Performance – in one form or another – is the watchword for most of the bikes we test. Not for the Schwinn Coffee. The name might suggest caffeine, but this is no supercharged, stimulated ride. This is a cruise to the seafront café or your Oxford quad, dodging Morse’s red Jag, books strapped to its rack (media studies, we’d guess). Though given its US pedigree maybe Harvard or Yale…
The Coffee is old school. Very. Steel everything, including mudguards. It has a threaded steerer and a sofa-like sprung saddle and kickstand, and that skinny rack is surprisingly rigid. And it’s heavy. If you’ve got big hills – forget it. Lazy sit-up-and-beg soon gives way to sweaty-get-off-and-push.
But when you’re cruising on the flat it’s a step-back-in-time treat. It has an incredibly upright riding position, putting no pressure on your back and giving you great visibility, but in spite of the weight the steering is pleasingly light, thanks to the massively swept-back bar. The Nexus 3-speed hub gearing is excellent too, allowing you a little speed or to get up gentle slopes.
It’s not one for long distances; that massive saddle is less comfy than it looks. But for sedate sorties to Brighton beach or perhaps an Atlantic City adventure, flattish commutes, trips to the shops or to a café for a leisurely latte, it’s a pretty practical – and very stylish – choice.
Schwinn Coffee 1