Cowboy releases two new sleek-looking belt-drive electric bikes with 50% more torque

Belgium’s Cowboy has already run through several generations of its popular urban-oriented electric bicycles. Now the company has just unveiled the new Cowboy C4 e-bike, which is available in two different models.

The new C4 upgrades the classic Cowboy e-bike, while the C4 ST introduces Cowboy’s first step-through frame.

Both models are now equipped with 50% more torque than Cowboy’s previous model, the C3.

That torque bump is only 15 Nm more than the former 30 Nm, so don’t plan to climb any walls just yet. But it should add a nice little boost compared to the earlier models.

Unlike most electric bicycles, Cowboy doesn’t offer multiple power settings.

There aren’t any gear shifters, either. And since this is a European e-bike, there’s of course no throttle.

That makes for a very clean set of bars.

It also means that the bike decides how much power you want or need, using a torque sensor in the pedal drivetrain to interpret power requirements. Take it easy and the bike will give you a gentle assist. Pedal hard and the bike will add more power to your ride.

Cowboy refers to this setup as its “automatic transmission.” I can see how they got there through some lingual gymnastics, but this is definitely not an automatic transmission like we’re used to seeing on a bike – one that would automatically switch gears to keep you in the proper gear ratio for varying hill climbs and pedaling speeds. This is just a single-speed drivetrain that automatically decides when to add motor assist.

The single-speed transmission makes it easy to include a Gates Carbon Drive using a carbon-fiber reinforced belt. Belt drives are essentially maintenance-free and last longer than chain drives. They also make less noise and don’t require derailleurs or tensioners. But perhaps my favorite benefit is that they require no oil and thus leave your pant legs nice and clean.

The C4 and C4 ST both use a similar style 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) battery that mounts just behind the seat tube. It makes the tube look quite chunky, but leaves the front triangle nice and open like a typical commuter bike. The 36V and 10Ah battery offers 360 Wh of capacity, which Cowboy claims will translate into 70 km (43.5 miles) of range. The slower EU-limited speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph) helps stretch that range out, making the battery last longer.

The C4 and C4 ST also feature a number of smart features. The bikes include theft prevention in the form of theft detection and tracking, though that feature will cost you an extra € 10/month.

Other smart features include remote unlocking when the app senses you’re in close proximity to the bike, crash detection that can recognize a fall and will “talk to the app to alert your emergency contacts,” and navigation via the app itself. A magnetic phone holder mounts your phone front and center on the handlebars, keeping the navigation screen right where you need it.

The rather lightweight 19 kg (42 lb) e-bikes start at €2,490 and £2,290, or just shy of US $3,000. Cowboy currently delivers its bikes in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

Americans will need to look elsewhere for belt-drive commuter e-bikes, though there are many options in the US as well.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

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