Electric bike conversion kits 2023 – Give any bike a boost
Why pay for a brand new e-bike when electric bike conversion kits can easily give a boost to the bike you already have?
E-bikes have enabled people who need or want some pedal assistance to broaden the range and scope of their riding while making it easier than ever to choose sustainable and greener transport methods.
Whatever your reason for wanting pedal assistance — whether it makes cycling more accessible to you and your family, or you think you’ll have more fun with that boost. the e-bike market is vast and often requires a large upfront cost. So if you’re struggling to find an e-bike that suits you, and already have a bike at home, then you might consider an electric bike conversion kit instead.
Whichever option you go for, there’s no denying that the best electric bikes make it easier for riders to explore and experience different terrains and riding environments. Plus they offer a cheaper and greener form of transport to get you from A to B at a higher pace for less effort than a conventional bike, which is especially beneficial for those who are commuting or using them for work. The best electric bikes for commuting can make for a speedier and altogether less sweaty cycle to work, not to mention the money saved when compared to soaring fuel or rail fare prices.
But what if you’re not sure about which option to go for? If you’re weighing up an e-bike vs an e-bike conversion kit, consider whether you already have a bike that you love riding. Converting it means you can continue enjoying the same ride quality while introducing you to a new world of electrically-assisted fun.
To make all these decisions easier for you, we’ve outlined the key things to consider when fitting an electric conversion kit to your own bike, including the various motor and battery options available. We’ve tested as many as possible in real-world riding conditions, assessing how easy they are to fit, and what kind of electric assistance they provide.
So here are our findings, and our roundup of the best electric bike conversion kits you can buy right now.
Best electric bike conversion kits available now
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Reasons to avoid
A thorough purchase process ensures the product is easy to install, but it’s complicated so can take time
The first on our list is one we reviewed very recently and which really impressed us. The Cytronex electric bike conversion kit is extremely well thought-out, with great specs and top-notch engineering. You only need Allen keys to install it, it comes with an accompanying app to offer up basic diagnostics, and once it’s set up it’s a breeze to operate.
When purchasing, you’ll go through a thorough process, which can feel a bit over-complicated, but in doing so it means the actual conversion is a straightforward one. We tested out the Cytronex on a Brompton T-Line and found it delivered smooth and intuitive power. Plus, our hands-on time with it leads us to believe it’s strong and durable enough to use for commuting.
While it’s pricier than some of the options listed below, one thing to consider is that it comes from a UK-based company that offers comprehensive customer support. You can pay less for a Bafang kit on Amazon, but buying direct from a company that can support you if anything goes wrong, makes it a smarter choice in our view.
For an in-depth look, check out our Cytronex review.
Reasons to avoid
One of the easiest ways to convert a bike to electric is to swap out the front wheel for one with a front hub motor. This is the approach that Swytch takes, but there’s more to a good system than just a motor and battery. From our time testing and reviewing it, it’s clear to us that the team behind Swytch have considered the whole system in its design.
The battery mounts to the handlebars and we found that a really useful detail. It is easy to disconnect and take it away for storage, so it doesn’t get stolen when you are out and about, or to lighten the bike when, for example, it needs to be carried up a flight of stairs.
The 2022 Swytch system, which we tested, makes use of a neat handlebar-mounted LCD display instead of the buttons on the battery it had before. There’s also a cadence sensor that attaches to your bike. It’s a well-thought-out system that looks and feels great.
To read all about how it works, and find out why we gave it four stars, take a look at our Swytch review.
Reasons to avoid
If you’re on a tighter budget than the Cytronex or Swytch allow for, then as we mentioned above, getting a kit from Chinese manufacturer Bafang may be a better option. Plus, if you like the idea of an electric bike conversion kit but just don’t want to have to deal with the added complexity of a mid-drive setup, then the Bafang Front Hub kit makes things much easier.
Like the mid-drive system listed below, the Bafang Front Hub Motor kit covers everything required and gives tons of spec choices. We started by choosing our wheel size and display preference, then added the battery size and shape we wanted.
We did find it more of a time investment, given the installation process was more complex than the Cytronex, Swytch and Rubbee, but this did allow us to achieve a powerful, high-quality set-up.
To find out more about how we got on, read our Bafang Front Hub Motor review.
