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Are Schwinn Bikes under $200 Good?

Old 02-11-16, 03:21 PM
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ivan1347
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Are Schwinn Bikes under $200 Good?

Hello so recently I was interested in a Schwinn Sidewinder that I saw at walmart. I don't know much about bikes and I have been wanting to buy one to go to school and back. Does anyone have any experience with it? It currently costs 150 and I don't know if i should buy it. 26" Schwinn Sidewinder Men's Mountain Bike, Matte Black/Green - Walmart.com
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Old 02-11-16, 03:28 PM
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Generally the wal-mart bikes aren't good, at all. They're heavy, badly built and don't generally last long. You'd be MUCH better off buying a $100 bike off of craigslist and getting it fixed by a shop for $50.

If you tell us where you are located and how tall you are I'm sure some of us will find you suitable bikes on craigslist that would be much better than the bike you linked.

If you must buy new, you'd be much better off buying something like this from a bike store. While not great quality, it's miles above a wal-mart bike.

Raleigh Bicycles - Talus 1
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Old 02-11-16, 03:50 PM
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cheap Walmart bikes are the worst of both worlds.
First the quality of the bike itself is really poor. The suspension fork on your bike will probably not work and may actually do you harm.
Second is that the assembly of the bikes are really poor. The same guys who assemble the bikes also assemble the outdoor grills.
Used bikes are often good bargains. Many bike shops sell used bikes so if you have no knowledge of components they will have gone over the bike before putting it up for sale.
there are some decent bikes at some walmarts, but they are the 'top end' price wise. The only people I know who can do well with these bikes are guys that are very handy with tools and have
experience with bikes. They usually have to make a number of major adjustments before riding them. Then they pound them into oblivion and start over again.
It's how some guys roll.
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Old 02-11-16, 04:46 PM
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No!
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Old 02-11-16, 08:32 PM
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How about a ......[h=1]700c Mongoose Sinsure Urban Single Speed Mens Bike[/h]700c Mongoose Sinsure Urban Single Speed Mens Bike - Walmart.com
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Old 02-11-16, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
How about a ......[h=1]700c Mongoose Sinsure Urban Single Speed Mens Bike[/h]700c Mongoose Sinsure Urban Single Speed Mens Bike - Walmart.com
Last summer, Walmart was selling steel single speed road bikes with drop handlebars for under $150.00! I was tempted to buy one since they reminded me of the old ten speeds of the 70s. However, the brake assembly was very cheap and so were the wheels.

I would put Tuffy tire liners on that bike, replace the front brake pads, do a turn-up and go!
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Old 02-12-16, 11:44 AM
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Well known brand names sell off to others who use that to make their stuff get some rub off of the past reputation,
whether they deserve it or Not.


Good? What do you consider Adequate? if not wanting to spend much, lower the expectations of Precision.

for school often where people go to pick a bike to steal it wont be much of a loss..

take it by a proper bike shop for a safety check , tune up .

Typically, like other mass merchants, Wall Mart doesn't do quality assemblies.

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Old 02-12-16, 01:32 PM
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Interestingly enough, a search in the Schwinn site for 'Sidewinder' got me nothing!
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Old 02-12-16, 01:39 PM
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After browsing the Schwinn WalMart offerings, about the only thing I'd consider in the lineup is one of their single speed cruisers. Hard to mess up one speed and coaster brake. That SS Mongoose looks pretty cool, though, and I know there are a few who bought the Mongoose fat tire SS bike for kicks and giggles.
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Old 02-12-16, 01:43 PM
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Hmm. I have a different take. But then again, different scenario with a Wallyworld bike. I found a Schwinn Varsity 1200 (6061 aluminum) with only a rear wheel for $15 at a thrift store in otherwise great shape. It was most likely marketed as a hybrid and had a flat bar. The stock components went into the trash (Shimano Tourney) but the frame is a decent design. It's almost like cyclocross geometry in that it has a longer top tube than seat tube by a good 2 inches. I put some Suntour XC on it with drop bars, thumb shifters and Tektro levers. Flipped the white aheadset stem upside down. Also found another 36 hole wheel to match the rear which was replaced at some point. Lucky for me since it's nicer than the cheap stock ones. It's not really light at 25 pounds but it rides nice. And I'm positive the added weight is because of the heavy wheelset and fat tires. Not crazy about the Varsity decals but it is a fun bike with the lines of a racer. I suppose the blue paint job that mine has is the least obnoxious. The handling reminds me of an older Cannondale I once had. I am able to ride it on single track easily and quickly and it responds as well as any of my other bikes. I'll probably be the lone wolf on this one. :^0

