I am definitely a Clydesdale even when in good shape, I'm about 6'2.5 and right now am 260. I've owned 2 bikes in my adult life, a Huffy my girlfriend bought me when I was 22 or 23 (before that I rode my little sisters pink 10 speed huffy ). Surprisingly, the Huffy served me well. The only thing that was bad about it was that the bottom bracket failed and caused me an injury.
I traded my then GF my bike plus $100 (around 1998) for her bike which she never rode and needed work, a 93 Trek 720 multi-trek (which I believe she paid 4 something for it). I like the bike, but it's 20 years old and repairs are expensive and my new girlfriend wants to get into biking, so this way we could ride together. The one thing my bike doesn't have that I absolutely wished it did is a front suspension. The streets in Philadelphia are in terrible condition, especially the side streets. Early last spring I got caught in heavy rain, didn't see a pothole and the pothole turned my front wheel sideways and I went right over the handlebars, luckily the ground was wet and concrete burn wasn't that bad.
I was just in my LBS and I saw the Schwinn searcher 4 XL(extra large 6'1-6'5). This bike seems to have everything I want. It's large and better fitted to me than my Trek. Does anyone have any experience with this bike? My Trek is Chromoly and the Searcher 4 is aluminum tipple butted and the fork is also aluminum. I asked the guy if this bike could safely carry 300 pounds (basically me and stuff on a rack and in my backpack) and he said it could. Should I be worried about this weight thing?
Also, the brakes are different than my Trek, which has center pull cantilever brakes and this bike has side pull cantilever brakes (I think they call them V brakes). I always felt that I had really good leverage on my brakes on the Trek, in fact, I was fearful of locking the front brakes up (as happened when I was severely underweight at 165 in 2002). The Cantilever braking system seemed to me, at the time switching from regular huffy brakes to be a huge improvement. Will this brake system have the same leverage as mine? 145 kilos moving at several meters per second is a lot of energy to displace. I can stop my Trek in a panic stop from 20mph to stopped in about 2 bike lengths.
Also, according to Schwinn, the crank is the same as my Trek (48-38-28) but the cassette is different 7sp 14-34 vs my existing cassette of 12-28 7sp. I've never even seen a bicycle that has a ratio of less than 1:1 (which is the case in 1st gear on the Searcher). Also, this has a rather odd looking derailleur, a Shimano Altus and the plastic wheels are really big. My Trek also has a Shimana Altus and it looks nothing like it. Is there any particular advantage or disadvantage to these giant plastic wheels in the derailleur than the traditional small ones? Also, why would there be a less than 1:1 ratio on such a light bike? A hill would have to be pretty steep to need to drop below 1:1 (I realize that you have to take the wheel size into consideration, it's not REALLY 1:1, but the wheel is the same size as my Trek which means the bike will go a shorter distance with 1 turn of the crank on this bike than mine in 1st gear)
The shifting is odd. You use one shifter to shift up and a second set to shift down. My Trek has Shimano twist-shift and I LOVE it and I have a bad knee and so I rarely if ever pedal in an upright position anymore, so I cam constantly shifting.
The bike says "Made in China", which bothers me. Also, it just doesn't look as sturdy as my bike. It's also cheaper than my bike was 20 years ago and the dollar has lost A LOT of value since then, so something has to give, right?
Threadless headset: What are the thoughts here? My Trek is threaded.
My needs are simple, I want a simple, entry level LBS bike with as few "features" as possible (no disc brakes, no electric shifters etc) that can stand up to a combination of my weight and the city streets. In fact, if it were reasonable to do, I would just put a suspension fork on my Trek. Getting that suspension fork is the only thing that is going to get me to lay out $450. I am also a little leery of Schwinn. They seem to have sold their soul and are manufacturing some really JUNK TRASH GARBAGE bikes for K-Mart and Walmart. Is the LBS line (I think they are the "Signature" series) up to Schwinn of yesteryear or of Trek (in the same price range)?
Schwinn says the MSRP is $440 and my LBS has it on sale for 399, which is actually $432 with sales tax (8% in Philadelphia).
Can anyone offer any advice?