Reasons to avoid
There are a number of simple install options on the list but the Rubbee X takes it a step further. We were really impressed with how easy it was to attach the mount to the bike’s seat post and then click the unit into the mount. There’s no need to change the wheel like the Swytch system. Here the motor sits on top of the rear tyre and a roller pushes it around from above. There’s also a wireless cadence sensor, as this is a cadence-based system that adjusts based on pedalling cadence, rather than torque.
There is a slick-looking 250-watt motor with a single battery in the base kit. If the 10-mile range of the base unit feels a little constricting, another battery can be added to double the range. Rubbee also has a handy phone app that can be used to change assistance modes.
We’ve spent some time testing it out, so why not check out our Rubbee X e-bike conversion kit review for more details.
Reasons to avoid
Bafang is one of the largest and most well-known electric bike motor companies in the world. It’s been around since 2003, and in 2014 Bafang established a US arm to better support the US market. There are many well-known electric bike companies sourcing its components, so if you want to get in the game and source your own electric bike components, you won’t go far wrong with Bafang.
This particular option covers everything you need for a mid-drive motor conversion kit. As long as the bike you are starting with has a bottom bracket sized between 68 and 73mm, this kit will work. From there you can choose the front chainring size, the battery size, and what display works for you.
If you’re not sure whether or not a mid-drive motor conversion is what you need (or what other drive options there are), head down to our FAQs at the bottom of this article for an explanation of all the possibilities you can choose from.
Reasons to avoid
The most natural-feeling electric bike conversion kits are going to be those with a mid-mounted motor. If that works for you and you also like the idea of doing some pedalling, then the very best is a mid-mounted motor paired with a torque sensor.
Instead of the system knowing you are pedalling and adding power, such as the Rubbee X cadence-based system above, a torque-based system adds a percentage of power. The Max torque available on this TongSheng system is 80Nm but depending on your chosen assist level, that 80Nm will add between 36 and 300 per cent to your pedalling power.
To keep it simple, think about it as an amplifier. If you pedal harder you go faster, just like a normal bike, but now your muscles have extra support, so you can go further with less effort.
Reasons to avoid
If you like the idea of a mid-drive system and you want it to have torque-sensing pedal assist then you’ve got a few choices. The challenge with a system like that is complexity. For some people, it’s no big deal to take apart a bottom bracket, but for others, it’s a slightly more intimidating prospect.
The Pendix system does the same thing as other kits but there is a dealer network that handles sales, support, and installation. This comes with an extra cost attached, but the benefit is that you can feel comfortable that the system is correctly installed and ready to ride.
Types of e-bike conversion kits
Friction drive conversion
A friction drive e-bike conversion means there is a roller that pushes against the wheels tyre. So when the roller turns, the wheel turns. It’s not the most efficient strategy, but it’s simple and it works. There is very little involved with regard to making it work but, at the end of the day, it doesn’t work as well as other systems out there. The Rubbee X is an example of a friction drive conversion kit system.
The best electric bikes tend to be mid-drive because this delivers the most natural ride feel, and the same is true of conversion kits. The weight sits low in the frame and the power gets applied to the crank for a more natural power delivery sensation. The only downside is pricing and packaging, plus it can be complex to set up yourself. Different standards make it challenging to figure out exactly what you need, as well. The Bafang Mid Drive Motor Kit is an example of this.
Electric bike wheel conversion
Swapping either a front or rear wheel for one with a hub-mounted motor is a good balance. The conversion process is very simple and, depending on how the battery mounts, the weight distribution can be quite good. Powering the wheel does change the way the power delivery feels, and making the front wheel heavy can affect the handling of the bike. If mid-drive seems overwhelming, this is an excellent option. Cytronex and Swytch are examples of this.
How to choose the best electric bike conversion kit for you
If you’re interested in fitting an electric bike conversion kit to one of your own bikes, you should consider your own personal requirements first and do plenty of research. You’re in the right place, as this guide will help you with a lot of that.
Before anything, familiarise yourself with the laws regarding e-bikes in your region. Then you may want to choose a conversion kit based on your range and journey needs. If you live in a hilly city, for example, you may want something with a little more top-end power. Lastly, check whether or not the system is compatible with the bike you plan to fit it onto. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, think about getting a quote for installation from a reputable bike shop.
Do all electric bike conversion kits come with a battery?
The short answer is ‘not always’. You need a battery, of course, so when browsing online, make sure the kit you select has one included. Since not all kits include a battery, you might find yourself browsing through options and landing on something at an unbelievable price. If that’s the case, double check it’s got the battery included. If not, then it is possible to source the battery yourself, but be sure about what you are getting.
