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The world's best e-bike is finally available in the US

Cowboy 4
(Image credit: Joseph Delves)

The Cowboy 4, TechRadar's top-rated e-bike of 2021, is finally available in the US. Until now, Cowboy has only shipped within Europe, but it's now expanding its reach across the Atlantic.

You can pre-order the Cowboy 4 now for an early-bird price of $1,990 until 31 October, with a $100 deposit payable up-front. That's cheaper than our number two rated e-bike, the Ribble Hybrid AL e, and the similarly sleek and minimalist WAU Bike.

The Cowboy 4 comes in two models, with either a step-over or step-through frame, with a choice of three paint colors: black, sand, or khaki. The first batch is expected to begin shipping in January 2022.

Cowboy's bikes have always been sleek machines designed for city riding, and we've had the opportunity to test the last three iterations as the company has refined its fuss-free designs – and the Cowboy 4 is hard to beat.

The motor kicks in automatically as soon as you begin turning the pedals, and the level of power assistance adjusts automatically depending on the amount of work you're putting in. There are no controls to worry about, and no gears; just ride, and the bike smooths out any hills and bumps for you.

It's a smart system that lets you concentrate on the road ahead, and as we found during our tests, it eliminates the unpleasant lurching sensation you sometimes get when changing power modes on more conventional e-bikes.

The carbon belt drive system means there's no need to worry about oiling or tensioning, and there's no risk of it jumping or slipping. All you need to do is keep it clean, and it'll run smoothly.

Smartphone with Cowboy app mounted on Cowboy 4 e-bike

The Cowboy app provides essential ride data, fitness stats and navigation, while the bike's battery charges your phone wirelessly (Image credit: Cowboy)

With the Cowboy app installed, your phone serves as a trip computer offering vital stats such as distance travelled, speed, remaining battery charge and, perhaps most impressively, navigation. This goes beyond what you can get from Google Maps, and suggests different routes so you can pick the quickest, quietest, or least polluted way to reach your destination. It's the most well developed e-bike app we've tested to date, and even provides activity stats so you don't have to check your fitness tracker while riding.

The bike can even charge your phone wirelessly, so you don't need to worry about its battery draining before you've found your way home.

Safety first

The Cowboy app automatically 'unlocks' the bike once you're within Bluetooth range. You'll still need to secure your bike to something sturdy using one of the best bike locks (as we found in our tests, it attracts a lot of envious looks), but the motor won't start until you're there. There will also be an optional theft protection plan arriving soon, provided by Qover.

There's also a built-in accelerometer will detect any falls, and can alert an emergency contact with details including your location (a feature that's just arrived with the Apple Watch 7 as well).

Free over-the-air upgrades mean you don't need to take your bike to a service center to get the latest firmware version. If you want to take one for a spin, the company is opening test and ride-and-repair centers in eight US cities later this year, with more arriving in early 2022.

Cat Ellis

Cat Ellis is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's been a technology journalist for 11 years, and cut her teeth on magazines including PC Plus and PC Format before joining TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line at catherine.ellis@futurenet.com.