We have different reasons for buying bikes, and for most it is either for transportation or for a fulfilling workout. It makes no sense to spend too much for both, so most people look for the best road bike under 1000 bucks. For me, Schwinn’s Phocus 1600 fits that bill perfectly.
The 700C wheels of the Phocus 1600 can handle more than the road, though. I found it great for minor trails as well, with the aluminum frame providing a light and agile ride — if you think of having cat-like reflexes while on the road, this is the one for you. The bike is very sturdy too, thanks to the carbon fiber road fork. For those instances when the terrain changes suddenly, the 14-speed rear derailleur and the integrated brake lever lets me shift almost instantaneously. You need to look down for the gear, however, as there is no gear indicator found on the switch.
The alloy crank, coming from SR Suntour, was also specifically suited for a wide gear-range. And when you need to stop for any reason, the Promax-built alloy calipers provide solid stopping power. I’m just concerned that the pedal straps might not be as high quality as the rest of the bike, but that’s a small thing compared to the bike’s overall build.
The assembly was very easy, compared to a few other bikes I’ve tried in the past. Too bad it only comes in one size for men’s (there’s a smaller one, but that is specifically a women’s bike). However, if you just need to adjust for the height, then the saddle has a quick-release mechanism for easy modification. The bike is made for riders within the 5’10’’ to 6’2’’ range, which suits me just about fine. It seems the size limitation makes for quite a small crowd of users, though, in comparison with other makes that are more flexible, size-wise.
Keep in mind that despite the great specs, this is in no way a competitive racing or even a “pro” bike. It was actually billed as a starter’s bike, mainly built for the casual user or for those with a slightly more rigorous personal training regimen. Despite that, its quality is really good for the asking price of less than a thousand bucks.
If you are one who wishes to begin cycling as a hobby, then you might be like hundreds of others who would do so — and succeed — with this specific bike. It’s a great experience, with the quick-shift lever, carbon fiber fork, and the overall lightweight body all contributing to the quality of the ride. Even if you ride hard or over a particularly rough patch, you will hardly feel all the shock and tension.
Another cool thing about this bike is that Schwinn has not produced all of the parts and yet managed to create a great whole out of all the outsourced parts. Come to think of it, Schwinn only made the aluminum body — the derailleur came from Shimano, the tires were from Kenda, the headset came from VP, and the brakes were from Promax. These are all industry leaders in what they do, so the final product did not lose any quality over the process. It’s hard to go wrong with Schwinn, a company that has been known for producing quality bikes since the late 1800s.
Overall, the Phocus 1600 is an easy choice. In my quest for the best road bike under 1000 bucks, I came across one that is a whole lot cheaper and still better than a few higher-priced alternatives. It’s a welcome purchase that does not drain one’s bank account.