We just saw the reemergence of the Schwinn Stingray, and we can only predict the same for other Schwinn vintage bikes. We’ll probably see the renaissance of the Schwinn Black Phantom and the Schwinn Typhon. But are vintage Schwinn bikes good?
Vintage Schwinn bikes are good because they promise strong build quality, come in attractive retro style, and are pretty comfortable, versatile, and easy to repair. Moreover, they come in lots of choices for small riders.
So, it might be worthwhile getting a Schwinn vintage bike if you are lucky enough to come across one. That, however, doesn’t imply that these classic bikes are flawless.
Like modern Schwinn bikes, vintage Schwinn cycles have a few downsides, which I’ll share with you.
But before I do, I should clarify that I’m not talking about old bikes when I talk of vintage bikes. No! On that note, let’s see what Schwinn’s vintage cycles are.
In a rush? See my most recommended vintage Schwinn bicycles on the hotlist below!
3 Best Vintage Schwinn Bikes
- The Schwinn OCC Stingray: Best Chopper-Style Vintage Schwinn Bike
- Schwinn Classic Krate Orange: Best Schwinn Stingray Vintage Bike
- Schwinn Classic Krate Coal: Alternative Best Schwinn Stingray Vintage Bike
What are Vintage Schwinn Bikes?
Though the term vintage often dates to a time in history, it doesn’t necessarily mean an old bike. So, vintage Schwinn bicycles are not old Schwinn bikes – let me make that clear!
Repeatedly, the term vintage refers to a bike at least 25 years old. We are talking about Schwinn bikes that were made before 1985. So, Schwinn bikes made in the early 90s, 80s, 70s, and so on all count as vintage.
And of course, you’ve to look at its design to see if it fits the description of a classic bike. In that case, consider if it has most of these features:
- Balloon tires
- Oversize saddle
- Built-in kickstand
- High-rise handlebars
- Chrome mudguards
- Upright geometry
Now that it’s clear what vintage Schwinn bicycles are, let’s see if they are worth it by looking at their pros and cons:
6 Reasons Vintage Schwinn Bikes Are Good – The Pros
Vintage Schwinn bicycles are worth it because of these six reasons:
1. Strong Build Quality
Vintage Schwinn bicycles are hand-built just like other vintage bikes. Therefore, so much attention is given to the build quality.
And Unlike modern Schwinn bikes, which feature less fatigue-resistant materials, the manufacturer uses robust materials like hi-ten steel or heavy-duty chromo-steel on Vintage bikes, which can withstand fatigue, bad weather, and rough usage.
2. Attractive ‘Cool’ Retro Style
No bike is as cool as something from the 50s, 60s, 70s, up to the 90s. Most of these bikes have a chopper look, characterized by high-rise handlebars, fat-tire rear tires, extended frames, oversized gussets, and sissy-bar seat posts.
That’s the case of the Schwinn OCC Stingray. This Schwinn Stingray has a look and the feel of riding a vintage motorcycle.
3. Comfortable Choices
Vintage Schwinn bicycles come with oversized saddles and gussets, high-rise handlebars, and oversized tires, which improve your riding comfort.
4. Versatile Picks
Schwinn vintage bicycles are the type to ride around town, commute with, run errands, or cycle for fun. Their versatility cannot be matched by many.
Though they are not for serious riders, especially racers and mountain bikers, they are worth having for casual use.
5. Easy to Repair
Before Shimano’s dominance in the groupset sector, Vintage bikes only came with simple components that were easy to fix. The repairs were never a challenge, and that’s the case with Schwinn vintage bikes.
Any experienced DIY enthusiast or local artisan can fix them.
6. Ideal for Small Riders
Schwinn bikes from the 60s to the 90s come in designs that easily fit small riders. That includes kids and average height adults.
These groups usually have a problem finding the perfect retro-style bike size, and Schwinn takes care of that with its vintage collection.
The Concerns of Vintage Schwinn Bikes – The Cons
Here are two issues that come with Schwinn vintage bicycles:
1. Replacement Parts Are Not Easy to Find
Since the manufacturer is no longer making the bikes, finding their replacements usually is challenging. That’s unless you inquire from Schwinn, and even so, there is always the chance of not getting it.
2. Not Easy to Accessorize
Just like it’s never easy to find replacement parts for Schwinn vintage bicycles, it’s also not easy finding their accessories. Most bike accessories such as bells, kickstands, racks, and fenders are made for modern bikes and, as a result, are unlikely to fit vintage options.
