Schwinn Madison Pro Review

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Schwinn Madison Pro Review – By Thien Dinh

  • Schwinn Custom Track Frame w/ N’Gauged Double Butted Cro-Moly Main Tubes & N’Gauged Track Fork w/ Brazed Crown
  • 48x18t Drivetrain w/ Flip-Flop Fixed/Freewheel Hub, Truvativ Touro Track Cranks
  • Formula Hubs & Alex Semi-Aero Rims, Schwalbe Lugano Sport 23c Tires
  • Alloy 31.8 Bar & Stem
  • MSRP – $569


The Schwinn Madison is quite simply one of the more exciting bikes we’ve tested recently. Not because it introduces some sort of new nano-carbon-best of the breed technology… Not because it’s an uber light race bike that guarantees race results… and definitely not because it sports a brand new groupset that makes shifting better, faster, or stronger (it doesn’t shift at all!). It’s the opposite of all that, and that’s why it’s so exciting! It’s simply simple.


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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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  • chris says:

    I’ve been thinking of getting a Madison… Do you know if they are changing anything major for 2009? Any ideas what the new color scheme will be?

  • mitch says:

    Not sure about changes, but I’ve heard that the 09 colors will be a yellow and a yellow/black.

  • Bigloser says:

    No rack mounts is a deal breaker for me.

  • thien says:

    yeah, I felt some rack mounts would have been sweet too…

  • sean says:

    the worst track bike in the world!
    it feels soooo ugly

  • Patrick says:

    Looks like Schwinn will be selling another single speed in 2009. $300 is the number being kicked around. Check it out at the UrbanVelo site:
    Don’t know what this means for the Madison.

  • bobby b says:

    The Madison is an OK Bike, and I’ve seen plenty of them around. However, after lots of research, I bought a bianchi San Jose. Single speed, horizontal drops, and rack/fender mounts, for about the same price. I road it all year round’ thru the winter with skinny tires and never had a problem. BTW, I live in Madison, WI…

  • Anonymous says:

    I hope these are strong frames if there going for the look of my 1980 Schwinn Voyageur or the other ones with the similiar look just below the Paramounts from the 70’s and 80’s.Who makes the frames ?? Probably not the good makers of the original ones from the 70’s and 80’s from Japan.No lugs so maybe that helps to make them affordable.Hope there on par with the Surlys at least with the steel.

  • thejerk says:

    our shop has sold a few of these. mostly to unbearable hipsters. these things ride like they’re made of recycled revolutionary war cannons. which is to say the ride is horrible. _fine_ steel can ride nice. tubing like this should best be left for making lamp posts.

  • filtersweep says:

    How do they make it so heavy. I ride an old Schwinn Prologue conversion that weigns in at 17 lbs. I don’t get it.

  • DAS says:

    I think its a pretty looking bike. I’m looking to build up a fixie with commuter bars and ride it freewheel with the two brakes. The Madison could be the ticket…

  • Rick says:

    When will the 2009 Model be in the stores? I want one in Black so I can do some additional customization. I plan to use it to ride the San Luis Rey River Trail in Oceanside, CA.

  • Nick says:

    the 09 models should be availiable in november. The black one doesn’t look to bad wit the yellow rims, but the yellow is the ugliest yellow possible.

  • NLtoFRA says:

    I would go for Lunetten Entrada instead of that one.

  • NB says:

    I bought a 2007 Madison (slightly tighter geometry, but roughly the same otherwise) when it first came out, and I’m still very happy with it as my daily ride. I’ve replaced a lot of the components by now, of course, as I had money to burn, but the stock components are decent. Replacing the stem, seatpost, and bars along with removing the rear brake made a good difference weight-wise. I beg to differ with “thejerk” — all these Taiwanese-made off the peg track bikes from Schwinn, Bianchi, Masi, Surly, IRO, et al. are using the same generic 4130 cro-moly. (Those that are not are using Reynolds 520, which is essentially the same thing.) Ride-wise, I couldn’t notice a difference between it and friends’ Pistas, Kilo TTs, Fuji Tracks, and the like. Definitely rides nicer than the Langster I rode around for a few blocks, too.

