Mongoose vs. Schwinn: Which Is The Better Cheap Bike Brand?

Are you looking to invest in a bike?

Whether you’re new to biking or have been riding mountain bikes for a long time, you may have stumbled upon the Mongoose vs. Schwinn bike debate.

This question, as timeless as the riddle of the Sphinx, is indeed worthy of such discussion. 

Both Mongoose and Schwinn offer excellent bikes of various kinds.

In this guide, we break down the difference between these two brands, offer our favorite picks for bikes from these brands, and generally give you as much information as we can so that you can decide the answer to this question yourself.

So, what will it be? Mongoose, or Schwinn?

Let’s find out!

Mongoose vs. Schwinn: The Brands

To pick a bike, you must first select a brand.

Though both manufacturers of high-quality bikes, Mongoose and Schwinn have differences in material sourcing, build, and other finer details. 

Mongoose

In Southern California, 1974, a biker named Skip Hess was thinking about what would make a bike more durable for BMX riding.

Well, he had an idea for a cast-magnesium wheel and decided to test it out.

From this innocuous beginning, Mongoose was born.

Like any origin story (this one public on the Mongoose website), the Mongoose story reveals a lot about the company it concerns.

Though it may or may not be mythical, the tale certainly reveals a company-wide desire for innovation.

Mongoose is a company with almost household brand recognition, even outside of the specialized BMX world.

They have products in mountain biking, freestyle BMX, scootering, fashion, and beyond. 

Schwinn

If Mongoose shot to international fame in the heat of a Southern California daydream, Schwinn has been slowly pedaling to success since before anyone (probably) can remember.

The company is over 100 years old, having been founded in 1895 by a German immigrant named Ignaz Schwinn.

Though the name isn’t trendy and well-known like Mongoose, Schwinn has a respectable business and a reliability that they have honed over a century of quality craftsmanship.

In 1986, they began their BMX line and in 1995 released their line of extremely lightweight mountain bikes that left the world in awe.

Mongoose vs. Schwinn: The Bikes

Mongoose and Schwinn may very well be the industry leaders in mountain biking excellence.

Because of that, it can be hard to decide between them.

Both brands offer high quality at reasonable prices, and both bike brands have made this article for good reason: they’re highly popular, highly rideable, and highly reliable.

Best Mongoose Bike Picks

Mongoose offers everything from high-powered, professional bikes at a premium to lower-cost beginner bikes.

They sell bikes for adults and kids.

If you’re looking for a beginner bike, try the Excursion. This bike delivers the excellence of Mongoose at a very reasonable price.

Great for beginners, the Excursion can handle rocky roads and the pavement equally easily. 

If you’re looking for something a little more high quality, Mongoose has plenty of selections.

Their top-of-the-line items come with hydraulic disk brakes.

As you know, having strong braking capabilities is of the essence when you’re taking a steep mountain descent.

Try the Boot’r to experience the sheer power of a Mongoose when it’s firing on all cylinders.

Mongoose Pros:

  • High-quality bikes are reasonable in price
  • Scaled by need: a model like Excursion doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Boot’r–this means you save!
  • User-friendly assembly and disassembly

Mongoose Cons:

  • Mongoose can cost you more: part of what you’re paying for here is the brand name

Best Schwinn Bike Picks

While Mongoose offers flashy bikes at a premium price, Schwinn offers bikes that float underneath the radar.

Generally speaking, Schwinn bikes are excellent for beginners who just want to get into BMX riding and don’t want to drain the bank on their first buy. 

In terms of parts, Schwinn bikes won’t be made as favorably for mountain biking as Mongoose tends to be.

For example, Schwinn offers Shimano braking systems on most of their models, but these brakes tend to be caliper brakes rather than hydraulic disks.

For gears, Schwinn tends to utilize twist grips rather than trigger shifters. 

All told, Schwinn bikes are going to be more stripped-down than Mongoose bikes.

Schwinn bikes will get you where you need to go (and, heck, maybe you’ll even enjoy it!), but they aren’t going to offer the amenities like hydraulic disk brakes and Manitou forks for front suspension that we see commonly on high-end Mongooses.

What’s the best thing about Schwinn bikes? The price.

For one of the higher-end selections, check out the Schwinn Bonafide.

schwinn bonafide

This one will come with trigger shifters, an extremely lightweight aluminum frame, and good brakes.

This is one of the higher-end Schwinn bikes, and it still sits pretty at under $500.

For an entry-level bike, try the Schwinn Protocol.

This bike is affordable and perfect for the first-time mountain biker.

Schwinn Pros:

  • Extremely affordable
  • Excellent for first-to-biking bikers
  • Reliable

Schwinn Cons:

  • Lower-quality instruments that are good for beginners but become taxing at higher levels.

Bike Types Available: Mongoose vs. Schwinn

Beyond mountain bikes, both Mongoose and Schwinn offer all kinds of biking experiences.

Here we compare some of the different genres (if you will) of bikes on offer by the two companies.

Road Bikes

Road bikes, or “urban bikes” as Mongoose has christened them, can serve the purpose of urban leisure or, perhaps more commonly, of commuting.

They are great for cityscapes and paved areas (gravel or asphalt).

Though Mongoose offers some options for road bikes, in general, you’ll want to stick with Schwinn, who, we’re not going to say invented road biking, but who has been making road bikes for a really, really long time.

BMX

If you’re looking for BMX bikes, look no further than Mongoose.

Mongoose has long proved themselves to be the leading industry manufacturer of BMX bikes.

They offer two styles of BMX: BMX freestyle and BMX racing.

Generally speaking, if you’re doing BMX, you don’t want to spend your time looking at the entry-level selections on offer from Schwinn.

Mountain Bikes

If you’ve come here for mountain bikes, these two companies are arguable contenders for the spot of industry leaders in high-quality mountain bikes.

Both companies offer dirt jump, fat tire, and downhill mountain bikes seated on incredibly light frames.

So, how do you choose?

As we mentioned above, the front-end suspension and braking systems tend to be higher-quality on Mongoose mountain bikes.

This makes them more expensive, but you don’t necessarily want to skimp on the dollars if you’re putting your life in the hands of a bike. 

If you’re going for faster, more extreme mountain biking or have been doing it for a long time, go with Mongoose.

If you’re new to biking, or if you’re not sure what you need, you’re probably better off with Schwinn mountain bike.

Ride or Die

In this review, we’ve summarized all the intricate differences between Mongoose and Schwinn.

Though both brands run a range of bikes from low-level beginner to more expert, we’ve seen that generally speaking, Mongoose leans toward the extreme sports end of the biking spectrum, while Schwinn caters more to beginners, commuters, and general city-slickers. 

Whether it’s a Schwinn or a Mongoose, the most important thing is to be out on the mountain (or the road, or the valley), living your life to its fullest.

Remember to wear a helmet and get out into the great outdoors!

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