My buddy loves Pacific frames. I probably picked this one up due to his endorsement subconsciously. Definitely not regretting it though. The other one I found cheap was a Schwinn Trailway (7005 aluminum). I bought it because it was only $20 and like new condition. Same story (Shimano Tourney- to the trash). I upgraded everything on that bike but the wheelset and fork. I installed a Deore LX drivetrain and put a moustache bar on it with gripshift. I think with better wheels and a rigid front fork it will be a sweet ride too... unless it gets moved on of course.

I really don't agree that the Schwinn frames at Wallyworld are junk and made out of inferior material (6061 is junk?). They represent quite the value IMO if you know how to work on bikes and upgrade parts. And are a broke ass like me. :^) If I'm not mistaken, both bikes sold for less than $200 new.

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Old 02-12-16, 01:47 PM
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I wouldn't spend that kind of money for a bike that is worth less than they charge for it plus the fact it will need to be tuned up straight from the floor. They tend to be more likely to break because they are made of low grade parts and materials put together by low grade assemblers. These aren't bike mechanics putting together your bike and their concern is making more money not making the bike safe. They get paid by the bike usually or if they are assembling multiple things by the item whether it be that bike or the grill or the patio furniture.
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Old 02-12-16, 01:54 PM
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I think the Schwinn bike shop bikes are at the lower limit of what's worth riding.

My Cutter seems fine other than being heavy.
I think of it as my cast-iron bike.
That was close to 400 for 1 gear and no suspension fork.
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Old 02-12-16, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post
I found a Schwinn Varsity 1200 (6061 aluminum) with only a rear wheel for $15 at a thrift store in otherwise great shape...I'll probably be the lone wolf on this one. :^0
Yeah, your scenario is a little different. You paid an appropriate price for an OK frame/project bike ($15).
(With the same money, one could buy an old steel frame set that weighs about the same as the heavy Al Schwinn) You're capable of fixing/modifying the bike, so again you're several steps ahead of the OP.

I volunteer at my local bike co-op, where we spend an hour or two on each donated junker to attempt to get it safe and ride-able. Most are barely-used dept-store bikes, but they're already broken or worn out, or just never worked properly from the store. Some of these still end up broken down and scrapped because they're not worth our time to repair; like lipstick on a pig.

I agree with the majority that dept-store bikes deserve their moniker as "Bike Shaped Objects (BSO)". They're a poor investment new, because of indifferent design and specifications, and often incompetent initial assembly and tuning.

You can spend ~$300 at your local bike shop and get a bike that has only slightly better components than the Wal-mart Schwinn, but is expertly assembled and tuned, and will have the bike shop's guarantee behind it.
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Old 02-12-16, 02:25 PM
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No $20 steel framesets that would be lighter than the Varsity 1200 around here. Otherwise, I'd already of snagged them. Steel is the best I agree. But are you sure you and I are talking about the same frame? The Varsity 1200 frame is 6061 and fairly light. Most people don't get the chance to handle them fully disassembled though so have no clue. Those stock Shimano parts are heavy and could easily give the wrong impression about frame weight when lifting a fully assembled stock bike.