How to Identify Vintage Schwinn Bikes
Given that the term vintage doesn’t mean an old Schwinn bike, how can you know ‘the one?’ Well, here are ways to go about it:
a) Check its Serial Number
Remember, since a Vintage Schwinn bike should be at least 25 years old. You can date it by looking at its serial number on any of these locations:
- Lower headtube for Schwinn bikes dating to the 1970s
- Bottom bracket shell for those dating after 1979
Note that the letter represents the month for Schwinn bikes whose serial number starts with a letter. For example, letter A represents January, B February, C March, etcetera. The letter is then followed by a 4-digit, representing the year of manufacture.
b) Look at its Design
You can tell a vintage Schwinn bike from the way it looks. In this case, look for the following:
- Balloon style heavy-duty frame
- Balloon tires – just like those of a beach cruiser
- Wider seat – which can be the banana shape or any other irregular shape
- High-rise handlebars
c) Look it Up Online
If you have a picture of the bike or its serial number, you can confirm if it’s vintage by dropping it on e-Bay, Schwinn Bike Forum, or any other reputable bike forum.
d) Don’t Forget the Style
Once you are familiar with some vintage styles, you can always make a better choice. Two of Schwinn’s most famous vintage styles are:
For most vintage fans, the Stingray is Schwinn’s coolest bike. This bike model was first produced in 1963 and discontinued in 1976. It’s generally a big part of the Vintage Schwinn Bikes 1970 series.
The bike is notable for its high-rise handlebars, banana seat, and large gusset. The bikes also come in single-speed and 2-5 speeds in different styles such as:
Overall, the Stingray Krate is the most popular choice not just for kids but adults too. Both kids and adults can ride the Schwinn Stingray, which is available in Cool Orange, Cool Coal, among many other colors.
b) Black Phantom
The Black Phantom was first made in 1949, and its production continued for ten years. So, at least ten models exist, and they come in blue, red, black, and green choices with a few details such as rear carrier, white-wall tires, spring-padded seats, fender lights, taillights, and chromo-steel fenders.
Overall, the Black Phantom is a collector item that you cannot find easily.
Other than the Stingray and Black Phantom, other vintage Schwinn bike models include:
- Schwinn Stardust (1970)
- Schwinn Cimarron (1985-1987)
- Project KOM 10 (1988)
- Schwinn Panther (1953/1954)
- Schwinn Paramount (1991/1971)
- Lemon Peeler (1968)
- Schwinn New World (1945)
- Schwinn Jaguar (1930)
- Varsity Sport (1975)
- Schwinn Typhon (1967)
- Schwinn Starlet (1955)
How to Find the Best Vintage Schwinn Bikes
Now that you know how to identify vintage Schwinn bicycles, you should know how to find them. Here are ways to go about it:
a) Use Online Resources
Some reputable online resources to use to find a Schwinn vintage bike are:
- Bike Radar
- Cycle Chat
- Schwinn Bike Forum
- Bicycle Blue Book
- Classic Rendezvous
- Classic Vintage Cycles
- Vintage Schwinn Bicycles
b) Check on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay
Craigslist, Facebook Marketplaces, and eBay are great resources for finding vintage items, including Vintage Schwinn bikes.
Note that most sellers on these platforms sell old bikes. So, it’s essential to ask about the bike’s condition and clear pictures if possible and meet in a public place to do the exchange.
c) Consider Amazon for Retro-Modern Schwinn Bikes
Amazon allows you to get a modern Schwinn bike with a vintage flair. So, if you cannot get an old Schwinn bike in good condition on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or eBay, consider getting a vintage-inspired option on Amazon.
Here are the best retro-modern Schwinn bikes on Amazon:
- Schwinn Krate Evo Classic – Best for kids
- Schwinn Destiny Classic Cruiser Bike – Best for girls and women
- The Schwinn Wayfarer Adult Bike – Best for adults
People Also Ask
1. How Much Are Vintage Schwinn Bikes Worth?
Depending on its condition, you can get a vintage Schwinn bike for less than $100 or as much as $800. Rare options, nonetheless, cost much more.
2. How Do I Know If My Schwinn Is Vintage?
You can know if your Schwinn is vintage by looking at its serial number. It’s usually on the lower headtube for bikes dating to the 1970s and on the bottom-bracket shell for those dating to the 80s. If it’s older than 25 years, it’s likely to be a Vintage.
3. Are Old Schwinn Bikes Good?
Provided that an old Schwinn bike is in good condition, it’s worth having. Most old Schwinn bikes feature robust frames and wheels that can tolerate huge weights, aggressive usage, and terrible terrains, making them good.
4. Are Old Schwinn Bikes Worth Anything?
Old Schwinn bikes could fetch you anything between $100 and $800, depending on their condition and level of customization.
However, rare options, especially those relating to someone famous, may cost more, some up to $2,000 or more as they are considered collectibles.
5. How Can You Determine the Age of a Schwinn Bike?
The easiest way to tell the age of a Schwinn bike is by looking at the serial number. You can use it to date the bike. If you cannot figure out the date from the serial number, copy it and use it to inquire from the manufacturer or bike forums.
6. Why Are Vintage Schwinn Bike So Expensive?
Most vintage Schwinn bikes are so expensive because they are rare models. Since you cannot find them easily, you have to pay more for them.
But generally, Schwinn bikes are expensive because they are good quality, including vintage options.
Are Vintage Schwinn Bikes Good? Closing Thought:
Vintage Schwinn bicycles may be dating a few decades ago, but there is nothing to show they are bad or a waste of money. Quite the contrary, these bikes are good in quality, appearance, use, and comfort.