Don’t buy the Schwinn Shuttle foldable bike trailer. You heard us right – don’t but it. We rarely flat out discourage families from purchasing products, but the Schwinn Shuttle is on our short list of products that we feel don’t deserve your hard-earned cash.
The cheapest trailer on the market, the Schwinn Shuttle is beyond basic. In fact, it makes the InStep trailer (formerly the cheapest) look pretty good. So what’s wrong with the Shuttle? And what should you buy instead? Read our full review below for the answers to both of these questions!
Schwinn Shuttle Overview
RATING: Not Recommended
BEST FOR: No one. Don’t buy this.
TRAILER CAPACITY: Double
TRAILER ARM: Included
JOGGER KIT: Not Available
STROLLER KIT: Not Available
- Very low price tag
- Not ASTM safety certified
- Foam tires provide no cushioning and very little traction
- 16″ wheels have only a 10 MPH recommended max
- Cheap front cover comes off easily and will tear easily
- Sagging seats and minimal leg room
- 3 point harness and lap belt are rudimentary
- Shoulder straps can dig into the neck of older kids
- Snack pocket very small – not big enough for a Camelbak water bottle or many sippy cups
- Dated hitch design is difficult to use
Schwinn Shuttle Bike Trailer Review – Results of our Test Rides
Let us sum up our view of the Schwinn Shuttle foldable bike trailer in one short statement: You deserve better from a brand like Schwinn.
We understand that many families are on a budget and can’t (or simply don’t want to) spend hundreds of dollars on a bike trailer. That’s what makes the $99 price tag of the Schwinn Shuttle so appealing. Especially from a brand like Schwinn that you know and trust. A brand from your own childhood!
But here’s the thing. If this is the best bike trailer you can make for $99, you just shouldn’t be making a $99 bike trailer. Unfortunately, most of the kids biking products made by Schwinn these days just don’t measure up to the glory days of the past. Frankly, we’re disappointed. And you deserve better.
It’s simple, really. If a company lowers a price tag too much and still wants to make money, they can’t afford to make a decent product. And that’s what we have here. A kids bike trailer that was NOT designed for your child’s comfort, or to last very long, and certainly not to live up to any standards of excellence. It was made to hit a price point that is appealing to families so Schwinn could sell a lot of them. At your expense.
8 Reasons NOT To Get a Schwinn Shuttle Foldable Bike Trailer
So what makes the Schwinn Shuttle ($99) so cheap and basic compared to other trailers? Even compared to our favorite budget-friendly bike trailer by Allen Sports? And even compared to the cheap and basic InStep Take 2?
There are 8 features we’ll focus on to help you understand the Shuttle’s $99 price point, and encourage you to spend an extra $50 on the Allen Premier S2 trailer. Clearly, some of these points are more discouraging than others, but the smaller “cons” are just further proof points that the quality of this little trailer is lacking.
Safety Certified? Nope
The ASTM safety testing standard for bike trailers in the US is ASTM F1975. However, it is not required for a manufacturer to meet that standard. While many, many bike trailers are voluntarily ASTM certified, the Schwinn Shuttle foldable bike trailer is not ASTM F1975 certified. So has it been safety tested at all? There’s no way to tell.
In fact, no Schwinn bike trailers are ASTM certified, nor are InStep bike trailers. Both of these brands are owned by the same parent brand – Pacific Cycle.
If you want a guarantee that the bike trailer you’re going to put your precious cargo in is safety tested, the budget-friendly Allen Sports Bike Trailers are ASTM certified.
Small Foam Wheels – Little Traction, No Cushioning
At just 16″ in diameter, these small tires on plastic rims are not going to last the long haul. The 16″ size also limits the maximum recommended speed on the Schwinn Shuttle to just 10 MPH, which is really easy to reach. (Better trailers have 20″ tires on metal rims that can go 15 MPH, seen on the right above.)
But our biggest beef with the Shuttle’s wheels is not the small size or even the cheap plastic rims. It’s the foam tires. We see foam tires on balance bikes all the time, but we’ve never seen them on a bike trailer. Even the InStep has air tires!
Foam tires provide very little traction. The Shuttle’s tires are almost like hard plastic, and have a slick feel to their exterior. As far as traction goes, we’re really not counting on much.
Foam tires provide basically no cushioning. On a trailer that already has no suspension, air tires are really the only cushioning your little passengers are going to get. The Schwinn Shuttle’s foam tires are going to accentuate the jolt of every crack in the sidewalk, and certainly should NOT be taken off-road if you can avoid it.
Exterior Covers – Low Quality
Cheap vinyl and a cheap zipper mean these covers aren’t going to be in great condition for long. While the cheap InStep trailer features similar vinyl covers, in a side by side test, the Shuttle’s vinyl felt even thinner to us. Out of the box the vinyl was already showing signs of wear at pressure points, like where interior storage pockets were sewn on.
And while we love the idea of the zippered front door that keeps kids (and stuffed animals and books and toys) completely enclosed inside, that zipper is very cheap. We anticipate that it may break, at which point the front door would be totally useless.
Another reason we don’t love the Schwinn Shuttle’s cover is that the whole blue front is pulled tight and secured in place on the bottom of the trailer, but not secured on the sides. As a result, if taller toddlers (our child is 42″) kick on the trailer’s front, it will slide off the frame. (See gap at yellow arrow below.)
Weight Capacity and Sagging Seats
The Schwinn Shuttle has a per passenger weight capacity of 40 pounds, for a total of 80 pounds if you’re carrying two kids. This is very normal for bike trailers under $200.
