Let me start at the beginning and take you through a little bit of the history of Schwinn Bicycles, then the price ranges, models, styles, uses, and current Schwinn Road Bikes Reviews.
Having started my cycling career as a young boy, my first memories of my favorite bikes, after the training wheel days, was that of a Schwinn.
I had at least five of them over the years, for various reasons, both new and used, and now they are collector’s items. I bought two of them from the 1970s a few years ago to clean up, ride, restore, and then sell. They are still in demand.
History of the Schwinn
According to Wikipedia. The Schwinn Bicycle Company was founded by German-born mechanical engineer Ignaz Schwinn (1860–1948) in Chicago in 1895. It became the dominant manufacturer of American bicycles through most of the 20th century.
The Arnold-Schwinn Company, founded in 1895, but just a short time later, the bicycle boom was dwindling. With so many bicycle manufacturers, Schwinn decided to buy out some of the smaller manufacturers as well as two motorcycle companies; Excelsior and Henderson.
Schwinns’ new motorcycle division, Excelsior-Henderson, was in third place behind Indian and Harley-Davidson.
By the 1950s, Schwinn was exploding, and the marketing of the brand expanded worldwide.
Significant innovations from the ’50s through the ’70s included models like the Corvette, the Schwinn Twinn tandem bike, the Sting-Ray, and one of the first Ten Speeds. Here is a vintage Sprint model. Here’s one of the classics I restored last year.
The decades that followed were plagued with labor troubles, factory issues, as well as failure to capitalize on the mountain bike revolution and the BMX craze.
In September 2001, the Schwinn Company, its assets, and the rights to the brand, together with that of the GT Bicycle, was purchased at a bankruptcy auction by Pacific Cycle, a company previously known for mass-market brands owned by Wind Point Partners.
In 2004 Pacific Cycle was purchased by Dorel Industries, and the Schwinn of Ignaz Schwinn was no longer a USA brand but solely manufactured in China.
But that was a good thing for the brand’s longevity. Dorel launched a major advertising campaign to revive and contemporize the Schwinn brand by associating it with consumer childhood memories of the iconic company, including a wildly popular reintroduction of the Schwinn Sting-Ray.
As we shall see, the Schwinn name lives, not only in name, but in quality in a variety of models for every ability, and any age. We will focus today’s reviews on the Schwinn Road Bikes.
Names like the World Sport, Schwinn Varsity, the Sprint, Tempo, and Traveler, all names of the past have opened a new door in Schwinn Road Bikes.
Today the Schwinn brand ventures through the entire gamut of styles and models to fit every ability and lifestyle.
From road bikes to mountain bikes, cruisers, hybrids, and commuter styles, tricycles, kids, and electric configurations, Schwinn has a bike for you.
Sticking with the Schwinn Road Bikes, their website lists 12 models in their repertoire.
These include the Vantage line, Volare, and Fastback, as well as the Phocus, and top-of-the-line Paramount Force, each with advantages and disadvantages and will be considered in the Schwinn Road Bikes Reviews.
What’s Your Style?
According to Statista, there have been over 17 million bikes sold between 1992-2015, in a variety of styles. This will be one decision you will have to make: what’s my style? What’s my level of experience?
Then, decide on a budget. Entry-level Schwinn bikes can cost between $500-$700 to mid-level of $1000-$1500, and I’m sure you saw some other brands that sell for $8000+, yikes! Buy the highest quality bike you can afford, but more importantly, buy a bike that fits your style, body, goals, and abilities.
The most important thing, I believe, in choosing the right bike is learning the anatomy of your bicycle, especially if you are new to cycling and exploring your first bike. I’m sure you’re still learning your cell phone anatomy, so why not your new-found mode of transportation? It’s a confidence builder when you can talk the talk.
A bikes anatomy, or geometry, can help you understand how it will handle, how it may feel, and also how comfortable it may be. You can also compare different bikes to help you understand how geometry can help you decide on a bike.
Between Schwinn’s Smooth Ride Technology (SRT), and light-weight components, there’s a Schwinn Road Bike for you. If your adventure takes you to the hills, search for some mountain bike selections in the Best Mountain Bikes For Under 1000.
Size and Geometry Explained
A description of size may be either small, medium, or large. More accurate, but not standardized is measured in cm (centimeters), 54cm, 55cm, 56cm, etc. Check the sizing chart for the correct fit.
The components of the bike that are measured, used, and reviewed, and meant to fit you properly are as follows:
- Top Tube-the bar between the handlebars and the seat
- Head Tube-the bar between the handlebar and the fork
- Seat Stay-the bar between the seat tube and the rear drop-out
- Seat Tube-the bar between the top tube and the bottom bracket
- Down Tube-the bar between the head tube and the bottom bracket
- Fork-the bars between the head tube and the front drop-out
- Front and Rear Dropouts-essentially the axle through the hub that keeps the wheels on the fork and the seat stay.
