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VanMoof vs Cowboy [E-BIKE COMPARISON]

There’s no doubt about it. E-bikes are booming. By 2023, it’s expected that there could be around 300 million e-bikes in circulation worldwide.

And as the phenomenon spreads, more and more brands are producing high-spec e-bikes for assisted urban riding and effortless commutes.

The appeal of e-bikes, in a nutshell, is that you can cycle further and for longer. Journeys are no longer limited by distance, hills or individual fitness level. And riding an e-bike does improve fitness, burning only 25% less calories than a standard bike.

Competition is fierce among leading e-bike brands, and VanMoof and Cowboy remain two of the frontrunners. We’ll take a look at the differences and explain why they are two of the most popular e-bikes available.

Why is VanMoof So Popular?

The Dutch-manufactured VanMoof e-bikes are popular because of their high quality, sleek, minimalist urban design, and their superior battery life, which delivers an impressive 90+ miles on economy setting.

VanMoof bikes offer a smooth, quiet ride and versatile speed assistance. Over the years they’ve developed some serious tech, including a very effective turbo boost and an outstanding anti-theft system.


VanMoof Competitors

VanMoof’s biggest competitor is undoubtedly the Cowboy. Both bikes are similar in style but differ significantly in terms of features and geometry. Other leading VanMoof competitors include Veloretti, Angell and Bird.

But there are also a number of other excellent and unique e-bikes out there. As the market booms, many mainstream and bespoke bike brands are adding an e-bike or two to their collections.

One example is the beautiful and minimal Schindelhauer with their well-earned reputation for beauty, quality and durability.

VanMoof Bikes [PROS + CONS]

VanMoof bikes, in spite of strong competition, remain one of the most popular e-bikes available. They offer contemporary city style along with an impressive battery life. And with highly-developed security features, they are virtually theft-proof.

Downsides (for some) could include the battery, which in spite of its impressive range is non-removable, making it less convenient to charge. They are also heavier than some of their competitors.

Extended battery rangeOn the heavy side
Adjustable electric assistance levelsNon-removable battery less convenient for charging
Turbo boostSlow battery charge
Control display integrated on frame/handlebars in addition to smartphone appTraditional chain – higher maintenance
Premium anti-theft security 
Integrated Kick Lock 
Dock Lock for an additional battery – can charge the main battery or power the motor 

Cowboy Bikes [PROS + CONS]

Cowboy e-bikes are powerful, agile and ideal for zipping around town and making short work of commutes. The detachable battery offers charging flexibility and the lightweight, urban design includes a rear hub motor and a low-maintenance carbon belt drive.

The Cowboy’s non-adjustable power options may not appeal to everybody, and the range is not as impressive as some of its rivals. But for city riders looking for a dynamic bike that handles beautifully, the Cowboy delivers in abundance.

LightweightNon-adjustable speed levels
Removable battery for flexible chargingLower range than some of its competitors
Carbon belt for oil-free low maintenanceNo turbo charge
Wireless phone charging system 

VanMoof S5 vs Cowboy C4

The VanMoof S5 and Cowboy C4 both boast many impressive features. They both have an intuitive power system and though the Cowboy C4 has no turbo boost, it is lighter than the VanMoof by over 4 kg. The VanMoof’s range is far superior, but the battery charging time is almost twice as long.

The Cowboy C4, with its single-speed motor, is ideally suited to city riding. The VanMoof, with its greater range and click-on extra battery (available soon), is perhaps a more versatile bike that is equally suited to longer rides and touring.

VanMoof S5Cowboy 4
Range37 – 93 milesUp to 43.5 miles
Speed15.5 mph15.5 mph
Rider Height5’1″ – 6’5″5’5″ – 6’3″
Battery487 Wh45 Nm
Charge Time6.5 hours3 hours
ColoursGreyBlack, Khaki, Sand
VanMoof S5 FeaturesCowboy 4 Features
250W motor integrated in front wheel hub250W motor integrated in front wheel hub
Halo-LED rings in Handlebars indicate power, speed and battery levels – in addition to smartphone appSmartphone app displays information
Integrated battery + additional click-on batteryRemovable battery
USB phone charging systemWireless phone charging system
3-speed automatic gearingSingle-speed drivechain with single-speed motor
Integrated front and rear lightsIntegrated front and rear lights
Turbo boost button (68 Nm)Gates carbon belt drive
Classic ChainTheft detection alert + inbuilt GPS with real-time tracking
Kick Lock with active-retract pinIntegrated security system with alarm and automatic lock down
Automatic Rider Recognition
GPS and Bluetooth location tracking
Manual disarm with backup code
Crash detection

VanMoof S3 vs Cowboy C3

At a glance, the style of these two bikes is similar, both with a sleek and simple design. Beyond that, they are actually quite different, primarily in range, power options and geometry.

The VanMoof S3 has four different and adjustable electric speed options, whereas the Cowboy C3 has an integrated torque sensor for automatic assistance.

The geometry of the VanMoof S3 offers a straighter, more upright riding style, whilst the Cowboy C3 puts the rider in a more forward-leaning and sporty position, with shorter handlebars for agile handling.

Though they lack some of the extra and superior features of their successors (VanMoof S5 and Cowboy C4), they are nonetheless both popular e-bikes that remain in the top ranks of cool urban commuting.

Vanmoof S3Cowboy 3
Range37 – 93 milesUp to 43.5 miles
Rider Height5’1” – 6’5”5’5” – 6’3”
Battery504 Wh360 Wh
Charge Time4 hours3.5 hours
ColoursDark, LightBlack, Mineral
VanMoof S3 FeaturesCowboy 3 Features
250W motor integrated in front wheel hub250W motor integrated in front wheel hub
Matrix display integrated in top tube – in addition to smartphone appSmartphone app displays information
Integrated battery + optional removable PowerBank accessoryRemovable battery
USB phone charging systemWireless phone charging system
4-speed automatic gearing with adjustable settingsSingle-speed drivechain with single-speed motor
Integrated front and rear lightsIntegrated front and rear lights
Turbo boost button (68 Nm)Gates carbon belt drive
Classic ChainTheft detection alert + inbuilt GPS with real-time tracking
Integrated Kick Lock onboard alarm
Tamper Detection
Smart location tracking
Remote lockdown mode
Crash detection

Is Cowboy Better Than VanMoof?

The Cowboy and the VanMoof have key differences and both have unique features that will appeal to some and not to others. Those wanting greater range and versatility may opt for the VanMoof. Those wanting simplicity, power and a lighter weight will choose the Cowboy.

One feature that may influence prospective buyers is the positioning of the motors – situated in the rear wheel hub of the Cowboy, and the front wheel hub of the VanMoof.

Some feel that a rear-positioned motor allows for better traction and control, whereas others will argue that a front-placed motor offers better weight balance and easier maintenance. Advantages and disadvantages of the two positions remains an ongoing debate.

And at the risk of sitting on the fence, in terms of which bike is actually “better”? It’s probably unfair to say.

It is fair to say that they are both exceptional e-bikes in their own right. And as to which you go for, it could simply be a question of personal taste.

Carol Vine


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Carol Vine

Carol is a freelance writer and a passionate cyclist. After living in and cycling around London for twenty five years, she now spends her time in Wales and Greece and has a bike in each country.

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