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Schwinn Tango Folding Bike Review

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About the Schwinn Folding Bike

Folding bikes are making a comeback. Many new models are coming out. The Schwinn Tango is a budget-based model. I will look at this bike and give my impressions of this folding bike.

The bike is a lower-priced model sold in department stores. I have seen the design branded under another name at Zellers here in Canada. Canadian Tire is where this model was sold. At 199.99 dollars, it is priced in the same range as other full-sized bikes.

The bike uses an aluminum frame. Although aluminum is light, the frame is on the heavy side. The frame material will not rust.

Compared to older-style folding bikes, the Schwinn folder has safer folding points due to locking pins that need to be released before the bike can be folded or unfolded. There are two points where the bike folds. The main folding point is on the frame itself and the steering column also folds halfway down on the steering column. The steering column is made of steel, not a light alloy material.

The assembled bike weighed in at about 28 to 30 pounds.

Design and Gears

One of the design details that make the folding bikes work is the use of smaller wheels. The Schwinn uses 20" by 1.75 tires. These smaller tires affect the bike's gearing. The bike's transmission is Shimano-based with only six speeds. The rear shifter uses a base-level grip shift that provides nice crisp shifts. A small window shows what gear you are in. The rear derailleur used a small metal guard to help protect it in case of a fall.

The main front gear is only a 38-tooth chainring. This translates into a bike with very low gear ratios. The bike's gear inch ranges from 25.79” to 51.57” The result is a bike that has a very light pedal feel to it. The crank arms are only 152mm in length. Once you get into high gear the bike feels like it still wants to go more. Depending on how you look at it, this can either work for you or against you. If you like the feel of higher gear ratios, this bike will not feel right to you.

Wheels and Other Parts

For those interested in trying out how to spin at a higher level, this bike could work out for you. The gearing range is noted on the low side. Even at the highest gear, the bike is not up to a full-sized bike's speed. It would be nice to see at least a 48-tooth gear to replace the 38-tooth gear that the bike uses. This is the type of bike that you either like or hate.

The wheels are alloy and make braking much safer. The brakes themselves are a mixed bag. The front brake is a simple side-pull type made out of stamped steel. This is not the greatest design; it is a cost-cutting measure. The rear brake uses drum type design. The brakes are enclosed making them weatherproof.

The real problem with this setup is that it makes taking the rear drive wheel off very difficult. The drum is in place next to the hub on the opposite side of the drive train. The brake cable must be taken off and the brake arm that is attached to the frame before the rear wheel can be removed. In the event of a rear flat tire, this design feature is a big weakness of the Schwinn folder.

Other Thoughts

The frame design is a simple monotube that allows one to step over it easily. The short wheelbase makes for a quick-handling bike. The handle assembly is designed with a welded-on bar. The option of changing the handlebar is not there. It is also set high in the air. Although this works, I prefer slightly lower handle heights. The height is needed to allow the assembly to fold as it does. The bike comes with an installed rear rack. It is on the small side but with a bit of creative work, one can place a nice set of bags on the bike making it a useful commuter.

The folds down very quickly. It folds down into a fairly compact size that fits into the rear seat or trunk of a midsized car. A small guard is placed at the bottom bracket to prevent the chain from making contact with the ground. It also protects items like the car seat from getting oil on the fabric. The seat uses a quick-release that allows the seat to be folded into its lowest position to make it even more compact.

For the price of the bike, it is not too bad of a deal. You get a bike that is fine for short commutes. The low gearing, however, will make it a bit difficult for some if longer trips are needed. The frame design makes it useful for riders from 5' 2" tall to about 5' 8" tall. I would not recommend it for riders taller than that. The bike makes a good value for the money when compared to other folding bikes but is a bit pricey when compared to its non-folding counterparts. The non-folding bikes have higher gearing and this could be the key to people looking away from this Schwinn folder design. For those interested in a compact bike design, the Schwinn could be for you.

The bike will take a bit of readjusting to get used to but it makes for a pleasant ride once you adjust to how it handles.

Overall Bike Rating

Design Pluses:

  • Compact size
  • Safety locks on the folding mechanism
  • Aluminum frame
  • Shimano based shifters

Design Flaws

  • Low gear set-up
  • Heavy weight for its size
  • High handlebar height
  • Use of the rear drum brake design

Bike Specs

  • Wheelbase- 37"
  • Stand Over Height- 16 1/4"
  • Bottom Bracket Height- 11.5"
  • Frame Size- 15"
  • Tire Size- 20 by 1.75" on 305mm rims
  • Drive train- Shimano tourney rear derailleur, Shimano Revo Shift SIS front shifter, Shimano 28 to 14 tooth 6 speed rear wheel gear cluster, Front Gear- 38 tooth gear with 152mm crank arms
  • Steering Tube- Zoom SM

Contact Information

Distributed by Doval
873 Hodge, St Laurent
QC, Canada

  • 1-800-544-1108
  • Designed in Canada
  • Made in China

Closing Thoughts

Since October 2012, The bike has been updated with a rear brake that matches the front design and replaces the drum brake. It makes for easier owner maintenance. I read this on a Canadian Tire review of the bike and saw this myself at a store in person. It makes for a better overall bike design.

© 2011 stevbike


stevbike (author) from Newbury, Ontario, Canada on January 22, 2013:

Try looking at what you can get in your area. Some parts of the review be transferred to other bike design. Features like gearing can be looked at on other types of folding bikes. Lower cost folding bikes will for the most part have lower gear ratios then full sized bikes. The rear drum bike design is less then ideal design. Look at other types of brake designs that allow easy tire removal to fixing flat tires.

Claris Nelson on January 21, 2013:

Very informative! Excellent Work! I am in Kingston, NY where apparently we do not get this bike, only the Hinge and the Loop. Is there a source for U.S. customers?