The perfect ride quality seems to be the white whale of the bike industry. Whether you’re talking multi-thousand dollar carbon road bikes, or hybrids for the family, building a bike that blends comfort with performance is always a tricky balance. Add in the challenge of keeping the price to that of an entry to mid level bike and you have a puzzle that keeps companies going back to the drawing board.
Schwinn is addressing that very issue with their latest hybrid, the Vantage. Available only in Schwinn Signature independent bike shops (read, not Walmart), the Vantage uses a technology we’ve seen before but implements it in a unique way…
Elastomer inserts are definitely not a new thing. Many companies have places some sort of elastomer between the seat stays and the seat tube to absorb vibrations for years to varied success. Where the Vantage SRT (Smooth Ride Technology, naturally) differs as far as we know is the way the elastomer wraps around the seat tube and then the seat stay clamps around it. Somehow they’ve managed to do this in a way to claim no loss of lateral stiffness while providing 15mm of travel. We wouldn’t be surprised if the design is also a clever way of avoiding any patent infringement with other elastomer suspension designs on the market.
Available in either the Vantage F1 or F2, as mentioned the Vantage line is part of the Schwinn Signature line meaning they are bike shop only. Each bike includes rack and fender mounts, 700x32c tires, and disc brakes. While the F2 sells for $660, the F1 sees an upgraded drivetrain (9 speed Shimano vs. 8 speed Shimano) as well as a carbon fork for $880.
Head over to schwinnbikes.com to find your local dealer and to learn more.