I like Think of yourself as a cyclist, but cycling is very complicated. They have a ton of different parts that can move at high speeds and are subject to a lot of pressure, which tend to break or squeak. I’ve boiled over tire blowouts and other mechanical issues way too much for those of you who get paid for knowing these things.
That’s why I love the Cowboy 4 electric bike. It doesn’t have gear, but it does have a built-in phone holder and wireless charger, gorgeous automatic lights, and stylish splashback. It comes in a recyclable box. All I had to do was turn the handlebars, install some pedals, adjust the seat, and inflate the tires.
On the road it works great and looks beautiful when done. The app asks you to name your bike, I named my off-white review unit Wayne. I ride Wayne everywhere. He’s not as fast as a high-end bike, and if you really want to haul kids or any large amount of groceries, you’ll need to grab something bigger. But honestly? I wish more e-bikes were such reliable stablemates.
Many direct-to-consumer bike companies make things too hard. You order a bike and you have a bunch of parts in a box that you have to put together. This can be especially challenging if you ordered something cheaper. Of course, most people have no previous experience building electric bikes.
Building a mobile device in your backyard that could easily kill you or someone else was never the right choice for me. So when Cowboys 4 showed up on my doorstep, I was immediately skeptical. But the packaging work inside its large cardboard box allayed my concerns.
The gorgeous, off-white, step-by-step electric bike comes fully assembled, with the handlebars sideways, but everything is attached except the pedals. After a quick tire pump and seat adjustment (something that pretty much any bike can do), a box full of clearly labeled tools and a simple instruction manual had me completely ready to ride in minutes.
The Cowboy is an app-connected bike, which means you need to pair your phone, then lock and unlock it in the app to take advantage of the 250-watt rear hub motor. You can ride the bike without unlocking it in the app, it’s just a rather cumbersome one-speeder at this point, but it does have GPS tracking if someone scratches it. It also has crash detection and can automatically share your location with emergency contacts.
But you probably won’t find yourself when your phone is out of juice, as the Cowboy 4’s stem has a built-in quad-lock system and wireless charging. Buy a compatible phone case (they work with almost all modern devices) and you can put your phone on the bike to charge it while you ride – it’s a super stylish option, and one that’s great for getting around town Google Maps is getting really glorious.