Schwinn Monroe 250 evaluate: Making me a fan

“Schwinn’s Monroe 250 ebike cuts the right corners, making it as capable as it is affordable.”

Variable pedal help

Budget-friendly

Excellent vary

Disc brakes

Bare-bones LED show

Uncomfortable over lengthy distances

Average part set

I’m not a fan of electrical bicycles.
As an avid bike commuter, I clock a wholesome 2,000 miles on my Specialized Diverge in a any calendar 12 months. It’s a pleasant bike — although, it’s definitely not Tour-caliber — and I’ve steadily grown accustomed to its jet-black body and abundance of gears, which permit me to traverse the damp hills of Portland, Oregon with ease. The mere considered ditching versatility for an electrical single-speed appears pointless, if not ridiculous. 
The factor is, the Schwinn Monroe 250 (I reviewed the disc mannequin with an MSRP of $1,35) is a tough bike to hate. It sits on the cross-section of performance and affordability. It cuts corners, however largely the best ones, and hits the marks that matter most in vary and maneuverability. Like the Swagtron EB12, it’s geared toward box-store dominance. Yet a number of key options assist it stand out.
Nostalgia, reinvented
The Monroe 250 isn’t the enduring Schwinn Corvette your grandfather continues to wax poetic about over Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike the aforementioned three-speed of ‘55, the Monroe is one in every of a number of comparable fashions constructed to capitalize on the burgeoning ebike market within the United States.
The Monroe 250 isn’t the enduring Schwinn Corvette your grandfather continues to wax poetic about over Thanksgiving dinner.

Contours and colours are not the promoting level right here. Instead, the Monroe’s legacy rides on a 250-watt motor connected to the rear hub which, together with a single-speed drivetrain, permits the bike to succeed in a prime pace 20 miles per hour. That is commonplace fare at this level — the like-minded Propella 3.0 and Pedego City Commuter Lite Edition each obtain comparable speeds — but it surely’s loads quick on your on a regular basis bicycle owner. Leisurely cruising by at 20 mph is sufficient to make even probably the most seasoned commuters really feel sluggish.
Though it lacks gears, the Monroe options 5 ranges of pedal-assist, every of which provides you with a bit of extra oomph whenever you want it most. The mere act of pedaling prompts the motor, and it’s adequately subtle to not be jarring. Once transferring, the bike tracks and turns effectively, making on a regular basis commutes on flat pavement a breeze. Like the Swagtron EB12 and Propella 3.0, the Schwinn Monroe 250 advantages from its easy body. It feels very like a median mid-range bicycle.
Riley Young/Digital TrendsBecause of a pair of 32c tires and disc brakes, it may possibly even deal with the type of mild trails you would possibly discover in a metropolis park or suburb, regardless of Schwinn billing it completely as an “urban ebike.” You wouldn’t wish to take it in your native singletrack, however hey, it may possibly deal with the occasional bump within the highway or bout of dangerous climate. Larger and dearer bikes just like the Specialized Como will provide higher consolation at any given pace, nevertheless, because of bigger tires.
Engaging pedal-assist is straightforward. A easy, three-button LED show situated on the left handlebar permits you to modify the quantity of help although, sadly, it provides little in the way in which of metrics. Five LED lights showcase the present degree, whereas one other 5 point out the remaining battery life. No speedometer. No odometer. No frills.
Not that I’d thoughts a frill or two. Competitors to the Schwinn Monroe 250 generally embrace small black-and-white LCD shows that supply fundamental data. They’re not stunning, however they’re higher than nothing, which is what you get with the Monroe 250.
You wouldn’t wish to take it in your native singletrack, however it may possibly deal with a bump within the highway or bout of dangerous climate.

