There are several different models of Schwinn bike trailers, with the two most common being the Schwinn Echo and the Schwinn Trailblazer. In this review, we’ll discuss both, and help you understand their differences, as well as if you should upgrade to the more expensive Trailblazer, or just stick to the more basic Echo.
Schwinn Trailer Comparison
|Feature||Schwinn Echo||Schwinn Trailblazer|
|Schwinn Echo||Schwinn Trailblazer|
|Wheels||20" metal||20" metal|
Schwinn Bike Trailer – Trailblazer
The Schwinn Trailblazer is available as a single or double trailer. The double trailer comes with a stroller wheel, while the single trailer cannot convert to a stroller.
How Does the Schwinn Trailblazer Ride?
Interestingly enough, we thought the Trailblazer was actually less smooth than the Echo. The tow arm of the Trailblazer rattled pretty significantly during our test rides. The tow arm joint has too much play, and moves and rattles noisily.
We found this a little odd because the trailer frames and tow arm designs seem to be identical between the Schwinn Echo and Schwinn Trailblazer trailers so this rattling could have been an anomaly. However, we also tested the single version of the Trailblazer, and it had the same issue.
Remember, however, the Schwinn trailers have 20” aluminum wheels, which make for a smoother experience for the child and will last much longer than the cheaper InStep’s 16” plastic wheels.
Schwinn Trailblazer as a Stroller
We really do love the option of converting your trailer into a stroller. We do this all the time with our personal trailer. With a stroller wheel that attaches to the end of the tow arm, it’s super easy to convert the Trailblazer from trailer to stroller mode. You don’t even have to remove the kids from the trailer!
The Trailblazer is a good option for an occasional stroller. During a few hours of walking with the stroller, my feet kept kicking the rear of the trailer, which obviously got annoying. If this were my everyday trailer it would be a no-go for me, but if it’s just an added perk to a trailer, it’s definitely something I could deal with.
Schwinn Bike Trailer – Echo
The Schwinn Echo is Schwinn’s most basic trailer. It shares many features with the even more basic InStep trailers, but with a few crucial upgrades that we believe warrant a higher price. (Both Schwinn and InStep are sold by Pacific Cycle, Inc.) The Echo is only available as a double trailer and does not have a stroller upgrade option.
How Does it Ride?
The Schwinn Echo rode surprisingly well for its price point, and better than the InStep trailer which we also recently tested. Bumps were pronounced, but our 5-year-old tester didn’t complain. You’ll want to stick to very smooth pavement and slower speeds (the maximum recommended speed is 10 mph, although we did 15 mph in the Schwinn without a problem).
Schwinn Bike Trailers – Trailblazer and Echo
While overall a better trailer than the cheaper InStep bike trailers, both the Trailblazer and Echo Schwinn bike trailers have the same cover design as the InStep Take 2, including its challenging snaps and cheap nylon. The snaps are much more difficult to use than higher-end systems with high-quality velcro or zippers.
From a quality and durability perspective, there was already a small hole starting near the top snaps on the Echo and Trailblazer after only one ride despite being reinforced with clear vinyl on the other side.
Once you get the snaps in place on the front cover, the bottom of the front cover secures in place with a long strip of velcro. This system of securing the cover is a bit of a pain to use, and makes accessing kids during an outing a bit of a pain as well. Kids can also kick against it and open it up during a ride.
Both of the Schwinn bike trailers come with a rain cover that covers the mesh front cover. While the nylon fabric of the rest of the trailer won’t keep your child dry in a downpour, the rain cover will help shield them some.
Harness, Buckles, and Seat – Echo
The Schwinn buckles are basic, but the straps do have some padding. It’s still a challenge to get bigger kids buckled in, as the hammock-style seat of the Schwinn Echo sags under their weight. We do appreciate that the seat is lightly padded and also sags less than the InStep trailers.
Seats – Trailblazer
While the Schwinn Echo trailer has non-supportive hammock-style seats, the Schwinn Trailblazer has upgraded bench-style seats. Bench-style seats are much more supportive and don’t sag. This makes it much easier to strap kids in, and prevents two riders from sliding into the middle of the seat together.
