Another 125th Anniversary Schwinn Black Phantom Review

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When the 125th Anniversary Phantom was announced here and later Steve posted his video review I made the comment, "That is one I would be happy to buy instead of build" or something like that. I missed the first round of the bikes and applied for email notification when they became available. On Sept 19 I got the notification and placed my order. It finally arrived Oct. 27.

Not Museum Quality, But Good and Makes Me Smile

First off, like other reviewers and the RRB video review on YouTube the packing of the bike and handling by FedEx is problematic. On the advice of another reviewer at Walmart.com I opted for ship to store for pickup thinking that would keep FedEx from destroying the bike. Then tracking showed the bike was picked up by FedEx at the Pacific Cycle/Dorel (Schwinn) Warehouse in California so Walmart doesn't do their own shipping to store on this item. It was FedEx all the way. The box had damage and the bike's rear rack was bent and had jammed on the frame (There was some paint damage under the brackets).

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Documented damage to box in the store

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Now the good news. Schwinn is sending a replacement rack. For now I have straightened the damaged rack the best I could. Pacific Cycle offered to let me return the bike but, they have been out of stock for awhile so I opted for the replacement part.

Let me start with the drive train. Other modern Schwinn cruisers I have are geared 44x18, this one is 52x22. Pedaling is really smooth. The crank arms are 6.5" in length and there is no extra effort needed for a casual cruise like this bike is intended for. The wheels are the brightest polished aluminum wheels I have ever seen. They really did achieve an almost chrome look to the wheels. I picked up some identical small brick replacement tires to hold the OEM tires in the event I ever decide to resell this bike. When changing out the tires I discovered some factory rim strips I really like. They are a translucent yellow material and seem much better than the usual black rubber strips.

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Next, on to the frame. The frame is about 1" taller than other modern Schwinn cruisers I own. This lets me keep the seat slightly lower in the seat tube which looks much better. I am measuring 19" from the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. Overall, the entire frame is more vintage looking than the Schwinn cruisers of recent years that have the large diameter down tube. Another change is the rack mounts are tubular instead of the stamped flat rack supports of recent Schwinn cruisers. The whole thing just has a solid feel to it.

The turning radius is hampered by the forks contacting the tank and you will have to lift the bike to turn it in tight quarters. Not on a street but maneuvering it for garage storage.

Finally, the accessories. The horn is a joke. The polarity on the horn button battery compartment was labeled backwards the only way to get the horn to work was reversing the batteries. Then the little buzzer sound was ridiculous. The battery compartment on the headlight was labeled correct and it is bright for one old style flashlight bulb. The seat is comfortable. The fenders are extra wide and contribute to the heavy duty vibe of the entire bike. The tank is OK, it has some stamping marks under the plating and I can see one small area about a finger print size where the chrome is thinner over the under plating of copper. Not too keen on the aluminum stem and handlebars. They would have been better in chromed steel in my opinion. They did get correct shapes to these for a vintage silhouette.

I think the whole package is a nice tribute to the Schwinn Phantoms made from 1949 - 1959. For the price it is worth it and I am happy with the purchase. “It is what it is,” an Asian interpretation of a classic Schwinn. I don't think they ever were going for dead on accuracy just a tip of the hat to classic Schwinn lines and styling cues using modern components at an affordable price. I think they achieved that goal.

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