Cowboy electric bicycle is a start-up product of a Belgian cycle manufacturer. Cowboy 2 can be considered as one of the modern connected electrically assisted bikes. This e-bike is minimalistic in design, weight, structure, frame, and equipment but seems complete, in our opinion.
Cowboy e-bike costs less than 2000 euros and surprised us with its amazing design. We are talking about a belt instead of a chain on this bike. It is an interesting algorithm to replace traditional bike gear levers and introduce an app for the smartphone to have control over your bike. While reviewing this e-bike model, we were asking ourselves: is this the best model of a city electrically assisted bike that we have come across so far?
Cowboy, the cycle manufacturer brand seems to be relatively unknown in the huge world of electric bikes. However, it made its debut a couple of years ago and was talked about a lot when it launched its first city electrically assisted bike, as a limited edition.
Read also: How to select the best city e-bike (with examples)? – also in this article, and this article. And, How much does a good city e-bike cost?
To start with the details about the manufacturer, this Belgian company was founded by two friends with the funds that they accumulated from their meal delivery startup, ‘Take Eat Easy’ back in 2016.
These two friends were succeeded in offering an e-bike based on transmission technology, managed by an app. From the start, this e-bike had an amazing design. A year later, the Cowboy brand returned with the latest version of its electrically assisted bike. This bike had significantly higher quality standards than its predecessors.
Cowboy 2 is elegant but slightly under-equipped for a city e-bike
Even though the e-bike has its faults, Cowboy 2 represents a rigid frame painted in black along with sprinkles of gray. The color combination on the e-bike gives the most beautiful effect and complements the sturdy frame of the machine.
The frame seems to be designed in one piece, without welds, and gives us the impression of the most remarkable quality whatsoever.
Its unique and distinctive matte black paint sets it apart and out of any competition in terms of bike frames. The only regrets we had were about the equipment. The bike had only two good elements when it came to equipment – the reflectors on the wheel (essential for rider’s safety) and the autonomy indicator composed of 5 LEDs. These two attributes break the aesthetic homogeneity of this Cowboy model.
Read also: How to select the best commuter e-bike (with examples)? – also in this article. And, how much does a commuter e-bike cost?
We appreciate the Belgian cycle specialist for giving attention to the bike’s details. Its semi-integrated battery blends perfectly into the frame. Moreover, the integration of the rear and front LED headlights was also a successful move.
With the desire to launch the most presentable electric bike on earth, Cowboy forgot (??) to equip the bike with a few essential accessories.
Do not bother to look for a luggage rack, mud flaps, and kickstand. Cowboy 2 does not have any of them. Do not you find it surprising for a city bike to be missing all these accessories?
When it comes to equipment and accessories in its e-bike, the Belgian company did not even do half of what Vanmoof did for its competing model – Vanmoof Electrified S2. Large 27.5-inch wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, and a belt instead of a chain are good choices but completely opposed to those of Vanmoof.
Read also: Vanmoof Electrified S3/X3 Review: finally, an ideal city e-bike? And, Vanmoof S2 Test and Review: this electric bike is like a supercharged car.
But despite opting for hydraulic disc brakes or a belt instead of a chain, Cowboy failed to reach the level of Vanmoof when it came to equipment.
The owners of this e-bike would have to, at least, invest in good mudguards as those are essential when riding in a city. On the other hand, this e-bike has hydraulic disc brakes, which promise a safe and pleasant ride to its pilot.
Omnipotent mobile application
Every connected bike requires a good mobile application so that pilots can keep track of the route. The smartphone application of Cowboy 2 is an integral part of the experience it offers to the rider.
However, you must register your e-bike on the application by signing up. For the pilot’s benefit, this feature is important for daily use. This ensures the safety of the e-bike as it is impossible for anyone to unlock your e-bike or take it anywhere without having your smartphone.
The same thing goes for the well-integrated headlights. They are essential during night road trips. But the only concern that arises is, you won’t have any security of the bike if your smartphone is not charged. You will be unable to do all these actions.
Read also: Cowboy 3 vs Vanmoof S3 review, top connected city e-bikes. And, Angell vs Cowboy vs Vanmoof, which one would you choose?
Unlike S2 by Vanmoof, the electric bike by Cowboy is completely dependent on this mobile application for worse or for the better for the pilot. In short, there is no alternative to this application.
This mobile application also serves as a speedometer which enables the pilot to keep track of the speed. Other than that, the app keeps the rider aware of the current locations and the route taken, is taking, and is about to take.
This feature of the application is useful for the riders who are disorganized and often forget the place where they parked their Cowboy e-bike. It is also essential in the event when the e-bike gets stolen as the hidden GPS chip in the bike makes it possible for the rider to trace down the location. This application also hides one of the most powerful weapons of Cowboy 2, the ‘off-road’ mode.
As with Vanmoof, the rider can change the parameters for limiting the level of pedal assistance of the electric bike to North American standards. In the United States and Canada, the electric assistance is authorized up to 30 km per hour. This trick that we just told you can outlaw you. However, we do not encourage you to use it. But it is less likely that Cowboy users do not use the off-road mode.
