I like to think of myself as a cyclist, but bikes are incredibly complicated. They have a ton of different parts that move at high speeds and endure lots of stress, and those parts tend to break or squeak. The number of times I’ve boiled over about popped tires and other mechanical issues is too damn high for someone who, you know, gets paid to know these things.
This is why I adore the Cowboy 4 ebike. It has no gears, but it does have a built-in phone holder and wireless charger, gorgeous automatic lights, and sleek splash guards. It came in a recyclable box. All I had to do was turn the handlebars around, attach some pedals, adjust the seat, and pump up the tires.
On the road it works well, and it looks beautiful while doing it. The app asks you to name your bike, and I named my off-white review unit Wayne. I ride Wayne everywhere. He’s not as fast as higher-end bikes, and you’d need to grab something bigger if you really wanted to haul kids or any significant amount of groceries. But honestly? I wish more ebikes were such reliable stablemates.
The All-In-One Conundrum
Many direct-to-consumer bike companies make things too damn hard. You order a bike, get a heap of parts in a box, and you have to put them together. It can be especially challenging if you’ve ordered a cheaper one. And of course, most people have no experience building an ebike before.
Building a motorized device in your backyard that could easily kill you or others has never sat right with me. So I was immediately skeptical when the Cowboy 4 showed up at my doorstep. But the packing job inside its large cardboard box eased my worries.
The gorgeous, off-white, step-through ebike came fully assembled, with the handlebar sideways but otherwise everything but the pedals attached. A box full of clearly labeled tools and a simple instruction manual had me fully ready to ride in minutes, after a quick tire pump and seat adjustment (things you’d do with literally any bike).
The Cowboy is an app-connected bike, which means you’ll need to pair your phone, and then lock and unlock it in the app to get the benefit of the 250-watt rear hub motor. You can ride the bike without unlocking it in the app, at which point it just becomes a rather cumbersome one-speeder, but it does have GPS tracking if someone nicks it. It also has crash detection and can share your location automatically with emergency contacts.
You probably won’t find yourself in an instance when you’re without juice on your phone, though, because the stem of the Cowboy 4 has a built in quad lock system and wireless charging. Buy a compatible phone case (they have them for nearly all modern devices) and you can pop your phone to your bike to charge it while you ride — a super-sleek option, and one that makes using Google Maps simply glorious while getting around town .