Does anyone have any direct experience with the Schwinn Loop?
My hope is that it will last for 1 year at least...
Does anyone have any direct experience with the Schwinn Loop?
My hope is that it will last for 1 year at least...
I'm curious here as well. I need it for light duty only (City commute, 4 miles long), and since it's pretty cheap, I was wary of it; but have had good luck with other Schwinns.
Mainly concerned, since it costs less than my Schwinn road bike, which can't be a good portent. The main complaint I've seen online is the weight of it.
How much are they new?
Dawes Kingpin 2speed
Thor has a sale going on right now before the prices go up so $330 may get you a Speed Uno. But $230 on the used market may get something nicer also.
Dawes Kingpin 2speed
Its actually a copy of my design from a few years back while working in Germany ..Actually my design isnt the right thing to say as we worked together as a team ... The crux is that the Schwinn folks went the cheap way in bending that huge tube and made it from heavy duty mild steel pipe... and not much lighter crmo as the original...
We used Crmo to make the bike decently light but also stiff enough for a good ride....but it was a technical wonder how we got the tubing bend without waves .... .lol
long story ... the Speed Uno is more expensive but worth every penny ....( at least before that magical price increase next week )
I just bought a new-in-the-still-sealed-box Schwinn Loop from a fellow in my area who got it on Amazon and his plans changed so he sold it off even cheaper than it usually costs. I bought it for $150 from his ad on CraigsList.com; no tax, no shipping, so I figured I couldn't go too wrong by experimenting with it. My intention was to replace a very old single-speed folder that I inherited, which I rode once and set it aside because it was just plain no good. I used it just to get back home from dropping off my car for service. I thought that's what I'd do with the Loop. However, soon I realized another purpose. I'll be explaining my experiences with my Schwinn Loop in this thread.
I found that the Loop came in good condition (that is, no shipping damage) but almost everything was out of adjustment: brakes cables, spoke tensions, derailleur cable tension. In a way, it was a learning experience, so I don't regret having to learn these aspects of bicycle mechanics (by watching a few YouTube videos) because if I'm out far from a bike shop and I have trouble, I'll know how to handle at least those simple adjustments by myself. As others have commented, the saddle (seat) is murder on the butt, so I'm replacing it, but that's a common complaint about cheap bikes or even expensive bikes -- the selection of a properly fitting seat is often a necessary customization that I see being done all the time in bike shops.
I have been fascinated by the video series about bike touring on folding bikes, which was produced by a young couple who have made a living (for a while at least) doing bicycle traveling promotion. Their web site is http://pathlesspedaled.com/ and they have some great videos, including a series about self-supported biking across Oregon on the state's scenic bikeways. I was dumbfounded to see that they did that series on Brompton folding bikes, which have 16" wheels, 6 gears in the rear derailleur (modified for a 12% lower range to make hill climbing easier) plus a 3-speed internally geared hub (giving 29-87 gear inches all together), and a steel frame. Here's a description of their bikes: http://pathlesspedaled.com/2011/03/touring-bromptons/. Made in England, Bromptons are excellent highly portable bikes, but I'm not ready to jump into that price range. Dipping my toes into the folding touring waters, I decided to give a try with my new Schwinn Loop upgraded with some accessories.
First, after adjusting the bike cables as I mentioned, I took it to my trusted local bike shop (Spokesman Bicycles in Santa Cruz, California) and showed it to a bike mechanic. I told him I was concerned about the fact that the Loop's wheels only have 24 spokes each, and they're in an unusual star pattern, not evenly spaced as in other bikes, and they are paired side-by-side not all in one circle around the center of the rims. I also was concerned about the gauge of the spokes. He looked and checked the gauge and said he's not concerned at all about the strength of the spoke arrangement. "It's not under-engineered," he told me. Still, I think I'll have him make a few spare spokes of the correct length to carry with me if I'm going out on a bike touring adventure. What I've read about touring shows that the most common breakdown, after the common flat tire, is a broken spoke on a heavily loaded bike. I asked the mechanic if he thinks it could take a loaded tour without undue risk. "With how much cargo weight?" he asked. I said I weigh 155 lb and I might have as much as 50 lbs of stuff (camping gear, clothing, food, water, etc.). No problem, he said. It should be able to handle that weight and more. I haven't seen any spec on the weight limit from Schwinn, so I'll have to trust his opinion and see how it goes. Moreover, I will distribute the weight on front as well a rear wheels.
