For whom is an e-bike worthwhile? Often considered a bike for the lazy, many people don’t even think about buying one. atechbook editorial director Andreas Filbig tried it out for himself and rode an e-bike for a month. His experience surprised him above all.
First of all, about my situation. I live centrally in Berlin and work just four subway stops from my home. I sold my car four years ago shortly after moving to Berlin. I either use public transportation or walk. I could never really make friends with the so popular bicycle. I saw e-bikes mainly as a means of transport for sprightly cycling fans who want support on hilly tours. When the Cowboy company offered me the chance to test their e-bike, the “Cowboy 3”, I was extremely curious to see how I would get on with it. When I returned the two-wheeler, my attitude towards e-bikes changed. A report on my experience for all those who have not yet dealt with e-bikes at all.
That doesn’t look like an e-bike at all
When a Cowboy employee brought me the e-bike at home, I was surprised for the first time. I had imagined e-bikes quite differently. Low bar for easy climbing, a clearly visible clunky motor and curved handlebars that force you to keep an upright posture. Far from it, because what arrived there and listens to the name “Cowboy 3” was not at all recognizable to me as an e-bike. Rather, it looked something like a friend’s singlespeed bike. If I were to buy a bike privately, it should look exactly like that – a matter of taste, of course.
“Cowboy 3” is quite heavy
The first big difference to normal bikes is certainly the weight. The removable battery and thus the entire bike are not exactly light at a total of 16.9 kilograms. So if you prefer to store the valuable two-wheeler indoors, you should save some strength for lugging it uphill on tours or carry the battery and bike up separately.
Can I finally start riding?
So, I have now seen the e-bike and carried it upstairs. The battery is connected and a little later fully charged. Then it can start now yes! Wait, not quite yet. First of all, you have to download the app and create a profile – then set it up. This is indispensable because the “Cowboy 3” is locked and unlocked via app. Locked is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. Instead of actually locking the bike, it only flashes wildly when you move it – or accidentally touch something. There is then an indication on the smartphone. Of course, this can happen more often in everyday life when the e-bike is plugged in somewhere. I can see myself rushing out of the 3rd floor of the shopping center in a panic before my first ride, yelling “Stop! Stop right there!” just because someone bumped into my bike. Otherwise, the app shows me the battery’s charge level or range (40 kilometers), as well as speed and distance traveled. Let’s go!
Surprising riding experience
So how does an e-bike ride? The answer is simple: fast! The effect is incredibly strong, especially when starting off. Even racing bike riders can be blown away for the time being. On the Cowboy 3, by the way, the electric motor controls the shifting automatically. With other e-bikes, you can adjust the intensity in various stages. However, there is a limit at some point above 25 km/h, and the electric motor is no longer allowed to switch on. That is the law in Germany. However, unlike e-scooters, you can still go much faster. You just have to pedal harder.
The electronic assistance allows three types of use. On the one hand, you can ride in a very relaxed manner. This way, you will make good progress and hardly have to use any power at all. If you are looking for speed, you can pedal hard and literally shoot across the streets. The bike is therefore also suitable as a sports device. Oh yes, one thing must not be forgotten: The assistance can also be switched off completely. Then classic bicycle vibes come up. However, I would advise leaving the battery at home. It’s already a bit harder to pedal than with normal wheels.
Personally, I was totally convinced by the feeling on the e-bike. Reaching high speeds with ease and leaving other cyclists standing at traffic lights not only felt good, but also got me to my destination totally quickly.
High price and image problem
So the ride feel of the “Cowboy 3” has already convinced me – the look just as much. But two things bothered me. Right from the start, the price of around 2000 euros hovered like a storm cloud over the e-bike experience. Of course, costs are always subjective. But 2000 euros should be absolute luxury for many. Especially since the bike is aimed more at an urban target group, for whom it is – as in my case – a nice-to-have. There is no need for an e-bike in urban traffic, at least not for me. I would also get from A to B with a conventional bike without any problems. With the latter, I would also feel much better in the big city leaving it locked up on the street.
If you do decide to spend money on a fancy e-bike, you may encounter another problem. Because instead of getting recognition for a luxury bike, I usually only get scorn and ridicule. E-bikes are extremely discredited in my circle of acquaintances, especially if you use them in the city, as lazy bicycles. A wheel, for all those who can no longer drive normally or are simply too lazy for it. Since my circle of acquaintances knows about my physical condition, I am automatically the unathletic slacker. I told many people about it during the test. Whether close friends or casual acquaintances, no one thought it was cool. But with a lifestyle product like the “Cowboy 3” or even other urban e-bikes, I expect that. There may certainly be enough people who don’t care or who simply get different reactions, but that’s how I experienced it.
Conclusion after one month of e-bike testing on the “Cowboy 3
Would I like to continue riding a modern e-bike like the “Cowboy 3”? Absolutely, yes! The bike is simply fun and extremely pleasant to ride. It’s up to the rider to decide whether to enjoy the lightness of the ride or to speed along the roads at full speed. Like many other e-bikes, the “Cowboy 3” masters both perfectly.
Also interesting: See more from Andreas Filbig in our big atechbook video report.
But would I buy such a bike for around 2000 Euros? Probably not! This is mainly because I live very centrally and well connected. A friend who rides his bike 10 kilometers through the city to work every day sees things differently. Unlike me, he has been toying with the idea of switching to an e-bike for some time. But the mixture of price and bad image has kept him away so far.
So the decision to buy is very individual. But once you’ve made the decision and bought an e-bike, you probably won’t regret it.