Electric Bike Sports Revolutionary Half-hour Recharge Time
by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor
Bicycling is generally considered one of the most efficient forms of transportation. In many countries (particularly ones where the average income precludes weekly gasoline fill-ups), the bike is the primary mode of transport. Yet for a variety of reasons, the bike has yet to catch on in this country as a viable means of transportation. Schwinn  could adjust the paradigm with its new Toshiba-powered Tailwind  electric bike.
Schwinn, a constant fixture in the bicycling industry since 1895, is no stranger to the E-bike market. Their current lineup, including the Continental , World GSE , and Transit , gets 40-60 miles on a 4 hour charge (decent stats for the E-bike market), and costs anywhere from $1,480 to $2,080. This may seem like a steep price for a bicycle, but it’s best to think of it as an investment. Compared to the cumulative costs of a car (to include initial investment, gas, and maintenance), 2 grand is a pittance.
Schwinn’s latest E-bike entry, the Tailwind, is poised to shake up the industry. Using Toshiba's Super Charge ion Battery, the Tailwind can fully recharge in a mere 30 minutes. Sound too good to be true? The lightning-fast recharge speed has one obvious drawback: instead of 40-60 miles, the Tailwind can only go 10 miles per charge. Yet if you consider the logistics of E-bikes, this limited range isn’t so horrible. E-bikes are most useful for those with short commutes (or fitness buffs who want a morning work out). Our Editor in Chief commutes nearly 50 miles, from Brooklyn, NY to Rockaway, NJ. He’s a poor candidate for an E-bike.
But for those with shorter commutes, E-bikes (or biomechanical bikes) can be huge money-savers. Each E-bike accelerates to approximately 18 mph, which realistically eliminates them for long-distance transport. This makes the traditional 40-60 mileage capability seem superfluous. Seen in that vein, the rapid recharge time of the Tailwind outweighs its short range. The Tailwind may not alleviate rush-hour traffic, but it will definitely shake up the electric bicycle market. Schwinn’s Tailwind hits the market at $3,199.