How fast do electric bikes go?
This is hard to answer specifically as electric bikes are, on the whole, designed to assist pedalling rather than replace it, and it is the same with electric bike conversion kits. The measurement of the power of the motors is in wattage and, in effect, the higher the wattage of the motor, the faster speeds it will be capable of achieving.
However, the speed is often limited as a result of country-specific regulations. In the UK, the assistance an e-bike can legally provide is up to 25kmph (15.5mph) and, after that point, the bike can go faster but without any assistance from the motor. Anything faster would not meet the UK’s electrically assisted pedal cycles (EAPC) criteria, would be classed as a moped or motorcycle, and need to be licensed and taxed appropriately. The laws are different depending on the country, with the United States, for example, allowing more powerful motors – although individual states have their own legal frameworks.
Which bike is best for electric conversion?
You should consider the condition and componentry of your old bike. With an electric motor dramatically increasing the torque, using a low-quality or worn drivetrain will result in poor performance, with shifting being affected and the chain skipping or even snapping. Another important consideration is the brakes, adding the extra weight of an electric bike conversion kit and increasing potential speeds will put more stress on the brakes as they try to curtail momentum. We recommend choosing to convert a bike that has disc brakes as they will provide far better braking performance.
I haven’t heard of a lot of these brands, are they safe to use?
In the world of electric bikes, there are a lot of brands you may not have ever heard of. There’s been a boom going on for a while, so new brands are popping up all the time. Not only that but Europe, and especially the US, are playing catch up to the trend of electric bikes. You will probably stumble across a lot of unfamiliar brand names.
Consumers have a tendency to look away when they encounter a new brand. It’s not a bad strategy most of the time but in the electric bike world, including conversion kits, you’ve got to be more open than that. If you aren’t open to names you’ve never heard of you will find the options limited. A lot of the names you may come across are unfamiliar to you but have a solid history behind them.
That doesn’t mean you should go forward blindly. Do your research and be careful with your money, like always. The only thing that might be different is the need for being open to new companies. At the very least be willing to look a little deeper, read reviews, and do some research. The brand you’ve never heard of might actually be a well-established brand from a different part of the world.
Is converting my bike to an electric bike worth it?
There are plenty of reasons to install an electric bike conversion kit to your current bike, but the question of whether it’s worth doing is going to depend on your circumstances.
For many kits, once the installation has been completed, it will be an arduous task to remove it again, so one of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself is whether or not you want to retain the ability to use the bike as a ‘normal’ bike. If you expect to be flitting between the two (powered and non-powered) then a kit that can simply be folded out of the way – like the Rubbee X – might be perfect, but you might instead prefer to simply buy a second bike for the convenience.
The second question is to assess the state of your current bike. If you don’t yet have one, then the cost of buying a bike, buying an electric bike conversion kit and then fitting it, is probably not going to be worth the time, effort, or money involved. However, if you have a bike that is in reasonable repair, then the value for money – and effort – will be greater.
Beyond the financial and practical element, the question of ‘is it worth it’ will also depend on the amount of use you get out of it. E-bikes can be incredibly motivating and enjoyable and if converting your standard bike to electric helps you to ditch the car on a regular basis, then the answer becomes clear.
If you want a monetary answer to this question, then there are ways to work out whether the investment is worth it. Take a moment to think about your current car usage and work out the cost per day/mile, including fuel, parking and running costs. Try to work out how many journeys, days or miles you will use the bike for after it is converted. Once you know this, you should be able to work out the reduction in car running costs per mile/day and, with that, you should be able to work out how many miles/days it will take for the electric bike conversion kit to pay for itself.
Should I just buy an electric bike instead?
Remember to consider all your options. You have a bike in the shed you haven’t touched for many years and it seems like a perfect candidate for conversion to an electric bike. It might be, but it’s also just as possible that it’s a better candidate for a sale. Sometimes it’s better to take the money from that sale and put it towards an electric bike someone else built.
As with anything, consideration for the end-use during design and build can have advantages. A quality electric bike conversion kit might end up being very close to the price of a complete electric bike. If a company starts with a clean slate and designs an electric bike, it’s easier to keep costs low and integration high. Really consider why you are thinking about converting your bike and whether it makes sense compared to what’s on the market. In some cases, it will but in others, it won’t.
Are electric bike conversion kits legal?
