Belgium’s most interesting electrical bike maker, Cowboy, is crossing the pond and increasing its operations to the US. Cowboy will solely have one mannequin out there to American clients: its fourth-generation e-bike, aptly named the C4. The C4 is available in a high-step or step-through body and is on the market for pre-order for the early chook value of $1,990.
This can be a very large deal for Cowboy, which has rapidly grown into one of many extra fascinating and spectacular e-bike firms in Europe since its launch in 2017. Cowboy has raised $42 million in enterprise capital funding and offered over 25,000 bikes throughout 11 completely different European markets. And now they’re saddling up and heading to the US.
“I’ve never done business in the US,” Cowboy co-founder and CEO Adrien Roose instructed me after we met up in Central Park in New York Metropolis earlier this week. “So it’s quite exciting for me personally.”
Roose credit the rise of electrical scooter- and bike-sharing providers like Hen and Lime, along with the Covid pandemic and the impact on journey habits, with the rising reputation of e-bikes and electric-powered mobility. He additionally cited the latest information that Congress could approve tax breaks for e-bike purchases as an element within the rising stage of pleasure amongst e-bike firms for the US market.
“We’ve seen strong signs that the US has reached some form of inflection points,” he mentioned. “We really feel that the time is now.”
The Verge has been monitoring Cowboy’s progress for plenty of years. We referred to as the Cowboy 2 “the best looking pedal-assisted electric bike with a removable battery” and the Cowboy 3 a extra “mature” e-bike that was targeted on “on safety rather than fun.”
The C4 is an entire overhaul of the earlier generations, with 50 p.c extra torque and a brand new built-in “cockpit” with Quadlock mount that wirelessly fees your telephone as you experience. I acquired an opportunity to experience the high-step C4 round Central Park this week and located the pedal-assist to be practically instantaneous and extremely intuitive. Hill climbing was a breeze, and the elegant, simplified design was extraordinarily straightforward on the eyes.
The C4 jogged my memory a substantial amount of the S3 by VanMoof, Europe’s different maker of gorgeous e-bikes. VanMoof has been promoting e-bikes within the US for plenty of years, and it’s possible that Cowboy shall be competing with most of the identical clients.
VanMoof is certainly bigger and sells extra e-bikes than Cowboy. However the Dutch firm isn’t with out its missteps. Final yr VanMoof was hit with a whole bunch of buyer complaints about bikes that have been scuffed or broken upon supply. Others complained about wobbly wheels, defective brakes, or a variety of cryptic error codes that flash on their disabled bike’s show. The Dutch firm mentioned it could direct a number of the cash it has raised in enterprise capital towards addressing these problems with supply and high quality management.
By comparability, Roose was fast to tout Cowboy’s excessive buyer satisfaction scores and likewise the corporate’s distinctive method to software program. “In terms of comparing value proposition with Cowboy, there’s really only VanMoof,” he mentioned. “And because we believe that we already have an edge in terms of software, we see ourselves a bit creating our own category with connected e-bikes.”
Cowboy’s clients can join with each other on the corporate’s app for shared rides, the place they’ll additionally evaluate stats associated to well being and health. It’s not one thing you see from a variety of e-bike firms, most of that are targeted on battery energy, motor efficiency, and different metrics.
Roose mentioned the hope is that Cowboy will help change the dialog round e-bikes, with many biking purists dismissing battery-powered biking as dishonest. He famous that there have been a number of research refuting this notion that e-bikes don’t present any well being advantages.
“When you ride on an e-bike, you get to charge your vascular system that’s high enough to make an impact,” he mentioned. “And people who have an e-bike, they use e-bikes more often and to go further.”
To start out out, Cowboy’s cellular service and assist staff shall be out there in eight US cities, during which clients could make appointments by means of the app. Clients who stay in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, may have entry to the corporate’s distant restore staff. Preorders for the C4 can now be positioned at Cowboy’s web site, with the primary bikes anticipating to ship in January 2022.