What exactly is a "Schwinn" bicycle

brucemg51

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Jul 10, 2008
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I've decided I'd like a classic, retro cruiser for my next build. I'm a bit puzzled by the discrepancy between what I see in the stores and what I see on websites. The bicycles shown on the Schwinn website are more high end, and don't include any of the models I see being sold at Walmart or Target, some of which can be had for less than $100.00.
I know that Schwinn is now owned by Pacific bikes, which is just an importer. The Pacific site lists their brands, but when you click on the Schwinn link, it just takes you back to the Schwinn website.
I am led to conclude that:

1. The bikes I'm seeing in stores aren't really Schwinn's.
2. The bikes I'm seeing in stores are a second line, el-cheapo imitation of the real thing, made specifically to be sold in those stores.
3. The models I'm seeing are discontinued models.
4. If I went to an actual bicycle shop, I might see the models shown on the website.

Any or all of the above true? dance1
 

TexasDav

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Aug 19, 2008
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Houston
I know I bought my bike from walmart it was the schwinn beach cruser one speed. I went to the schwinn dealer for parts, no luck and a big speech about how they are not a real schwinn. I figure if you put your name on something, then you need to stand by your product. Either Schwinn put the screws to there dealers or there dealers are dropping the ball not carring parts and servicing the bikes. I replaced every moving part on this bike sence I bought it. Wheels, forks, crank, peddles, only the frame is there now and I seen where that could be a problem later. I am over 200lbs and can't blame walmart, cheap price cheap bike. But I know better next build, spend the money up front or spend it later fixing and walking home many times. Husky- Felt- Workman or old real steel bike is the way to go. Or lose weight:) Nah get steel:)
 

jasonh

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Jun 23, 2008
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Longmont, CO
I think 2 and 4 apply. These bikes are made specifically for those stores and the Schwinn name is slapped on. If you want a more quality Schwinn, you're gonna have to pay for it at a bike store, or if you really want quality and since you're wanting retro, see if you can find a vintage Schwinn on ebay or craigslist. Like they say, they don't make em like they used to.
 

MyPC8MyBrain

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Aug 1, 2008
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Schwinn was bought out by Pacific Cycles a few years ago. At that point they became made in China bikes just like the rest of flock.

The quality might be above that of a Magargi or Next[slightly above], but still a "made in china" bike.
 

Retmachinist

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Oct 21, 2008
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Urbandale Ia
Schwinn was bought out by Pacific Cycles a few years ago. At that point they became made in China bikes just like the rest of flock.

The quality might be above that of a Magargi or Next[slightly above], but still a "made in china" bike.
When I ordered my Macargi beach cruiser on line I thought I was getting something special. Turns out it is just another cheapee made in China!
 

ebmvegan

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Jul 15, 2008
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OC, Ca
The Schwinn bikes at Walmart and Target are actual Schwinns but are specifically for those stores. The Schwinns found at dealers are higher quality bikes. Although both are made in Asia, the Walmart and Target bikes are actually made in Taiwan. I think the dealer bikes are made in China and also in other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia. There are also a lot of bikes manufactured in South America as well.

As jasonh pointed out, one can purchase a vintage schwinn that was manufactured in Chicago. Unfortunately, some can also be at about the same price of a new dealer Schwinn as they are very collectible.
 

Qdot

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Nov 11, 2008
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Langley b.c canada
Those new schwinn bikes are just garbage anyways. Look on craigslist for an old cruiser frame they are way stronger and more vintage which = way cooler.
 

mabman

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Oct 4, 2008
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In the wind
Schwinn was a venerable brand that lost its luster when the Schwinn family let it go because they didn't want to compete with all the other Chinese Junk. Richard still builds bikes today under the Waterford brand and they are fine machines, but you will never get one for $200 unless you find a deal on CL. He doesn't make cruisers anyway.

Any complete bike under at least 2 grand is imported from somewhere, usually Asia. Not to say they can't make some decent bikes over there but as usual you get what you pay for. Pay more and you will get some decent quality.

Qdot is right on. Scrounge the want ads for an old school model and you will get a real Schwinn, they show up all the time where I live and the like brand new ones are about $200 which considering the quality is a screaming deal.
 

Michigan Mike

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Dec 9, 2008
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Michigan
I like the old Schwinn's too. What would an older cruiser in good shape be worth? Would one of the old 3-speed "English Racer" style Schwinn's be suitable for a motor?
 

mabman

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Oct 4, 2008
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In the wind
I like the old Schwinn's too. What would an older cruiser in good shape be worth? Would one of the old 3-speed "English Racer" style Schwinn's be suitable for a motor?[/QUOTE

Mike, just did a quick and dirty CL search and came up with this guy who seems to know the score on old Schwinn stuff in the Detroit area. $600 for the bike in the ad seems reasonable to me in comparison? I don't know what part of MI you live in and I know it is a big state but these guys tend to know others if you know what I mean? Kind of like around here!

CHOICE OF TWO VINTAGE SCHWINN STR8BARS
 

Michigan Mike

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Dec 9, 2008
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Michigan
I like the old Schwinn's too. What would an older cruiser in good shape be worth? Would one of the old 3-speed "English Racer" style Schwinn's be suitable for a motor?[/QUOTE

Mike, just did a quick and dirty CL search and came up with this guy who seems to know the score on old Schwinn stuff in the Detroit area. $600 for the bike in the ad seems reasonable to me in comparison? I don't know what part of MI you live in and I know it is a big state but these guys tend to know others if you know what I mean? Kind of like around here!

CHOICE OF TWO VINTAGE SCHWINN STR8BARS
Thanks Mabman ... appreciate the input. Man ... them's neat lookin bikes!
 

