Is Schwinn still relevant?
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  1. #1
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    Is Schwinn still relevant?

    My first post from a long time rider.
    Just wondering if Schwinn is still relevant today. and when I talk of Schwinn I mean the bikes they sell in LBS, not box marts because I can see there is a difference.
    checking out their website, and looking at their bikes they seem to have some nicely speced road bikes. The Paramount is beautiful, the Peloton in carbon seems like a worthy steed, and the Le Tour looks like a good tourer. has anyone ridden these bikes?

    Is it the fact that the new company doesn't "know" bikes? What kind of people are running Schwinn nowsays selling the bikes? 30 years ago everyone wanted a Schwinn is that part of it, or the other companies just left them in the dust.

  2. #2
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    Schwinn is now just another brand from Pacific Cycle, which is a subsidiary of Dorel Industries headquartered in Montreal. Other Dorel brands include Mongoose, GT, Cannondale, and Roadmaster.

    Schwinn does market some really nice models like the Peloton and recently introduced Paramounts (CF Series 8 and 9, and Reynolds 953 70th Anniversary limited edition by Waterford). So, even though it's mostly a marketing organization, they're selling some nice hardware. To me, that makes them still relevant.

    Disclaimer: my dad spent thirty years between the early 1950s and late 1970s as a factory sales rep for Schwinn.
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  3. #3
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    Actually

    I believe that Dorel restructured Schwinn as part of what they are now calling the Cannondale Sports Group HQ in Bethel CT.

    Relevant? Depends. The market that I'm a part of, yes it is still an attention getting brand name that resonates well with *some* customers.

    As far as high end performance bikes, it remains to be seen if Dorel Industries will try to get Schwinn into that market niche.

    Dorel is best understood by the fact that they have EIGHT offices in China that are responsible for all of that companies output from Chinese factories.

    It's doubtful to me that the nicer carbon GT, Schwinn, or Mongoose (carbon discontinued for M-goose) will make your riding life miserable. Clearly the nicer offerings from each of those brands lack the cache they had when they were still competitive as quality "American" brands and not Chino made gruel for the masses.

    Aside from the nice gesture of having Richard Schwinn's Waterford factory produce the 70th anno Paramount.... it remains to be seen what Dorel or the brand will do next.

    The '09 offerings do look nice on paper. Whether they are good or not, I'd wait until mid-season when everyone's had a chance to critique the carbon GT's and Schwinns.

    For me it would be cool if Dorel does more than pay an "homage" to the fact that these bikes were and are American Ideas and as such in my biased opinion should at least be presented to the American market that way.

    It's doubtful to me that Dorel's shareholders will see it that way. Though I do hope the market will prove them wrong, and in some way tell Dorel's shareholders to fuk'off if they get too greedy and offer the brands as diluted junk. Most especially if they try to do this with Cannondale which they recently aquired.
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  4. #4
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    I understand that Dorels goal is to bring back some production to the USA. At this time I understand the Cannondale Factory is at full production. Not sure if they are just looking at some GT's, Schwinn's or both. The Cannodale produces the most bikes in the US at this time. (Yes more than Trek). They are just really getting started merging Cannondale with Schwinn/GT/Mongoose. I believe a lot of things will change next. Most of it will be things that a customer will never see. It will mostly be things that the dealers see. Schwinn also has a great group of people designing there bikes. Most of them came from Trek, Specialized, and other big brands. Dorel is pushing GT more than Schwinn at this time, but Schwinn sells alot more IBD bikes than GT, Mongoose or Cannondale. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by usa777
    I understand that Dorels goal is to bring back some production to the USA. At this time I understand the Cannondale Factory is at full production. Not sure if they are just looking at some GT's, Schwinn's or both. The Cannodale produces the most bikes in the US at this time. (Yes more than Trek). They are just really getting started merging Cannondale with Schwinn/GT/Mongoose. I believe a lot of things will change next. Most of it will be things that a customer will never see. It will mostly be things that the dealers see. Schwinn also has a great group of people designing there bikes. Most of them came from Trek, Specialized, and other big brands. Dorel is pushing GT more than Schwinn at this time, but Schwinn sells alot more IBD bikes than GT, Mongoose or Cannondale. I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.
    I hope you're right. That would be great news - to have more affordable bikes that are made here. My wife bought a Cannondale in large measure because it was made in the USA. Many, many bicyclists are politically conscious, so a move to make Schwinns in the US would probably (hopefully) increase sales. I really think that the Schwinn brand has been tarnished by all the Schwinn-badged department store bikes and moving significant production to the US would go a long way to correct that. And besides, it just makes sense for Schwinns to be made in America.

    Along those lines, do any of you bike business insiders know to what degree Dorel has buried the hachet with the Schwinn family? I think its great that Waterford is doing that special edition Paramount. Maybe that's a harbinger of more Schwinn's from the old factory. How about an affordable Gunnar-sourced model? That would be cool.

  6. #6
    toomanybikes
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    So here's a question for you then.


    What would your view be if the frames were produced in CAnada rather than, or in addition to, the US?

