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While mountain biking is a hobby that almost anyone can enjoy, there is one entryway point: purchasing a suitable bicycle. The different types of cycles can pose a challenge to getting a suitable ride—let alone understanding the individual classes of mountain-geared bikes. Even once you’ve figured out the type of bicycle you need, the quest begins to find one that will last.
It’s no secret that mountain biking can be hard on the body and the bike, so durability is an absolute must. But there’s more than that necessary to give you a reliable ride, and sometimes it’s easiest to trust a known name in the business.
Schwinn is a brand that has a long history in all types of cycling gear, but how do they stand up to the demands of the trail? Our Schwinn mountain bike is here to provide the answers you need.
What Are Schwinn Mountain Bikes?
As mentioned, Schwinn is a well-known name in the world of cycling—including mountain bikes. This brand was prevalent in many places, from specialty shops to bigger stores like Walmart. It’s still possible to find the Schwinn name in these places. However, it begs the question if the long legacy that these bikes have is still as reliable as they were before.
The answer to that can get a little complicated. The company Pacific Cycles acquired Schwinn a while back, and even Pacific Cycles has been under the acquisition of Dorel Industries for over a decade at this point. Schwinn isn’t in the same position as they’ve been previously. So how has that affected their mountain bikes? We’ll dig into the answers in our Schwinn mountain bike review.
Nowadays, it can be difficult to tell what you’re getting with a Schwinn bike. This complication is in part because you’re likely to find two types of bikes with the Schwinn logo on them: the Signature Series, and the discount models.
Schwinn’s Signature Series is absolutely the way to go if you’re more serious about your mountain biking but don’t want to go all out when it comes to purchasing. Most likely, you’ll see these bikes if you head into a specialty store. These bikes use high-end components without requiring you to spend a couple of thousand dollars on a heavy-duty bicycle.
The discount models are, as you likely suspect, available at stores like Walmart and other mass-market models. They have the Schwinn logo on them, but they don’t have the same build and components that you’ll see on the Signature Series and other bikes that compete in the arena. For a less expensive cost, you get a bike that’s suitable for casual mountain biking use, but not anything serious.
Naturally, within these two broader categories, you have plenty of bikes with different specs and specializations. Throughout the rest of this review, we’ll be discussing what you can expect from these bicycles in a more generalized sense.
Build Design and Materials
When looking at the available Schwinn mountain bikes, the designs are generally appealing. You do have a bit of variety in what your bike will look like, but it’s essential to pay attention to the specs of your mountain biking gear, rather than just choosing something that looks cool. Since you have the chance of coming across a discount Schwinn model, this consideration is essential.
When it comes to materials, many Schwinn mountain bikes use aluminum make up the frame. This material is undoubtedly common when it comes to cycles, and it has its pros and cons. You’ll find that the weight tends to be lower, but you’ll need to pay attention to maintenance to avoid maintenance. Aluminum is also far less durable than other conventional materials, such as iron.
Depending on the bike, you can also find other features, such as variable speed settings. The tire size can also vary across models, which will further impact your balance as you ride.
Something to also keep in mind is that, if you order your bike online, you’ll also be in charge of assembly. Overall, even beginners can handle putting together these bikes, and the process will likely take somewhere between fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the model and your overall skill level.
Suspension is an essential component of a mountain bike, and the models available from Schwinn are no exception whatsoever. Pretty much all their mountain cycles include some form of suspension, including top quality suspension forks. With the suspension systems in place, you can rest easy knowing that your bike will mostly absorb bumps and rough impacts as you ride.
A downside to the suspension system is that thanks to the inexpensive price point of these cycles, you won’t be able to turn the suspension off. The result is that you can have a difficult time peddling on flat surfaces, so you’ll need to reserve this bike for hitting the trails, rather than a ride across town. The full suspension also adds to the weight of these cycles, which can be cumbersome to handle.
Parts Upgrades and Replacements
For some people, buying a bike is only the first step, and they proceed to upgrade the different parts on the frame to better suit their needs. For others, the time will inevitably come that they wish to replace an individual aspect of the bike, rather than purchase the new one. The question then becomes if their model will make that possible.
In the case of Schwinn mountain bikes, the answer to that question is yes. If you need to, it’s rather easy to replace certain parts along the way. Depending on your skill level, you may be able to handle the process yourself, or you may want to trust a professional bike mechanic to handle the job. Either way, you won’t have much hassle upgrading as you go along.
The unfortunate aspect is that it’s likely you’ll need to replace some parts from the get-go so that you can have a better overall biking experience—which can potentially cost more than the sticker price of a Schwinn mountain bike on its own.
Aside from considering the overall build and customization, one of the essential aspects of a bike is knowing how it rides. Like we mentioned above already, the dual suspension serves as almost a double-edged sword, making the bicycle somewhat clunky to use when you’re not on rough terrain. The additional weight can also be a bit of a burden when it comes to uphill climbs, but it’s certainly not impossible.