Qdot

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Nov 11, 2008
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Langley b.c canada
An older schwinn is worth about 200 - 350 bucks any day of the week. 600 dollars is wayyy to much unless its all original has the original papers it came with and all the accesories. Even then that is still way to high. Maybe its just my area but i would never pay that much money. You can get a 1950 J.C higgins for 500 and those are super rare.
 
Jul 22, 2008
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Northglenn,Colorado
Cronus is a China Schwinn. I do remember the made in the USA Schwinns and they were significantly heavier but Cronus is aluminum.
Right away I see China quality. The head badge was the biggest turn off. I mean C'MON CHINA! How much are you really saving by making a plastic STICK ON badge as opposed to a RIVETED METAL badge the way Schwinn has always done? And the parts are below par. My original coaster wheel bent within the first 100 miles of motorizing. And my coaster failed prematurely with the re greasing only a temporary fix. Then the replacement rims I went cheap on also made in China. Just not holding up to my weight. That wheel man wheel should keep things in order. In comparison my Montgomery Ward 70's USA newspaper bike has a heavily patina rear coaster rim that's still straight as an arrow after 200 miles on china 2 stroke riding and I have yet to grease that hub. It's still the original probably factory grease I should scrape it out though when I get that engine rebuilt.
So China does cut corners. But take a piece of machinery here and send it there you can have the same quality. The welds are really nice. and the almost 4 thousand miles on Cronus alone shows no signs of fatigue anywhere on this frame. But they fail in the wheels and in the cosmetics.
An older pre 70's COMPLETE bike in my eyes way better quality. Wheels alone way better.
 
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trackfodder

Member
Sep 8, 2008
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I vote for #2. I bought a Huffy Cranbrook for parts to finish my Monarch build. I wanted the fork,fenders,bars,rear wheel for a coaster brake front wheel., seat,gooseneck, about all but the frame and front wheel,minus tire and tube. I had a dandy wreck when the flimsy riveted bracket on the front fender failed and the fender wrapped around the front wheel, crushing it due to shortening of the rear struts. I went down on my right shoulder and knee hard for a 72 year old. I contacted the factory about buying a new fender and told them I salvaged the spokes and had a rim to use. They sent me a new fender and wheel free of charge and a note of appology. It turned out to be a heavier chrome fender. the other was thin stainless steel. The fender strut was about 1/32" bigger diameter wire. It is obvious they sell to Walmart to a standard and price set by them. A Cranbrook is $80, a REAL Cranbrook $140 from Huffy They are a class act in my books, although I prefer the stainless fender and managed to salvage it for use. The chrome one rusted. The Cranbrook crank helped put the HT in a Schwinn cruiser frame as the engine was too low to clear the Schwinn crank. I had to use a small girl's sprocket.ride3 to clear the bottom of the engine. KW
 

mabman

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Oct 4, 2008
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In the wind
An older schwinn is worth about 200 - 350 bucks any day of the week. 600 dollars is wayyy to much unless its all original has the original papers it came with and all the accesories. Even then that is still way to high. Maybe its just my area but i would never pay that much money. You can get a 1950 J.C higgins for 500 and those are super rare.
Well I guess that is why this one is still on CL? 1957 SCHWINN PANTHER Oh yeah, that's right $600 cdn is worth what these days USD? Roughly $486. Such a deal.

I agree that getting the best possible price for anything is the way to go no matter what. But I would rather give either of those guys 6 bills for their old quality Schwinns than whatever they want for one down at the big box. Or even a Felt cruiser actually. But that is personal preference and I am not in the market for anything even remotely like that so now I will stay quiet about it.
 

ebmvegan

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Jul 15, 2008
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OC, Ca
This is what I did to my Target Schwinn. 1K miles and syill going strong. But I do check it everytime before I ride. It is only a matter of time before I see crack some where. The major improvement I did though was installing the clam shell sprocket adaptor seen in the 2nd pic. I don't trust anything putting preasure on the spokes.



 

sojudave

New Member
Oct 18, 2008
189
2
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austin tx
I know I bought my bike from walmart it was the schwinn beach cruser one speed. I went to the schwinn dealer for parts, no luck and a big speech about how they are not a real schwinn. I figure if you put your name on something, then you need to stand by your product. Either Schwinn put the screws to there dealers or there dealers are dropping the ball not carring parts and servicing the bikes. I replaced every moving part on this bike sence I bought it. Wheels, forks, crank, peddles, only the frame is there now and I seen where that could be a problem later. I am over 200lbs and can't blame walmart, cheap price cheap bike. But I know better next build, spend the money up front or spend it later fixing and walking home many times. Husky- Felt- Workman or old real steel bike is the way to go. Or lose weight:) Nah get steel:)
Wally world gets their name brand vendors to cheapen the products so it will cost less to sell. Levi's sell their Levi Strauss line there and Dickie's uses a whole different tag. It's a red tag instead of the traditional one.
 

brucemg51

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Jul 10, 2008
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This is what I did to my Target Schwinn. 1K miles and syill going strong. But I do check it everytime before I ride. It is only a matter of time before I see crack some where. The major improvement I did though was installing the clam shell sprocket adaptor seen in the 2nd pic. I don't trust anything putting preasure on the spokes.



How is the sprocket adapter mounted on the rear axle? What keeps it in place and prevents it from spinning around the axle?
 

ebmvegan

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Jul 15, 2008
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OC, Ca
I have a piece of rubber but it isn't needed. I've gone wihout the rubber on 3 other builds. There are 2 bolts and clamp the shell down. You can see one of the large holes on the second pic. Then there is a spacer that attaches to the sprocket and 6mm bolts connect the sprocket and spacer to the clam shell.