The kits themselves are entirely legal, and fitting them to your bike is equally so. However, the question of legality arises in relation to where you then plan to use your newly powered electric bike. The answer will vary hugely, depending on where in the world you’re based, and which kit you choose.
For example, in the US, there are different classes of e-bikes that vary by their power, speed limitations and whether or not they have a throttle, and each class is subject to different rules. Things are a little more simple elsewhere, with the UK stating that anything with a speed limiter of over 25km/h is classified as a moped, while anything up to 25km/h (15.5mph) is classed as a bicycle.
Before you complete any purchase, make sure you have an understanding of the local laws that govern electric bikes, which is where our guide to e-bike classes comes in handy.
How do you install an e-bike conversion kit?
Sadly, there is no single and simple answer to this question. Each electric bike conversion kit works in a different way and therefore fits onto your bike in a different way too.
The most simple options are the friction-drive kits, such as the Rubbee X, which place a roller onto your rear tyre. In the example of the Rubbee, you simply need to mount the device onto your seat post, with the roller placed against the tyre. However, more complex systems require the removal of drivetrain components and wheels, and the installation of wiring. These are far from impossible, but they may require some tools and a bit of patience.
How much does an electric bike conversion kit cost?
will depend very much on the conversion kit in question. Some are available for as little as £250 (350), while the more high-spec and integrated kits can fetch as much as £750 (900).
Will a bike shop fit my electric bike conversion kit?
It’s understandable that you might not want to take on the arduous task of fitting your electric bike conversion kit yourself. You might not have the tools, the know-how, the confidence, or simply the time to invest. Luckily, almost all bike shops will be happy to fit it for you.
Some systems, such as the Pendix kit listed above, are only sold via physical stores and the fitting is sold as part of the overall package. However, with kits bought online such as the Bafang kit, the shop will charge you for the time it takes, which will add to the cost of the overall conversion. In our opinion, knowing that it’s been done correctly and safely is worth spending extra.
Some bike shops or workshops also may refuse to install a conversion kit to a bike they consider unfit for purpose or potentially unsafe. If you plan to have your local shop fit a kit it may be worth consulting with them on the job first to make sure they are happy to do it for you.
Individuals carrying out the instructions in this guide do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement. There is a risk to safety if the operation described in the instructions is not carried out with the appropriate equipment, skill and diligence and therefore you may wish to consult a bike mechanic. Future Publishing Limited provides the information for this project in good faith and makes no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future Publishing Limited, its suppliers or any of their employees, agents or subcontractors shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information, provided that nothing shall exclude or limit the liability of any party for personal injury or death caused by negligence or for anything else which cannot be excluded or limited by law.
Overview of Schwinn Electric Bikes
Never before has an electric bike been as easy to use as one of the four Schwinn electric bikes. These step-through frames are as comfortable as ever, with a host of features to make your first-ever e-bike ride as smooth as possible.
In this Schwinn electric bike review, we’re going to tell you all about Schwinn’s electric bike line-up, and who it’s designed for.
Schwinn’s electric bikes are designed for beginners and first-time e-bike riders. But they are also perfect for experienced riders who want to get around town or tow some luggage a little bit easier.
Each Schwinn electric bike has a powerful motor, pedal-assist, and throttle modes to choose from, and an extended range of at least 35 miles.
We’re going to tell you all the similarities and differences between the four Schwinn e-bikes, so stay tuned.
Schwinn Electric Bikes
From electric mountain bikes to unique cruisers and hybrid electric bikes, Schwinn has a range of six electric bikes for casual bike riders.
Schwinn has designed a strong line-up of affordable sporty electric hybrids that are perfect for commuting, light off-road trails, and errand-running, all on a comfortable ride. Specific add-ons like fenders, a rear rack, and a cushioned seat make Schwinn e-bikes some of the most comfortable electric bikes on the market.
But if you want an even more comfortable ride – a bike that makes for a relaxing cruise along the beach – Schwinn offers their cruiser electric bikes.
These bikes are best on pavement, and offer a super comfortable ride and totally upright position, making them ideal for older riders or those with limited mobility. These frames also feature a step-through design which makes it super easy to get onto or off of the saddle.
Schwinn e-bikes have a range from 20-45 miles depending on the model, and 288-360 Wh batteries. Most Schwinn electric bikes can hit a top speed of 20mph (except for one) and some models come with throttle assist.
