Schwinn released some brand new ebike models in October 2021, and we’re going to take a look at them. There are two new models called the Coston and the Marshall. These are 36-volt systems available in step-thru and high-step frames in two different sizes.
Schwinn’s ebikes of the past looked a little dated, so it’s nice to see a cleaner look with frame integrated batteries. Both models use 27.5″ x 2.6″ tires. That 2.6″ width makes them a good multipurpose tire. They’ll absorb many of the bumps, can handle some looser soils, but not sacrifice too much efficiency on paved surfaces.
The 36-volt system may seem like a downgrade in today’s ebike market. Most of the more popular ebikes today use 48-volt systems for greater range and torque. Advantages of a 36-volt system is that they’re typically quieter and lighter. They’re also less expensive. If you’re a heavier rider or will be riding in a hilly area, then a 48-volt system makes more sense. If you prefer less assistance for a more natural pedaling experience or for fitness, then a 36-volt system would likely be enough.
I have to admit the 250-watt motor and 288-watt hour battery for all but the Coston DX model (which has a 360 watt-hour battery) is less than I’d expect to see for the asking price. I’d much prefer a 500 watt-hour battery and a 350 watt motor, considering they are full-size ebikes.
I’m also not impressed with the Microshift shifters and derailleur. They’re okay, and I’m assuming they were chosen due to supply issues. I’d expect Shimano for a brand like Schwinn. Both models have mechanical disc brakes, 180mm front/160 mm rear, which is okay. If you want fenders, a rear rack, and the larger battery you’ll pay about $2000. But there’s no front suspension for the priciest model. The cheapest model, the Marshall, you’ll pay $1499.
What is cool about these bikes are their overall design and frame geometry. The step-thru model of the Coston is very approachable and available in two different frame sizes. These would be ideal for someone new to ebikes.
My experience with 36-volt ebikes is that they are less intimidating for new riders, and fit in well with non-electric bikes. You’re not going to feel obnoxious riding by pedestrians or with your buddies on non-electric bikes. That doesn’t mean that they’re slow or boring to ride. They can still be quite peppy! For a rider under 150 lbs, they’re enough in most situations.
The Coston DX model some nifty features including a seat that lifts to reveal a small compartment for your keys or other small items. The handlebar offers more real estate for your gadgets with a BMX style crossbar. It also has an integrated taillight on the back fender. The batteries on both the Coston and Marshall ebikes have integrated LED lights for greater visibility. This is the first battery I’ve seen to have this. The bikes also feature a throttle with speeds of up to 20 mph.
As far as range goes, Schwinn claims up to 45 miles for the Coston DX and 35 miles for the other cheaper variations and models. I can go 45 miles fairly easily on my 36-volt 350 watt mid-drive ebike, but that’s with minimal pedal assistance and sometimes not using the motor at all on flat ground.
So, are these bikes worth their price? Well, you are buying a name brand ebike. They are sold in stores all over the country, so you can try one before you buy it. They have more custom parts and are available in two different frame sizes. This drives up the cost some. Once all the supply-chain and shipping issues are behind us, finding parts or service for them shouldn’t be an issue down the road.
For $2000 or less, you can get an ebike with a larger motor and battery, plus hydraulic brakes if you go with the 700 Series from Ride1Up or the RadCity 5 Plus or RadRover 5 Plus ebikes, as examples.
The $1499 Marshall is priced okay. Ebike prices have gone up quite a bit this year due to all those supply chain issues we’ve been hearing about.
I think Schwinn did a great job with the design and look of their new models, but went too weak on the ebike components. That’s a bummer, but they’re still fun bikes to ride, as long as you won’t be climbing big hills or carrying a lot of weight.
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