Is the Schwinn Mendocino the e-bike for Traditional Riders?
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 Are Its Specs?
|MOTOR & TOP SPEED
|BATTERY & RANGE
|CONTROLLER & RIDING MODES
|OVERALL WEIGHT & CARRYING CAPACITY
|TIRES AND SUSPENSION
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:
– The weight of the rider;
– 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:
– On/ off button.
– Power indicator and,
– Pedal-assist level.
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.
Safety features delivered to you
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.
Images courtesy of Schwinn
Schwinn Mendocino Step-Thru ebike
Frame & Components Quality4.5/5
Speed & Torque (motor)4.0/5
Controller & Assistance3.5/5
Portability & Maneuverability4.5/5
What we like
- ✅ Affordable electric bike for what it offers.
- ✅ Removable and lockable battery.
- ✅ Front and rear fenders to protect you from getting dirty.
- ✅ Good for riders with knee issues (throttle feature).
What we do not like
- Only 6 speed, which may be to slow for some users.
- No front suspension.
- The controler is very basic but I don't think you need more.
- No front and rear lights included.