While each and every Schwinn electric bike comes with a step-through frame, some come with more accessories than others, such as integrated LED lights, fenders, or a rear rack.
From the Coston DX to the Schwinn Mendocino, the Schwinn electric bike line-up covers anything from on-road to off-road, from a casual cruise to running errands with the kids.
The Schwinn Marshall is a step-through and standover hybrid designed for commuting and light adventuring.
Its 288 Wh battery is internally housed in the downtube and can power the Marshall for 35 miles per charge (which takes just 4 hours). The motor is a 250W brushless geared hub drive motor, and you can control all the power from the 7-function LCD controller.
With a top speed of 20mph and the choice of pedal-assist or throttle power modes, you will have plenty of choices when it comes to unleashing the power of the motor. The MicroShift components offer great value at this price point, as does the KMC chain and 42T crank.
The Marshall has a 6061 aluminum frame with internal cable routing, along with JAK 7 mechanical disc brakes with a 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear rotor. At the front of the Schwinn Marshall is a 27.5”, Hi-Ten steel fork with 100m travel. This offers plenty of cushion for off-road riding, or in case you hit any potholes on the way to work.
Lastly, the Marshall comes with integrated LED frame light and headlight, but with just a battery taillight.
There are no fenders or a rear rack on the Marshall, which is one of the biggest differences between this Schwinn electric bike and the Schwinn Coston electric bike.
The Schwinn Mendocino is the outlier in the Schwinn electric bikes line-up. This is a step-through cruiser rather than a hybrid.
Despite what you might expect, this e-bike cruiser actually has great performance capabilities, including a 45-mile range powered by a 313 Wh battery that is more powerful than the Marshall’s.
This super casual e-bike keeps its battery mounted in the included rear rack, and uses a pedal-assist and throttle drive system with a max speed of 20mph.
The controller is just a two-function LED controller, which helps guide the 250W hub drive motor.
Different components are present through the Mendocino, including the Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and Shimano REVOSHIFT 6-speed, twist shifters. The crank is a three-piece 42T, mounted on the 6061 aluminum frame with internal cable routing. Slightly different again is the fork which is a 26” Hi-Ten steel, 100mm bolt-on.
Mechanical disc brakes help provide plenty of stopping power, whereas one of the standout features is the rear rack which has a 55lb. capacity.
Schwinn Coston CE
Schwinn offers a mid-range hybrid electric bike in the Coston CE, with components, features, and capabilities in between the Marshall and the Coston DX. Sharing the same 288 Wh battery as the Marshall, the Coston CE has a 35-mile range and can hit a top speed of 20mph.
The biggest difference between the Coston CE and the Marshall are the lights, fork, and accessories.
While the Marshall has only an integrated LED frame light and headlight, with a battery taillight, the Coston CE has an integrated LED frame light, with head and taillights mounted to the included fenders. This creates a more seamless look and functionality with both the front and rear lights.
As opposed to the Marshall Hi-Ten steel fork with 100mm of travel, the Coston CE has a 27.5” steel suspension fork with 63mm of travel. Other components include the 7-speed MicroShift groupset. The JAK 7 mechanical disc brakes with 180mm front rotor and 160mm rear rotor.
The Schwinn Coston CE electric bike shares the same 6061 aluminum frame with internal cable routing as all the other Schwinn electric bikes and comes with the same 7-function LCD controller and pedal-assist and throttle drive system as the Schwinn Marshall. The Coston CE’s battery is a bit smaller, whereas the 250W motor is just as powerful as the other Schwinn e-bikes.
Schwinn Coston DX
At the very top of the Schwinn electric bike range is the Coston DX. This electric bike is available as step-through and standover options that cover everything from the morning commute to the evening trail ride. powerful than all the other Schwinn e-bikes, the Coston DX has a 360Wh battery with a 45-mile range and a top speed of 20mph.
The standout features are the integrated LED frame light, head, and taillights, plus fenders, a rear rack, and a storage saddle which isn’t included with any other electric Schwinn bike.
However, the same 250W brushless geared hub drive motor is present, as well as the 7-function LCD controller. It’s the large battery with a five-hour recharge time that separates the Coston DX from the others.
Instead of a front suspension, the Coston DX has a 27.5” Alloy rigid fork, creating a stiffer ride but with better speed and power transfer. Components are MicroShift 7-speed shifters, KMC chain, and JAK 7 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm front and rear rotors. The frame is the same 6061 aluminum with internal cable routing.