The unsupported, sagging seat bottom is probably the worst we’ve seen when you’re dealing with a lot of weight. Hammock style seats are always more difficult to use than bench style seats because they sag under the weight of your kids.
Sagging Schwinn Shuttle Seat vs. Supportive Bench Seat
But many trailers with hammock seats have the fabric pulled more taut, making them a bit more supportive. Those nicer hammock seats are also usually raised above the bottom of the trailer so that there’s a footwell for a child to comfortably rest their legs.
That’s definitely not the case here. The Shuttle’s seat is literally the bottom of the trailer, and when it sags, a child’s legs and feet have no where to go but straight out or sprawled to the sides. The distance between the seat and the front of the trailer is shorter than other trailers, providing even less leg space than a trailer like the Instep Take 2.
In the Shuttle bike trailer, two kids will sag together in the middle, and buckling kids is kind of a pain. As kids get heavier and the sag becomes more drastic, shifting your child’s weight to access the buckles is a major pain point.
Our main tester was 43 pounds, admittedly a tad over the 40 pound limit. (She’s only 3.5 years old!) The first time it took me several minutes to get her buckled, and the entire time she was screaming at me to get her out. The crotch strap was digging into her crotch and she was not having it.
I’m speaking to the heavy end of the weight spectrum here, but if you plan on using this trailer with older kids, or for several years as your child grows older, it’s something you need to consider.
3- Point Harness System + Lap Belt
The Schwinn Shuttle is the only bike trailer we know of that only has a 3-point harness. The additional lap belt could loosely be considered to make it a 5-point harness.
However, the lap belt can’t be pulled snug around a child’s waist and isn’t as precise a fit as a true 5-point harness. Honestly, we thought the lap belt was a bit pointless. Additionally, it’s just one lap belt, so if you’re carrying two kids of various sizes, getting a snug fit will be even more difficult.
Additionally, the shoulders straps of the harness are sewn into the back of the trailer and cannot be adjusted higher or lower to match the height of a child’s shoulder. Every other bike trailer we’ve tested can, although with varying degrees of helpfulness.
With our 42″ tall 3-year-old, the straps started in a good spot just above her shoulder. While we didn’t get a chance to put a 1 or 2 year old in this trailer, the straps will most certainly sit much higher than a smaller child’s shoulder, making a snug harness fit more challenging.
The shoulder straps are also spaced quite close together – just 4″ between them. By comparison, the width between the straps in our other trailers we had sitting around ranged from 4.75″ – 5.5″. As a result, the Schwinn Shuttle’s shoulder straps sit closer to the neck, rather than on the shoulders, and may dig into your child’s neck.
All of the straps in the Shuttle are a bit hard to adjust, so the first time you get your child situated is probably going to be a bit frustrating for you and your little nugget.
Small Storage Compartments
The interior pockets for snacks are a bit laughable. (This is the same with InStep as well.) They are big enough for a granola bar or a plastic water bottle, but not for a Camelbak water bottle.
Rear storage is at a minimum – a few helmets and jackets and you’ll be full. It’s one of the smallest rear storages we’ve seen, although certainly sufficient for most occasions.
But the bottom of the storage area is the same thin, cheap vinyl on the Shuttle’s front and sides. Other cheap trailers have a thicker, reinforced vinyl on the floor of the storage area, but that’s not the case on the Shuttle. We would recommend only putting lightweight objects inside.
Old School Style Hitch Coupler
The Schwinn Shuttle’s hitch coupler design was a bit puzzling to us. It’s the old hitch that was on InStep and Schwinn trailers before 2016.
Why Schwinn would reintroduce an old hitch on a new trailer is beyond us. The new style of hitch (post 2016) is angled to better fit the angle of the bike trailer’s tow arm.
The Schwinn Shuttle’s old-style hitch is flat, with no angle. As a result, you have to bend the end of the tow arm pretty significantly to get it to fit in the hitch coupler.
Flat Schwinn Shuttle Coupler vs. Angled Coupler
Sure, there’s a spring on end of the tow arm that’s meant to be bent, but it makes the process of attaching the trailer to your bike harder than it needs to be.
The Shuttle’s hitch also places the trailer very off-center with the bike, causing the bike trailer to stick out several inches on the left side of the bike. You have to be aware of where the trailer is behind you when navigating sidewalks and narrow trails.(Burley trailers also do this, so this is not necessarily a con, just something to be aware of if you do buy the Shuttle.)
Initial Assembly – Requires Lots of Arm Strength
I’ve assembled a lot of trailers, and I honestly thought the Schwinn Shuttle foldable bike trailer was defective out of the box. The top crossbar seemed to be several inches too long to fit between the sides of the trailer. I couldn’t put it together!
Turns out I just didn’t have enough upper body strength. If your trailer looks like this picture below, pull out the big muscles to stretch the trailer walls wide enough to insert the top crossbar.
After this initial assembly, the frame was stretched out enough that I was able to do it without my husband’s help.
Schwinn Shuttle Foldable Bike Trailer – Bottom Line
We wanted to love a $99 bike trailer, we really did. But the Schwinn Shuttle foldable bike trailer just has too many flaws for us to recommend. If you literally cannot afford over $100, sure, it works. But we strongly encourage you to spend an additional $50 or $60 for the vastly superior and budget-friendly Allen Premier bike trailer. If you’re open to buying a used trailer, Burley and Thule trailers hold up very well over time!