Electric bikes: Cowboy promises a “magic” update to improve performance, Cowboy Classic test: Let Essence du Vélo Connected – Numerama

Cowboy Classic test: connected bike gasoline

This new feature might seem harmless, especially when using your bike mainly on flat ground. It is not the case and it could even have a significant impact for future plans of the brand. Indeed, this Power adaptive appears as the missing part of the puzzle to develop new more demanding VAEs in terms of power, without necessarily doing everything on the engine of the engine. Cowboy could, for example, consider the manufacture of a cargo bicycle, without changing its DNA. Asked about this point, the brand’s co -founder boots in touch without denying the rumor: “We are a mark of urban mobility and we study all the solutions that allow us to take advantage of our know-how”, he summarizes.

Electric bikes: Cowboy promises a “magic” update to improve performance

New Cowboy 2023

In 2023, the major novelty of Cowboy electric bikes will be software, but it could change a lot on the road.

Cowboy, the Belgian manufacturer of electric and connected bikes, traces its route. The year 2022 saw the arrival of two new models, the C4 and the C4 ST. In 2023, the main novelty of the brand’s connected bikes will not be visible to the naked eye. It touches the software and will deeply modify the behavior of your faithful Destrier. Cowboy bikes will benefit from a critical update which will endow them with “adaptive power”. This feature, developing for over a year at Cowboy, aims to improve the performance of sloping bikes.

Tanguy Goretti, one of the founders of the brand, explains that the idea of ​​this function was born from a comment concerning the brand’s bikes: ” Cowboy bikes are very good, but not for San Francisco »». The topography of the city and its many hills would not allow the Belgian connected bike to express itself in the city of the bay as in the rest of the cities. Cowboy engineers would then have set out to solve this problem and bring a solution that would make their bikes more efficient on these demanding terrains and, in general, more versatile. So much for the anecdote.

Same engine, new settings

New Cowboy 2023

The solution imagined by Cowboy is the“Adaptive Power” or adaptive power. In other words, modify the engine behavior to make it more efficient when the terrain requires it. It was already one of the initial promises of Cowboy that has been based since the first version of its VAE on a power sensor and on a homemade algorithm to deliver the right power and do without speeds. Nevertheless, it is clear that this system was not ideal for facing the slopes, for the essential reason that he could not anticipate them.

It is on this point that the new adaptive power of the bicycle is. Once updated, the cowboy will be able to take into account the natural resistances that its owner faces. Inclination of the terrain, meaning and power of the wind, weight at the rear in the case of a baby seat … Many parameters are now taken into account in order to adapt the response of the engine. From now on, the VAE system will no longer be content to analyze the speed and frequency of pedaling to judge the necessary assistance. These data will be taken into account, of course, but it will be completed by those provided by the gyroscope for example. In the end, it is the recipe for algorithm that is deeply modified, and the behavior of the bicycle accordingly.

Adaptive power will be reserved for 4 and 4st cowboys. All new bikes sold will have access. As for those in circulation for a year now, they will simply have to be updated via the smartphone application. Why are the bikes of previous generations not eligible for this new setting ? Cowboy explains that this is a question of equipment essentially, their hardware not being at the level of the latest generation.

More power, less autonomy ?

Increasing the peak power on the most demanding phases is it not perilous for the autonomy of cowboy ? To this question, Tangui Goretti simply answers: “To compensate for this additional need for power, we have reduced the use of the engine downhill, where it is the least useful”. Thus, under conventional conditions (perhaps not in San Francisco), the “savings” of battery made on the descents would allow to compensate for the additional rise in rise. Finally, it will be possible to modify, via the application, the behavior of thePower adaptive And to bring a little finesse and personalization to the behavior of the VAE. In the same way, it will be possible to follow in the dedicated menu of the application, the statistics of use of this “boost” to better understand it.

New perspectives for Cowboy

This new feature might seem harmless, especially when using your bike mainly on flat ground. It is not the case and it could even have a significant impact for future plans of the brand. Indeed, this Power adaptive appears as the missing part of the puzzle to develop new more demanding VAEs in terms of power, without necessarily doing everything on the engine of the engine. Cowboy could, for example, consider the manufacture of a cargo bicycle, without changing its DNA. Asked about this point, the brand’s co -founder boots in touch without denying the rumor: “We are a mark of urban mobility and we study all the solutions that allow us to take advantage of our know-how”, he summarizes.

