If you need an easy-riding bike that can be be folded, transported and stored more easily, then the Schwinn Loop 20 should be on your list of serious contenders.
It will suit men, women and older children, and will handle a wide variety of body sizes and weights.
As you will discover, it’s a bike with some vices and many virtues.
This machine has been through a number of name changes. It's been known as the Schwinn Loop 7-speed, the Schwinn 20 inch Loop folding bike, the Schwinn Loop folding bike, and the Schwinn Folding Bike.
Whichever name you prefer, they all refer to the same machine.
It is very well made, it is rugged, it is quick and easy to fold and unfold - and it’s inexpensive.
The Schwinn Loop 20 is very, very good value for money – indeed, probably the best in its price category.
What Is It Good For?
The Schwinn Loop 20 is right for you if:
- You need a bike that offers better portability;
- You don’t have much storage space at home;
- You want a bike for casual urban trips and neighbourhood visits;
- You want a bike to use on campus;
- You want a bike to use on holiday;
- You want an alternative to leaving your bike outside on the street;
- You want to fly with it, as many airlines allow folding bikes aboard as ordinary luggage.
This is a bike for short journeys, for occasional rather than daily use.
It might work as part of a regular commute to work, but only if the cycle leg is not too long and you don’t have to carry the bike too far (it’s heavy and you'll have some issues to overcome to keep it folded – see below).
About the Schwinn Brand
Schwinn folding bikes are currently made in China.
The original Schwinn company, which was founded in 1895 and earned a well-deserved reputation for high-quality bicycles, went bankrupt in 1992 as a result of corporate mismanagement.
Pacific Cycles bought the brand name and then was itself bought a few years later by Dorel Industries, of Canada. Dorel now owns a number of bicycle brands, such as Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, Caloi and IronHorse.
The Schwinn Loop competes at the value end of the market, and is distributed through mass retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. It is a discount product, offering both lower prices and somewhat lower quality.
However, while generally in life you pretty much get what you pay for, with the well-made Schwinn Loop you probably get a little more than you pay for when compared to the bike’s competitors.
Who Is It Good For?
Who is the bike for?
Well, officially, the Schwinn Loop is for “adult men and women”.
Which implies riders of a certain minimum height and weight, and with a minimum amount of body strength.
Naturally, many buyers also want to know whether the Loop is suitable for children.
Obviously that depends on the size and ability of the child concerned, but do remember that this is one of the heavier folding bikes on the market.
As a result, some users suggest that anyone shorter than 5 ft or aged less than 12 or so would struggle to handle this machine.
Weight is a Factor
In fact, the weight of the bike will be a factor to consider for anyone with a slighter frame, such as a small-boned man or a petite woman – the bike is heavy, as a direct result of its robust construction.
Furthermore, there is also a bit of an issue for taller riders, who should note that you cannot adjust the height of the handlebars.
How tall can you go?
The distributors cautiously say that anyone up to 6ft tall will be fine, although riders of up to 6’ 5” report that they are perfectly comfortable on the bike.
The other physical dimension to consider is the maximum load that the cycle can carry. The official recommendation is 230 lbs, but users who are well above that limit say the bike handles the extra weight comfortably.
- One buyer weighed 270 lbs when he bought the machine – and did not experience any problems.
Other users said they were:
- 6’ 3” and 220 lbs;
- 5'11" and 260 lbs;
- and there’s a man of 6’ 3” who weighs 290 lbs and rides the bike 2.5 miles every day!
What About a Child Carrier?
Some existing users have added a child carrier to the rear rack. One owner reported that he (presumably a "he") weighed 240 lbs and that with a child on the back, the combined weight on the bike was 280 lbs.
While the rear rack itself is strong, it is quite small – 6” wide by 16” long, which does not leave much room for a child carrier.
The Schwinn Deluxe Child Carrier has been suggested as an option, as long as the child is older than 2 years and weighs less than 40 lbs.
Schwinn itself is silent about this possible modification, but in view of the fact that the small wheels and shorter frame combine to produce a machine that can be twitchy and react very quickly, it would be sensible to think very carefully indeed before adding a child carrier.
What's In The Box?
The bike arrives in a box with a shipping weight of just less than 41 lbs. It is well-packed and protected and generally arrives in good condition. Where there have been damaged components they seem more likely to have been caused during production or assembly rather than transit.
Inside you’ll find a folded bike with one pedal attached, and one pedal that you have to attach during final assembly.
The bike itself:
- Steel stand-over frame with limited lifetime warranty
- 20” alloy wheels.