Schwinn makes good on its declare that the Monroe can enterprise 45 miles on a single cost, no less than beneath preferrred circumstances. Terrain, temperature, and the extent of pedal-assist all have an effect on efficiency, however 45 miles is possible, and locations the Monroe within the higher echelon for this value level. Bikes just like the Specialized Como 4.0 can go journey additional on a single cost — as much as 60 miles, in some situations — however value considerably extra. The Monroe provides ample distance at a fraction of the value.
Low value, at a price
Schwinn has by no means been an organization related to high-end parts. From the get-go, it was involved with mass attraction, choosing big-box consumption over the unbiased bike shops scattered throughout the nation. In the ‘90s, Schwinn bikes appeared in select Target and Walmart stores. In the aughts? Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Riley Young/Digital TrendsAs a part of its push for the mainstream market, Schwinn has made an effort to maintain prices low. The Monroe initially retailed for $1,350 on Amazon, however can now be discovered for as little as $900 in choose shops (word that there are a number of fashions, and a few don’t have the disc brakes on my evaluate bike). Cost has lengthy been a barrier for entry in relation to ebikes, however decreased prices usually result in high quality considerations, which is the case with the Monroe, Swagtron EB12, and lots of bikes inside this value bracket.
The aluminum, three-tone construct received’t win any awards, but it surely’s serviceable and nondescript, with flat handlebars and a fixie-style body that feels each slick and strong. It’s not an actual looker, as a result of the digital parts aren’t built-in into the design or body and most wire runs are exterior.
The aluminum, three-tone construct received’t win any awards, but it surely’s serviceable and nondescript.

Other parts don’t really feel as forgiving because the body. The platform pedals appear brittle, as if they may break in the event that they have been to make contact with something apart from your toes, and the “comfort-ribbed” BMX grips, satirically, present little in the way in which of consolation. In reality, neither does the road-style saddle, which isn’t a lot of a respite on longer rides. You’ll wish to funds $50 for a saddle improve in the event you purchase the Monroe.
My most major problem was a top quality management concern. The stem that shipped with my Schwinn Monroe 250 evaluate bike wasn’t constructed to the proper specs. It was barely too giant, which meant the handlebars moved freed from the wheel even with all screws absolutely tightened. This wasn’t revealed till a Digital Trends staffer took the bike to a store to seek out out what was flawed. Schwinn rapidly shipped a correctly manufactured stem, which mounted the issue.
Our take
The Schwinn Monroe is the definition of bang on your buck. It’s not probably the most high-tech ebike in the marketplace, but it surely nonetheless provides ample vary and ferries you from level A to level B with out breaking a sweat. Despite lackluster {hardware}, it stays an acceptable contender for these trying to expedite their commute with out taking out a second mortgage on their mortgage.
One essential word. I reviewed the disc mannequin, which is not out there new. Only the rim-brake fashions can be found. They’re a lot inexpensive, as little as $900 at Wal-Mart, and that dramatically sweetens the deal. Just do not forget that rim brakes aren’t the perfect in rain.
Are there higher alternate options?
Manufacturers comparable to Nakto and Ancheer provide extra inexpensive alternate options that usually dip under $650 on Amazon, however their choices are considerably heavier, lack vary, and don’t include a long-term guarantee. Swagtron’s EB12 is even inexpensive, and has extra options, although its general construct high quality is much more, ahem, ‘budget friendly.’
The Propella 3.0 is at the moment our favourite funds electrical bike, and the Schwinn Monroe 250 can’t prime it. Though the 2 bikes provide comparable efficiency and specs, the Propella 3.0 has a extra eye-catching design and feels extra sturdy.
If you want extra suggestions, our information to the perfect electrical bikes has you lined.
How lengthy will it final?
I’ve considerations concerning the pedals and different minor parts, together with the stem, however they are often swapped out with out a lot concern. Schwinn provides a lifetime guarantee on each the body and fork. The battery additionally comes with a 2-year guarantee, which is double what most producers provide.
On the plus facet, the Monroe 250 isn’t a posh piece of {hardware}, neither is it one which’s reliant on future software program updates. With a bit of maintenance and a few small additions (assume: fenders), it ought to simply final an upwards of 10 years. It might be simpler, and cheaper, to repair than electrical bikes with extra complicated, high-end parts.
Should you purchase it?
Yes. The Schwinn Monroe 250 makes compromises, but it surely’s inexpensive, succesful, and ought to be simple to keep up.

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