Healy Ridge 26
Up next is the Healy Ridge 26 electric mountain bike. Finding it on Schwinn’s lineup can be difficult, as they are somewhat hidden.
Now, the Healy Ridge bikes are not what we’re used to seeing when it comes to electric mountain bikes, but they are perfect for beginners.
Healy Ridge’s 250W motor and 280Wh battery offer a range of 25 miles, and the maximum speed on this bike can reach 20mph.
The 18-speed drivetrain ensures smooth sailing. In addition, the mechanical disc brakes (with 160mm rotors) give plenty of stopping power.
The 280Wh battery gives enough juice for up to 25miles, which might not seem much, but it’s perfect for weekend adventures.
Healy Ridge 24
Healy Ridge 24 is the perfect option for short riders, the 24″ heels make this bike suitable for riders who are 4’8″ – 5’6″ in height
Ultimately, the Healy Ridge 24 is a perfect entry-level option for teenagers and electric bike beginners.
Similarly to Healy Ridge 26, this bike has a 250W motor and 280Wh battery at your service. Sadly, the range and top speed are not as high.
Overall, the bike is pretty similar to its 26-inch wheel model. The only big differences come in the form of smaller wheels and a slightly smaller range.
All in all, this bike offers good performance and quality for its price.
Does Schwinn make good e-bikes?
Yes, Schwinn makes a variety of high-quality hybrid and cruiser e-bikes that are perfect for commuting, errands, or cruises through town. These bikes are best for beginners and casual riders, as they are set up with an upright riding position and comfortable frame geometry. Many of the bikes also feature accessories such as integrated LED lights, front suspension, rear racks, and fenders.
How fast does a Schwinn electric bike go?
All Schwinn electric bikes have a top speed of 20mph.
How much does a Schwinn electric bike cost?
The cheapest Schwinn electric bikes are the Mendocino and Marshall which each cost 1,599.99. The Coston CE is Schwinn’s mid-range electric bike, available for 1,799.99. At the top of the Schwinn electric bike range is the Coston DX which costs 2,099.99.
Schwinn electric bikes are some of the best casual e-bikes on the market which fit a variety of riders from beginners to the experienced.
Each frame is available in step-through form and includes wide tires, integrated lights, upright positioning, and a powerful motor. With every Schwinn electric bike, there is the option of using pedal-assist or throttle. Most bikes have a range of 35-45 miles.
First-time electric bike buyers have a number of great options at Schwinn, especially at the relatively low price tags.
To sum up, many of the Schwinn electric bikes include accessories and features that are worth hundreds of dollars, and the Mendocino electric cruiser bike is quite a rare find. For comfortable and affordable e-bikes, go with one of the four Schwinn electric bikes.
Schwinn Electric Bikes Review — Surprisingly Good
Schwinn electric bikes are some of the best value and most reliable models available. They come in three types, Mendocino, Marshall, and Coston, with step-through and step-over models available.
range from 1,499 to 1,999 and while the individual models are quite different, the level of components is similar across the range, with the major difference coming in the size of the battery and a few extras like rear racks, lights, and fenders.
The Marshall and Coston models are considered hybrids, while Mendocino is a cruiser-style e-bike.
However, each Schwinn eBike is built with comfort as one of the main characteristics.
About Schwinn bikes
Schwinn is the longest operating and one of the oldest bike manufacturers in North America, established in 1895. For more than a century company has been at the forefront of bicycle engineering helping athletes set records and regular cyclists get around in style.
The company’s most renowned for its Stingray model in the 1950s and for being one of the first to design a BMX style bike and build a team around those bikes.
In 2019, the company finally entered the electric bike market with a line of Schwinn eBikes for every type of rider. Now they are producing electric bikes with all of the quality and value for which the brand has come to be known.
The Mendocino is a Schwinn beach cruiser electric bike is a smooth-rolling comfort bike that is perfectly suited to urban riding and relaxed rides along your local bike paths.
The electronics on this bike include a 250W brushless hub drive motor and a 313Wh battery. This combination provides up to 45 miles of range on a single charge when used with the 6-speed Shimano drivetrain. The controller on this bike has several pedal assist levels and an assisted speed limit of 20mph.
The frame used is a lightweight aluminum 6061 with upright geometry and a low step-through top tube. This design along with shock-absorbent tires and mechanical disc brakes make the Mendocino a very comfortable and controlled ride.
Additionally, the bike is fully equipped with fenders and a rear rack to make commuting or running errands simple and easy.