    NA production.

    Or would you still view them as "foreign" if not made in the US??

  7. #7
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    Canada would be fine, at least from the "not made in China" angle. But Schwinn's heritage is American (the US variety), so that's where they should build 'em.

  8. #8
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    Schwinn does have some nice offerings, and I've seen some decent reviews of their high-end stuff in recent magazines, but I compare it their situation to what happened when VW attempted to move upmarket with the Phaeton.

    The Phaeton got good reviews and seemed to be on par quality & offerings-wise compared to the competition (S class, 7 series to name a few) but many people just couldn't see themselves paying that kind of money for a VW. Similarly, sure, the Paramount is a probably a great bike but if you're dropping $5k+ on a bike, is the pedigree you want going to be Schwinn? For most people, probably not. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's just how I perceive the situation.

  9. #9

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    Chavez,

    Yes, love, I hate to, but I do have to agree. Perhaps it will be difficult for Dorel to re-market, or re-brand Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT.

    The damage Pacific Cycles did to those brands may be un-repairable in some segments of the market.

    Long term, I'd like to see Dorel continue to re-furbish Schwinn branding across the board. To clean up some of Pacific's mess a bit. I do agree with you in that I think Schwinn would be a great sell with mid to mid-hi range markets, but nothing near the Phaeton as good as that vehicle was... it just didn't work. For that kind of dime, honey put me in a Mercedes. or something soft and luxurious.

    Cannondale is the premium brand in Dorel's portfolio. Schwinn is a name that would be a great value the money. At their best, perhaps akin to the level of a Subaru WRX STI...

    That said I do admire Dorel, for commissioning Richard Schwinn of Waterford Cycles to produce a limited run of 953 Steel Paramounts.. if for anything nostalgia's sake.
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  10. #10
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    Schwinn

    I come from a family of schwinn riders. My dad still rides his voyaguer that he bought in the early 80's. My first real bike was a schwinn highs plains and since then I've owned a super sport and currently ride a fastback. The super sport was bought during schwinns darkest hours (the pacific years) but I knew enough to tell the diffrence between a walmart "schwinn" and the real thing. The fastback I bought on the cheap b/c the shop had a hard time moving them with felt and specialized sitting right beside.. rode all 3 and found the schwinn to be the match of the other 2 .. and even better considering it was on clearance for 100 bucks cheaper!
    not a fanboy btw.. my mtn bikes are a motobecane fantom comp ds and a gary fisher wahoo

  11. #11
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    I think it would help the brand to keep the relationship with Richard Schwill going and every now and then put out another Paramount.
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  12. #12
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    Good comments all. I think that job one for Schwinn is to get their name OUT the -beep- of Walmart and Target and all the other big box stores. Do not pass GO; do not collect $200. (pun intented) And not just the bikes, but all the cheapo, junky accessories too. It just sullies the reputation of the brand - Lance Armstrong could win all three grand tours on a Schwinn and, I think, people would still assosiate the Schwinn brand with crappy dept store stuff. Having done that, they could get back to where they used to be - the Ford or Chevy of bicycles. They are never going to attract cyclists who must have a fancy Italian name on their bike. Schwinn is already known as a value-packed brand among the non-logo conscious (who also know that Schwinn frames are made in the same factories as many of the fancy Italian named-ones) and they could build on that by ditching the big box rep and moving production back to North America. I think Schwinn is in a similar position to Harley-Davidson in the early 80's, which is to say they had a brand damaged by quality perceptions, but still a rich heritage as the American brand in the industry and plenty folks who fondly remember the "glory days" and would welcome, with thier hard earned money, its return. Dorel should study up on how H-D resurrected their brand in 80's. The analogy is obvisously not exactly the same, but similar. Teaming up with Waterford was a good start.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chavez
    Schwinn does have some nice offerings, and I've seen some decent reviews of their high-end stuff in recent magazines, but I compare it their situation to what happened when VW attempted to move upmarket with the Phaeton.

    The Phaeton got good reviews and seemed to be on par quality & offerings-wise compared to the competition (S class, 7 series to name a few) but many people just couldn't see themselves paying that kind of money for a VW. Similarly, sure, the Paramount is a probably a great bike but if you're dropping $5k+ on a bike, is the pedigree you want going to be Schwinn? For most people, probably not. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, it's just how I perceive the situation.
    Don't get me started on VW!

  14. #14
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    I may end up eating my own words about Schwinn since you can pick up a Paramount Series 8 (full carbon, Ultegra SL / Dura-ace) bike on PBike right now for about $1700 after using their 15% off coupon. The only comparable deal I've seen to that lately are the 08 Kuota Kharmas online for $1500. Either of those are a good deal for a fairly high spec carbon bike.

  15. #15
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    Schwinn? Seriously?

    I agree with boblandjd's comment of 04-04-2009 06:47 PM[B]. To be taken seriously and by serious bicyclists they need to get out of Walmart, Kmart, etc. I have nothing against those chain-stores, but I wouldn't go there to buy a high-end bike or even for repairs. But for profits, Schwinn may need to stay in those types of stores for now.

