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jondao08 06-17-09 03:53 AM

Schwinn or GMC Denali??
Hey Everyone. I'm a college student in need of a bike to get to campus from my apartment. The daily commute would be around 5 miles and I've narrowed the two bikes down to a Schwinn and a Denali. I've listed the specifications for each below that I was able to get off Amazon and was wondering if some of the more experienced bike riders could help me out. I've found places online that sell them for about $200. Any recommendations for other bikes would be great too. Thanks!

Schwinn Prelude
* Aluminum road frame and fork
* Schwinn road bend bar and stem
* Shimano A050 seven-speed shifters
* Promax dual-pivot caliper brakes
* Alloy road crank
* Aero 36 spoke alloy wheels
* Radial-laced front toe clips and straps

GMC Denali
* Frame: Aluminum 7005 straight gauge
* Fork: GMC Series 7000 steel
* Chain: KMC Z 51
* Front Derailleur: Shimano FD-TZ 31 Index
* Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-TZ30GS 7SPD
* Shifters: Shimano Revo SIS L2/R7
* Brake levers: Promax BL-250AP Aluminum
* Brakes: Promax 501A Alloy Caliper Brake
* Pedals: VP-990S plastic body with steel cage

norwood 06-17-09 07:34 AM

Those two are pretty much the same crappy bike. Likely come out of the same factory, one line gets Schwinn stickers, another line gets GMC Denali stickers. I don't recommend either one. Don't let being on a restrictive budget sway you to something like these. They might be cheap, but they're not a good value. I would recommend going to a bike shop and checking out the used bike selection if a new one costs too much. You want a decent, reliable bike, name brand bike. Make sure you get a bike that fits you. The shop can help you. Those two you listed are one size fits all. Not good.

maddyfish 06-17-09 07:49 AM

A quality used bike can be had for the price of those things. And you will be better off in the long run.

Metzinger 06-17-09 08:03 AM

Listen to Dwight and Yoda. Go used.
Picture the Schwinn and GMC as facsimilies of real bikes.
Shiny and bright, but garbage.

n00bL35 06-17-09 08:54 AM

Buy a name brand bike. Those things are piles of crap.

mawtangent 06-17-09 08:58 AM

You should do some research about bike-fit and make sure any bike you are considering will fit you well.

When similar questions come up here one strong argument is to buy used (through craigslist ect.) from an individual. If you have good used bikes available in your area, know how to spot a good bike, and have a plan to deal with any fit/maintainence issues (or have a knowledgable friend) this is an good option.

Some bike shops sell used bikes. Used bike-shop bikes may not look new and shiny but are generally considered to be of more quality than a new bike from a department store. A bike-shop bike will be far more likely to have everything on the bike tuned up/tightened properly (hubs/rims, bottom bracket, derailleurs, brakes). A bike shop might offer one or more free follow-up tune-up visits and should help you get a well-fitting bike also. If I found myself without a bike I would probably explore this route first.

I own a Denali. It doesn't quite fit me. I have fairly long inseam in relation to my height (my height is around 69.5 inches and my barefoot cycling inseam is around 34.5 inches). With the seat set at the proper height the handle bars are at an uncomfortable low position for me. (some people would not have a problem with this seat-to-handlebar drop, but I like the highest part of the handle bars to be about level with the seat height. (this is one reason I stressed fit-research at the beginning). My Denali IS functional. The frame seems to be durable and true. On the more negative side: at around 29 lbs the bike is generally considered heavy for a modern roadbike. The gearing is said to be more like a mountain bike's (lots of low gears for climbing, but you would probably "run out of gearing" racing down a hill). The grip-shifting gear-changing system seems to be "clunky"/clumsy to me (especially shifting under when shifting to an easier gear while pedalling up a steep hill at low speed) though it is possible that I just haven't done a good job at adjusting the derailleurs. I think my front axel is slightly bent (inconsistant back-and-forth play that I can't adjust away). This is hard to explain... I checked to see if the crank-arms were on securely. When I was tightening one crank-arm (with moderate-to-high "arm" force) it didn't seem to want to reach a stopping point. So I stopped myself, I was afraid I was going to break something or strip out something (everything seems fine with the crank, but it doesn't inspire confindence). I'm a novice mechanic, mostly I deal with flats, adjusting derailluers/brakes, I can true-up a wheel to some extent. I don't have the tools and know-how to deal with modern bottom-brackets and the rear hub/cassette assemblies. Finding the correct-sized part for a particular bike seems like a great task to me. My point is that if you are really mechanical minded then you can probably deal with whatever this bike might throw at you (do a search for the Denali-Cigtech thread). I've not been "inspired" to invest myself in this bike. It has an odd size quill stem which I would need to change out to a taller one if I wanted to get a good fit on the bike. Bottom line: I don't recommend the Denali.

I've seen the Schwinn Varsity at Walmart (I think it is about the same as the Prelude, different stores seem to use different names for the same bike). It appears to be a more quality bike than the Denali (and about $60-$100 more expensive). It has stem shifters near the top of the head-tube (as opposed to the grip-shifters on the Denali). I assume this is considered old technology but I don't mind stem shifters. I think it has a quick-release front wheel but not on the back wheel (I could be wrong about this). My Denali has no quick-release on the wheels. I suspect that the Prelude (with two chainrings up front and seven gears in the back) might not have super-easy gears for climbing steep hills but this might not be a problem for you.