A Few Downsides
- The motor is quite small and has limited torque of around 30Nm meaning that it doesn’t provide great power for climbing hills
- There are no preinstalled, battery-powered LED lights
- The included pedals are low-quality
Schwinn Marshall Electric Bike
Of the Schwinn electric bicycles, the Marshall is the cheapest model they sell. However, the bike doesn’t sacrifice much compared to the other models, it just has a slightly smaller battery and overall range.
For a 1500 hybrid, this bike still has a respectable max range of around 35 miles thanks to the 288W integrated battery. Additionally, this battery charges in just four hours. The motor used is the same one you will see across this Schwinn electric bike review, a 250W rear-hub drive.
Other notable features of this bike include integrated “be seen” LED lights, powerful mechanical disc brakes, a 7-speed Shimano drivetrain, as well as grippy, 650b urban tires.
Finally, the 650 tires combine well with upright geometry and front fork suspension to give this bike an enjoyable ride quality, making it a great choice for any rider who likes to ride both on the road and on light trails.
A Few Downsides
- The Marshall doesn’t have a throttle, fenders, or a pannier rack
- A small motor and short battery range make it difficult to take this bike on longer, hilly rides.
The Coston is Schwinn’s most expensive e-bike thanks to its superior battery power and throttle for fully electric riding.
With a 360Wh Schwinn eBike battery, you can expect ranges up to 45 miles on one charge. As with all of the company’s e-bikes, the Coston has a 250W rear hub motor which delivers back speeds of 20mph with either the throttle or pedal assistance. By using the 7-speed drivetrain you will be able to get the most out of your motor and battery.
A notable feature of this bike is its large storage and carrying capacity. It comes with a rear pannier rack and a stealthy under-seat storage compartment which allows you to store small items that you want to keep close.
The frame on this bike is a lightweight 6061 aluminum with a steel fork to increase shock absorption. Other Schwinn electric bicycle parts include mechanical disc brakes and grippy 650b tires, integrated LED lights, and fenders. The Coston CE model also has a 100mm travel suspension fork.
A Few Downsides
- No fork suspension, unlike the cheaper CE model
- Hydraulics disc brakes should be included at this price
S/M – 5’2″ – 5’7″ L/X – 5’8″ – 6’4″
Schwinn Mendocino eBike Review: A Step-Thru Model for Throttle Lovers
The first look at the Mendocino from Schwinn doesn’t give that e-bike vibe that we are used to. When reviewing it, I found that this must have been their plan for their target market right out of the box.
What Does Riding the Schwinn Mendocino eBike Feels Like?
People who are used to traditional bikes will quickly take a liking to this one. If you are just starting with bicycles too, the Mendocino is a fine hybrid experience that gives you the best of both electric and non-electric worlds.
Here are some of the things that you should care about as they impact your daily commutes and experience with it.
Build and design
Perhaps the first thing that stands out is how it looks like a non-electric one. For those that see it as an eBike, you would also find the battery placement interesting.
The brand made this fairly tall model look like a standard one. They only carried a battery as cargo – and they nailed that look.
I suppose they are trying to appeal to traditional bike lovers who would like an extra push whenever they need to climb a hill or make a quick run.
Tipping the scales at around 50lbs (23 kg), the decision to use a step-thru aluminum frame on this bike paid off. That doesn’t mean you would be carrying the bike around anytime soon, but it shows that you won’t have a weight-pull problem when taking corners and conquering curves.
Not to leave it without some extra flair, this model features functional fenders to prevent splashes when riding while also adding to the aesthetic appeal of the bike.
How do the battery and motor compare?
Schwinn has a 313Wh battery on this unit, which is slightly different from what I see on similar models in the industry.
Considering they only pair just a 250W motor, though, that choice of battery seems justified. Now, I say sparingly since the bike still has enough power to improve the quality of your ride and even haul a truckload of cargo behind you; at this rating, the cycle is promised to offer as much as 45 miles (72 km) on a single charge.
Note that getting this range will be dependent on factors such as:
– Weight of the additional cargo that the rider is pulling;
– The pedal assist level has been used;
– The terrain you are riding the bike on; and
– How well your battery can hold a charge, among other things.
In real-world usage, this bike can reliably get up to 35 miles range with each charge as long as you don’t put too much load on the motor and you are not at the highest pedal assist level.
