With hipster styles and built-in phones, does the Belgian company Cowboy make cool electric bikes?


Imagine an electric bicycle and you could imagine a thick pitch frame, a colossal battery attached to a downcomer, a cargo rack, and tires that would not look inappropriate on a tractor. That is not great.

The super minimalist cowboy (from a Belgian company of the same name) aims to change all that. It features a style of road geometry, internal wiring, the most refined brand, a small power pack that's hidden in the seat tube, and even a SIM built into the frame.


It looks great, but how does it feel to go up? To find out, we tried it out at Regent’s Park, which is bike friendly.

Pedal only

The first thing we have to get used to is the lack of control; Unlike most electric bikes, Cowboy does not have a power button, throttle, or gears. What we have to worry about is the brakes, which is the opposite of what we used to do because a test bike has been built for the bike path on the European continent.

Once we were sure we couldn't jump onto the handlebars, we pushed as usual and we couldn't help but scream in surprise because the power kicked in immediately, pushing us much more than we expected. This is something that Bob Eck the Cowboy (seeing his first trip) called the o ooh effect ’.

Just a few minutes later, driving felt effortless and natural. The bike responds to the force you put on the pedal, working harder when we do. On the park's bike path, it felt like we were constantly driving downhill, and overtaking serious riders with their Lycra and carbon was almost easy and embarrassing.

(Image credit: cowboy)

The Cowboy 2019 is available in a single frame size, suitable for people around 5'7 "tall 6‘. In size 510 "comfortable jeans We found it very comfortable, and we suspect that a person a little shorter or taller than the mentioned height can climb quite easily with some adjustments. Different sizes and frames of women with lower top tubes are on the card for future release

Home phone

Cowboy is not only a beautiful frame, but also smart. Hidden inside the main tube is a SIM, a spare battery (charged by a painful power supply), and everything you'd expect to find on a phone, minus the speakers and microphone.

This communication unit sends diagnostics to Cowboy when the bike is started, notifies the company if there is a problem, and communicates with his phone at the beginning and end of his trip. Bicycles can also warn you before leaving, for example if you did not install the battery correctly or if there is a problem with the tire.

(Image credit: cowboy)

A removable battery means you don't need to bring Cowboy into your hallway to charge him; just park as usual, unplug the power cord and take it to a convenient power outlet. I am concerned that a rapid increase in multiple street adapters in the office may not be enough, but it takes full advantage after a few hours.

It's not possible to buy a spare battery and have a fully charged additional battery (as Eck explained, this is the most expensive part of the bike), but with a range of 70km, that might not be a problem. And unlike an electric car, if you run out of juice, you won't be stranded, you just have to drive without the help of the engine.

Cowboy is worth € 1,990 (around $ 2,200 / £ 1,800 / AU $ 3,200), which certainly isn't cheap, but it's not expensive either – premium electric bikes can cost more than double.

Global ambition

So where can you buy it? Yes, only in Belgium (where the company was founded), France, the Netherlands, and the Netherlands so far, but the company has global ambitions. The jeans are built in Poland, and Eck expects companies to continue expanding concentric rings from the bottom.

"We have to make some modifications to the bike to be more competitive and consumer friendly in the UK, especially the brakes," said Eck. "It is not as simple as the changes you might think, because it has consequences for product development, manufacturing, assembly, but we hope to do so at the end of the season."

Cowboy Electric Bicycle

(Image credit: cowboy)

And outside of Europe? "Well, the United States is a very large market," said Eck. "We think we will be very interested in launching there. We believe that our approach will be different, depending on the scale of opportunities. Right now we have really entered four countries. That is the roadmap we are learning from, and that will change what we do in the future. "

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