First Impression: Schwinn Vestige

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Schwinn has been designing and building bicycles since 1895. Being pioneers and innovators throughout the company’s history, Schwinn continues to innovate with its environmentally-friendly flax-fiber bike, the Vestige.

The Vestige frame is made with 90 percent flax fiber and 10 percent carbon. Flax fiber is a biodegradable material derived from the same plant that linen is made from. The paint used on the Vestige is water based, which is environmentally friendly, and the fenders and grips are made from bamboo. Schwinn says the flax material has performance characteristics similar to carbon fiber, but with a much lower carbon footprint in the manufacturing process.

The Vestige is designed for commuters and casual cyclists with rear rack mounts for some mild utility riding. I’ve used the bike for cruising around town and have done a few lightweight grocery jaunts. The 1×9 drivetrain is plenty for most occasions and the full fenders and chain guard have kept water and grit off me.

On the front wheel is a Shimano Dynamo hub that powers an LED light system. The flax frame is translucent so the top and down tube of the frame let off a spectral glow when riding. While not bright enough to act as a stand-alone light, the concept is novel and elicits double takes as you make your way about town.

We’re pushing on through the winter aboard the Vestige, so look for full review in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times. Subscribe now and never miss an issue.

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