- Tires are 20×1.95
- 7-speed Shimano RevoShift Twist Shifter to help you cope with hills
- Shimano Tourney rear derailleur
- Front and rear alloy linear pull brakes
- Steel hinges for reliable folding
- Rear carrier rack
- Nylon carry bag
- Kick stand
- Front and rear fenders to keep you clean and dry
Once assembled, the Schwinn Loop weighs 34 lbs.
It folds down to just 30 x32 x11 inches.
Assembly Part One
Like many bikes ordered online, the Schwinn is not fully assembled when it arrives, although it is already folded up (to fit into a smaller shipping box).
You can ask Amazon to do the assembly for you (at an extra cost), or opt to do it yourself.
In the case of the Loop, assembly is minimal – just screw on one pedal. The sales literature stresses how easy the whole thing is.
But there is a potential little catch, in the form of the warranty that comes with the bike and says that you need to make sure that “all functional parts are initially adjusted properly”.
Furthermore, the accompanying manual suggests that for assembly, you will need an adjustable wrench (or a 15mm open-end spanner).
And for adjustments you might need a Philips head screwdriver, a 5 mm Allen wrench, that same adjustable wrench or 10 mm open-end spanner, and a pair of pliers that can cut cable.
The Folded Bike
So the list of tools, and the warranty wording, could mean that there is in fact some need for an initial tune-up.
This might be why Amazon suggests that the initial assembly should be carried out by a qualified bike mechanic, presumably to make sure the warranty will be valid – or perhaps just offering the extra “consumer protection” that is a feature of many of the Amazon products.
Furthermore, online forums agree with the need for some expert assistance, and suggest the bike really does need tuning and adjusting before the first ride.
But a representative of schwinnbikes.com who was asked about this very point said that the warranty is definitely not conditional on an initial checkout by a qualified bike mechanic.
Warranty for Original Owner Only
For the record, the bike comes with a “limited lifetime warranty- for as long as you own the bike”.
What that means is that the warranty actually only applies to the initial owner, and will be void once the bike is sold.
Here is the link to the warranty if you’d like to check it out before deciding whether to buy or not.
Assembly Part Two
The second type of assembly concerns the folding and unfolding of the bike.
Some experienced users say it takes only 30 seconds – which may of course be a slight exaggeration.
However, it is a relatively quick and easy process.
There are two robust steel hinge/latch elements that are key to the unfold/fold process.
The middle hinge is on the main tube of the frame, just in front of the crankset.
Release the catch and the front half of the bike will swing sideways and end up alongside the back half.
Then release the catch holding the handlebars, fold them down, and collapse the seatpost.
Once you’ve done this the rear carrier will face upwards and provide a handy carrying handle.
Here is a top-down view of the folding/unfolding process.
What Do Customers Say?
Quite a lot, actually.
Amazon lists nearly 500 reviews (average is 3.9 stars), and more than 300 questions answered by buyers.
While there are not many complaints, a few issues do stand out.
There seem to be a few tough riders who don’t mind the seat, but it is the component that comes in for the most criticism (in fact, poor quality seats seem to be common to almost every lower-priced bicycle – no doubt the marketers see it as an easy cost saving to make).
Many buyers opt to replace the seat immediately. Amazon recommends the Cloud 9 as an alternative, and you can see the Cloud 9 range here.
Holding the bike together once it’s folded.
The second problem is that once the bike has been folded, there is no way of keeping it folded.
No latch, no clamp, no magnets.
The result is that it tends to keep opening, either when you are carrying it or trying to get it into its carry bag.
So you will be well-advised to work out some way of holding it together – perhaps a velcro strip, a bungee cord, or a piece of material.
The Carry Bag
The carry bag itself also comes in for some criticism. It’s made of nylon and is damaged rather too easily for some buyer's liking. The bike is also a very tight fit in the bag when folded (more savings in material use?), but one tip that seems to help is to stand the bike upside down and slide the carry bag over it.
This video shows a look at the folding routine for a similar bike, but also suggests a neat way to get the bike into its carry bag (click arrow to start).
What's the Verdict?
Best Value in its Category
We've tried to be as honest as possible and avoid the rosy, uncritical reviews that one sometimes sees.
Bottom line – for the money you pay, this is an excellent buy for anyone needing the options offered by a folding bike.
We can't really do better than repeat the introductory comments:
- This is a bike for short journeys, for occasional rather than daily use.
- It might work as part of a regular commute to work, but only if the cycle leg is not too long and you don’t have to carry the bike too far.
- This machine is very well made, it is rugged, it is quick and easy to fold and unfold and it’s inexpensive.
- It easily does the job for which it is designed.
The Schwinn Loop 20 is very, very good value for money – indeed, probably the best you can get in its price category.