    BTW, the Cutter is going to be made using hi-tensile steel to compete directly with low-priced bikes like the SE Lager Draft, etc. It’s probably going to weigh a good bit more, as a result. Not that I haven’t thought about picking one up as a trick/polo bike…

  • marc says:

    I bought this bike in July, and love it. I picked it up on sale, paid $365 for it. Agree that components need upgrades (I’ve replaced brakes, seatpost, tires, added clipless pedals, and switched rear cog to 16t), but it is a blast to ride. I use it as a daily commuter, as well as for longer rides just for the fun of it. It is a tad heavy, but even when climbing it never really feels it. The steel does a good job of taking the sting out of rough roads. Overall a great bike for the money.

  • Decent low end bike says:

    Bike rides fine. Most idiots who claim a bike rides bad have never eve ridden the so called bad ride they are babbling about. Let the white noise clueless comments be just that, clueless white noise. LOL

  • brian s. says:

    I’ll stick to my 1985 Nishiki 12-speed, but this is a nice late model SS (nee ‘track bike’, I hate that term since less than 1% of these will ever be ridden on a track).

    the flip hub is a sweet concept, and I’m not sure why more SS road bikes don’t come with one. I don’t understand why every road bike has to be yellow. to me, this is one of the best (and I normally hate powder blue, but the silver really makes it happen). I enjoy multiple gears too much, but if I had to pick a single, this is one I’d strongly consider. agree with the bloke who said all these generic frames are the same. yes they SHOULD be lighter than they are, but that’s the cost of using such large diameter tubing these days. if you’re going to go with a new bike and want SS, you should be giving this a look.

  • brian s. says:

    ‘best’ should read ‘best looking’

  • Joel says:

    I had a 1975 Schwinn Continental that I had fixed. It was nice, but rode like a 30 year old bike with lots of creaks. I sold the old Schwinn and picked up the 2008 Madison. I love this bike and it provides a solid but light ride through Boston each day. I jumped on the 2008 for the color scheme, and it was a lot cheaper than the 2009. I plan on updating a few things, but I’m very happy with this ride.

    If you’re interested in the Madison, it’s at least worth a test ride.

  • marcus says:

    i rode a white 2007 for 2 years…. they are heavy cuz of the cheap parts. buy the bike for the frame sell all the cheap parts to someone just getting into \fixie\ riding… and put nice cranks.wheels.etc on it. it treated me well. i actually threw it around quite a bit before it got stolen last week. no cracks or anything. good frame. strong.

  • the lapster says:

    As “brian s” says, I like gears too much, and I’m less than a year away from being 60…but I bought one anyway and although I’m going to configure the bike as a “Social Security” model (42t chainring, leave both brakes mounted), I will ride it. Once I’m a little more comfortable on the frame, I’ll flip the hub and be “the old man living dangerously”. Mine is yellow, put on cow horn bars and rewrapped with yellow/black cork tape and think it came out n-i-c-e. Be safe, they’re not looking out for us.

  • Paul says:

    I raced one of the old, late 70’s, Schwinn Madison’s to many top placings on the track. It did not have rack mounts, brakes, or any other needless accessories. Just straight Columbus SL tubes and Suntour Superbe Pro crankset and wheels. I can’t believe I every parted with that bike. For anyone unhappy with the “new” Madison, go to your local velodromo and check out the used bike listings.

  • Yoclif says:

    I was almost ready to buy a Kilo TT Pro, now I am going to have to go check out
    the Schwinn Madison at my local Schwinn dealer.

  • PPHARTIGAN says:

    I owned one for 5 minutes, then promptly returned it. It rode like a shotput. Dreadful.

  • MadRanger says:

    Yeah yeah.. this is not your competitive ride; nor is it priced like one. But for pure, unpretentious good fun and training, the Madison fixed gear is a splendid ride. I love spinning it up and down, going as fast as I can, and grinning every time an old guy like me passes people on much, much more expensive machines. (Yes, serious bikers blow by me and I’m happy for them too.)