Wow, I'm actually defending part of a WalMart bike. I better stop.. that's way too lone wolf. :^)

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Old 02-12-16, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by hatrack71 View Post
No $20 steel framesets that would be lighter than the Varsity 1200 around here. Otherwise, I'd already of snagged them. Steel is the best I agree. But are you sure you and I are talking about the same frame? The Varsity 1200 frame is 6061 and fairly light. Most people don't get the chance to handle them fully disassembled though so have no clue. Those stock Shimano parts are heavy and could easily give the wrong impression about frame weight when lifting a fully assembled stock bike.

Wow, I'm actually defending part of a WalMart bike. I better stop.. that's way too lone wolf. :^)
I haven't handled that specific frame, but at the co-op I've handled many similar Al 6061 frames from BSOs that weigh as much as a vintage cro-mo steel road frame from a 10 speed.
Many of the BSO bikes have hydroformed Al that is too thick and too large of gauge for any weight savings (it looks PRO though). The worst offenders are the ones with hydroformed steel that resembles Al but is even heavier! The Schwinn Sidewinder the OP is asking about has such a hydroformed steel frame.

However, your Al Varsity frame doesn't seem that bad, and I'm glad that you've adapted it into a decent town bike. My opinion is that a decent old steel frame would still deliver a better ride.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:17 PM
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Well, I love steel too. Check out my bikes to the left. I am more of a tourist than a racer these days. Believe me, I really want to hate the Varsity but seriously can't find much fault after upgrading parts. It just works but admittedly I have only put 100 miles on it so far. Maybe I need to go snap a pic of it so you can see it un Wallified.. I'm using it for sloppy early season gravel grinding. Works great but I do catch a little hell from the ladies for riding a department store bike. But at least my friends will ride with me when I am on it. They won't if I pull up on my 80's Dahon folder with rear basket though. Elitists!

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Old 02-12-16, 04:59 PM
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I got 14,000 miles on my current Schwinn Sidewinder. I rode from South Carolina to Abilene on one in 2005.

If you do your own maintenance and such, they are built like tanks, weigh as much as a tank, slow as one, and are solid as one.
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Old 02-12-16, 09:37 PM
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If you want a Schwinn, buy a LBD Schwinn and be prepared to pay accordingly.

A high quality bike is not going to be found in the big box store channel and not for $150.

Save your money!
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Old 02-13-16, 06:10 AM
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I also had a good run on a Wal-Mart Schaumburg varsity 1200. I bought one new for $200, 2-3 years ago, and rode it for commuting and a season of "RoadIie" group rides (15-16 mph average, with long climbs, descents, and often holding 20-21 mph on flats for 15-20 minutes). and it was a very dependable, and fun bike. However, I have a few caveats:
1. I almost immediately took it to a bike shop for a tune up, at which they replaced the rear cassette that was already loose/damaged, and adjusted some assembly problems, such as the clamp on front derrailer being in the wrong place. After this the bike shifted very well (shimano tourney commpnents)with only minor adjustments for a whole year of regular commuting, and quite hilly group rides. I also am a tinkerer, so I researched and learned pretty quick how to adjust everything myself.
2. I would not recommend the current Varsity 1200, because the recent version has made some significant downgrades in parts: my bike had trigger shifters/brakes that worked very well, the new version has grip shifters...my bike had a normal, substantial aluminum threadless stem setup, the new one has a stem that looks like it was stamped out of sheet metal, very flimsy looking.
3. I knew this was a gateway bike for me, so I got a better saddle, clipless SPD pedals, and ergo grips, which really helped comfort and performance.
4. If you are shorter than 5'9", or have short arms, this bike will not make you happy...as noted, it has a long top tube, and comes in one size...I sold it for $100 to a Friend who is 5,11, and rides it more than his other bike, a LBS Schwinn that he bought for 600 about 6 years ago....my schwinn is faster.
5. The bike is heavy...28lbs on my scale, but it made me get in shape to keep up with the roadies, and the 28mm tires allowed me to do it.
6. This past fall I bought a new Jamis Quest Comp for just under $900, which is of course superior in every way, but the Wal-Mart bike was sufficient to move me into the road biking world
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Old 02-13-16, 10:45 AM
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So, what's wrong with grip shifters? My wife's bike ('99 Gary Fisher Nirvana) has them and they shift as precisely and crisply as the day she bought the bike. I rode it the other day and was very impressed.

