“Frandroid” was able to test Cowboy’s new “AdaptivePower” feature on the day it was released. Here are our first sensations, embellished with some technical explanations provided by the brand.
AdaptivePower is the latest software innovation from Cowboy, a manufacturer of connected electric bikes we’ve followed for several years. The brand organized a press event in Paris to test this technology, which is only implemented in the Cowboy 4 and Cowboy 4 ST. frandroid It was there.
Let’s first recall the main lines of AdaptivePower: this so-called intelligent system is capable of understanding the environment in which it finds itself in order to better adjust the power delivered to it. If it understands that you are on a hill, where the exertion intensifies, then your mount will hold you even better.
A promising first attempt
We rode a 5km ride on the handlebars of a Cowboy 4 ST equipped with AdaptivePower. On this route, it’s hard to say how much this technology has really helped us…because only elevation gain was taken, a very small percentage. Telling them that we were beaten then would be lying to them.
The rest of our getaway led us to go up an exit from the underground car park, whose frankly marked inclination was a good test for our bike. To better understand the contribution provided by AdaptivePower, we carried out a test with a “virgin” model, and another equipped with said technology.
Our first run with the updated Cowboy ST 4 resulted in some effort and a top speed of 14 km/h. Even if it means repeating yourself: The lift in question was a damn positive. Our second pass with another Cowboy 4 was more laborious: the speed of 14 km/h was certainly reached, but at the cost of more effort and a dancer’s position.
Our feedback here is based on our pure feelings. What we can notice in any case is that a pedal stroke at the same intensity does not seem to release the same power. The AdaptivePower tends to better understand the typology of the terrain of the moment, to adapt to it as well as possible.
A beautiful evolution, not a revolution.
On the other hand, it would have been interesting to perform the same exercise over a longer distance, 200 meters for example, to assess the level of effort made over time. It is, in our opinion, usually in these types of courses where AdaptivePower can have a real added value.
From there to say that this new functionality is a revolution or a system game changer, there is still a long way to go. It doesn’t transform the bike in any way, and that’s probably not the brand’s ambition. But it’s still an evolution that’s always interesting to take and experience, which has credit for improving the Cowboy 4 more than a year after its release.
This is also the strong point of a connected electric bike: its ability to store new features over the months and offer more or less minor new features to its users. In addition to the wear rate inherent to its life cycle, such a VAE manages to improve on its heart.
detect abnormal resistance
On a more technical note, how does AdaptivePower work? As is often the case with Cowboy, it’s all about software, algorithms, and math. No material additions are part of the game: the manufacturer intervenes from a distance simply by means of an update.
« We updated the engine algorithm: as soon as it detects abnormal assistance, resistance, it will counter this resistance with more power.explains Tanguy Goretti, Cowboy co-founder and technical director. Said maximum power can thus rise to 450 W.
This watt gain is not continuous and linear: it kicks in at different times, precisely when the user needs it. Therefore, it is important to understand one thing: a Cowboy 4 is not strictly capable of detecting the wind, but it is able to understand when the user is facing this type of bad weather thanks to various mathematical models developed by the group.
In all, Cowboy has accurately tested dozens of mathematical models to achieve his ends. The one currently implemented will evolve to further refine the experience and feel of the bike. To achieve this, the company initially relied on 500 beta testers, before gradually expanding this group.
Very little impact on autonomy.
Regarding the impact of this function on the autonomy of the cycle, Tanguy Goretti wants to be reassuring: “No real impact, up to a maximum of 5%“, he assures us, based on data collected in Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris.in fineeverything also and above all depends on your background.
AdaptivePower doesn’t just happen: Cowboy also deploys Power Saving Mode, which is nothing more than a power saving mode. About autonomy,profit is 30%“, explains Tanguy Goretti. To do this, the engineers simply lowered the peak power curve.
After a year and a half of development, this feature is officially rolling out on March 9, 2023 exclusively on the Cowboy 4 and Cowboy 4 ST. But what about cowboy 3? “It’s not the same hardware”, they told us. Therefore, the old model is logically deprived of it.
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