The various speed settings will give you some leeway in how you handle, and it’s not as if you need to fight the bike to get it to go the way you want. However, with so many specializations in the world of mountain bikes, you often need individual cycles for specific activities, be it gravity biking or cross-country riding.
Schwinn’s offerings are more accurately described as all-around bikes, as you can use them for a variety of activities. However, they aren’t meant to go through the same level of severe beating that a specialized cycle will handle, so it’s best to save a Schwinn for riding around hills and trails, and not taking it on incredibly extreme terrain.
Part of what makes Schwinn mountain bikes so unsuited for more hard riding is the lack of overall strength. As mentioned, they have enough structural build to handle regular mountain riding, but aluminum frames are not the most durable around, which means they can’t stand up to incredibly rough rides over time.
That’s not to say that you can’t get decent mileage out of a Schwinn mountain bike, but only if you accept its limitations. Putting it through big jumps or anything else extensive won’t serve you well, but the Signature Series models will hold their own, so long as you conduct proper maintenance and pay attention to how you’re riding it.
Mountain biking involves taking your bike to rough terrains, which can quickly turn into a bumpy ride. Comfort is a huge priority, especially if you intend to ride your bicycle for extended periods. After all, it’s not easy to enjoy exercise and the scenery around you if you can’t get comfortable on your bike.
While part of staying comfortable will be in part due to what other gear you decide to wear, the bike itself is still an essential component. As mentioned, the suspension system in these bicycles will help by reducing the overall shock of riding over rough terrain. And while that’s helpful, there’s still an area where Schwinn mountain bikes can fall short.
The seat of a bicycle is the place where you’ll be resting as you ride, and it can make or break a bike. Unfortunately for some Schwinn models, the included seat isn’t comfortable in the slightest, meaning that you’ll likely want to replace it out of the box. Depending on what replacement part you choose, you’ll be adding an extra cost to what you’re paying for the bike itself.
- Full suspension aluminum frame
- SRAM 3.0 21 speed trigger
- Front and rear sic brakes
- Thirty-one-inch tires
- Suitable for riders 5’8″ and over
- Hardtail mountain bike
- 24 speeds
- Weights thirty-nine pounds
- Twenty-nine-inch tires
- One of the more durable Schwinn models available
- Twenty-nine-inch tires
- Twenty-one speed Shimano EZ fire trigger
- Dual suspension
- Aluminum frame
Part of what can make Schwinn mountain bikes still stand out on the current market is that they come at an affordable price, especially in comparison to some of the other models that are out on the market. Depending on which model you’re looking at, you can find one of Schwinn’s bicycles available for under two-hundred dollars, while others can cost closer to one-thousand dollars.
Overall, though, the cost shouldn’t go much higher than that, and you’ll find that most prices will fall in the average. The drawback is that, while you can get excellent mileage out of a Schwinn, you’re still paying for the quality that you get in the end, not to mention you may need to add a bit more to your budget so that you can replace some of the weaker parts.
How It Compares
One of the most obvious places to start comparing Schwinn mountain bikes is to their previous iterations before Pacific Bikes acquired the brand. For anyone that’s still harboring a sense of nostalgia, it can be easy to see that Schwinn isn’t quite at the level that they used to be, especially when you look at the discount models available.
Even so, the current iterations of Schwinn still hold their own as most mountain bikes for beginner or casual use. They’re of higher quality than many other bicycles at their price point, which can provide some excellent value for anyone who doesn’t have the budget to invest upwards of one-thousand dollars into an expensive bike.
However, there are also other bikes out there that possess the combination of affordable and quality. Brands such as REI Co-op Cycles have a higher initial cost, but they also have valuable warranties and perform well. Even better, they stand up to the long-run and rough terrains of mountain biking, making them worth the cost, even in comparison to Schwinn.
Pros and Cons
- Affordable price
- Trusted brand name
- Sturdy builds, depending on the model
- Comes with full suspension
- Allows for parts replacement and upgrades
- Easy to shift gears
- Default seats can be somewhat uncomfortable
- Some parts may require replacement out of the box
- Can be challenging to distinguish high-quality bikes from lower ones
When looking at the big picture, it’s easy to see how the pros and cons of Schwinn mountain bikes star to balance each other out. The affordable price is certainly a draw, and it is possible to find a quality ride from this trusted brand name. The trick is in the fact that you need to check that you’re getting a signature bike, rather than one of the cheaper, generic models.
Even with that consideration in mind, we know that not everyone needs a top-tier mountain bike. For beginners that are just getting started or for anyone that wants to use their mountain bike a few times a year, a Schwinn will be reliable for these rides, even if they can be a bit clunky in the process.
Again, you get what you pay for when it comes to mountain bikes, so choose carefully. Anyone who’s a higher level enthusiast will likely need to look to other brands, but, for a basic mountain bike, Schwinn will serve you well. Our Schwinn mountain bike review rewards these cycles 3.75 out of five stars.