Next, I borrowed a very comfy seat from another of my bikes to try it on the Loop. This is a Selle Royal Drifter, which is a gel-seat, with water-proof seat covering, wide, no genital groove, short nose, and suspended by two double-springs that absorb road bumps and vibrations, like the old classic cruiser-style seats. What a difference. On the original seat, after 1 ride downtown and back, I was nearly incapacitated by the soreness caused by simple road riding for about 1/2 hour. With the Drifter, no such trouble. I road again today, this time up some long hilly climbs and fast downhill runs on the UCSC campus as well as flat riding. No problem with the seat. So, I'm ordering a new one for my Loop. It can be ordered online for about $40 from various sources. I've seen some complaints about this seat on other sites or reviews. One complaint was that it's hard to stay in one place on the seat because you tend to slide around on the smooth surface. I solved that problem with a light abrasion using fine sand paper in a few swirling strokes around the top (not the sides where the thighs rub) to remove the gloss there. I tried the seat on my gravel road and potholes as well as on good roads. Very nice ride. [Update: I gave up on the Selle Royal Drifter saddle. See my later posting below.]
Then I researched the rules about taking folding bikes onto local buses, Greyhound Bus lines, CalTrain (San Francisco Bay Area commuter trains, not light-rail), and Amtrak. The idea would be that I would use public transit like that to go to some distant place with my folder and other gear, then embark on an interesting long-distance tour to some other location, where I would pick up the bus or train again for a return home (or if really ambitious and having time for it, I would ride all the way back home). I had been setting up an old mountain bike for touring, and definitely will still set that up, but it's not so easy to travel with a full-size bike. Amtrak has a limited number of routes which allow full-size bicycles on board in a few bike storage alcoves of a few train cars. Local buses often have bike racks on the front. If those slots are full, you'd have to box the full-size bike in a special bike box and ship it as checked baggage on Amtrak. However, not all Amtrak stations have checked baggage service, so you might not be able to get your boxed bike on the train or not get it off at your destination and would have to go to a different city to get the bike onto or off of the train. Not good. However, Amtrak allows folding bikes to be carried on as one item of the allowable 2-item luggage on any train. You lug it on and lug it off, but it has to be folded and must meet the Amtrak size limits for folders: 34"x15"x48". My Loop only has trouble with the 15" width dimension. It comes in at 17" wide. But, by a few slight re-arrangements, I got it down to 15" width, or so close to 15" that hopefully Amtrak won't refuse to let it on board. I'll eventually find out.
Some public transits require that the folding bike be contained within a clean container, such as a heavy canvas (nylon or whatever fabric) bag. The Schwinn Loop comes with it's own bag like that. However, as configured with my extras that I'll explain later, I have to struggle mightily to get the bag on and can't completely close the zipper, so I searched for an alternative bag. No luck finding other folding bike bags, such as those made for Dahon folders, that have the necessary dimensions. Therefore, I turned to the bike bag I had previously purchased from Nashbar.com for transporting my 26"-wheel touring mountain bike. It's easier to load because the zipper goes far around and down the sides. But it's bigger than needed, so I figured out how to tuck it into the folded bike and pull the bag into a smaller shape with a tarp-bungee and if needed some extra bungee cords. It has a shoulder strap and 2 carrying handle straps. This works, and it's not an expensive bike transporting bag. Maybe later I'll have an awning shop make me a custom bag if I want to continue using the Loop this way.
If the folded size and bag goes well with Amtrak, the other hurdle is how to carry my other gear in just one other piece of luggage to avoid the problem again of not being able to check excess luggage as baggage in all Amtrak stops. Amtrak allows 2 pieces of luggage at no extra cost. (I'll find out if I can bring more than 2 pieces of luggage, even at a non-baggage-service station, but I think the answer is no, other than a very small carry-on bag 12"x12"x12 for personal items onboard.) Aha! I'll put it all into the Schwinn bike bag and carry that as one piece, plus the bike in the Nashbar bag. I have yet to test out the capacity of this plan, but I think it's going to work. I'll load my gear and clothing into panniers and some into their own stuff-sacks (for sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and tent) and put it all into the original Loop bag. I'll keep the total weight and full-laden size within the Amtrak limits for luggage (50 lbs, certain dimensions). I don't want to carry more than 50 lbs of stuff anyway.