While we really do appreciate a bench-style seat, the Trailblazer’s padding is minimal and the seat is a bit hard. It’s still superior to the seat of the InStep or the Schwinn Echo, but higher-end (and more expensive!) trailers have a much more sophisticated and comfortable design. The budget-friendly Allen S2 trailer/stroller actually has a pretty soft bench seat that we prefer over the Schwinn’s.
InStep Seat vs. Schwinn Trailblazer’s Seat
The bottom of the trailer has a more extra room for legs and feet compared to the InStep trailer, but also isn’t reinforced.
The Schwinn Trailblazer has 24″ of shoulder space and 23″ of seated height, which is more interior room than most other budget and even mid-range trailers. The Echo is very similar.
You can see in the image below that the Trailblazer is shorter than the Instep Take 2 and will be more quickly outgrown from a height perspective. This is, in part, due to the sagging seats of the InStep which place a child lower in the trailer.
So… sagging seats and more room for a child’s head, or supportive seats and less room for growth? You choose. 🙂
Additionally you can see that while the InStep is an inch wider, the hammock-style seat forces the two riders to slide together in the middle. In the Schwinn Trailblazer, they seem to actually have more room because the bench seat keeps them separated.
InStep vs. Schwinn Trailblazer Interior Space
Shoulder Strap Adjustment
The Schwinn trailers have three distinct slots for shoulder strap height adjustment. These placements will work for most kids, but we do prefer continuously adjustable shoulder straps as found on most other trailers, including the Burley Bee and the budget-friendly Allen S2.
Burley Bee vs. Schwinn Trailblazer Shoulder Straps
Mesh Helmet Recess
Almost all trailers have loose mesh backing behind a child’s head to allow their helmet to have space. This prevents a child’s head from getting pushed forward uncomfortably.
The mesh helmet recess of the Schwinn bike trailers starts very high and is very short. Realistically, it’s not that helpful for most kids who can fit in a trailer. By comparison, the Burley Bee helmet recess starts much lower and also extends much higher.
However, compared to the InStep Take 2, the Schwinn’s helmet recess actually starts a few inches lower. So while not ideal, the Trailblazer’s helmet recess is at least better than the uber-budget InStep.
Helmet Recess on Burley Bee vs. Schwinn Trailblazer
The Schwinn bike trailers’ wheels are their primary selling point over cheaper trailers with 16″ plastic wheels. In our opinion, the 20″ wheels on metal rims are a very worthy upgrade, from a durability standpoint, as well as overall ride smoothness. Whether that’s worth an extra $80 is up to you!
Instep vs Schwinn Bike Trailer Wheels
There’s plenty of room for storage in the rear, but the back cover only secures in place with a basic strip of velcro. If you’re storing small, light items like sweatshirts or a helmet, you’ll probably be ok. We don’t recommend storing anything large or of value, as this storage system is much less secure that higher-end brands.
Hitch and Tow Arm
The hitch and tow arm set up the Schwinn trailers are the same. The tow arm fits easily inside the coupler attachment and secures with a pin, which attaches to the rear axle of the adult bike.
While the hitch joint is stiffer than more expensive trailers, the 10 mph max speed limit will keep you from really noticing this.
Which Schwinn bike trailer is best for you really comes down to your budget and a few minor details. In general, the Schwinn Trailblazer and Schwinn Echo have essentially the same entry-level design, budget-quality components, and average riding experience.
If you’re planning on using your bike trailer periodically, sticking to easy paved trails, and don’t need it to hold up over several years or several kids, the Schwinn bike trailers are a fantastic bang-for-your buck. Just keep in mind that their low price is directly related to their lower quality.
Areas where we prefer the Schwinn Trailblazer over the Schwinn Echo:
- Bench-style seat prevents sagging, making it more comfortable for kids and easier to load and unload
- Stroller conversion kit
If you plan on using your trailer regularly and want the option of riding faster and on more varied terrain, we highly recommend taking a look at the entry-level Burley trailer, the Burley Bee. The Burley Bee has much higher-quality design and components that will last through many years and kids.
10 Best Bike Trailers: For a quick look at our top picks for every budget.