This post was sponsored by Schwinn Bicycles. Bikes were provided as post compensation and for review purposes. All opinions expressed and photos herein belong to the author.
This has been a year of big changes at our house, especially for my son, Mac (5). Not only did he start kindergarten, but he got rid of his bicycle training wheels, learned to swim without floaties, bait his own hook and got to go hunting with daddy for the first time. Of all of these milestones, learning to ride a bike on his own has probably made the biggest day-to-day difference for us. Suddenly, he wants to ride his bike everywhere!
Getting those training wheels off has given Mac a newfound sense of independence, adventure and confidence. My husband loves riding with him around our neighborhood and local park. After a while I started to get frustrated being stuck at home with no bike, unable to join them on their adventures. It had been years since I did any riding, but I had to admit that it was finally time for me to get a bike, too.
With new bikes needed for us both, Mac and I were really excited to have the opportunity to each review a Schwinn bike. Schwinn is a tried and true company that’s been around for ages. It is associated with high-quality, affordable, durable bikes. From “walk ‘n’ roll” kids bikes to the Le Tour Legacy, they offer a comprehensive line of bikes that suit the needs of any rider, young to old. Their bikes are built to the Schwinn Quality standard, with over 100 years of cycling heritage, passion and expertise. With a quality brand selected, all we had to do was pick out the perfect bike best suited for each of our needs.
Choosing the right size bike for kids
Schwinn believes a well-fitted bike makes the child more comfortable; and being comfortable inspires confidence and the motivation to learn. However, figuring out children’s bicycle sizing can be tough and overwhelming. Kids bicycle sizes are determined by the wheel size of the bicycle (12″, 16″, 18″, 20″, 24″). The wheel size of children’s bicycles directly correlates with the frame size of the bicycle. Oftentimes you can make a good estimate for what size bike your child will need based upon their age. However, with children going through growth spurts and varying in height, it is always better to measure your child’s height to find the right bike for them. Of course you should have them test ride the bike as well!
Finding a bike that fits is crucial to your child’s safety, especially since both oversized and undersized bikes can prove hazardous. Bikes that are too large can prevent a child’s feet from touching the ground and keep hands from reaching the hand brakes. Bikes that are too small, on the other hand, force a child to pedal awkwardly with substantially bent knees, which can cause knee pain and make a child’s legs tire quickly. When fitting a bike, make sure your child, while seated, can touch the ground easily with both feet when the seat is in its lowest position. (The seat can be raised gradually as your child grows.) Adjust the seat so that your child’s legs bend slightly at the bottom of each revolution when pedaling.
For more info on kids bike sizing, see the Schwinn website here.
Schwinn SmartStart bikes
Parents are often concerned that their child will grow out of a bicycle to quickly. That’s why the Schwinn SmartStart is a great solution to help your child’s bike “grow” with them. Schwinn SmartStart bikes are built with a child’s proportions in mind. The grips are smaller, the pedals are closer together, and the seat is angled in a way that will make the body angle needed to pedal less stressful. Raising the saddle of a Schwinn SmartStart bicycle raises the angle of the seat and the distance from the seat to the handlebars and pedals. This means that as your child grows, the bike evolves and fits your child longer.
If your child is more comfortable, then they will want to ride, and learning will be less frustrating for everyone involved. Plus, you can’t loose with the Schwinn name, since it is backed with a limited lifetime warranty for as long as you own the bike, and has been building great kids bikes since 1895.
We ended up choosing the 18″ Schwinn Amplify SmartStart bike for Mac and it was a great choice to get him started on his cycling journey. The bike is black and blue (two of his favorites) and designed specifically for kids (as opposed to a shrunken version of an adult bike). Like all the Schwinn SmartStart bikes, the grips are sized for smaller hands for easy steering, and the pedals are positioned closer together, so picking up speed is a snap. It’s fast enough to give him the thrill he desires, but can stop on a dime. It has back-pedal coaster and hand brakes, both of which he utilizes. He couldn’t love this bike any more. It’s been so much fun watching him gain power, strength and confidence as he rides. And while we’ve only had it for a few months, it’s already survived multiple crashes and wipeouts. It has proven to be durable and tough.
Amplify stats and features:
Model & Size: Schwinn SmartStart 18″ Amplify
Color: Sidewalk Bike
Fits heights: 42-52″
Age: 6 years – 10 years
Retail price: $119.99
- Rigid high-tensile steel child frame
- Coaster and front and rear hand brake
- Single speed
- Rigid frame and fork
- SmartStart design features smaller grips and pedals that are closer together to promote a comfortable fit
- Training wheels included
Picking the right Schwinn bike for adults
With so many different types of bikes to choose from it can be hard to determine which bicycle is best suited for you. However, if you know a few basics about each type of bike it will be easier to zero in on a bicycle that fits your lifestyle.
