Monday, September 19, 2011
Schwinn Tourist Review - Post honeymoon period...
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.