Cowboy has returned with its third-generation e-bike. It’s nonetheless the best-looking pedal-assisted electrical bike with a detachable battery that I’ve ever seen having carried ahead the identical bodily design as the unique Cowboy. Whereas the Cowboy 2 from final 12 months was sporty, the Cowboy 3 is mature, specializing in security moderately than enjoyable.
The Cowboy 3 is fitted with quite a lot of security options together with automated crash detection, a slower prime velocity, and new puncture-resistant tires of Cowboy design. Model three, just like the earlier mannequin, additionally has built-in lighting, with a rear gentle that flashes purple when braking. And consider it or not, Cowboy’s lastly making fenders.
It’s as if this Belgian startup needs to develop into the Volvo of e-bikes. Not that that’s a foul factor.
The headline characteristic is automated crash detection, which the corporate calls an business first. It’s obtainable on each Cowboy 3 and older Cowboy 2 bikes by way of a free software program replace. Crash detection works by analyzing information collected from the wheel’s velocity sensor, torque sensor, and accelerometer to find out if a crash occurred. The corporate says it might inform the distinction between a crash and emergency braking, dropping your bike on its aspect, hitting a pothole, or driving over cobblestones.
If a crash is detected, the rider has 60 seconds to substantiate they’re okay within the app, or else the SIM card built-in into the Cowboy e-bike sends an alert to at least one, or each, of your predefined emergency contacts. It additionally sends alongside a real-time map exhibiting the rider’s place measured by the bike’s GPS radio.
I used to be in a position to simulate a crash with the assistance of a delicate sofa. After dropping the bike whereas holding the brake and urgent down on a pedal, the entrance and tail lamps began flashing quickly to attract consideration to the realm. On the similar time, a textual content message was acquired by my emergency contact saying I “may need been concerned in a motorcycle accident” with my approximate road handle and a hyperlink to a stay map exhibiting my exact location. I can think about this being a helpful and even life-saving characteristic if crash detection performs this properly in real-life situations. In any other case, false alarms might create quite a lot of stress for family members (Cowboy claims a false optimistic fee of “near zero”).
One other security characteristic was added by taking one thing away: off-road mode, a setting meant for driving Cowboys on personal property. Cowboy e-bikes at the moment are capped on the European restrict of 25km/h (15.5mph). Beforehand, Cowboy’s off-road mode sneakily boosted the velocity cap to 30km/h (19mph) to enhance the e-bike’s sporty driving place. In observe, I think about that many, if not most, Cowboy house owners used that mode on a regular basis. I positive did, particularly when past town limits the place I repeatedly bike between 25-30km/h. I actually missed the sooner, extra thrilling mode in my testing. I’m instructed that Cowboy eliminated it for security and insurance coverage causes: Cowboy affords house owners Easy Rider insurance plans beginning at €8 per 30 days for theft or €10 per 30 days so as to add harm protection.
The Cowboy 3 does have a free Discover My Bike characteristic that makes use of GPS and Bluetooth to assist find your bike. However you’ll have to pay not less than €8 per 30 days to obtain theft detection notifications. The anti-theft safety kicks in two minutes after the Cowboy is locked. Then, every time your bike is jostled, presumably by a thief, it’ll ship an alert to your telephone exhibiting the reported GPS location. The bike can then be tracked with the assistance of the (superb) Cowboy app with Bluetooth permitting you to hone in in your bike with larger precision.
My take a look at bike had theft detection enabled and it labored for essentially the most half. When enabled, the bike’s lights flash briefly (there’s no siren or warning sound) and the alert arrives shortly within the app. You possibly can then ignore it or hit “Discover My Bike” and take your probabilities with confronting a would-be thief or somebody who innocently bumped your bike within the shared bike rack.
As for the experience, Cowboy’s personal silent 250W rear-hub motor coupled with a brand new, longer-lasting Gates Carbon Belt drive and decrease gear ratio produces a extremely intuitive expertise. Energy is delivered as quickly because the bike detects strain on the pedal for easy getaways within the flats, after which the bike’s velocity and torque sensors consistently regulate energy supply as your tempo and pedaling change. Once I examined it on hills, nevertheless, I felt the bike lacked the vertical oomph delivered by different single-speed belt-driven bikes like Gogoro’s Eeyo 1S, requiring extra exertion than I anticipated. Nonetheless, total the Cowboy continues to ship certainly one of, if not essentially the most pure pedal-assisted experience experiences of any e-bike I’ve examined.