Riding the Mendocino model
Like I said in the opening parts of this review, this electric bicycle feels like a direct crossover from the traditional world into the electric scene.
Riding it reminds me of what it was like to use a traditional version, but the motor helps to make your commute easier.
That said, this is just what the bike does: it makes your commute easier.
If you were looking for an off-road / mountain-capable bike, this is not the one for you. If you do, I recommend looking at the Specialized Turbo Levo SL eMTB 2022.
Its wheels are not designed for any serious off-roading, and the rest of the build is not in line with such activities either.
You might struggle a little with hills on this one too. If hills were a problem for the 750W TurboAnt Fat Tire eBike on throttle only mode, you should know that the Mendocino version won’t fare any better.
This is not all bad news. If you only commute to and from work, the grocery store, nearby parks, or just go on neighborhood bike rides, this one is more than enough for you.
Another reason why you won’t want to take this off-road is the obvious lack of a suspension system, especially on the front. This leads to poor vibration and stress management, transferring any feedback from bumps and uneven ground into the bike itself, as well as your arms and body.
When commuting on even land and tarred roads, you would barely notice the vibration though. That provides a strong argument for Schwinn’s target market in class when coming up with this design.
Speed and mileage
This model promises you a speed of up to 20mph (32 km/h) with pedal assistance, which is plenty enough for most bike rides anyway.
To keep the speed at this level, the rear hub 250W motor will cut out once the top speed is reached (so that it maintains its class 1 ratings).
You can pedal to get higher speed levels, but the motor won’t assist anymore.
If you would be doing city riding and commutes, I don’t see why you need to go past that speed range anyway.
You can get better speed and navigate different terrain by changing the gears as needed. If you are coming from another electric bike with a gear system, you should quickly be familiar with the Shimano 6-speed shifter.
Most e-bikes use an 8-speed system from Shimano, but the 6-speed option is no slouch either.
As long as you don’t overload the 50lbs bike nor run it at the highest pedal assist for too long, you should get between 35-45 miles on it per charge.
If you are using the highest pedal assist level, you might be seeing mileages in the range of 20-30 miles per charge.
The good news is that you can continue to ride it normally once the battery drains, so you are not stranded without a charge.
How easy is to operate it?
I like a reasonably easy bicycle to use and handle, and this version ticks those boxes.
For the price, I would have loved to see an interactive LED screen. Instead, we get a control console on the left handlebar, which houses the following:
The company also throws in a walk-mode assist (the 6km button) if you want to walk alongside your bike as it trudges along.
On the right handlebar is the 6-speed Shimano gear system with an easy-to-access thumb shifter. Once you ride it a few times, you might not need to look down to locate the gear shifter anymore. On top of that, you can always tell what gears you are running from the device’s screen.
Most of the bikes that I have seen in this range usually opt to have their batteries below the seat (usually packed to the headtube). This placement also puts the battery away while protecting it better from the rain.
A rear storage compartment placement makes it easier to remove and replace the battery in the Mendocino. Still, I doubt that it keeps it safer from splashes and accidental contact.
When you load anything onto the rear rack, it might get punctured or be in the way of liquid leaks, among other things.
One of the things that I love the most about this ebike is the ride height. Allowing for users from mid-five feet to 6 feet tall, the majority of adults won’t have a problem mounting and enjoying this model.
Even though it looks tall off the ground, you would soon find out that it is not all that intimidating to ride at all.
This Schwinn model ships with industry-standard mechanical disk brakes, which do a great job.
These are the same kinds of brakes found on fat tire e-bikes (like the Ecotric Dolphin and TurboAnt 750W fat-tire eBike) so you know that they will get the job done.
As always, I recommend spending some time with the bike to understand your brakes better.
Schwinn ships this unit with OEM brake lights to alert others on the road to your presence and tells drivers behind you to slow down when you are doing so. The lights will also add a safety element to your ride in low visibility.
You don’t get front lights from the manufacturer, which is rather saddening, but you could install some aftermarket options.
Is the Schwinn Mendocino eBike Worth Your Money?
If you are looking for the ultimate eBike experience, this might not be your bike. If you are shopping for something that does off-road and handles city commutes simultaneously, I would suggest you check out the Super 73 S2 instead.
However, this one is more than ideal for those who love what they can get from a traditional bike but need to take some of the pedaling stress off.
What it doesn’t have in extra power and off-road capabilities, it makes up for in its mileage, comfort of commute, and natural bike riding appeal, among other things.