Even though the current market is full of modern bicycles, numerous bike lovers are still looking for vintage models, like Schwinn bikes. In addition to being collectible, they stand out for their build quality and longevity, making them tremendously popular nowadays.
You can find numerous models, necessary parts, and accessories on the current market. When deciding to purchase a vintage bike, it is advisable to check the vintage Schwinn bike value guide. That way, you will avoid making the wrong investment and prevent possible fraud.
Schwinn Bike History
Ignaz Schwinn and Adolph Arnold founded the Arnold, Schwinn & Co. in 1895. They produced excellent bikes from the very beginning and stayed a synonym for quality in the bicycle industry for more than a century.
Ignaz wasn’t a novice in this business because he started working on the original two-wheeled bicycle models in his native Germany. In 1891, he emigrated to America and teamed up with Adolf Arnold in 1895 to establish their own bicycle company.
The company’s founding coincided with increased interest in bicycles across America, and the US bicycle production had grown to over a million pieces a year by 1900. Thanks to thirty newly opened factories, Chicago became the bicycle industry center.
Unfortunately, the cycling boom was short-lived. As early as 1905, bicycle production fell to only 25% of the initial output, resulting in many closed factories.
Such a situation inspired Schwinn to change his business strategy. He bought a few smaller bicycle companies and started mass production at a significantly lower price. Meanwhile, his partner gave up, and Schwinn became the only owner after buying his share.
The motor vehicle development further reduced the demand for bicycles, so Schwinn Bicycle Company was forced to change its business policy once again. He decided to develop the children’s bicycle production in addition to adult models.
Until his death in 1948, Mr. Schwinn continued growing his company and upgrading existing bicycle models. His effort resulted in numerous improvements, such as:
- Spring fork
- Built-in kickstand
- Cantilever frame
- Balloon tires
- Rear-wheel brake
Vintage Schwinn Bike Identification
Determining the Schwinn bike value is not an easy task. The first step is to make sure that it is really a Schwinn vintage bicycle. Then, it is time to check a few details before estimating its value.
Head badge and logo
On most Schwinn company bikes, you can see a badge on the head or a plate with its name. Their appearance varied depending on the production year and the bicycle’s look and style. Remember that they were distributed unbranded and without labels before the 1950s.
Always look for the serial number on the bike frame. It will help you confirm that a particular bicycle is an authentic vintage Schwinn and determine the model. Remember that the serial number location varied from year to year but was never placed on an easily removed part, like the handlebars, seat, or wheel.
- 1940 to 1949 – During this period, Schwinn didn’t use serial numbers regularly. The existing ones always began with Z or B. It was not until 1948 that the regular use of numbers started.
- 1950 to 1959 – Serial numbers in this period were usually placed at the crankshaft hanger bottom. However, this number could also be on the frame part where the bicycle’s rear axle was attached in bikes produced during the late 1950s.
- 1960 to 1969 – You should look for the serial number on two places on bicycles produced in this decade. It was often placed on the part where the axle was attached to the rear wheel. Another option was at the end of the rear fork of the frame itself.
- 1970 to 1979 – On most Schwinn bikes from this period, you can find the serial number on the front tube of the frame.
It is logical to expect that the bike in a better condition is worth more. However, it is necessary to check whether it went through the restoration process at some point. In such a case, a restaurateur replaced damaged parts with new components, reducing the bicycle’s value.
Interestingly, vintage Schwinn bikes with more original parts will reach higher prices even if they are not in running order. If the original parts are on the number and in excellent condition and the bike is still functional, its value will be significant.
Most models in excellent condition are worth several thousand dollars. On the other hand, you will get only a few hundred dollars for a neglected bike in poor condition. However, it is almost impossible to find an entirely worthless piece.
Vintage Schwinn Bike Types
Schwinn’s company has released many different bicycle models over many production years.
schwinn bike models by year
|Production year||Bike model|
|The 1890s||Double Diamond|
|1895 to 1916||World|
|1931 to 1940||La Salle|
|1934||The Streamline Aerocycle|
|1938 to 1979; 1981 to 1985||Paramount|
|1939 to 1967||Cycle truck|
|1940 to 1952||New world|
|1941 to 1982||Hollywood|
|1946 to 1947||Whizzer|
|1949 to 1959||Starlet|
|1949 to 1959||Phantom|
|1950 to 1969||Panther|
|1951 to 1958||Hornet|
|1951 to 1985||Bantam|
|1952 to 1959||Wasp|
|1953 to 1969||Tiger|
|1954 to 1961||Corvette|
|1955 to 1964||American|
|1957 to 1979||Collegiate|
|1958 to 1976||Continental|
|1958 to 1976||Speedster|
|The late 1950s to 1976||Continental 10-speed|
|1959 to 1979||Tornado|
|1960 to 1982||The varsity 8-speed and 10-speed|
|1961 to 1963||Jaguar|
|1963 to 1979||String ray|
|1963 to 1964||Co-ed|
|1964 to 1973||Racer|
|1966 to 1976||Fastback|
|1968 to 1972||Breeze|
|1972 to 1988||Le tour|
|1977 to 1980||Hurricane|
|1983 to 1985||Cruiser|
The list of the most popular Schwinn bike types includes:
Double Diamond tandem Schwinn bike
Schwinn made a specific frame for this model by using components from several single bikes. Thanks to its ultimate quality, this bicycle had a higher price than similar models that other companies produced.