How to carry that stuff on the Loop was the next hurdle. The rear rack built into the Loop's frame is very sturdy, but it's made from tubing that is larger diameter than standard pannier racks, so the hooks of panniers don't fit it. Moreover, they would cause heel interference and/or ground clearance trouble if mounted in the normal manner on the rack. I even tried front panniers on the rear, but I still get heel interference. What I need is a rack above the built in rack if I want to hang panniers. The built-in rack works great for a rack trunk bag. I have one from Nashbar which attaches by means of 4 Velcro straps to the rack, and it fits fine on the Loop's rack. But for larger capacity, I'll need panniers. Aha! I'll mount a seat-post cantilevered rack and hang the panniers from it. If I get a rack that has pannier hanging side frames, I may be able to rest the frames on the Loop's built-in rack for support, so I can carry more than the 20 to 25 pound weight limit that those seat-post racks allow. Working on it. I'll let you know what works out.
To better distribute the load, I installed low-rider front pannier racks on the front of the Loop. The ones I have come from Nashbar (again). I had to buy 2 new screws to replace the ones that mount the front fender stay, so the rack's support strut and the fender stay both can be held by the same screw. A metric #6 screw about 5 to 10 mm longer than the existing one worked. I got a stainless steel screw with metric hex socket pan head. When I'm sure it's ok, I'll back out the screw, add thread-lock liquid, and screw it back in. The Schwinn factory used thread lock on the original screw, I noticed.
I wasn't sure what effect the front panniers would have on the handling. I found out that it actually improves the handling -- no more wheelies on climbing steep hills. Steering isn't affected noticeably; maybe even slightly improved by the extra mass, so it's not so sensitive ("twitchy") as the unladen steering. I mounted 2 front panniers that I had from a different bike, loaded them, and rode up to UCSC campus. I approve. The panniers I have are Garneau "Alpha" panniers, which are small front paniers with a nice quick-release locking mechanism on the hanging hooks. (I don't find them on the Garneau web site so I guess they're discontinued.) The position of the hooks is adjustable, so I could make it hang perfectly, with center of the bag aligned on the center of the wheel axle, and it's level with the ground. The bottoms of the pannier bags don't hit the ground, even on turns and rough roads.
In a future post here, I'll continue this story of upgrading my Loop to be a folding touring bike and will report how it does after I take a longer ride with it. So far, I think it's going to be good. I'll have photos and info on where to get the accessories I added.
Last edited by overbyte; 10-20-13 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Update on Drifter saddle.
Here's the Loop in the Nashbar bag:
I added a vinyl push-on end cap (from local hardware store) like the ones you can put on the end of a metal chair leg, onto the bottom of the seat post so it won't damage the bottom of the bag. I discovered that the cap actually stays on the post when the seat is pulled up into normal position because the cap is smaller than the inside diameter of the frame's seat tube.
I cut some foam pipe insulation (from local home-improvement or hardware store) into appropriate sized pieces and slipped them onto the frame and pannier racks at key points to prevent metal-to-paint contact during handling of the bag as cargo. Notice that I strapped the frame parts together to keep them from unfolding, by using a Velcro buckle strap. Also notice that when I lowered the seat, I turned it to make it fit better in the folded position. I also turned the bar-end mirror so it would be in a less vulnerable position. Hint: put a permanent-marker line on the seat post to mark your preferred height so you can quickly restore the seat when you unfold the bike. I also put the axle nut plastic caps (that came in original packaging from Schwinn) onto the nuts. I also used a double-sided Velcro tape (sticks to itself) to hold the rear end of the frame and racks together against unfolding.
The rack trunk and a triangular frame bag for my tool kit, and the front panniers:
The entire packaging kit laid out on the bike transport bag:
The packaging kit is stored in a small light-weight duffel bag (EpicSports.com) as its stuff-bag. Total weight of transport kit is about 5.2 pounds. I'll be trying to reduce that weight with a smaller transport bag in the future. Some of the accessories I added or will be adding are laid out in front: 53-LED bike light (eBay or Amazon, less than $10), strapless toe clips (have to drill some holes in the plastic pedals), water bottle cage, quick-release water bottle cage mount for places that don't have mounting holes in the frame, cyclo-computer (Cateye 8), handlebar camera mount, and Mirrycle bar-end mirror (I love these and put them on all my bikes, usually on left and right ends of handlebar for maximum awareness of what's coming up behind me even on curves):
Total weight of the bike, in the transport bag, with the new seat, rear bags, tools, mirror, and front racks but not front pannier bags, is 43 lbs. Since the bike itself fresh out of the shipping carton and unwrapped was 33 lbs, the accessories and shipping bag added 10 lbs. It's a little hefty, but still less than the baggage weight limit on Amtrak.
