Schwinn's Enlightened 'Vestige' Bike

Last week I got to try out a Schwinn Vestige, which just won a Eurobike Gold Award.

So what’s the fuss? The frame is made with flax fiber–which I think is the same stuff my doctor wants me to sprinkle on my breakfast cereal for reasons I won’t go into right now.

Schwinn’s press release says:

The Schwinn Vestige is a commuter bike with an eco-twist. Its organic, recyclable Flax fiber provides similar performance benefits as a carbon fiber frame, but its construction process produces a much lower carbon footprint. On top of that the natural flax fiber has a high phonic insulation which gives it a superior ability to absorb and dampen vibration, even compared to carbon.

Schwinn Vestige
It glows! Oooooh!

The front hub has an energy-efficient dynamo hub which powers… No, not a headlight. No, not a taillight. No, not your iPod.

It powers lights inside the frame tubes.

And of course there’s a provision to connect external lights to this power source. Oh wait. There’s not.

I asked the Schwinn rep, “Uh. Isn’t that kind of gimmicky?” His answer was that Americans tend not to buy bikes that come with headlights. (Another bike rep told me that it’s bike dealers that prefer bikes to come naked, so that they can sell third-party lights to customers–because lights have high margins.)

Today I was told that future models of the Vestige may come with headlights and taillights.

So I took the Vestige for a ride along the Potomac. (I was in DC at the time.) It was light and zippy. I liked it.

After about a quarter mile I came across this seemingly abandoned 70’s Schwinn Speedster in front of the The Watergate.

Schwinn Vestige and Schwinn Speedster
Schwinn Vestige and Schwinn Speedster

Seeing them side by side, you can definitely see the kinship between the two bikes. And then it occurred to me that I’d probably rather have the old Speedster than the new Vestige.

Seriously, it looked like it was just there for the taking, feebly attached to a bike rack with a rusted chain. But it also occurred to me that I would not be the first person to mistakenly think he could get away with taking something from the Watergate that didn’t belong to him.

Schwinn Speedster and Vestige

The Vestige will retail for $1,299.00.







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