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Monday, September 19, 2011

Schwinn Tourist Review - Post honeymoon period...

Here's the review I've promised on the new bike purchase, post honeymoon period, and about 250 miles or so into it.

For starters, I settled on this bike for a couple of reasons:
* I would like to start commuting regularly (Been doing the half commutes occasionally)
* I want to start training for the 50 mile Ride-For-Roswell next spring/summer
* For errands
* Not sure if cycling was something I'd get into

I ended settling for the Schwinn Tourist from Target.  Specs are:
* 700c, 28 mm tires
* Swift Arriv aluminum aero wheelset
* Shimano Altus rear derailleur
* SR Suntour front derailleur
* SR Suntour chainrings, crank (And pedal, presumably)
* Aluminum frame
* One set of bosses for water bottle/pump/etc
* Schwinn-branded (p)leather seat

I think I lucked out in what Target location I bought it from.  The bike was well assembled (Greased properly, assembled properly, and wheels trued).  The only issue I had was the front and back der required adjustment.  15 minute job, tops.  If you are at all handy with a hex key and a screwdriver, you'll be able to do it yourself.  You can take it to a shop for a once-over if you are not comfortable learning a bit about the machine.

The seat is a roadie-style saddle, which looks uncomfortable at first look.  Let me assure you, it will hurt for a week or so, until your body acclimates to riding, if you've not been on a bike for a while.  However, quickly, it becomes a very comfortable saddle.

While, you can set this up for a more relaxed riding style, this bike really shines once you set it up for the type of riding it's designed for:  An aggressive riding style.  Put the seat two inches above the handlebars, +/- a half inch or so.

It does have the mount points for the rear rack at the drop out, but not at the top of the chain-stay.  Some wire clamps, or zip-ties, and you'll be all set there, if your rack doesn't come with the applicable hardware.  Front fork does NOT have the mount points for a front rack, nor fenders.

The weight of the bike, according to my scale, is 22 lbs, without accessories.  I added a rack, a water bottle cage, and a hand pump.  Which, leads to my biggest complaint about the bike:  Only one mount point for accessories.

I got around this one problem by using the same mount point for my pump and water bottle.  The mounting for my pump sucks, so occasionally, I have to pull the pump back up (It slides down), so it doesn't rub against the front chain ring.  For 15 cents more, they could have added two more holes on the seat tube.

The ride itself was nice and smooth.  It didn't feel "twitchy", and was surprisingly comfortable, even over the rough pavement we call a "Bike path" here in WNY.  It does feel unstable when going through sand or debris on the road, but that's to be expected with the narrow road tires.

All in all, this was a fine purchase, and even a couple of the guys from a local bike shop said this was a fine ride, and well worth the money.  Online, there are some reviews about the tires blowing out quickly, but I'm just not seeing how this is possible with properly inflated tires.  There are also some riders who think the bike is too small/too big.  This may be the case, or it may be a case of not knowing how to adjust a bike to fit.  The seat needs up/down-forward/backward adjustment, which is really key.  I'm 5'10", and it fits quite fine after some adjustment.

About the only experience I can lend, is wider tires would be better for Buffalo roads, which generally are crappy even for cars.  Even worse on bikes.  Not a ding against the bike, but on piss-poor road quality in WNY.

Will I need to upgrade soon?  I don't think so.  I've already set my goal at 1500 miles over a rolling 12 month window before I upgrade the bike.  I think this ride will last me quite some time, and thus far am quite happy. I'll review it again after 6 months, to let everyone know how it's going.


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    1. I just read this and I sure am pleased with this bike i bought at the same store-Target. This one was on sale @$217. Who can beat that! have already logged 50 miles last weekend and it was a great one. The only upgrade I did was a water bottle holder and a bike rack (from my old Ross road bike) - Yes I am a half centurion. Got a problem with that? Will be using this in my daily Ithaca (NY) commute. This is a great bike!

    2. Did you have to do any post-purchase tweaks?

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I just adjusted the seat height, adjusting the brake pad setting of the front brakes...and removed the chain make it more sporty :)

    5. I use a universal water bottle mount on the down tube for my pump. Only cost a dollar at walmart.

    6. I bought one 2 weeks ago and the review you gave is highly accurate. I doubled up on the water bottle and air pump and they both fit snugly on the one mount. I bought a wireless odometer/speedometer that also tells how many calories I'm burning and the time and temp.