My vary take a look at delivered 70.5km (43.8 miles) from the 360Wh battery, which is precisely in keeping with Cowboy’s “as much as 70km” declare. Better of all, that battery may be eliminated and brought inside for handy charging. The bike continues to be rideable with a lifeless battery, however many will battle to pedal a 16.9kg / 37-pound bike over lengthy distances with only a single gear.
Sadly, the Cowboy requires a companion telephone as there’s no energy button on the bike itself. More often than not, this received’t be an issue, but it surely solely takes one lifeless telephone battery after an extended night time out to understand how short-sighted this method is.
New this 12 months is an automated startup choice that makes use of Bluetooth to detect once you’re close by. It really works as long as the app is working within the background. The brand new characteristic means you possibly can depart your telephone in a pocket or bag once you’re able to experience. In observe, it really works fairly properly: the bike sensed me approaching after which required me to maneuver it a bit to really flip the motor on. The bike may also be set to show off routinely, or not, after a interval of inactivity, supplying you with an opportunity to lock it up with a sequence (or two) and stroll away with out triggering the anti-theft alerts.
Cowboy is engaged on a characteristic that allows you to activate the bike by eradicating and reinserting the battery. It was initially promised final 12 months, however I’m instructed that it’s positively coming by the top of 2020.
The final massive characteristic for Cowboy house owners is the free Cowboy Cell Service. Whereas below the two-year assure, Cowboy will ship a technician to your own home, workplace, or locations in between to restore your bike. The CMS service is at present obtainable in 25 European cities, increasing to 70 by the top of the 12 months, Cowboy tells me. Rad Energy, for instance, affords an identical service however expenses a payment for every use.
- Cowboys don’t have throttles — they’re pedal help solely, and it’s both on or off, with out energy choices like eco or sport discovered on different e-bikes.
- The spongy grips, inventory saddle, and huge puncture-resistant tires of Cowboy design did a effective job of gobbling up highway vibrations, even on the bumpy bricked roads widespread in Amsterdam.
- The Cowboy app will quickly, by early October, inform riders in regards to the air high quality within the space and counsel the least polluted route.
- Cowboy 3 is now obtainable in two shades of grey to associate with the black mannequin.
- The LEDs within the battery meter on the highest tube may be set to shiny or dim and are largely seen within the solar in shiny mode.
- The Cowboy brand above the battery meter isn’t an influence button, but it surely ought to be.
- Cowboy 3 weighs 16.9kg / 37 kilos, 4 ounces, making it about 900 grams heavier than the Cowboy 2 due primarily to the beefy new tires. The mudguards add some further, undisclosed weight. It’s additionally made to suit comparatively tall riders, measuring 170 to 195cm (5 toes, seven inches to 6 toes, 5 inches).
- Battery expenses in about 3.5 hours.
- Hydraulic disc brakes cease the bike with confidence.
- The Cowboy app is among the finest within the enterprise with its clear format and options that make sense.
The Cowboy 3 is priced at €2,290 / £1,990 (about $2,665). That’s €300 greater than each final 12 months’s Cowboy 2 and VanMoof’s comparable S3 and X3 commuter e-bikes. However with a VanMoof, the worth contains fenders, that are an €89 choice from Cowboy, and a kickstand, which Cowboy doesn’t provide in any respect. A minimum of Cowboy now ships its bikes with bells. Realizing that you simply’ll get a detachable battery, free cellular repairs, and free crash detection helps make the Cowboy’s price ticket a bit simpler to simply accept.
The third-generation Cowboy is accessible in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK, with Denmark within the works. US gross sales will occur sometime, however proper now, the European e-bike market is ten instances the US market, says Cowboy, so it’s not in a rush.
Cowboy’s clearly been busy placing the €33 million in funding it’s raised since 2018 to good use so as to add and enhance options whereas sustaining a tempo of gradual and regular enlargement. Cowboy 3 is a superb electrical bike, made higher via a collection of free and subscription-based companies that ought to add actual worth over the lifetime of the bike. However I can’t assist however suppose that it’s a bit confused.
The geometry places the rider right into a sporty driving place but its prime, pedal-assisted velocity has been diminished by 17 % from final 12 months’s mannequin. And it’s offered as a metropolis commuter however lacks city requirements that ought to be included as commonplace parts. The Cowboy 3 jogs my memory of a faculty graduate, torn between the recklessness of youth and the stodgy calls for of the company world, realizing that rising up is inescapable.
Images by Thomas Ricker / The Verge
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