    The Schwinn Madison (mine’s the blue ’08) cultivates and reinforces good technique while returning effort with joyful reward. Sure, I feel like coughing up part of lung going up the hills in Wisconsin’s unglaciated Driftless Area but I can’t wait to attack them later on a road bike. And my running knees could not be happier.

    And hipster? You calling me hipster?! My daughter IS in art school, sharing time between DC and NYC, hanging with kings and queens of custom fixie design, and not one of them confuses me with a hipster. Finally, I too live in Madison, WI but greatly enjoy the humorous irony of riding ‘my Madison’ through town. Fun and funny at the same time. Thanks Schwinn!

  • Bruce X. says:

    Just picked up a 2009 Madison in taxi cab yellow. It’s a fun ride and a nice compliment to my C’dale Six13. The steel frame is also more comfy on the chip sealed roads I cruise. There are better single/fixies available, but for the price, the Madison is a great value for a ready to ride bike. The geo is about the same as most other track bikes and it’s specked out with very decent components (except for the brakes). Plus, you can get good deals on closeout year models. I picked mine up from Performance for $375 with tax plus double member points. Performance rocks!

  • schwinning says:

    I’ve had this bike, for about a week. It’s an absolutely gorgeous ride, especially for getting around this busy town. I feel absolutely in control, though ride it only in single, not fixed. Doesn’t feel heavy to me, seems the perfect weight for this 65kg body at least. The sturdy frame encourages me to buy another set of wheels and take it off tarmac.

    Perfect all round ride!

  • Sam says:

    I bought the 2011 Schwinn Madison in RED not the purple and gold because that looks terrible. I also chose it for the drop track bars. I think this bike is absolutely fantastic. It is a light bike. I dont know why people complain about a pound or 2. I have it on the freewheel because im in a suburb and it doesnt make much sense for fixed (although i do have another fixed to ride). The Madison rides nice and its fast. With a 48/18 the ratio is pretty light, Ive been thinking on going to a 50t or a smaller FW. Compared to the Fixie I just built up with a 18t Shimano FW the madison slows down way more while coasting.

    Overall I love the Madison, and would definitely get another one. I would highly recommend this bike to anyone that wants a decent SS/fixie.

  • Leaf says:

    Bought the red 2011 last saturday and agree with Sam. This bike is really nice to ride, fast, styrdy, comfortable, smooth and quiet!

  • Maddy says:

    I just bought a 2011 on sale for a great price. Unlike Sam above, I did get the ugly purple/white/yellow color scheme. It is so ugly that I love it! Cosmetics aside, it rides great and it is quite stable under me. One thing to note is that this year and the newer 2012 does not come with a 48t front ring, but a 46t. This may be why Sam thinks it rides on the easy side:) The componenets are on the mediocre side and could benefit from some upgrading here and there, but in due time. They are fine to ride as is.

    Bottom line, I recommend this bike to others looking for a budget friendly SS/FG.

  • Ashley says:

    I have the red version of this bike. I will say the frame is a wonderful frame. An as is the bike is great for someone looking for a better ride than one of those “build your own” website ones. I urban race mine so I dropped the breaks, upgraded the wheel set and tires as well as upgraded the crank,stem, seat post, seat and switched it to bullhorns. It rides like a champ. It’s fast, light for steel feel, handles well, feels solid, and even tackles hills well. And I’m in Colorado. To put it lightly we got hills. And this bike is just fine up and down them.

    As is its a great ride for getting around. Of you want it to be your race bike or legit track bike DO upgrade it.

  • Tommy P. says:

    I have a Yellow Madison, but I sanded a good portion of the frame to bare metal painted it blue and sanded it again. It looks cool. lots of stickers haha. I only run fixed, 42/12&16. BMX pedals and flat handle bars. I like to race cars down hill or I’ll swap the hub for tricks, fakies and wheelies. I also like to ride dirt trails with it. This bike is everything i need in a bike.

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