Grip shifts can go from the first to the 7th cog in one movement despite some hair-raising noises from the cogset. Try this with trigger shifters...
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Old 02-13-16, 10:48 AM
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Buy a vintage schwinn from craigslist. It will cost you less than $200 and if you shop hard, you'll have something worth owning. Schwinn used to be a real bike company.
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Old 02-13-16, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by 12strings View Post
I also had a good run on a Wal-Mart Schaumburg varsity 1200. I bought one new for $200, 2-3 years ago, and rode it for commuting and a season of "RoadIie" group rides (15-16 mph average, with long climbs, descents, and often holding 20-21 mph on flats for 15-20 minutes). and it was a very dependable, and fun bike.
Have you seen all the youtube videos of the Walmart Denali road bike?? Quite a following they have including all kinds of mods they have done.
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Old 02-13-16, 05:46 PM
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This same question has probably been asked a hundred times over the past 12 months by young and inexperienced riders. Avidone1 gave you the precise reasons why this bike is unsuitable. I'll give you two more. One size fits all. Bull. One size fits most people very poorly whether it comes to clothing or to bikes. This bike comes in only one frame size and they don't even tell you what that is. Look at some of the postings on "bike fit" and maybe you can understand why "one size fits all" is pure bull.

The other reason is: Do you like to gamble and throw away money? Well, buying a bike from a mass-merchandiser is just that. Last year I had the experience of running some group rides for kids ages 12-16. One boy showed up for a 10 mile ride on a fancy looking bike from WalMart. He weighed about 110 and the bike 40 lbs. Aluminum frame, full suspension and mostly worthless crap components. I checked to see that the steering was tight, the brakes worked, and the seat was set for his height. He had a hell of a time when we hit the first little hill. We hadn't gone far before he stopped for a rest, holding up the rest of the group who were averaging about 8mph. At around mile 3, the right crank fell off the bike. The left one was about to fall off too. End of ride for him as the crank was damaged beyond repair because he rode it while loose. Two weeks later, on his third WalMart bike, he actually completed a 10 mile ride. When you get a bike assembled by a mass merchandiser employee, it could be anybody even if they have zero knowledge of bike mechanics. I'd say 1 in 3 is pretty poor odds and even when he got a bike that was properly assembled, it was still an obese POC. Thanks to his arrogant, Know-It-All, SOB of a father who never skimps on his own toys, this poor kid got a really poor bike instead of the decent entry level bike sold by bike shops. Several avid riders told the dad to dump the Walmart bike and go to a bike shop but he knew better.
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Old 02-13-16, 06:00 PM
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Ive seen where they were not even clued in that the fork is turned backwards

because it just fits in the shorter box that way. (saves container from china space if 800 go in, rather than 600)

And left it backwards When they put the stem and handlebars on.
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Old 02-14-16, 08:15 AM
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I would agree with all the assembly comments. It's best you know how to fully work on bikes if you plan picking one up. They are common.. so look for one used at 1/4 the price. And I will repeat that the stock components are incredibly heavy. I donated them.. but I have lots of parts. The 6061 Varsity isn't bad. I think I could easily get it down to a 22-23 pound road bike with replacing just a few more things. As it sits, it's 25.5 pounds with Suntour XC Ltd. drivetrain., drop bars, Tektro linear road levers, heavy Promax cantilever v brakes, heavy 36 hole thick aero rim wheels and an on the heavy side Avenir saddle. Plus the Suntour stuff isn't exactly the lightest out there but it is still miles better than that awful tourney stuff.. But this thing is for gravel and groomed single tracks so I wanted offroad derailleurs..

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