At Cowboy, in 2023, progress will be essentially software. Nevertheless, the manufacturer intends to add a little novelty in its catalog and inaugurates the arrival of three new colors, clay, fig and lavender. As for owners of previous versions, they will not be neglected. The Belgian manufacturer provides for the deployment of three major updates in the year, which will concern the entire fleet.

With l’Power adaptive, Cowboy persists in the path he had set himself initially, that is to say develop a bicycle on which the part ” software “Would at least be as important as the mechanical aspect. By devoting a major update on two of his bikes to the software, the manufacturer remains faithful to his driving line, that of approaching VAE as if it were a smartphone on wheels.

Cowboy Classic test: connected bike gasoline

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

Launched in 2017, the Cowboy brand is now part of the very closed circle of startups that last and the 4th generation of their connected bike proves that the desire to do well is always at the heart of the process.

From the first version of his bicycle, Cowboy wanted to offer an alternative to other VAE. A racy, minimalist style, a transmission by belt and a small side Bad boy when the competition swore by the Dutch bicycle with a large battery, an engine in the pedaling, a luggage rack at the back and a basket at the Before.

Six years later, it is clear that this bias has been emulated and that what made the mind of Cowboy is now a bit of all manufacturers, whether new come as tenways or already installed as Cannondale, Trek and other origin. While the Belgian startup can offer to continue to stand out ? This is what we will see with the Cowboy Classic, ex C4, Cowboy having changed the names of his bikes in early July 2023.


On its Cowboy site proudly displays the Time and Red Dot macaroons which reward the design of their VAE. On this fourth generation, a very special care was taken to the cockpit of the bicycle. Exit the conventional narrow warpole couple replaced by a single piece which gives them an almost futuristic appearance. The counterpart is that it becomes impossible to replace the gallows or the hanger to adapt it to our size. We can not have everything.

For the rest, the attributes specific to the brand are there: the integrated lights (in the front frame, in the battery at the rear), the removable battery of 360 Wh still positioned behind the vertical tube of the saddle, 47 mm tires, belt transmission and motorization – the Cowboy Classic remains a cowboy. Or rather two (or three) cowboy.

Two executives, three atmospheres

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

Because the main novelty of this fourth generation of cowboy is the declination in two types of frames. In addition to the standard closed frame, an open frame model named Cowboy Cruiser St (ST for “Step Through”) is available. Practical for people who are not inclined to step over their mount to use it. The two models are displayed at the same price (2990 euros) and, proof that the Bad Boy spirit has lived a little, the ST version is available in 5 shimmering colors when the standard version is satisfied with 2 a little sad (black and sand )). A third machine, named Cruiser, combines the two approaches: closed frame, but right position and comfortable saddle.

On the accessories side, the configurator does not make a difference and offers the same products regardless of the chosen framework. If the optional accessories are quite numerous, the standard endowment is limited only to the mud guard, very visually successful, a little less functionally. We will come back.

The smartphone at the heart of the Cowboy Classic experience

The world of the VAE is divided into two distinct categories: the VAEs which are above all bikes, usable as such and for which the availability of an app has little or no impact to use, if this n ‘ is accessing certain advanced features and the VAEs which place the app in question at the heart of the user experience. The Cowboy Classic, like its predecessors, is part of this last category.

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

Understand that using the cowboy app (iOS, Android) is essential for the normal use of the machine. Concretely, this is the app, and the smartphone on which it is installed, which allow you to unlock the bicycle (permanently geolocated) via the Bluetooth connection. This is the app which also allows it to be reasured when you arrive at your destination but it is also the app which allows access to basic features such as lighting the lights or changing the assistance mode of the engine.

The Cowboy app in its latest version now uses Google Maps for navigation and offers all the usual metrics in addition to a Strava social layer with rankings, groups and trophies. You have understood, the smartphone is the only interface with the electronic part of the bicycle: no button, no remote control are present on the handlebars or the frame and this is the reason why the cockpit is adorned with an attachment Quadlock compatible (case sold separately, of course) and, above all, an induction charger which is as practical as it is essential.

