Today, Schwinn isn’t the name you think of when it comes to race-worthy gravel and cyclocross bikes, but the company has a rich history of make the very finest steel bicycles a few decades ago, and it wasn’t that long ago the company offered a race-worthy Fastback CX cyclocross bike.
Schwinn may now be mostly found in department stores, but with its new Signature line of bikes—and resurgence of its storied line of Moab and Fastback bikes—the Madison-based company is determined to win back enthusiasts, even if it’s just starting with budget-constrained riders.
The company showed off its Vantage RX1 gravel bike at Sea Otter 2016, but the bike is now finally available after a bit of a delay from Amazon.com for $1,518. Dicks Sporting Goods will also carry the sub-$1,000 Vantage RX2 with a lower spec in the future.
Schwinn's website bills the Vantage RX1 as a road bike, but a closer look shows it has the trappings of a gravel bike. Perhaps most interesting is Schwinn's unique elastomer-based Smooth Ride Technology (SRT) that uses elastomers at the seat post and stem to dampen vibrations. The claimed seat post travel is up to 15mm and the TranX Antishock Elastomer stem provide a few degrees of flex to soften bumps in a fashion similar to the Redshift Sports ShockStop suspension stem.
The bike comes with 700c x 35mm Continental Sport Contact II slicks, but it has clearance for tires up to 44mm wide. It pairs a 50/34t FSA crankset with an 11-speed SRAM 22 rear derailleur with an 11-32t cassette, so there are plenty of cogs available for climbing steep gravel roads. The Vantage RX1 also comes with Rival hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
For more info about the Schwinn Vantage RX1, see the photo gallery below and this #hype video with shots from Madison-area Badger Prairie that hosted the 2012 and 2013 Cyclocross National Championships.
More info: schwinnbikes.com
See more of what’s new in cyclocross and gravel in our 2018 Sea Otter trade show archives.