Last edited by overbyte; 08-11-13 at 09:28 PM.
I think the Schwinn Hinge is nice on the eyes and it rides nicely!
6 Bikes Still Fat
I got the weight down to 41 lbs with a different bag. When I get the details of that worked out, I'll upload a photo.
The Schwinn Hinge looks nice and is simple, but the Schwinn Hinge is a single-speed bike. That's not good for touring, where you may have to climb hills, carrying packs of stuff.
Last edited by overbyte; 08-13-13 at 11:13 AM.
interested to see where this is going...
I just measured again, folded, with foam tube padding as needed. It's 16" wide. Darn. Amtrak's specs limit the width to 15". I could get it down to 15" or less by removing the handlebar at the stem insertion into the fork steering tube. It takes a metric hex ("Allen") wrench. But then I'd have to figure out how to pad it and where to fit it in between the two folded sides of the bike frame somewhere near the front. No room in back due to racks and brakes. I need to be more exact with my measuring. Maybe removing the outside (folding) pedal will shave off a little and turning the brake handles will get a little more. All I need is 1/2" from each side to get down to 15". Still working on it.
Using the idea of the Dahon carryon cover, I hooked a nylon webbing strap around the hinge and the other end through the 2 wheels and up to the rear rack. This lets me lift the folded bike in a balanced manner. Then all I have to add is a light-weight cover that drops over the whole thing, with holes where the nylon strap comes up. Or maybe the folded bike would be lifted and placed into the open cover and the cover then closed around the top with a cinch cord. Working on it.
You have pics? I always worried about the spoke star pattern as well. I pretty much made mine less compact by removing the folding pedals and modding the handlebar.
6 Bikes Still Fat
My Hinge, I just hopped in to see pics of the ride. I bought the Hinge because the Loop had those star wheels and I would of spent money right off replacing them.
6 Bikes Still Fat
I attached the nylon webbing strap as I described and then used my Nashbar bike cover as the keep-clean wrapper. I laid the cover on the floor, upside down and opened it, placed the folded bike in the center, pulled the near and far sides up and tied them under the webbing strap like gardeners tie the corners of a tarp to hold a pile of leaves, pulled the front and back ends of the cover toward each other and under the webbing, tucked one end through the other end's loop of Velcro and down to the yellow Velcro loop, where I secured that black loop, then tucked in the loose baggy sides into various crannies of the bike. I think it will pass muster and is easy to do. This bike cover is very light but made of strong waterproof nylon fabric, not as heavy as the Nashbar bike bag since it's not intended to carry the bike's weight, just to cover it. It comes with it's own little tote bag. I'm going to replace the webbing strap with one that doesn't have such heavy steel hooks, just loops or knotted loops I tie. When I pick it up, I can either use the strap as a handle or as a shoulder strap. I can feel and grab the bike rack, seat, etc., for more secure handling. This wrapper provides a clean outside, not protection against damage, but that's all that is required for carryon. If I were going to check this in as baggage, I'd be worried about the rough handling the baggage jockeys would give it, but since I'll be doing the handling, it's just enough protection from dirty chain and loose parts.
Now I just have to shave that 1" off of the folded width.
I marked one and counted the gear teeth. The crank chainring has 40 teeth. The rear freewheel set has 13 to 28 teeth, which matches the 7-speed "M" cassette at Sheldon Brown's calculator: http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/.
His site calculates that the Loop's gear-inch range is from 26.7 gear-inches in lowest gear (#1, the largest rear gear) to 57.5 gear-inches (#7, the smallest rear gear). This gives ground speed at 90 crank revolutions per minute (cadence) of about 15 mph. For more range of gear ratios, I suppose one could replace the rear gears with the "7-speed megarange freewheel" which has 11 to 34 teeth, giving gear-inches from 22 to 68, which has better hill-climbing and top speed of 18.2 mph at 90 rpm cadence.
For comparison, some other 7-speed 20" wheel folders have these gear-inch ranges:
- Dahon Vitesse D7: 32 to 79
- Dahon Mariner: 34 to 92
- Tern D7i: 32 to 79
- Citizen Miami: 32 to 64 (6-speed)
- Brompton (16" wheels, 6-speed, lowest gear-inch range option): 29 to 88.