    I owned a Schwinn Paramount in the late 1980's and the frame was junk. I complained to the bike shop and they said the problem was my riding style...the frame flexed very badly and the chain rubbed when I was out of the saddle, even when not climbing. I got lucky and the frame just broke (no, it wasn't intentional, just fortunate!)...so Schwinn and the bike shop had to replace it. Same model but different color. That frame and bike was a very good bike. Stiff, quite fast and stable at all speeds. I sold it to a friend and bought a Schwinn Circuit, also a late 1980's bike. The Circuit is a good entry level racing bike, if a bit overly stylish. I haven't rode any of my bikes in years but will be getting on them again very soon, along with a new Lynskey Custom Level 3 bike I just ordered yesterday. I was on a couple bikes for very short rides yesterday.. And I've got some real work to do to be able to ride distance again...those short rides sure felt strange and I felt tired and stiff after the rides.

    I would have considered a Schwinn again, but they are very short on high-end bikes. And what's with all these sloped top tubes????? Lynskey can deliver one with a horizontal top tube, just one of many reasons I chose them. The other is a good bike shop not too far away, Tom's Pro Bike in Lancaster, NY. This is not a sales pitch for Tom's, although I think I'd recommend them ...they just took the time to custom fit the bike to me and they specialize in pro-level bikes and I felt I needed that expertise.

  16. #16
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    I've always been one to disparage Schwinn for the WalMart thing. Now we sell them. And GT. Holy [email protected]#$! The GT Sport carbon road bike that we just got in is the hottest carbon bike I've ever ridden. I've ridden C-40s, C-50s, Cervelos, Masis, and just about every other brand you can name; the GT kicks all their asses. I weigh 290. If I stand on the pedal and try to flex the bottom bracket, the crank flexes, but not the frame. Oddly enough, it also rides great. Smooth and balanced. I'm not a fan of 105 at all, which is what it comes with. ALL of 105. Even the hubs. Comes with a Fizik Arione, too. I'm foreseeing one of these being EP'd by me soon, and a 105 group being sold on eBay.

    The Schwinn road bikes are pretty cool too, but not as cool as the GT. Well....I'll have to decide that later. Our rep is bringing by a Paramount 9 for us to demo for a couple of weeks.
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  17. #17
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    No reason Schwinn can't build very good bikes. As I posted earlier, I was happy with the two I had (Paramount from late 1980s) and have (Circuit from 1980s). They were bought through a bike shop. I admit to a bias against Walmart, and can't see myself buying a performance road bike from them. I have too many bikes as it is. If I were to buy one more, it would probably be a high end Pinarello good enough to ride in a grand tour.

    Any idea where these new Schwinn's are made?

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the education about Schwinn. I was wondering why people used to consider Schwinn the Cadillac of the bike's when I was a kid, and now, few self-respecting cyclists ride them. I am proud to say that I had a Schwinn predator when I was a kid that my neighbor's kid rides to this day. I also have a Schwinn Sprint that I got in '88 that I still ride about 2k-3k per year. (mostly rides between 15-50 miles) Also, as a testament to the Schwinn quality of old, both my Predator and my Sprint still have all the original parts except for the obvious (tires, inner tubes, etc). Oh, now that I think of it, I did change the seat on the Sprint. But you get the idea.

    After all these years, I decided to purchase a CF bike. Ultimately, I went with a Madone 4.7, but my decision came down to that and the Schwinn Paramount Series 8. I hope that Schwinn makes it out of WalMart and back to the lbs's. The current Schwinn image did play into my decision to get a Trek.

  19. #19
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    It's bikes like THIS fixed gear/single speed with Reynolds 853 track geometry frame and decent components for less than $1000 that makes Schwinn still relevant.

    Last edited by Scooper; 04-01-2010 at 01:58 PM.
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  20. #20
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    Schwinn still makes extremely high quality bikes, made in the USA. Schwinn, the family, not Schwinn the company. And they're not called Schwinn's anymore, they're called Waterfords.

  21. #21
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    I think they're still relevant and make (market) a really nice bike. I love my Paramount S8. It's a great bike - light, stiff, well-speced and reasonably priced. Nothing like the Wally Word bikes they sell. As far as customer service goes, they're pretty great. I had a problem with my bottom bracket and Schwinn sent me a new frame a few weeks ago no questions asked. Unfortunately, I've got to sell the bike (with the Ridley and the new TT bike, my wife says I have too many bikes).

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHBike
    I think they're still relevant and make (market) a really nice bike. I love my Paramount S8. It's a great bike - light, stiff, well-speced and reasonably priced. Nothing like the Wally Word bikes they sell. As far as customer service goes, they're pretty great. I had a problem with my bottom bracket and Schwinn sent me a new frame a few weeks ago no questions asked. Unfortunately, I've got to sell the bike (with the Ridley and the new TT bike, my wife says I have too many bikes).

    Very nice bike. I too have an '07 Peloton Ltd. It has been a great bike.

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