There’s nothing in the company’s name, CSC Motorcycles, that would hint at the awesome electric bicycles they recently designed and debuted. But CSC has spent the last couple years expanding from their traditional gas-powered motorcycle offerings into a range of light electric motorcycles (which I’ve also tested!), and now a pair of electric bicycles known as the CSC FT750 series.
And you didn’t think I was going to miss a chance to try out a pair of the newest electric bicycles in the US, did you?
Of course not!
So I got down to Azusa, California, in Los Angeles County, to see what happens when a motorcycle company designs an electric bicycle.
Or two electric bicycles, rather.
You see, the CSC FT750 actually comes in two flavors. There’s the FT750-26 with 26-inch tires, and the smaller FT750-20 with 20-inch tires.
The bikes are fairly similar electronically, mostly differing in the geometry. The smaller FT750 is better for shorter riders since it has a lower minimum seat height.
Check out my video review below, then read on for the full ride experience.
CSC FT750 video review
CSC FT750 tech specs
- Motor: 750W continuous Bafang geared rear hub motor
- Top speed: 40 km/h (25 mph) with pedal assist or 32 km/h (20 mph) with throttle only
- Range: 45-72 km (25-45 mi) depending on throttle or pedal assist
- Battery: 48V 13.6 Ah (650Wh) with Samsung 35E cells
- Frame: 6061 aluminum
- Suspension: 100 mm travel front suspension fork with preload and damping adjustment, plus lockout
- Brakes: Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with 180 mm rotors
- Weight: 25 kg (55 lb) for FT750-20, or 30 kg (61.6 lb) for FT750-26
- Max load: 120 kg (264 lb) for FT750-20, or 150 kg (330 lb) for FT750-26
- Extras: Removable battery hidden in frame, LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, odometer, tripmeter, light status indicator, front and rear LED lights, five speed settings, thumb throttle, USB charging port
Price and quality
The thing that first impressed me about the CSC FT750 when I reported on the debut was the value that the pair of bikes offered. They’re both priced at $1,688 with free shipping included, and yet they offer some very nice components for the price.
The bike gets up to 25 mph with pedal assist (or 20 mph on throttle alone). And to bring you back down to zero, the bikes are rocking Shimano Acera dual piston brake calipers biting down on 180 mm rotors.
You get a 100 mm front suspension fork with adjustments for damping and preload, plus there are those 4-inch Kenda Juggernaut Sport fat tires. Between the front suspension and the huge air volume in the tires, the CSC FT750 rides quite comfortably on varied terrain.
For power, the bike uses Samsung’s highest energy density battery cells (the Samsung 35E) to stuff 650Wh of capacity inside the downtube, where it doesn’t stick out and ruin the bike’s lines like on many other e-bikes.
Everything is metal that can be — no cheap plastic parts here. The headlights aren’t just cheap little LEDs, they are extra-bright LEDs. The graphics are included under the bike’s clear coat. The rear motor has a quick release connector close to the motor to make it easy to remove the wheel when necessary, such as to change the tire or replace a tube. All of these things are indications that CSC put some thought into designing an e-bike with good value, that looks good, and is easy to work on — again drawing on their experience as a motorcycle company.
The shifter and derailleur are probably the lowest-quality components on the bike. They’re still Shimano parts, which is a good indicator of baseline quality, but they are on the low end of the Shimano hierarchy. So while I would have liked to see a nicer Shimano shifter and derailleur, these will get the job done for us recreational cyclists. And for anyone who plans to use the bike like a motorcycle without pedaling, you won’t really care what type of shifter you have.
Basically, compared to the litany of standard $1,500 e-bikes out there that don’t match these specs, the $1,688 price tag for the CSC FT750 feels more than reasonable, considering the parts that you get.
The one other thing I found really interesting was that CSC stocks a giant warehouse full of replacement parts. Seriously, it’s huge. You could have a soccer match in there. And the reason they do that is to ensure that customers get American-level service that’d they’d expect of a local company. These are of course still imported Asian-assembled e-bikes. But CSC tries to split the difference by offering American-level service and support with quick shipping of replacement parts if any should be required. That way customers can get the price of an imported bike with the service and support of a local company.
There’s only one area I’ll ding them, and this is a common complaint of mine: Racks and fenders aren’t included.
You can still add them as a custom option, and CSC stocks them so you can even get them directly with the bike. But I always love to see when they are included as a standard feature.
I guess the upside is that they can reduce the price a bit for those that don’t need them — but they are such useful features on any bike that I almost consider them a necessity. Almost.
But how does it ride?
Of course the ultimate determining factor of any e-bike isn’t the spec sheet, it’s the ride.
And the CSC FT750 is an awesome ride. Electrek’s Fred Lambert joined me on my test ride where we took an FT750-20 and an FT750-26 through street, trails, and sand to test both bikes on as many different surfaces as we could.
We tossed sand, traversed flooded-out trails, and skidded our way across parking lots and paved bike paths like kids with new toys. Which is basically what we were.
Make sure you go back and watch the video above to see the bikes in action.
The 750W motors are powerful and provide quick acceleration. Between the two, the FT750-20 feels like it has a bit more torque, likely because of the smaller diameter wheels. But both could cut their way through thick beach sand easily, which is a good test of how much power a fat tire e-bike really has.
On the trails, the FT750-26 was likely a bit better since its larger diameter wheels could more easily roll over larger obstacles like roots and logs. On the street, they both performed equally well. Pretty much any fat tire e-bike is going to do fine on the street, though — there’s nothing to really challenge them there. But it certainly is nice to have that extra air volume in your tires for hitting curbs and hopping around on pavement. There’s front suspension already, but you almost get quasi-rear suspension with a fat enough rear tire.
I’m 5’7″ (170 cm) tall and I fit just fine on the FT750-26. But the FT750-20 might have been even more comfortable for me, and probably more fun, too. It almost feels like a BMX bike and gives you the urge to pop the front wheel up and play around with it like a BMX bike.
In the end, both bikes felt good, and it’s honestly hard for me to choose my favorite. If I had to decide, it would probably depend on what type of riding I did the most, and not on the size of the bike, since they both seemed to fit me fine.
If I wanted to do more nimble, aggressive riding, then I’d probably go for the FT750-20. If I was more into casual riding or was traversing trails with more obstacles, the larger diameter wheels on the FT750-26 would win me over.
Between the powerful motors, high quality batteries, strong hydraulic disc brakes and long list of other nice-but-not-top-shelf parts, these bikes are a high-value option for anyone looking for a bang-for-your-buck recreational e-bike.
Let’s hear what you think. Did CSC Motorcycles do well on their first stab at an electric bicycle? Sound off in the comment section below!
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