Brussels-based firm Cowboy’s new Cowboy 4 e-bike bolsters the company’s claim to be at the cutting edge of modern commuting. Set up in 2017 by Tanguy Goretti and Adrien Roose, the company stood out from the start by having founders from a software background. But lest you think that Cowboy contains the usual start-up mix of magical thinking and vapourware product, these bicycles are very much in existence.

Cowboy 4 is, as the name suggests, the fourth iteration of a product that is evolving and improving. As well as a standard frame, there’s now a 4 ST model with a step-through frame. All the technical design, industrial detailing and app integration of Cowboy’s earlier electric bikes has been refined and upgraded as well. 

Why Cowboy? Cast your mind back a few years and the e-bike was mostly the preserve of the elderly, a gentle form of power assistance for some uplift on steeper gradients. They were bulky, inelegant and certain to be sniffed at by the cycling cognoscenti. All that has largely changed, thanks in part to design-savvy electric bike brands such as Cowboy, which have taken the best bits of assisted cycling and spliced them with genuinely useful applications like smart mapping, as well as a little fitness-fuelled gamification along the way. 

The Cowboy 4 e-bike is available in two frame styles
The Cowboy 4 e-bike is available in two frame styles, including the company’s first step through model (right)

Cowboy 4 e-bike: appealing design and 70-mile range

Simplicity is the watchword. The design is all-new and totally bespoke, with barely any off-the-shelf parts (apart from the comfortable saddle by Selle Royal and the carbon belt drive from Gates). A new powertrain makes stepping away smooth and predictable, with the electric motor responding quickly to the pedal motion, creating that giddy acceleration that still feels a little uncanny on a bicycle. The makers promise a range of around 70 miles, which is a week’s worth of commuting for many people. What’s more, the frame-mounted battery pack can be removed, not only increasing the bike’s security but allowing you to charge indoors or keep a spare battery to hand.

The elegant C4 and C4 ST won a prestigious Red Dot Design award this year and it’s not hard to see why. The slight chunkiness of most e-bikes is concealed well, with a smooth, seam-free aluminium frame that is pared back and minimal, with integrated lights. Both models weigh around 19kg and have front and rear disc brakes. The company is especially proud of the Cowboy app, which not only gives you accurate way-finding info (as well as indicated battery reserves for a return journey) but can be set to route you away from the most heavily congested roads, depending on the time of day. 

The Cowboy 4 e-bike uses your smart phone to create the bike’s cockpit
The Cowboy 4 e-bike uses your smartphone to create the bike’s cockpit, clicking into place with a special case that also charges your device

The app is accessed through your smartphone, which docks with the bike using a Quad Lock mount that can also charge your phone when it’s in place. The ‘cockpit’ isn’t just for mapping; the app collates riding and fitness data, as well as providing helpful weather updates. Cowboy will also provide a theft detection service (the bike will helpfully beam its location back to you if removed), as well as insurance and customer support. First deliveries of this impressive machine should be in September 2021. § 

The Cowboy 4 e-bike won a 2021 Red Dot Design Award
Winner of a 2021 Red Dot Design Award for product design, the Cowboy 4 is elegant and functional