The Schwinn Tailwind is one amongst a large number of electric bicycles available today, a segment gaining popularity due to interest in transportation alternatives to the car. But don't expect to sit back and let the Tailwind whisk you along--the electric motor on this bike merely provides assistance; the rider still has to pedal.
We found the Tailwind works largely as advertised, with a nice assist while riding around town and a battery with a high capacity that recharges quickly. On our test bike, the front brakes were too grabby, and we wondered why such an expensive bike wouldn't have disc brakes. And the price of the Tailwind, above $3,000, puts it far beyond the realm of people who may just have a casual interest in an electric bike.
The frame for the Schwinn Tailwind's electric gear is built for urban and suburban riding. The aluminum frame, along with the upward curved handlebars, creates an upright sitting position.
The electric drive system is integrated with the bike through a drive motor in the front wheel hub, a battery that slides into a special luggage rack over the rear wheel, and a control unit tied to the left handlebar. The gear shift for the rear hub is integrated with the right handlebar grip. The control unit is easy to use, with thumb buttons to activate the electrical system and change the amount of assistance from the electric motor. Graphics on the control unit illustrate going up hill, riding on a flat surface, or going downhill. Red LEDs show which mode you have selected and indicate how much charge the battery has left.… Read more