The same qualities with a more comfortable riding position—Cowboy currently uses this tactic to attract new buyers in the competitive e-bike market. The new cruiser model costs approximately $3,395 and is available in two different colors. However, does this new e-bike impress? nextpit paid a visit to Cowboy at the Tech Open Air in Berlin and reveal whether the test ride is worth it!
The Cowboy Cruiser in a nutshell
Cowboy slapped a €2,990 price tag for its new "Cruiser" model in Europe, with pre-orders for the new e-bike already open. Before you decide on your purchase, you can choose from five colors: black, lavender, fig, clay, and sand. In addition to the Cruiser, there are other accessories you can consider, such as a rear rack and a pre-fitted kickstand.
Cowboy charges an additional annual fee of €120 for theft insurance. If you also want to participate in the repair program, you will have to budget another €240 annually for what is known as "Cowboy Care". Going for both would mean a whopping €360 per year, which is exactly €30 each month.
Design & Processing
With the Cruiser, Cowboy wants to offer an alternative e-bike with an upright seating position. To achieve that, the manufacturer redesigned the handlebar with the hand position being a little bit more inclined toward the rider now. Using the same frame, the Cruiser model should be so much more comfortable to ride and it leans more toward a racing bike design compared to more conventional models.
- High-quality workmanship.
- Clean minimalist look.
- No suspension included.
- Only one frame size.
While Cowboy changed the seating position of the new e-bike, the Cruiser relies on the familiar strategy based on its previous models. This means the bike should also be equally easy to handle. There are no buttons or gears on the Cruiser as everything is controlled via the smartphone or a torque sensor.
Cowboy's new model places more emphasis on the smartphone. The smart thing about this e-bike is how compatible models can be charged wirelessly when attached to the wireless charging mount. This works via the Qi standard, and Cowboy relies on Quadlock for the mount. The manufacturer does offer cases with an integrated mount, while there are also compatible adapters that can be attached to your existing phone case.
The workmanship of the new bike is beyond reproach. In keeping with the very tidy look, there is nothing that rattles on the Cruiser. The frame's stability is also very high, so it is quite surprising that the Cowboy Cruiser doesn't feel like the vibrating plate in your favorite gym when ridden on cobblestones.
This was made possible by the thick tires which cushioned rough impacts easily. Here, the Cowboy Cruiser feels a lot like the new VanMoof S4, which I was also able to try out recently. Both bikes boast a particularly comfortable ride.
E-motor and riding fun
While Cowboy focuses on more comfort with this seating position, the sporty nature of the C4 model remained untouched. That means you get a 250 W hub motor in the rear wheel, which is controlled via a precise torque sensor in the bottom bracket. It's striking that Cowboy's lack of different support levels does not bother you at all when riding. In addition, I may finally praise the cadence in an e-bike.
- Very high ride comfort.
- Still a sporty ride despite the upright riding position.
- Comfortable saddle.
- The engine is sometimes raring to go at traffic lights.
- Handlebar height is not adjustable.
- Cowboy does not offer different frame sizes.
Based on my half-hour test ride, one impression remained above everything else: Man, it is comfortable! Personally, I mainly ride sports bikes and the Cowboy Cruiser seems to me as designed perfectly for longer tours during the weekend. The reason for this is the especially comfortable saddle in addition to the upright seating position, of course.
Cowboy specially optimized the saddle for the Cruiser and has done an excellent job in this department, since weight distribution is almost entirely on the saddle when riding upright.
The seating position on the cruiser model is very comfortable, letting you get from A to B quickly on the Cowboy. Without much effort and despite the rather hefty weight of 19.8 kg, I made it to 35 km/h during the test ride. Cruising at 25 km/h is not a problem at all thanks to the strong support from the 250-watt motor, and the torque sensor in the bottom bracket is precise and sensitive enough for slow riding.
I do not have any real criticism points when it comes to riding fun, which does not decrease too much even on cobblestones despite the lack of suspension. As mentioned earlier, Cowboy maximized the use of its particularly thick tires here.
