I'm an avid bike rider, and Schwinn is a legendary trusted name in the bike business that I completely respect and admire. I've had many bikes over the years, but I particularly like Schwinn bikes because they are easy to maneuver and last a long time. That's why I was so excited to test out these eBikes. I live in San Francisco and we have, it seems like, the biggest hills in the world. Walking up 3 blocks will made you short of breath, taxis are expensive, and public transportation only takes you so far! I thought having an eBike would be the perfect solution: the bike will help you up difficult hills and through long distances, but you still get the feeling of wind through your hair as you peddle towards your destination.
For anyone who doesn't know what an eBike is: it's a normal bike that has a rechargeable battery attached to the frame that powers a motor which helps you go faster and longer distances by using a fraction of the energy than you normally would expend on an average bike. It's especially useful for long journeys, for people who live in difficult to ride conditions, or for anyone who needs more support when biking, but I generally recommend it to anyone who likes to bike around.
SYCAMORE V CONSTANCE BIKE LINES: I tested out all of Schwinn's eBikes, and I'm here to give you a detailed analysis of my findings below so that you can make the most informed choice on which bike you should buy. The Constance is Schwinn's cruiser bike, and I like it the most because the motor is not in the back wheels of the bike like it is in their Sycamore line, but more near the middle of the bike/ the pedals so that when the speed assist turns on, you gain speed more naturally. The Sycamore line has the motor attached to the back wheels of the bike, which when you turn on speed assist, feels a bit more like you're being pushed from the back-- not too abruptly but you feel a slight push as the motor turns on. However, the Constance motor, since it's in the middle of the bike, allows you to gain speed much more naturally, almost as if you've suddenly developed very strong legs. Biking up a hill becomes a breeze-- no struggle at all.
The speed also comes along more naturally because the Constance is a heavier bike, and the sturdiness of the bike allows the speed the build more gradually. The Sycamore's 350 watt motor is more powerful than the Constance's 250 watt motor, so journeys on the Sycamore feel more speedy (especially when comparing the different sitting positions when on the Sycamore vs the Constance cruiser).
A CLASSIC, HIGH QUALITY BIKE: beautifully designed exterior (attached some pictures below so you can see some of the different colors it comes in), adjustable seats for all heights and super comfy for cruising, 26'' aluminum frame which means it's light and strong (initially I was worried that since it was an electric bike it would be extremely heavy and difficult to handle but it's actually the weight of a normal bicycle so no issues there!), responsive brakes and 7 speed gear shifts, and sturdily designed body and suspensions to tackle the bumps you might encounter on the road. Everything you want on a bike, and then some below:
LCD SCREEN: This sits on top of the handlebars and is about the size of a credit card. It shows not only the power assist level your bike is on, but also the battery life of the motor, and how far of a distance you've biked so far on your journey. Really handy and useful, and very clear easy-to-read display even when the sun is glaring right above you.
POWER ASSIST (motor): ADJUSTABLE SPEED is really amazing and one of the best aspects of this bike because you can choose how much support you want and how much faster you want to go. The support function, located on the handlebar with a +/- sign for increase speed and decrease speed, ranges from level 0 (no support) to level 5, which basically helps to bring you to around 15-20mph. The speed assist level is shown on the LCD display in bar form on the left hand side of the bike. One thing that you have to know about these eBikes is that you must first peddle in order to get the speed going. It's not like you turn on the speed assist and BAM off it flies. The speed assist is dependent on you peddling: if you're peddling, the speed assist will help you along. If you stop peddling, the speed assist will also stop. This is fantastic because it allows you to be more in control of the speed of the bike and makes the experience feel like you're actually biking rather than driving a bumper car.
BATTERY: REMOVABLE and RECHARGEABLE!! You can plug the charger into the bike and charge it from an outside power outlet, or you can remove the battery and bring it inside and charge it there. The charger is like a laptop charger, the battery is like your computer, and the outlet is still the outlet. It's going to be like charging anything else-- there's nothing complicated about charging an eBike and that simplicity makes it really convenient. The battery will last you around 45 miles, which is about a week if you're an average biker going at a level 3 commuting to and from work. Of course, the battery is dependent on the level of assistance (level 5 uses up the most energy obviously), the weight on the bike, etc. Charging the bike will take 5-6 hours for a full charge, so it's usually an overnight experience.
Don't forget-- even if the battery runs out--- it's still a bike so you can still pedal home. When I showed my friends this bike, some of them said worryingly: what if the bike battery runs out and you're stranded?? And I was like, first and foremost it's a bike that moves as you pedal it-- the motor is just an added bonus on top of it. It's like an electric toothbrush-- even without the electricity it still works as a normal toothbrush.
VALUE: Definitely more expensive than your average bike, but taking into consideration that this bike will basically allow you to see a whole new world, allow you commute into work without breaking a sweat, allow you to go up hills and ramps or go on long journeys like you've won the Tour de France 5 times, and allow you the smoothest boost of power that I've ever experienced from an eBike-- it's worth it. The minute I rode this bike, I could tell how solidly it had been built and how carefully it had been designed so that it could be the smoothest, most convenient and versatile bike for the everyday rider. The battery is long-lasting, the boost of speed is even and powerful at the same time, and the bike itself is a high quality masterpiece from Schwinn, one of the most reputable bike companies in the world. The amount of money you'll save on gas, taxis, or public transportation will pay for this bike over and over again.
TL;DR: Obsessed with this bike-- recommend it for anyone who wants a high quality bike that gives you the ultimate control and convenience. Great for anyone who wants the ease and familiarity of riding a bike with the power and support of Lance Armstrong's legs helping you along on your journey. A fantastic investment into your personal health that allows you to see more of the world.
I am writing this review as part of a contest, but am truly, truly impressed with this bike and honestly recommend it for anyone who's looking for a bike that propels you to the future.