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Playing a major role in the emergence of bicycles in the US way back in the late 1800s, Schwinn is a legendary name in the cycling industry, and with the Coston, the company aims to honor its legacy by making high-grade products for the modern age.
The question is, have they succeeded? That’s exactly what I intended to find out when I picked up the Schwinn Coston and put it through its paces.
Schwinn Electric Bike Review
- Beautiful, sturdy frame.
- Integrated battery.
- Awesome plus-size tires.
- Controls are great.
- 3 light modes boost safety at night.
- Seat suspension.
- 48-mile range if you take it easy on the power assist.
- Small motor and battery.
- Throttle is linked to power assist levels.
- Sluggish on inclines.
- No front or rear suspension.
Where Can You Purchase The Schwinn Electric Bike?
Shop the Schwinn 360-Watt Electric Bike here.
Motor & Top Speed
I have to admit, the specs of the Schwinn Coston put me off at first because they really don’t seem all that jacked for an e-bike at this price point.
For example, it only has a 250-watt hub drive motor. Now, don’t get me wrong, as far as 250s go, this one's great, but, generally speaking, I would expect something a little beefier for the money.
In the top tier level of assist, I was reaching the top speed of 20 miles per hour on flat surfaces after about 20–25 seconds.
Tires & Terrain
They may not be full-blown fat tires, but the Schwinn’s tires are pretty chunky, which gives this rigid bike a bit of much-needed give when you’re tackling potholes or bumpy, grassy areas.
Their width provides tons of stability, and the tread pattern, though not too pronounced, is supremely effective, allowing you to take on some pretty questionable surfaces with confidence.
That said, with no dedicated suspension, applications are limited with the Coston. Would a fairly tame off-road trail be fine? Yes, but the really dynamic routes are out of the question, especially as it can be quite sluggish on inclines.
Battery & Range
Much like the motor, the battery fails to impress on specs alone. Weighing in at 6.8 lbs, with an output of 360 watts, it’s not exactly got much muscle to flex, but, again, it’s extremely high quality, and the way it’s seamlessly integrated into the down tube is a sign of real craftsmanship!
It has a two-step release system. First, you unlock it with one of the three included keys, causing it to fall ever so slightly from the frame. You then have to push a tab just above the battery cavity to fully uncouple it, but there isn’t much space to work with, so those with big hands may find this tricky.
If you’re conscientious with the power assist levels, you can eke out 48 miles on a single charge, but using the throttle will bring that figure down dramatically.
One of the benefits of a smaller battery capacity is that the battery charges quite quickly. I found that it takes about 5 hours to get a full charge to 100%, but you’re looking at something more to the tune of 4 if you catch it between 50 and 25%.
You get a throttle mode and 5 levels of power assist on the Schwinn Coston. 5 levels means you can dial in a sweet spot unique to each ride, which I love, but it’s the power assist that brings me to the most disappointing aspect of this bike, at least for me anyway.
The power assist modes limit the throttle, by which I mean, to max the throttle out, you need to be at level 5 assist. This just doesn’t make sense to me, as it’s a very responsive, variable speed throttle as it is.
The whole point of a variable speed throttle is that it overrides the assist in a flash to aid with inclines, getting up to speed after a red light, or catching up with fellow riders. If you have to fiddle with the assist first, it’s not really fit for purpose.
The controls are really something special on the Schwinn. To turn them on, you have to activate them with a button beneath the lower end of the down tube, which I think is an inventive way of preventing tampering, as there’s no way thieves will check that area for a power button.
The LCD has a perpetual backlight, which is great for low light condition rides, and the screen shows you all the critical info such as miles per hour, power assist level, and battery reserve.
In fact, the battery reserve gauge is split into five segments, giving you a much more accurate reading than the typical three.
At the base of the display, you have your variable information such as time, distance traveled, odometer, max speed, and average speed, which you can cycle through using the power button.
The integrated lights can also be controlled via the module on the handlebars. Just push and hold the “+” button, and voilà… Let there be light.
The module will even dim slightly to improve your night vision, which is very clever indeed. Push and hold the plus button once more, and the light bars on the down tube illuminate, too.
Holding the “-” button activates “Walk Mode”, which provides a very minimal assist to help you push the bike while walking, a nice little extra considering the weight of this bike (but more on that in just a bit).
Brakes, Suspension, & Handling
Although the front forks look a lot like a suspension, they’re just a streamlined bit of frame design, leaving you with nothing but the seat suspension to intercept impacts.
It does a commendable job, but one thing to bear in mind is that it raises the minimum seat height, so if you’re a smaller rider, you may not be able to set it up low enough.
On the brakes front, you get two 160 mm mechanical disc brakes with awesome stopping power, although the Coston spec sheet claims that the front disc would be 180 mm.
Overall, I’m happy with how this back handles. The tires keep things stable, and the angle of the head tube makes turning the handlebars nice and fluid. It’s a little bumpy, but the seat suspension helps to smooth things out a great deal.
Frame, Drivetrain, & Weight Capacity
Hats off to Schwinn, they’ve done a great job in terms of diversifying their frames. The Coston is available as a step-over or step-through design, and each shape is available in two sizes, so no matter your height, you’ll be able to find something that feels right for you.
It arrives with two high-quality, tubular aluminum fenders joined to the back rack and the frame by multiple connection points, so they're as sturdy as they come, but my toes were getting a little close to the front unit as I pedaled.
One thing I appreciate about this bike is that the handlebars are lifted by two risers (perhaps that’s just because I got the large), which really elevates your riding position and facilitates an upright body geometry, helping to stave off back pain.
The bike weighs 61.6 lbs, which is pretty heavy, especially for a model with a 7-speed shifter with no suspension, but, on the plus side, it does provide a pretty stable foundation for heavier riders.
The drivetrain is a pretty smooth system, but the microSHIFT derailleur seems like something of a downgrade from the Shimano units you usually find on e-bikes at this price. It shifts well, but it’s definitely an area Schwinn has tried to cut costs.
It does have a neat quick adjuster, though, which allows you to fine-tune the shifting function by hand when it eventually falls out of whack. The gear trigger system is also pretty cool. It’s a two-stroke system, allowing you to go up or down two gears at a time for super-efficient riding.
The seat on the Schwinn Coston looks pretty sweet, and it is for the first half an hour or so, but shortly thereafter, prepare yourself for some sore cheeks. As you’ll most likely be riding this bike for long periods of time, I’d recommend switching it for a plush aftermarket saddle.
Having said that, it does open up to reveal a cool little cavity you can use to store your phone, your wallet… any small items you may need to carry.
Value For Money
There are a lot of great things about this bike, but due to shortcomings such as the interplay between the throttle and assist levels, small battery and motor, some messy cables at the front, plastic pedals, and the affordable derailleur, I’m not sure if value for money is the right term.
The Final Verdict
The build quality of the Schwinn Coston really is second to none. I don’t really have a bad thing to say about the frame and the look of the bike, but I feel Schwinn has dropped the ball on some key areas, namely, the throttle being tied into the assist levels.
The small motor and battery are also quite hard to swallow considering the price tag, but despite my grievances, I do really enjoy riding this bike, and I would recommend it to those who want an extremely safe e-bike for standard uses like getting groceries or enjoying a nice long weekend ride in a scenic area.
I give the Schwinn Coston Electric Bike 3.8/5