board software and the connectivity.
Inspired by Apple and Tesla, like many of its competitors, Cowboy cultivates its dual identity. On one hand the simplicity of the design and the mechanical part, and on the other hand an extremely sophisticated digital assistance to get it up and running, protect the e-bike and help the rider on the road. Provided that the rider has not forgotten to charge the smartphone.
Read also: Cowboy 3 delivers much more on its mobile app – in this article. And, Cowboy 3 vs Vanmoof S3 review: top connected city e-bikes – in this article. And, Cowboy 3 vs Angell vs Vanmoof S3 – which one would you choose? – in this article.
The cycling part of Cowboy 3 e-bike
At first glance, Cowboy 3 is a sober, elegant, and sports-inspired electric bicycle. There is little or nothing that is showing that it is a digital bike of the latest generation. The removable battery is integrated into the seat bar and the motor is in the hub of the rear wheel, both are almost invisible.
Designed in the spirit of “single speed”, it has only one chainring and no rear derailleur. And to prevent derailing, the chain has been replaced by a maintenance-free and virtually wear-free carbon belt. There is also no need to know how to repair a punctured wheel. The Cowboy is equipped with puncture-proof road tires. The elegant mudguards on the e-bike, however, are optional and would cost an additional 89 euros.
The handlebars are also functional and sober. There are brake levers, but none for shifting. To go faster or go uphill, the bike analyzes the power the rider puts into the pedals. The more force the rider puts on their pedal stroke, the more powerful and fast the bike is. The maximum speed – 25 km/h – is thus reached in a matter of seconds.
At a stroke of the pedal, Cowboy 3 is also capable of taking long and steep climbs while maintaining a constant speed, all without a rider being capable of taking the course of the Tour de France. Be careful, this doesn’t mean that you won’t have to make an effort when climbing. However, the e-bike engineers made sure that even beginner cyclists can take on steep climbs with little effort.
What about the Cowboy 3 app and connectivity?
The Cowboy app is at the heart of this e-bike. Without it, Cowboy 3 would only be a traditional electric bicycle weighing over 16 kg. To use the e-bike, the rider just has to get close to it, like a hands-free key feature on a car.
This is already a huge difference with the previous version which required activation on the application to start it up. However, you will still have to manually switch off the e-bike by pressing the padlock icon on its screen to lock it. From then on, as soon as someone touches the bike, it will send an alert to its owner.
The Cowboy app is also connected to the technology built into the bike’s frame to geolocate it, establish a route, or manage its lighting (front and rear with flashing brake lights). For easy navigation, without having to look at the app, LEDs have been installed on the central bar of the frame.
What we like…
The e-bike is beautiful, it is indisputable, and pleasant to ride. From the very first pedal stroke, it launches smoothly, even if it’s a bit heavy. On the other hand, the sporty riding position, leaning forward, can be tiring for those who are not used to it. Especially since the e-bike does not feature a shock absorber on the frame, it is the rider’s body that absorbs all the bumps of the road.
Passing over cobblestones, speed bumps, or pavements to get back on a cycle path is a real challenge in the long run. Another small defect: the grips, they will have to be changed with time, or dressed with additional handlebars, or cycling gloves. As for the saddle, it’s not as soft, which also doesn’t help on the uneven pavement.
…and what we do not
The application performs the functions of a real Tesla-style dashboard. Once on the saddle, you can switch the lights on or off, set the route or lock the e-bike with a click on the screen of your smartphone.
But this dependence has consequences. Without a smartphone, you’ll have to pedal to pull the Cowboy’s 16 kg weight. With this in mind, users should take care not to forget their smartphones or even forget to charge their smartphones. Or at least equip themselves with an external battery so as not to run out of power.
Will the Cowboy 4 have an extra battery to help the cyclists who forgot to charge their phone the day before? We hope so.
Cowboy 3 is designed for people, who are, at least, 1.70 meters tall. The weight must not exceed 110 kg, including the weight of the e-bike. So, the cyclist must not weigh more than 94 kg including any luggage. This means that Cowboy 3 e-bike is not really designed with heavy riders in mind.
What is our verdict for Cowboy 3?
The fact remains that this e-bike fulfills its mission with ease. Elegant, easy to maintain, and to ride, it fits like a mobility tool capable of covering several dozen kilometers every day for home-to-work trips. It normally enables covering twenty kilometers in less than an hour, especially in a city equipped with bicycle paths and electric assistance that make it possible to almost never stop.
Another advantage of this e-bike is its protection against theft. If thieves get their hands on it, a GPS chip can be used to geolocate the e-bike. In addition to this geolocation system, Cowboy offers theft insurance at 8 euros/month with notification in case of an attempt. And if the theft is successful, the e-bike will be replaced. Still, you would be better off if you park your Cowboy e-bike in a safe environment.
Here is a quick video, introducing Cowboy e-bike: