Like millions of other people, my very first bike was a Schwinn. For years I’ve ridden a Schwinn single-speed cruiser as my “hop on to run errands or grab a beer” bike. The company has probably the best name recognition of any American cycling manufacturer among the general population, so it makes perfect sense that with so many people buying their first ebike, Schwinn is diving headfirst into that hot market.
For decades, Schwinn primarily traded on value and nostalgia, and while they always put out a decent bike, few considered it a true performance brand. But that could change with its new Coston DX ebike? Could it be in the running for the best electric bike in the US?
The Coston DX is Schwinn’s flagship electric model, priced at $2,099.99 (roughly £1,550 / AU$2,900). Sitting above its Coston CE, Marshall and Mendocino cruiser electric models, it also benefits from the largest battery of all models, giving it the greatest range.
Schwinn Coston DX review: design and features
The Coston DX shares a lot of similarities with many of the other hybrid/commuter ebikes. The 360-watt battery is integrated into the aluminum frame, making it much more aesthetically pleasing than earlier ebikes that just bolted the battery to a standard bike frame.
Buyers have a choice between two sizes – S/M for riders between 5ft 2 inches and 5ft 7 inches and L/XL for taller riders up to about 6ft 4 inches – as well as a step-thru or top-tube frame. The streamlined frame itself isn’t svelte by any means, but rather solid, with nice welds. People returning to riding after many years won’t be intimidated by this bike or feel that it’s going to break underneath them. That stability is reinforced by the wide 2.6-inch-wide tires mounted to 27.5-inch wheels.
The 250-watt pedal-assist motor built into the rear hub has five levels of assist, with a maximum assist of 20 mph. The battery has a purported 45-mile range; fully depleted, it should recharge in about five hours using a standard electrical outlet.
The Microshift 7-speed drive train and Jak mechanical disc brakes were great choices to help keep the overall cost of the bike down. A shock underneath the wide saddle provides some relief from bumpy roads. Fenders, lights and rear rack all come standard on the Coston DX. I love the light strips that run the length of the battery, serving as a secondary light. Not only does it add to the rider safety, but it also just looks cool.
Schwinn Coston DX review: performance and versatility
Cycling through the lower pedal-assist modes, I never felt as if I was struggling to pedal the stocky Coston DX. Going up to the mid- and higher-assist range, I had zero problems maintaining 20 mph on the flats, and the motor didn’t struggle with hills either. I maintained a solid 17 to 18 mph going up most inclines with just a little extra effort pedaling. If you don’t live in a hilly area or max out the pedal-assist every ride, you should get at least 35-40 miles each charge.
The Coston DX’s motor was smooth to engage at every assist level. I never felt as if I was being hurled forward like some bikes I’ve tested. However, the throttle was sluggish and was slow getting up to speed. Schwinn engineers should consider forgoing it when it comes time to refresh the bike in the coming years.
Given its weight and wide base, the handling on the Coston DX wasn’t as responsive as several other ebikes that I’ve tested in recent years. Luckily, I don’t think Schwinn’s core audience will be diving into corners or riding shoulder-to-shoulder at speed.
With Schwinn being a major mass-market player, the Coston DX is available both from retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods as well as direct from its website. The bike shipped mostly assembled, and I was able to complete the build in about 20 minutes or so. If you don’t consider yourself very handy, you may want to buy a pre-assembled bike in store.
Schwinn Colston DX review: verdict
When I originally saw the Coston DX’s list price, I thought Schwinn might have overshot its mark. But, compared to similarly equipped bikes from other manufacturers, it actually offers a decent all-around value. The Coston DX would make an ideal commuter or general-purpose ebike for most people. In fact, it might be time to retire my old Schwinn single-speed in favor of this new model.
Schwinn Colston DX review: also consider
The Charge XC is a similar e-bike option that’s both more versatile and more expensive. Likewise, the Priority Current offers a faster top speed (28 mph after some tinkering with the computer) and a more responsive ride, but it also costs $1,200 more than the Schwinn Coston DX.