- Chain Stay-the bar between the rear drop-out and the bottom bracket
- Bottom Bracket-the mechanism that connects the two pedals which guide the chain
Almost like learning another language!
Here’s a great, quick, visual, informative, easy to learn youtube channel for you to match up the terms with the bike. There’s more out there, but this will give you a good idea of the geometry, anatomy, and terminology.
Schwinn Road Bikes Reviews
The Fastback line is the most diverse and offers a variety of comfort levels, precision geometry, and a wide range of budgets to fit both style and functionality.
Following the Fastback is the Volare line, which is their entry-level in both price and components.
If you are a beginner rider to intermediate and not quite sure you want to dive into the deep end of the price range and component quality, the Volare 1400 is for you.
When I say beginner to intermediate, I mean this could be your first road-racer style bike at 15 years old or someone who hasn’t ridden a good road bike for 30 years!
At under $500 this 14 speed, aluminum frame racer has integrated shifter/brake levers, Shimano derailer, and oversized 700c road tires that can manage some rough roads and easy climbs.
Some may consider this a hybrid because of the oversized tires, and although it is not quite ready for gravel, if you find yourself needing to jump into some grass or dirt (no stump-jumping), you don’t need to panic; it can handle it.
With an average rating of 3.5 stars out of five, some common complaints about a bike at this price level was a bit too heavy, some assembly issues, the need for better pedals, along with some brake adjustment complaints, and some had flat tires upon delivery.
All relatively minor if you are a little handy and can easily upgrade some components if you want to.
On the positive side, the reviews are consistent on value for the price-point. Fantastic starter/commuter bike. It’s not a $2000 bike, but it is high quality and easy to assemble. Excellent components, the geometry was a good fit for most and very comfortable in most riding conditions.
Make sure you get the right fit for your frame and build.
PS, they make a women’s model, the Volare 1400W.
Next in the Lineup
Moving up to the intermediate to advanced level rider, the Schwinn Fastback 2 has the best balance of performance, speed, and comfort.
The 18 speed Shimano Sora drivetrain, along with the integrated brake lever and shifters from Shimano, make for a significant upgrade from the Volare.
Aluminum frame, carbon fork, Schwinn 700 x 25c road tires, and coming in under 22 lbs, This model is most likely to become your go-to bike for many years, especially since this bike is usually priced under $800!
With an average customer review of 4.1 stars out of five, I couldn’t find any significant complaints. Most were just the owners not knowing how to assemble some components. There have been some quality complaints on the chain, but it seems to have been corrected. The seat may be a little uncomfortable, etc.
The positives were all very similar. A significant upgrade for the novice to advanced rider. Light and solid. Smooth, comfortable, great for daily rides, and so on.
I recommend this bike for the beginner as well as an advanced rider on a budget.
Need a Little Something Extra?
If you need that extra little bit of professional feel and quality and you’re willing to spend a little over $1000, move up to the Schwinn Fastback 1.
This beauty gives you an upgrade to a 22 speed Shimano 105 groupset with a 50/34 compact crank for premium gearing.
A couple of pounds lighter as well due to the N LITENED Platinum Hydroformed aluminum road frame and a carbon fork.
Along with a few frame and chain complaints, the Fastback 1 get’s great reviews for performance, style, quality, and value.
This is an excellent bike for long rides, a quick trip, group century rides, triathlons, or just family fun.
Top of the Lineup?
I want to give a quick mention to Schwinn’s top of the line Schwinn Fastback Carbon 105. The 105 refers to the Shimano 105 groupset.
Carbon fiber is still quite expensive, so if you need to shed a few pounds from your bike, this will do it, but you will have to fork out close to $2000.
In my opinion, if you get into this price range, there may be better options. Stay with the Fastback 2 or 1 for quality, performance, endurance, and fun.
As to where to buy a Schwinn bike, Schwinn sells its entire line of bikes directly to its customers from its website at schwinnbikes.com or its partner at Amazon.com.
Conclusion – Schwinn Road Bikes Reviews
The clear winner for the Schwinn Road Bikes Reviews is the Schwinn Fastback 1. Design, components, comfort, and price, make this the bike that should last a long time.
Using biking metaphors, the ups and downs of Schwinn Bicycles have created the perfect melange in the bicycle world. Here we only spoke about the road bike—the Schwinn family of bikes cover a wide range of interests.
Aside from the lineup of 12 road bikes, there is also almost a dozen mountain/gravel bikes.
There are another 30 cruisers and hybrid bikes.
Fourteen electric bikes and scooters.
A variety of commuter bikes, tricycles, and a kids line, as well as home exercise bikes.
Be on the lookout for the limited edition Collegiate models for men and women coming in August. A classic inspired design and made in Detroit. This ride is sure to become extremely popular.
Take your pick, take a test ride, take a Schwinn.