  2. You said you'd review it again after 6 months, and it's been about 8 months now. How about it?

    (Incidentally those 250 miles took more than the 6 days since the previous post, right?)

    1. I do suppose I'm do for a re-review :) Thanks for the reminder.

      And yes, the 250 came about a week and a half after I bought it. Maybe a day less. I was averaging 25-30 miles per day, for some time there.

      But, I'll be on the re-review :)

  3. i have this bike too(the gray one). great ride for the money. i upgraded the seat to a more comfortable cushion, some bar ends and a post mount rear rack. came from target in great shape except one problem that took 3 bike shops and 3 tubes to figure out and fix. the velo strip on the wheels are cheap and too narrow for the tire and tube. i had 3 blown tubes in 4 days and 30 miles of riding. got a wider velo and it's all good now. soon to be investing in paddle handles, an adjustable stem to raise the bar up a bit and some new tires.

    1. That's the one I have as well. I originally linked to that picture on Target's site, but they've changed it.

      Amazingly, I've not had any flats, but yet others (As yourself) have all sorts of problems with flats. I''m wondering if it's a matter of adjusting the spokes.

  4. Hi, just wondering if you think this bike was still worth the purchase. I am looking for a cheaper bike to ride while I am visiting here in the states and found one on CL for $165. Do you think that is a good price? Never really ridden a bike before, what should I look out for when purchasing one? Thanks!

    1. For $165, assuming it fits you, would be a deal on this one.

      If you've never really ridden before, I'm assuming you haven't worked on a bike very much, so any bike you get at a department store will be a gamble.

      However, that being said, the department store Schwinns are nearly always a safe bet. I'd stay away from the Walmart bikes, however. Walmart products are things that were culled from the production line for not meeting standards, but they met "Walmart Standards".

      Target has a few bikes that I would buy (Had I the need for another bike right now), the Schwinn Trailway, I believe is a solid, easy going ride.

      Which bike to look for, largely depends on what you plan on doing. This bike is great for fitness, but there are some issues using it for commuting in my area (Horrific roads).

  5. I just bought a Schwinn Tourist just like the picture above on August 10, 2012 to replace a stolen mountain bike – I wanted a lighter bike with skinnier tires anyway. I have put about 110 miles on it so far commuting to work and running errands, and I think it is a pretty good bike for the price. The first thing you will need to do is to adjust the brakes, derailleurs, and air up the tires. Fortunately my front and rear derailleurs were in good shape, but the brakes needed adjusting when I rolled the bike out of Target; if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, just take it to a bike shop and they will help you out. I personally live in the city and bike to work 2-3 times per week, so I would highly recommend immediately investing in a water bottle holder and a bike lock – these were the first two things that I bought for my Tourist.

    The Tourist is comparable to other local bike store bikes, such as the Trek FX 7.1 ( or Giant Escape 2 The difference with the Schwinn is that it uses slightly less expensive components (don’t worry, the frame is solid), and comes in only one frame size, which is 19” from middle of the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube. I am 5' 10" and it seems to fit me pretty well, although the second day after I bought it, I invested in a stem riser ( A week after I had the bike, my front tire got a flat (it was a pinch flat on the inside of the inner tube), so after patching the inner tube, and before putting it back on, I bought some rim tape ( for my front wheel to make sure it didn’t happen again, and for my back wheel as insurance that it didn’t happen in the first place.

    In the near future I would like to add a bike rack and panniers, as well as lights for riding after dark. Overall, I am happy with the bike, but the catch is that it will take a few tweaks and replaced parts to match the quality of the Trek or the Giant… but hey this is what happens when you pay $100-$200 less. The frame is solid, and I love the red & white paint job. The wheels are not the best, and I expect these to come out of true soon. So at some point, they too will be replaced- probably by 32 or 36-spoke wheels. In the end, I expect to have this bike for a long time and use it a lot. I am willing to replace parts until either the frame is done, or it costs way too much. So hopefully 10 or 15 years from now, my bike arsenal will grow, and the Tourist will still be a part of it.

  6. Anyone else get the easy to put on and take off Schwinn branded "snake eye" lights? I like them--cheap and effective.

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