Schwinn Phocus 1600
with 700c Wheels, 56CM Frame
My competitive racing days may be behind me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still looking for a ride that would allow me to jump right into a road race if I wanted to. If you are looking to ride competitively then you certainly don’t want to dismiss the Schwinn name. They’ve been one of the foremost names in bicycles for well over 100 years. They’ve gone through some ups and downs just like any other company, but these days they’re producing improved, quality rides in all categories; the Men’s Phocus 1600 is a great example of this.
This isn’t a budget bike by any means, so if you’re trying to keep your finances under control you may want to look elsewhere. But if you’re willing to pay for a quality ride this is a great choice. You’re likely to pay just under $600 for this model and for the most part it’s worth every penny.
Fiber for Strength
Any time I find out that a bike has carbon fiber parts it certainly attracts my interest. Carbon fiber’s an extremely strong material, but it’s also very lightweight, making it a perfect material for use in the manufacture of bikes. The Men’s Phocus 1600 isn’t completely made out of carbon fiber, but it does have carbon fiber forks which help to give it a competitive edge. Obviously, this can help to reduce the overall weight of the bike, but that’s not its only advantage. A set of carbon fiber forks also helps to reduce the effect of road vibration, making for a much smoother ride. If you do a lot of long riding on your bike it may be worth the extra investment to ensure a smooth ride along the way.
Quick, Reliable Shifting
As you’ll find with many of the better road bikes, this model by Schwinn comes equipped with a Shimano derailleur. I was a little surprised to find that the bike is only equipped with 14 speeds, as most bikes at this level come with 21 speeds, but that’s probably not enough of a deterrent to put most people off this bike. Its gear shifting is very smooth, and quick-changing gears are probably more important than those extra gears in most circumstances. The first road bike I ever had was equipped with only 12 gears and it seemed to suit my purposes just fine.
Rims Built for Speed
It’s not really up for dispute that the lighter the weight of the materials on a bike, the better advantage you’ll have when it comes to speed. We’ve talked about the carbon fiber forks on this bike, but that isn’t the only advantage it has when it comes to lightweight materials built for speed. The rims on the Phocus are also made out of aluminum alloy, which is another lightweight and durable material that many of the better bikes include.
Schwinn wasn’t just satisfied with making the rims aluminum, though. They also included paired spokes which help to further reduce the weight of the rims and give you that extra edge when you’re racing down the road. Not everyone loves the idea of paired spokes – some argue that they are not as strong as traditional rims, but the evidence seems to suggest that this is not the case. Most people have few complaints about the rims on this bike, at any rate.
Trouble with the Brakes
This bike comes equipped with Promax alloy caliper road brakes, which generally have a pretty good reputation and do a reliable job of stopping your bike every time. Strangely enough, this is one of the few areas where there were some complaints about this bike. Owners that did complain about the brakes suggested that the bike simply didn’t stop as quickly as it should have.
While it’s hard to speak for anyone else, it probably bears pointing out that even the best set of brakes will need adjusting from time to time, and probably the best time to do that is when you first purchase the bike. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that most people that had a problem with the brakes on this bike didn’t have them adjusted before riding it for the first time.
One more thing that I think bears mentioning about this bike is that it comes with a quick-release front wheel. This is a great feature that makes it much easier to prepare your bike for traveling, and it’s also a great feature for preventing theft. A good friend of mine has a bike with a quick-release front wheel and whenever he chains his bike up outside he always takes the wheel with him. It might get him a couple of odd looks from time to time, walking around with a wheel in his hand, but I don’t think he’s too concerned about that.
A Winning Ride
If you’re looking for a bike that can give you an edge on every turn then the Schwinn Men’s Phocus should definitely make your shortlist. This bike is made out of lightweight, strong materials that are built for performance and reliability. While it’s not the most affordable model on the market at around $600, it’s also not out of reach for most people that take road-riding seriously.