One point to note, however, is that Cowboy doesn't let you adjust the handlebar height, nor does it offer different frame sizes. The cruiser model is, therefore, more suitable for tall riders. I'm guessing that there will be another model with a step-through frame and similar seating position in the future.
There was one minor thing I noticed during my test ride: If you are at a stoplight and apply pressure to the pedals, the engine tries to edge you forward rather enthusiastically. This is more annoying than dangerous, and is not completely held back by holding the brake.
Battery performance and smart functions
The manufacturer specified a range of 40 to 80 km for the Cowboy Cruiser. The e-bike's battery is charged within 2 hours and 40 minutes. Fortunately, you can remove the battery and charge it at home. The battery is secured via a key. The way Cowboy determined the remaining range is also very clever. Anyway, the Cowboy Cruiser is really smart thanks to its close integration with the app.
- Battery can be charged separately.
- 80 km range is a solid number.
- Many smart features with an indication of the remaining range.
- Anti-theft device does not lock the bike.
- Anti-theft features and repair service is only available via subscription.
Based on my half-hour test ride, I could not form a solid opinion about the range of the Cowboy Cruiser. However, 40 to 80 km is solid for a bike that was primarily designed for city use. It is also very convenient that you can remove the battery from the e-bike and charge it separately in the comfort of your own home. Here, Cowboy has an advantage over models like the VanMoof S5 (review).
However, the Dutch competitor has the edge when it comes to anti-theft protection. Although Cowboy also offers tracking functions and anti-theft protection, the bike is not locked physically. VanMoof's solution is to use a steel bolt known as a kicklock, which is pushed through the rear wheel. With Cowboy, on the other hand, you have to pay attention to your smartphone as it alerts you whenever someone moves your bike.
It's also a bit annoying for a bike that costs almost €3,000 for Cowboy to charge a subscription for selected features. Among them include theft insurance as well as a repair service that includes on-demand servicing of your e-bike in the event of damage. Cowboy claims it will repair defective bikes within a maximum time period of three days. In certain cases, the bike will even decide for itself when is it time for servicing.
Cowboy makes really good use of the data it collects from its customers. For example, there is a fall detection feature that contacts your emergency contact after an elapsed countdown. If it is not that serious, the Cowboy app will also ask you later whether you might need a mechanic.
There is a also deep data integration with the company's app that is based on information from Google Maps which Cowboy recently introduced. This way, accident or theft hotspots are detected and you will be alerted via the app if you are moving into said critical zones. Cowboy also includes data like air quality or weather conditions to give you a heads-up about potential problems before you ride.
What I also found really exciting is how Cowboy shows you how much battery power is left after the planned route. This way, you can be sure that there is sufficient battery to last you for the return trip.
Here ends my first impression
The new Cruiser model as well as Cowboy's product philosophy left a very positive impression after paying a visit to the company at Tech Open Air in Berlin. With the new model, Cowboy wants to tap into a new market and the Cowboy Cruiser seems to be really well suited for this. In other words: If the previous Cowboy bikes were always too sporty and uncomfortable for you, you should take a look at the Cruiser.
However, the €2,990 asking price is still sky-high, and especially so since repairs can be expensive due to the many proprietary components used. The fact that the additional services cost €30 each month is also really steep. The full potential of the Cowboy Cruiser can also only be unleashed when used with a smartphone, which can also be a bit impractical.
Cowboy does not seem to have made any real mistakes at first glance. In fact, the clever leverage of data to protect riders in particular confirmed the holistic view that the e-bike industry has taken which co-founder Tanguy Goretti presented during his talk at the trade show.
As soon as we can review the e-bike properly over a longer period of time, we'll have a full review and its accompanying rating for you. For now, Cowboy loaned us the C4, where a review will follow in the next few days. Do you want to know more about e-bikes at nexptit? Then read my list of the best folding e-bikes and check out my recommendations for lifestyle e-bikes in 2023.