So indeed, the Schwinn Loop (27 to 58 roughly) has gearing which more favors hill-climbing (lower gear-inches) than other common folding bikes. To me, that's more important for touring than speed on flat ground. After all, getting up those hills is the killer, not a lack of downhill coasting speed (which the Loop does fine) nor a lack of flat-out speed on the easy roads when you are trying to enjoy the getting there, not just the destination.
Last edited by overbyte; 08-13-13 at 04:30 PM. Reason: Update with Brompton.
That's quite a narrative overbyte.
Thought that I would check in an help provide some info for your analysis. See page nine for gear inches:
Thanks for finding that chart in the 2012 model-year brochure, DoubleDiamondDog. So, it says that the buyer can choose three different gear-inch range options in the 6-speed Brompton models. The lowest range is 29.1 to 88.0 gear-inches. I updated my prior posting. The stock Schwinn Loop has lower gear-inches than the Brompton 6-speed, which has a more complicated setup with a 3-speed external derailleur and a 3-speed internally geared hub requiring 2 trigger controls on the handlebar. Brompton says about it: "...this multi-gear system is the right choice for touring and for riding in hilly areas." It's a matter of trade-offs of top speed on flats versus hill-climbing. If you watch the "path less pedaled" videos, where they rode their Bromptons across Oregon, they complained the most about hills, naturally, but they still made it up them. So the gear choice in the Schwinn Loop is respectable and better for hilly riding than the other choices I listed. When I took my gamble on the Loop purchase, I didn't really investigate it nor intend to use it for touring, but I got lucky it seems. Of course, there are other factors to consider, such as the folded size and total weight, of which the bike itself is only a portion since touring involves carrying cargo.
i think it' a 6 speed
If you're referring to the Brompton when you say "i think it' a 6 speed", maybe they have an extended gear-range option that has more gears in the hub or on the derailleur, but that's all I saw on their chart. I know that someone (I think Sturmey-Archer) makes an internally geared hub with 9 gears, so that would (if Brompton offers it) provide 27 speeds, some of which may be redundant of course. If you're not talking about the Brompton, which bike is the "it" in your posting?
The "Path Less Pedaled" couple say they rode 6-speed Bromptons with the reduced gearing option: http://pathlesspedaled.com/gear/.
Last edited by overbyte; 08-14-13 at 11:23 AM.
My cantilever seatpost rack and some other panniers arrived, so I loaded the Loop:
With one pannier removed, you can see the seatpost cantilever rack with pannier frame sitting on the Loop's integrated frame rack for more support.
I wrapped the removable rack's bottom corner with black vinyl electrical tape to avoid scratching the Loop's paint. I will be holding them together at that point using little Velcro straps (not yet installed). Since the removable rack is high, there is no heel interference even with large panniers.
The Loop is now carrying 2 front panniers, 2 large rear panniers, a small tent stuffed between the vertical sides of the removable rack and resting on the built-in rack, and a sleeping back bungee-tied to the top of the removable rack. Instead of the sleeping bag, I've also attached a trunk bag to the top for more storage instead of camping equipment. When I fold and pack the bike in its traveling configuration, I will remove the cantilever rack so the seat can go all the way down. It has a quick-release clamp to the seat post. I'm trying to figure out where to pack the removable rack, either with the bike in the same cover with padding foam, or in my luggage bag with the panniers etc. I relocated the triangular tool bag because in the location shown in prior pictures I had slight heel contact. I loaded all of the panniers with mock cargo (clothing, camping equipment, etc.) and rode around the UCSC campus with it. The handling is not bad. I wish it had one more lower gear, below the 27 gear-inch #1 gear, but even with what it's got, it has a lower gear range than the other folding bikes I've compared with it, so I can get up some rather big hill climbs on the UCSC campus, sitting. I was actually able to stuff all of this into the Schwinn Loop bike bag and use it as my one piece of luggage that Amtrak allows as carry-on when you bring a folding bike onboard. Using straps, I was able to get the bag into the Amtrak carryon dimensions, barely.
So with this equipment, the Loop can carry what a full-size touring bike can carry, except not as many water bottles mounted to the frame. The extra bottles will have to go in pannier side pockets or maybe I can attach another quick-release clamp-on bottle cage somewhere without interfering with knees and feet. I"m thinking maybe on the seat post or downtube or one more on the handlebar or its stem.
I also have a small above-the-wheel rack that mounts to the brake mounts and mirror hole on the top of the fork, but I haven't tried to mount it yet. Not sure I want to use it on this bike.