Why It's Cool
With their straight-gauge tubes and bruiser metal forks, bargain-priced aluminum bikes deliver a harsh ride. But Schwinn's aluminum pipes are butted and shaped to balance stiffness with compliancethe Fastback quietly hummed down ratty pavement. » Check the bump-damping carbon-fiber forkyeah, on a triple-digit-price bike. » Pedaling this racy Schwinn on a Saturday-morning group ride, I took a little ribbing from friends who'd shelled out up to $4,000 more for high-end carbon-fiber or titanium bikes. Their jaws dropped, though, when I told them how little they would pay for this one. » Shimano's value-priced 27-speed Tiagra parts kit worked without a hitch. » Ritchey stem, bars, and seatpostslots that are often filled with cheap, no-name partsalso earned a thumbs-up.Hmmm . . .
While the Fastback is an outstanding value, remember to budget an extra $50 to $100 for pedals, assuming you go clipless. Pester the shop for a deal on them when you buy the bike.