During the late 80’s, many Schwinn dealers felt that Schwinn should add a second brand for higher-end niche bikes, a rapidly growing product category. It was also felt that these bikes would have to come from Asia, not the US, for reasons of cost. Schwinn started this by importing a few bikes called Prologue during the late 80’s. At the same time, Schwinn successfully expanded the use of the PDG (Paramount Design Group) name for parts, accessories and clothing starting 1987.
In 1990, Schwinn committed to importing a line of complete bikes under the Paramount name for the 1991 model year. The line consisted of complete bikes, both road an off-road, all of which had the “Series” designation.
All the Series Paramounts were built with chromoly except for the Series 9C, a composite Paramount built by Kestrel which, at the time was partially owned by Schwinn. By 1993, Schwinn had converted it higher-end Paramounts road to heat-treated tubing.
All of the early mountain bikes were TIG welded, though they went to lugs for the ’93 and ’94 model years. Excluding the composite frames, the high-end road bikes were all lug brazed.
With two very minor exceptions, all of the “Series” bikes came from Asian factories. That’s why they don’t have serial numbers like the Waterford-built models. The Waterfords were a couple of steps above the Asian bikes, though certain Waterford innovations, like the integrated cable guides, started at Waterford and then filtered down to the Series bikes.
Two small groups of Series bikes were built in the US. The Series 9C was a short run – under 1000 units – of composite frames built by Kestrel during 1992. Finally, when ramping up for 1994 production, Schwinn had a shortage of the top-end R80’s and had Waterford Precision Cycles build them and ship them to Taiwan for painting and fabrication.
But for the handful of Waterford-built ’94’s, the serial numbers won’t follow the standard pattern. The way to determine the vintage of your Series bike is by looking at the table below:
|Series 2||Shimano 500EX||.||Red Black (DT) decals||.||.|
|Series 3||Shimano RX-100||Candy Blue (like Blue Flame)||Candy Blue w/Red Spider||.||.|
|Series 5||105SC||White w/Gray Splatter||White w/Purple Slime (drips)||.||.|
|Series 7||Ultegra||.||Violet Blue||.||.|
|Series 7 650C||Ultegra||.||Purple Freak||.||.|
|Series 9C Carbon||Ultegra||.||Blue Flash||.||.|
|Team Road||Ultegra||.||.||Black TT/DT, Titanium headtube and rear triangle||.|
|Series 20||Suntour XC||.||White w/Black Slime (drips)||.||.|
|Series 30||Shimano LX||Black w/White Spider||Black w/White Spider||Royal Blue /Titanium Fork||.|
|RS30||Shimano LX||.||.||.||Eclipse Black w/Titanium rear|
|Series 50||Shimano DX||Black w/Red Marble||Black w/Red Marble||.||.|
|R50||Shimano DX||.||.||Candy Red/Titanium Fork||.|
|RS60||Shimano DX||.||.||Purple (like Purple Majesty)||Royal Blue w/Titanium rear|
|Series 70||Shimano XT||Black w/Orange Spider||Brandywine||.||.|
|R80||Shimano XT||.||.||Granny Apple Green front, Titanium Rear and fork.||.|
|Series 90||Suntour XC Pro||Red/White/Blue Mask||Blue Velvet Gas (Asian version)||.||RS80 – Team Red w/Black rear|
|Team Off-Road||Shimano XTR||.||.||White TT/DT, Titanium headtube and rear triangle||.|