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

So by searching a little, it is possible to use the cowboy classic without smartphone by disconnecting then reconnecting the battery with each use but in doing so have access to absolutely no basic functionality (like lighting of the lights, for example). It is clearly a degraded mode and not at all the use that the Belgian startup wants you to make of its product and it makes us understand this. The bicycle is here an accessory with a smartphone.

For further

Cowboy, the bicycle tesla ?

Once launched, the cowboy is a pleasant VAE to use, not sporty for a penny despite its rated and aggressive appearance and the presence of the little kick “Cowboy signature which accompanies the first stroke of pedal. At start -up, the bike gives the impression of rushing in the stretchers but it does not last more than the first meter. In use, the engine of 250W and 45 nm of torque is soft and pleasant to use, not too nervous but well present in the reminders, it quietly accompanies the climb to the 25 km/h regulatory (and even a little beyond), with a reassuring noise which gives the journeys a discreetly futuristic side quite exhilarating.

The assistance methods available are 2 in number, we can feel that Cowboy wanted to simplify the use of his bike as much as possible. There is therefore an Eco mode (which you will never use) and, since May 2023, an adaptive mode very rightly called “adaptive power”. This mode permanently adapts the power issued by the engine according to several criteria (terrain, pace, torque, etc.). In use, it works very (very) well and the work done by cowboy on algorithms that allow adaptive power to operate is impressive.

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

The use is simplified to the maximum, the cyclist takes care of nothing, everything is done so that the trip is the most smooth possible. Having assistance that varies permanently has a positive impact on autonomy since the battery will be less requested than with a fixed assistance mode. On the autonomy side, the manufacturer announces a fork between 40 and 80 km, as always dependent on the profile of the cyclist and the topography. It could be a flawless for cowboy if the design did not show its limits under certain conditions.

Indeed, as soon as the weather spoils, the visually very successful mudguards do a work of restraint of mud that will be described as anecdotal. In the same vein, very pretty integrated fires, moreover, only really serve to be seen and in no way replace a dedicated lighting solution. To take into account if you plan to roll regularly in the rain and/or at night.

To this use that we will qualify as naive, admitted services that we are used to finding in premium electronic products brands. Indeed, in addition to the insurance against the flight invoiced € 120 per year, Cowboy offers the Cowboy Care service (€ 240 per year), a on -demand maintenance service which offers the intervention of a home technician for Everything related to the bicycle (from the tire outstanding to replace the wear (brakes) or electronic (fires, etc.)). The philosophy aimed at limiting the concerns of the cyclist bicycle in hand is therefore also found for maintenance.

Cowboy Classic // Source: Thomas Ancelle for Numerama

Good point: the brand will now be sold in stores specialized in VAE, which means that it will be possible to go see and try the bikes without going through the network of ambassadors so far only way to test before purchase. And which could also mean that the workshops of said shops would be able to manage to maintain the bikes of the brand.

But then to whom is the cowboy classic (s) ?

A cowboy classic tour gives the feeling that everything is set up so that the cyclist, that we will rather qualify here as a user, has to worry about anything. For followers of the small queen accustomed to having a total control of their machine, it is confusing, but not necessarily unpleasant. For people who are not used to cycling and even less in VAE, it is ideal. The bicycle is thinking about you and will never put you in difficulty, the kilometers are linked and perspiration remains contained, including in the most treacherous climbs that large cities can offer.

Be careful, however, the Cowboy Classic is not a VAE light. At almost 19 kg, and with a mono-speed transmission, do not expect to be able to use it for a long time without assistance.

The cowboy are therefore aimed at urban cyclists, connected but with a crazy desire to take care of nothing, both on the saddle and once descended. All accompanied by a certain purchasing power because at € 2990 without accessories (excluding mud guard) and without the services such as insurance and cowboy care, the addition can quickly tu the € 3500. This is the price to pay for an ever -increasing design and integration and also, to a certain extent, for the peace of the mind.

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