Schwinn is a name synonymous with quality bikes. They combine the latest technologies with time-tested designs, and offer models with both high function and impressive, aesthetically appealing form. Best of all, it has bikes of all types and sizes, most of which could fit any price range.
Founded by Ignaz Schwinn in 1895, this Chicago-based company grew to rapid popularity and success over the next century. While the company declared bankruptcy and joined Pacific Cycle in the early 1990s, it hasn’t seen much decline in its sales or success overall.
Today, Schwinn is still one of the top brands in the bicycle game. It’s come a long way since its founder lived in his native Germany, apprenticing with a high-wheeler company before the days of chains and gears. The brand survived the Great Depression, a plethora of new bicycle designs and trends, and a constantly evolving market.
Modern shoppers will find a number of models to suit their needs, but today we’ll focus on the Hybrid bicycles Schwinn offers. These bikes combine the comfort of touring bikes, the speed of road bikes, and the durability of mountain bikes, all in one. Our buyer’s guide will answer some common consumer questions about hybrids, as well as questions about Schwinn Bicycle Company. We’ll also feature some of our favorite hybrids from this brand.
Schwinn Discover Women's Hybrid Bike
Schwinn Men’s Wayfarer Hybrid
Schwinn Women’s Capitol Hybrid
Schwinn Midmoor Men’s Hybrid
What are some advantages of a hybrid bike over one designed specifically for mountain/city/touring use?
While specialized bikes are excellent for their intended use, a hybrid offers an attractive compromise between several activities. If you plan to commute on your bike during the week, but spend some weekends on level park trails or taking long trips through the countryside, a hybrid can suit all your needs in just one bicycle.
There are some disadvantages to this all-in-one style, of course. Experienced mountain riders won’t be able to take a hybrid on very rocky or muddy trails; cyclists who go on very long tours might find a hybrid just isn’t quite comfortable enough to withstand the trip.
In order to be “good enough” in all three arenas, a hybrid sacrifices elements from each bike type, as well. For example, in order to move fairly quickly (like a road bike), a hybrid can’t have the same thick frame or tires you’d find on a mountain bike.
Should I get a hybrid?
If you need an “all-purpose bike,” yes. Hybrids don’t offer the full benefits of any one type of bike, but rather, a little of each. It has decent speed abilities, like road bikes, but is comfortable to sit on for longer periods, like a touring model.
Hybrids can also have the durability and thicker tires (and sometimes, shock absorbers) of mountain bikes, so they can travel on uneven surfaces—although some are better at this than others, and some aren’t suited for off-roading at all.
Additionally, riders looking for disc brakes (ideal for riding in rain, mud, snow, or any slick conditions) might be disappointed; most hybrids don’t offer these, and instead use linear-pull rim brakes. These are still reliable, but would skid on slick terrain. You might have to upgrade, if you’re set on a hybrid but know you’ll need very powerful brakes.
Ultimately, a hybrid is a smart option if you plan to use your bike for more than one kind of activity.
Are hybrids more expensive because of their “multi-use” features?
Not generally, no. This is because hybrids aren’t true “all-in-one” bikes. They don’t combine all the features of their source bikes (therefore driving up their cost); they just combine a few features from each for a versatile bike to suit multiple needs.
In other words, for every feature that might make a hybrid expensive, it usually gives up one that isn’t compatible with another. This helps balance the price out, in the end.
That said, there are expensive hybrids—but there are inexpensive ones, as well. This category has a wide range of prices, just like any other bike type.
Remember: price does not necessarily equate to quality. You can get an underperforming $5,000 bike, but an excellent $500 one. It depends on the manufacturer’s standards of quality and materials, as well as whether or not that bike meets all your needs and is a proper fit for you.
What makes Schwinn stand out from other brands?
Schwinn has been around over 100 years, and has evolved right alongside the cycling industry. It was one of the first and largest companies to ever produce two-wheelers, and has been a frontrunner ever since.
They invented the balloon tire in 1933, which quickly became the industry standard; you’ll still find this style on many bikes, such as beach cruiser models. They were also the first to utilize built-in kickstands to hold bicycles upright when not in use.
Today, Schwinn remains popular with the parents and grandparents who rode their bikes as children; they trust this brand for their kids and grandkids, a faith that isn’t unfounded: the company has consistently positive reviews on every model it releases, and its vintage models remain quite popular.
The famous Stingray, sold in the 1960s and 1970s, is worth over $5,000 today; the Green Phantom is equally as valuable. A 1965 Super Deluxe Stingray is currently on display in the National Museum of American History, and other rare models can be found in history and cycling museums across the country.
For many, this brand doesn’t just embody quality and nostalgia, but the American dream, as well: the idea that anyone can pull himself up by the bootstraps and, with hard work and dedication, build a name for himself and a better life. Ignaz Schwinn certainly accomplished that.
Do they have good customer service?
Schwinn is on multiple social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They have a thorough contact form that’s easily accessible on their web