1899 World Schwinn bike
One of the first bikes from the Schwinn factory was the 1899 World bicycle type. At that time, it was trendy, and of high quality, so the company produced a few variations:
- Standard Roadster Model 33
- Ladies’ Standard Model 34
- Track Racer Model 35
- Combination Tandem Model 39
- Triplet Model 40
- Model 41
Schwinn Aerocycle bike
This model was most likely the first streamlined bike in the US. Ignaz Schwinn’s son persuaded American Rubber to make a unique 2,125 inches (54 mm) wide tire bale for this model. The offered features also included:
- Aerodynamic fenders
- Chrome headlights
- Imitation gas tanks
- Push-button bicycle bell
Most of these bikes were silver with red details, but you could sometimes find other color combinations.
American Schwinn bike
The American model appeared in 1955 and was the first one to be entirely produced in the US. For the next ten years, as long as its production lasted, it was advertised as 100% American-made.
This bike was made as a model for boys and girls and was improved several times during the production years.
Black Phantom Schwinn bike
The Schwinn Black Phantom bicycle production lasted ten years, from 1949 to 1959. A few unique features made this model special:
- Patented Schwinn fore-wheel drum brakes in the front and rear wheels
- Tank with horn
- Whitewall tires
- Cycle-lock steering mechanism
- Chrome steel fenders
- Three spring padded saddle
- Streamline fender light
- Bow pedals on the later models
- Rear carrier
This model is popular among collectors nowadays, but it is hard to find the one with all the original parts. In addition to black, you can see the Phantom in green, blue, and red colors.
Stingrays Schwinn bike
The younger population adored this bike produced from 1963 to 1979. The most probable reason was its unique design with 20-inch (50.8 cm) tires, a banana-shaped seat, and a raised handlebar. You can find this model with 1,2,3 and 5 speeds and in several styles:
- Ram’s Horn Fastback
- Super DeLuxe
Bantam Schwinn bike
It is a classic children’s bicycle intended for boys and girls from 3 to 5 years. With the easy-to-remove auxiliary wheels, beginners quickly learned to drive. Apart from this convenience, standard equipment included:
- Aerodynamic chain guard
- Semi-pneumatic puncture-resistant tires
- Conventional brake
The production lasted from 1951 to 1985.
Schwinn Catalina Schwinn bike
In 1959, Schwinn launched a new bicycle model for girls in a few color combinations, including:
- White and rose
- White and powder blue
- Radiant red
- Radiant blue
Schwinn Corvette Schwinn bike
The Schwinn Corvette was an interesting bicycle type produced between 1954 and 1964 that came in both male and female models. The equipment of this bike has changed over the years, until reaching deluxe equipment, such as:
- Front and rear parking brakes
- Stainless steel dams
- 3-speed gearboxes
- Schwinn Tornado tires of 1.75 inches (4.45 cm)
Hornet Schwinn bike
Schwinn Hornet was a classic of this company and extremely popular during production from 1951 to 1958. Along with many different versions manufactured over the years, this model suitable for both sexes experienced a deluxe version. The standard equipment included:
- Rocket-ray headlamp
- Solid luggage carrier
- Streamlined tank with built-in siren
- Truss rods
- Streamlined chainguard
Vintage Schwinn Bike Value
If you want to sell or buy a Schwinn bike, you can determine its value by comparing it to some recently sold models. However, some bicycles are expensive, and you need to set aside thousand dollars to get one. On the other hand, you can consider yourself lucky if you have one of these pricey beauties.
Vintage Schwinn bike value
|Production year||Bike model||Price|
|1971||Stingray Gray Ghost||$3,950|
|The 1970s||Grape Krate||$2,900|
|The late 1940s||Black Phantom||$1,000|
Schwinn Stingray Gray Ghost
One of these bikes produced in 1971 was sold for close to $4,000 in 2022. It was in excellent condition and with almost all the original parts.
Schwinn Grape Krate
This bicycle from the 1970s was in good condition with most original parts. One collector paid almost $3,000 for it in 2022.
Beautiful blue bike from 1966 stood disassembled in a box for years and remained in perfect condition. It was sold for close to $1,800.
Schwinn Black Phantom
The bike produced in the late 1940s or 1950s in good condition reached $1,000 in early 2022.
Guide to Buy or Sell a Schwinn Bike
As expected, the bike’s price can vary significantly, depending on its type, age, condition, and rarity.
The rule of thumb is that a bicycle is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. Once you decide to buy or sell a vintage Schwinn bike, there are a few options on where and how to do it.
It is a great place to check your bike value or look for the model you want. You can find vintage Schwinn bikes there and get plenty of information about the desired model. Plus, most of the ads are accompanied by pictures, and you can see the bike’s condition from a few angles.
Feel free to inquire about the bike you want to buy, including the model’s condition, age, whether the seller has restored it, and how many original parts are on it. Always check shipping costs as transporting and packing are often costly.
Craigslist is not a place to look for a bike if you are impatient or need it right away. Since the goods choice is constantly changing, you need to be patient here and carefully follow the lists of appearing items.
Old Roads specializes in vintage bikes, and you can find helpful information about their condition there. A particular benefit is that professional bicycle mechanics have adjusted all the models offered for sale.
If you find a vintage Schwinn bike somewhere or spot it at a garage sale, it will undoubtedly be worth a few hundred or thousands of dollars. However, only rare models in excellent condition with original parts are pricey.