As good as the application is, it also suffers from a few bugs. For example, you might find a bug when you try to see the history of your cycle journeys. Riders reported that their journey history disappeared from the app without any actions from their side.
Electric assistance: an algorithm in each pedal stroke
The Cowboy 2 does not have a gear lever and this is for a good reason. This model has an automatic transmission, which is no doubt, the pride of the brand.
The two founder-friends insisted that they come from a world of software and not from the cycling world. This enabled them to be more tech-savvy and have a technical approach to their electric bike.
Read also: Can e-bikes help go up steep hills? And, How to switch electric assistance levels on an e-bike?
The Cowboy’s secret sauce lies in the software algorithm that manages the e-bike electric assistance. The algorithm used is able to analyze the level of effort applied to the pedal, relate it to the speed of the bike, constantly update and thus, deliver a certain level of assistance.
Waiting for the final verdict? Well, Cowboy 2 rides fast. So fast that some riders fail to realize it. In terms of acceleration, this Belgian e-bike has no rival on the roads. Its charm is one in a million.
How is it on the road? It is the king of the city e-bikes
This is the great strength of the Cowboy. It is like the king cycle of the city. Apart from being Super-handy, it is also playful and increases its speed very quickly, especially in “off-road” mode (30 km / h).
With its rather sporty position and its small handlebars, it sticks to committed riding on the city roads. In the event of a fright, the hydraulic disc brakes are firm as they are effective and allow you to start again in the blink of an eye.
Electric assistance of this e-bike is one of its kind, especially once the bike is launched after the first few strokes. The management of the torque by the algorithm is impressive. Even if the first pedal stroke requires strong and good feet, the assistance reacts very quickly and responds perfectly to the effort proposed by the cyclist.
The speed increase is very gradual and smooth. Once reached 25 km / h, the transition to “manual” mode occurs naturally. This is where the huge Cowboy board comes in. Unlike an Electrified S2 by Vanmoof or even Moustache Friday 28.3, the development range is long enough to never give the impression of stopping.
Read also: Moustache Sunday test and review: a nearly perfect gravel e-bike. And, Moustache Friday test and review: an electric bike built for the city.
Result? Even without assistance, you can easily find yourself at 30 km / h or more on flat ground. A true delight for an electric bike lover.
Riding Cowboy e-bike is very comfortable. More interestingly, it saves time. Multiple riders have noted that their usual routes take less time on Cowboy than on their other e-bike models.
Although Cowboy is mainly designed as a city e-bike, this e-bike can also be pushed into the forest to see if it could accommodate another type of trail.
Despite having as smooth city tires as possible, Cowboy’s behavior on unpaved trails turned out to be fairly honest. No need to expect from the Belgian e-bike a downhill mountain biking performance. You surely won’t see it. But, for example, if your home-to-work trip includes some unpaved roads, this e-bike will be able to face them with relative ease. In such a case, the absence of mudguards is even more problematic than just riding in a city.
Autonomy: a promise kept by the manufacturer
The Cowboy’s semi-integrated 360-Watt battery promises 70 km of autonomy. However, it also depends on the size of the cyclist and the profile of the route.
Various tests show that this estimate is quite close to reality. A single charge, in “off-road” mode, would normally allow reaching above 60 km of range. In a more traditional electric assistance configuration (limited to 25 km / h) the battery would carry the e-bike as far as 75 km.
Read also: What is the difference between e-bike batteries? And, How far can e-bikes go? What is the e-bike range?
It requires around 3 hours to fully recharge the battery and this can only be done once the battery module is separated from the bike. There is indeed no accessible socket on the frame and it is one of the other choices by the manufacturer that disappointed us a bit.
Cowboy 2 datasheet
|Type(s)||City electric bike|
|Max speed announced||30 km/h|
|Number of speeds||1|
|USB socket to charge the phone||No|
|Accessories||Power cord, set of 3 keys, charger power supply unit|
|Charging time announced||3 hours and 30 minutes|
|Battery capacity||10,000 mAh|
|Autonomy announced in operation||70 km|
Dimensions and weights
|Weight (including battery)||16.1 kgs|
Pros of Cowboy 2
- Automatic transmission
- Neat design
- Good performance on roads
Cons of Cowboy 2
- Lack of mud flaps or mudguards
- Application dependency
Final remarks about Cowboy 2
Cowboy 2 model seemed to us as a very successful electric bike and simply perfect for the city. Light (for an electric bike), handy and smooth on the road, Cowboy e-bike allows the rider to save time when traveling from home to work.
We find Cowboy’s design truly remarkable.
Above all, Cowboy’s electric assistance sparks, and autonomy up to expectations. We slightly regret its excessive dependency on the smartphone and the absence of just a few accessories. At less than 2000 euros, the Cowboy 2 is simply unbeatable from a price and quality point of view.
Read also: Check out reviews of popular models of electric bikes.