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Schwinn Coston CE electric bike review: Why don’t more e-bikes have these awesome frame lights?

Schwinn’s electric bicycle line has significantly expanded over the last couple years. When I first started riding electric Schwinns, I was largely limited to cruiser e-bikes. But with several new commuter-specific e-bikes like the Schwinn Coston CE that I recently tested, this household bicycle name is making a big move on the wider e-bike market.

The Schwinn Coston CE falls in the middle of its e-bike model line, offering a slight upgrade over the Schwinn Marshall but without some of the features found on the higher-end Coston DC.

It’s basically the Goldilocks option, offering enough performance and functionality for everyday commuters without pushing the price too high.

It may not compete head to head with many of the direct-to-consumer companies, but it represents a big jump for Schwinn’s e-bike line and may just fit the right commuter looking for an e-bike with these features.

Speaking of which, check out my video below to see the bike’s performance and features in action, including those cool frame lights.

Schwinn Coston CE electric bike video review

Schwinn Coston CE e-bike tech specs

Motor: 250W rear geared hub motor
Top speed: 32 km/h (20 mph)
Range: Up to 56 km (35 mi)
Battery: 36V 8Ah (288 Wh)
Weight: 25 kg (56 lb.) with battery
Frame: Aluminum
Tires: 27.5 x 2.6-inch
Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes
Extras: Pedal assist and throttle riding options, LED head light, tail light and battery side lights, Microshift 7-speed transmission, front suspension fork, included fenders, two frame sizes available
Price: Currently $1,799

schwinn coston ce electric bike review

What does this bike offer?

The Schwinn Coston CE is very much a commuter electric bike, but it’s not one of those thin-wheeled messenger e-bikes.

With 2.6″ tires, you’ve got a lot of air and rubber under you to tackle more than just well-manicured bicycle lanes. Hitting curbs or potholes will be smoother than most pure commuter bikes, especially considering the inclusion of the front suspension fork and suspension seat post.

And with a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) combined with both throttle and pedal assist functionality, this Class 2 e-bike will help you fly around the city quickly and effortlessly (if you rely on the throttle).

As a commuter e-bike, I’m also glad to see some good commuter specific parts, like the included fenders and the excellent lighting. Not only do you get typical head and taillights, but you also have LED frame lights built into the sides of the battery. That adds a nice nighttime glow to the bike to give you better side visibility – an area where most bikes are lacking.

It looks just odd enough for drivers to take a second look in a “what the heck is that thing?” kind of way. A second look is invaluable as a rider, where we’d often even be grateful for a first look from drivers.

A 7-speed transmission from Microshift also adds to the commuter street-cred, giving those in hilly areas the ability to run through the gears on hills.

That being said, the small-ish 250W motor isn’t going to be a powerhouse on hills. The bike accelerates fine on flat ground, but you’ll definitely need to add some leg assist if you’re going to be climbing tall hills.

The low power motor is matched by a low capacity battery. With just 288 Wh of capacity, the battery surprised me, and not in a good way. Sure, I’ve seen plenty of e-bikes with 288 Wh batteries before. It’s just that they’re usually on smaller, lightweight e-bikes that push the needle considerably less on the scale.

So to offer a full-size electric bike with otherwise nice commuter features yet with such a small battery is a bit surprising.

I’m sure that keeping it in low pedal assist will still net riders the claimed maximum of 35 miles that Schwinn promises. But I didn’t do that. I’m not about to pedal around in the lightest pedal assist setting all day, especially since this isn’t a high power e-bike to begin with. So if you’re using liberal throttle, keep in mind that you’re going to wind up with limited range.

The bike itself feels well built. Nothing feels cheap, plastic-y, or vulnerable to quick failure. It all seems like a robust and well-built electric bike. You also get two different frame sizes to choose from, which is a big upgrade over the single one-size-fits-all frames that many e-bike companies still offer.

And perhaps the robust built and frame size options are why Schwinn is charging so much for it. At a MSRP of $1,799 on Schwinn’s site or the same price on Amazon, it feels a bit rich for my blood when considering the pure specs. At that price, there’s a huge argument for saving a hundred bucks on something like the Ride1Up 700 Series, while simultaneously getting triple the power and battery capacity, hydraulic brakes and other nice parts.

So I can’t say that the Schwinn wins on value here. But that doesn’t mean the bike doesn’t have a place. The features like the neat integrated lighting are rarely seen in the industry and are a definite win. And the build quality feels like it should stand the test of time.

I just wish the bike was several hundred bucks cheaper so I could tell you that this was a deal. Because at this price, it’s not the deal I had hoped for.


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