Schwinn has made bicycles for over 100 years. In 2019 they went electric and now are back with the new electric on and off-road options: the Marshall, Coston CE and Coston DX electric bikes.
We tested the Marshall electric bike on pavement, gravel and dirt to see how Schwinn’s new models stack up against the growing number of ebike options.
The Marshall looks like a mountain bike with a comfy cruiser feel to it. A step-thru version offers a slightly lower top bar than the regular version.
The 5 pedal assist levels on the 250 watt motor takes you up to 50km per charge. The twist shift easily moves through 7 gears to get up hills easier or cruise faster on the flats. Mechanical disc brakes front and back do the stopping.
- Pedal assist up to 32 km/h (20 mph)
- Up to 50km (35 miles) per charge
- 250 watt brushless geared hub drive
- 288 watt-hour internal battery with 21700 cells
- LED headlight
- Battery taillight
- 7-speed twist shift
- Mechanical disc brakes (180mm front, 160mm rear)
- Front fork with 100mm travel
- Blue and silver colours
- 2 sizes – Small/Medium (5’2″ to 5’7″) and Large/Extra Large (5’8″ to 6’4″)
- S/M 52.8 pounds, L/XL 55 pounds
- $1499 USD
- Easy to put together
- Removable battery with upgrade options
- Front suspension
- Powered headlight
- Tail light just battery powered
Throttle and Power Assist Levels
The Marshall ebike has a throttle and 5 pedal assist levels. The pedal assist level only affects the boost you get when pedalling, not the throttle speed.
In addition to the 5 assist levels, there are 7 gears. I really like the pedal assist and gear combination. On slow steep hills or trails a lower gear with a bit of assist keeps you moving. The lowest gear is a nice big ring in the back for helping on those hills.
Then cruising city streets the higher pedal assist and gears help you get up to the 20mph pedal assist limit. It’s easy to switch through the 7 gears with the twist or grip shift. It moves easily and quickly move through the gears. I had to adjust my derailleur a bit on the first ride out so all the gears hit just right but once it was adjusted it was smooth.
The motor stops assisting when you hit 32 km/h (20mph) with the throttle or pedalling. You can still pedal faster but the motor won’t assist. For most of my riding around trails and small paths in the city, the 32 km/h motor limit is plenty. For open road riding with traffic you may hit 32 km/h regularly.
The throttle helps on flat ground or very small hills. The 250 watt motor can’t push much up bigger hills but it’s a lovely help when you’re pedalling. I spend most of my time on dirt roads in assist level 2 in 2nd or 3rd gear. For the big hills it was a quick shift to the nice, easy first gear.
Battery and Charging
The battery is a 288 watt-hour battery built with 21700 cells which takes about 4 hours to charge.
There’s a port in the side of the frame where you can charge it without removing, or you can use the keys to pull out battery and charge separately.
The battery fits inside the bottom tube of the bike which gives it a sleek look.
A small, easy to use console is on the left side of the handlebar. It’s got 3 buttons, up down and a power/enter button in the middle.
The up and down are mostly for adjusting the pedal assist levels up and down.
The middle power/enter button turns the bike on while holding it. The battery has to be on before turning the bike on which got me the first time I tried.
By default, the console shows the battery left, speed, total distance and pedal assist level.
How does it feel on the road?
The Marshall feels great on the road. Turning takes a little bit to get used to as it is a little more top-heavy than a regular bike with the battery. After a few minutes it’s just like riding a normal bike.
I like how the Marshall is a bit more upright than a standard mountain bike but in a better position for standing than a cruiser. It’s easy to get used to for anyone riding.
I got the version with the higher top bar. It’s still lower than many mountain bikes making it easier to get on and off, especially on awkward spots on the trail.
How does it feel on the trail?
Without knobby tires, the Marshall isn’t going too far into mud or snow, but it is great for easier trails and dirt roads. My testing has been done on gravel roads and wet, muddy trails at around 5° C with a bit of snow on the ground. Wet rock and big puddles were no issue.
Is it easy to put together?
Putting the Marshall together takes about 30 minutes and isn’t difficult. It might take you a bit longer if you aren’t familiar with ebikes.
It comes in a large box with the front wheel, handle bar and pedals off. The instructions walk through attaching the handlebar, adding the axle and front wheel and screwing on
The installation video off the Schwinn website and is very good. I put mine together on the floor but I should have followed the tip of using the box in the video.
There’s a lot to like about the Marshall.
It’s easy to ride the Marshall for hours at a time. The riding position is comfortably upright but still able to lean into things off-road. It still lets you stand if you’re trying to get up a particularly steep part of a hill or over a rough section on the trail.
I was hesitant about the grip or twist shift. It turned out to be smooth and easy to use on the fly to quickly change gears.
I think the battery built into the bottom tube looks cool. Most ebikes just have a big battery hanging off the bottom tube.
A couple improvements could take the Marshall from good to stellar.
The 250 watt motor could be bigger for this bike to use the throttle regularly and give a better boost on hills.
Powered tail light
I’d like to see an ebike have a powered tail light so I don’t have to remember to test the batteries. I’m assuming with the design it’s tough to power anything on the back without a rack.
Difference between the Marshall, Coston CE and Coston DX bikes
All three of the new Schwinn ebike models have step-thru and standover versions, 20mph speed limit and 250-watt brushless geared hub drive motor.
|Marshall||Coston CE||Coston DX|
|Frame||Step-thru and standover||Step-thru and standover||Step-thru and standover|
|Range||35 miles per charge||35 miles per charge||45 miles per charge|
|Battery||288 watt-hour||288 watt-hour||360 watt-hour|
|Charge time||4 hours||4 hours||5 hours|
|Speed||20 mph||20 mph||20 mph|
|Lights||Integrated LED frame light, headlight, battery tail light||Integrated LED frame light, head and tail lights||Integrated LED frame light, head and tail lights|
|Fork||100mm travel||100mm travel||Rigid alloy|
|Brakes||JAK 7 mechanical disc||JAK 7 mechanical disc||JAK 7 mechanical disc|
|Weight||52-55 pounds||59.4 pounds|
|Extras||Fenders, seatpost suspension||Storage saddle, fenders and rear rack, seatpost suspension|
|Price||$1499 USD||$1699 USD||$1999 USD|
Schwinn has been making bicycles for over 100 years. It’s easy to see the affordable quality when you see a Schwinn.
Schwinn are now in their second generation of ebikes with the Marshall, Coston CE and DX. The Marshall is a bit more sporty for off-road and on. The Coston CE and DX are more at home on the pavement.
The Marshall feels good to ride on road and off. The front fork evens out the bumps on the pavement and the dirt. The mountain bike shape makes it easy to ride on rough trails as well. The balance with the the battery takes a bit to get used to but then it’s all fun anywhere you go.
While it could use a little boost to a 500 watt motor to help on the hills, the smaller motor keeps the price lower. If you’re looking for a solid ebike to help you get around on-road and off, definitely check out the Schwinn Marshall.