- Cruiser Bicycles: These retro looking bikes have wide balloon tires, wide saddles, and keep you in an upright seated position. These bikes have a simple mechanical design and a single-speed drive-train. They are incredibly durable, which makes them very easy to maintain. A cruiser is a great choice for the casual and stylish cyclist who is looking for a stable bike. This cyclist is not concerned about how fast they get from point A to B, and will primarily be biking on flat terrain.
- Mountain Bicycles: These durable bikes typically have wide knobby tires, a stout frame and shock-absorbers. They have straight handlebars with a raised seat that keeps you in a more upright seated position than a road bike. With stable wheels, these bikes can handle the dirt, potholes, and gravel of off-roading. While the sturdy features make this bicycle excellent for rough terrain, they can also make a ride on the road heavy and slow.
- Hybrid Bicycles: This bike combines features of both the road and mountain bike styles to create a perfect compromise. The Hybrid has skinnier tires and a lighter frame, which allows it to go faster than the mountain bike. It’s ideal for the cyclist who wants a general-purpose bike that can handle multiple terrains and riding conditions. This bicycle is not only durable and comfortable, but is also fast. Ideally suited for beginning cyclist or commuters who want a quick, comfortable ride.
- Urban Bicycles: These bikes are durable with strong frames to handle any possible hazards of the city road. This type of bike comes with fenders to keep the rider free from mud and water kicked up. The handlebars allow you to sit upright for a comfortable ride. Urban bikes are ideal for practical city dwellers who want to use their bike for running errands or commuting to work.
- Bike Path Bicycles: These bikes keep riding simple and smooth. Wide plush saddles, upright seating, plush suspension, and tires similar to those found on mountain bikes (but smoother) make riding a Bike Path bike extremely comfortable, although less efficient then a Hybrid. The Bike Path bike is ideal for a casual cyclist who desires comfort and leisurely rides.
- Road Bicycles: These bikes have skinny tires, light frames, and a forward leaning riding position that allows a cyclist to go fast on pavement. The road bike has two types of handlebars for the road cyclist various needs. Drop-bar handlebars are for the cyclist who wants to go faster. They are lightweight and create a more aerodynamic riding position, while also allowing you to better transfer your energy to moving the bike. However they may also put more strain on your back. The flat-bar handlebars allow you to sit up in a more upright position to reduce strain on your back, wrist and shoulders, but they are less efficient in speed.
For more information on choosing the right Schwinn bike, visit their website here.
Choosing the right bike for me was a bit tougher. While I’m no longer growing (at least not up…out is a different story!), I wasn’t sure exactly how/where I’d be riding the most. I wanted a model that I could ride on the paved streets of our neighborhood and the gravel trails at local parks. I ended up choosing a Schwinn Hybrid Bike called the Circuit. As mentioned above, the hybrid combines features of both road and mountain bike styles. The Circuit has skinnier tires and a lighter frame than a mountain bike. It’s a great general-purpose bike that can handle multiple terrains and riding conditions. While I’ve known how to ride a bike forever, I still consider myself a beginner, so this bike is a good one to start with.
The Circuit is agile and responsive, yet seriously durable and tough. It comes with 21-speed Shimano EZ-Fire shifters, which were very easy for me to learn and pick up on quickly. I’ve never owned a bike with gears before! It has powerful mechanical disc brakes for fast and efficient stopping. Trust me, they’ve been tested and work great! Riding behind my impulsive (and easily distracted) 5 year-old has made me quick on the breaks! The ride is smooth and comfortable, even when four + months pregnant!
Circuit stats and features
Model & Size: Schwinn Women’s Circuit 28″ Hybrid Bike
Color: Teal Blue
Gear Speeds: 21
Bicycle Frame Height: 15″
Bicycle Frame Material: Aluminum
Wheel Height: 28″
Maximum Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
Dimensions: 58 inches L x 35 inches H
Weight: 35 pounds
Retail price: $289.99
Add a Schwinn to the family
Riding a bike is a rite of passage for a kid; a passport to worlds beyond the front lawn. Bikes represent fun, freedom, and fresh air – everything that’s good about childhood. Moreover, biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow. One that encourages them to be active, safe and aware of their surroundings. And once you have a bike, it’s fun, free and easy to do with the entire family. Biking with kids and as a family has never been easier. If you’re looking to add a bike to your fleet, I highly recommend Schwinn’s line-up of kids and adult bikes.
You can find more information on Schwinn Bicycles in the following locations:
And don’t miss the next post in this series – Tips & Advice for Biking with Kids (coming soon!).