Schwinn Black Phantom
“My new Phantom sure is a beauty — All the fellows say it’s the swellest-looking bike in town.”
Sure is the swellest. Built between 1949 and 1959, Schwinn Phantoms were the most bodacious, luxurious, and feature-filled bicycles on the road. There was the deluxe leather saddle, the patented spring fork, built-in horn, streamlined tank, Schwinn fender lights and an automatic brake light, an integrated lock, kickstand, and a luggage rack. “The most beautiful bike in the world” included whitewall tires, pinstripes and sparkly paint, with chrome all around.
These bikes were so coveted and awe inspiring that no kid would even consider riding the Black Phantom on his newspaper route. The bike was the prize that two years of saved route money bought in the first place! The Phantom was the ride for sunny days and impressing the other guys in the neighborhood. This wouldn’t end up a “work” bike, that job would still belong to the rusty old Roadmaster in the garage.
Black Phantom bike production was discontinued in 1960. Balloon tire cruisers had lost favor with America’s youth, and the increasing popularity of “English Racers” (the generic term given to any bike that had thin tires and a few different gears) meant that Schwinn’s 67 pound Phantom was too heavy and inefficient for modern tastes.
This particular Black Phantom is a reproduction from 1995. Schwinn didn’t overlook a single detail when they brought this one back for a limited production run (and an even smaller run of Phantom bar stools). The chrome is just as thick, the saddle is still “Schwinn Approved”, and the pin stripes are as sharp as ever.
This bike is as swell as an original.