I have one of the Dawes Lighting Sports that sell on ebay for around $240 shipped and I like it enough to get a new stem for it (I just ordered the stem a few days ago). The frame is chromoly steel (some people prefer steel frames, I'm not sure if I can tell the difference in "feel" between aluminum and steel). It has quick-release wheels on both front and back. It has stem-shifters (near the top of the head-tube). It's not super-light (around 29 lbs). It only has two chainrings up front, and seven gears in back, so it doesn't have super-easy gears for climbing (like the Denali).

Little Darwin 06-17-09 09:34 AM

I would agree that the right used bike would be a better deal.

The people in Classic & Vintage forum are a helpful bunch if you are interested in guidance on specific bikes you see on Craigslist or Ebay in your locality... In fact, some people in C&V might be selling some of the bikes in your price range that are good buys.

ssjkyle31 07-12-09 09:52 PM

I bought a Schwinn Varsity from walmart last month. I bought the schwinn just communte back and forth to a tennis court which is about 4 miles away. If thats your purpose, the bike will suit that. Its actually a nice looking bike and people who don't ride really compliment the bike. The parts on the bike are like average not good but functional for riding. On flats, I seen speeds up to 26 mph (small down hills Ive gone 32mph).

If you ride the bike more than ten miles, I suggest you upgraded to a carbon seat post and a carbon fork. I got over three hundred miles on my Schwinn and I am biking about 35 miles + every three days. I do bike paths and streets. Because of the aluminium frame, you feel the ruts & imperfection of the road. Because of this I started to get some serious muscle spasm in the back.

The bike is made for someone who takes a medium frame (55-56cm). Anyone less than 5'8" and taller than 5'10" forget buying this bike.

I hope this helps. In the next few weeks I going to spring for a nice fitted carbon bike from LBS. I don't know if I'm going to keep this bike but its cheap I don't have to worry too much if it get stolen.

CCrew 07-13-09 05:18 AM

Originally Posted by mawtangent (Post 9116788)
at around 29 lbs the bike is generally considered heavy for a modern roadbike.

No generally about it. 29lbs is a porker for a road bike.

Crabster 08-02-09 12:05 PM

99 bucks at WalMart for the blue Denali. Picked one up for my 12yr old. If he decides to really get into road biking then I will take him to the LBS and fit him with an Allez. If his interests change, then I've only spent a C-note as opposed to 800 or so on a new one.

Why didn't we go used? Been scouring CL and such for the past few weeks but haven't found anything.

Mr Danw 08-11-09 02:30 PM

Ok, now some real world advice. Get the cheaper of the two. You will be riding to college. It will get stolen and you won't be out as much if you get the cheap one.

abstractform20 08-11-09 06:48 PM

buy a dual-wheeled unicycle. all the rage is paris.

zowie 08-11-09 07:03 PM

I put 1200 problem-free miles on a $300 bike-shop Schwinn hybrid used for commuting and pulling a trailer. A neighbor is now enjoying it.

I bought a Denali for my kid. He's had it for a year and hasn't broken it yet.

bengreen79 08-11-09 07:43 PM

I have a ~$160 dept store Schwinn (Pacific). So far I would estimate having about 1200 miles on it. I haven't had any major mechanical failures. That being said, there have been a couple of irritations and/or things beginning to wear out:
  • V-brakes don't always center correctly. This has gotten worse as the bike gets older and the tensioner springs don't seem to have much effect.
  • I have some intermittent faint noise from the bottom bracket that probably isn't good.
  • After riding nicer bikes, I can definitely tell that the wheels don't roll as smoothly and fluidly as more expensive bikes.
  • The left grip shifter broke. This was a result of me jerking it too hard when going over some rough terrain. It actually lasted a year before it totally stopped working.
  • The seat sucks - too soft. I haven't seen many replacements that seem to be much better in the <$30 price range so I still have that.
So, I got what I paid for - but if I had a different bike, I wouldn't have rode it any more miles since I primarily use it for commuting and the occasional recreational ride. My cost per mile is relatively low.

I plan on getting a ~$600-800 road bike in the next year and keeping this one around for bad weather commuting and family rides.

I think if you get either bike you're considering, it will last long enough for you to get a couple years use out of and decide if you want to make a bigger investment in the future.

droobieinop 08-12-09 07:44 PM

I realize that this might not seem relavant but, if you look online at the Schwinns you will find that the bikes sold at the big box stores are either not the same as those on the Schwinn site or aren't even on the site.

As has been said before, go to your LBS or search out a quality used bike from the bay or CL.

Or do like many other college students and get a SS/FG bike, they are fairly inexpensive and easy to maintain.

ssjkyle31 08-17-09 10:51 PM

Just get the bike you like. Just make sure the bike is a right fit for you. The Schwinn or the denali are ok bikes. It will get you from point a to point b.

If you paln to do some serious road biking, you might want to look at use quality bike.

Kimmitt 08-17-09 10:53 PM

We deal with both them at a local bike charity. They fall apart fast.

Magnificent777 09-03-09 12:23 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I sold my Denali in a matter of minutes on Craigs list.

Sure my perfect bike would be a cyclocross bike, at 16lb in weight, at a nice price of $1000 to $2000 starting.

But at this time I got what I could afford on Craig's list .

Brand new Schwinn Varsity CF, enrty updrade, 14 speed Alum/Carbon fiber. Light and fast. Talked the big guy down to $250.00. I don't think he did much cycling or any workouts.

This is a 22lb bike and I changed front derailleur to Tegras. Shifts smooth as butter and super quiet.

Stops on a dime. Egg beater pedals. I do need to change the seat and get a CF seat post.

I have no complaints. I'm a beginner in cycling and it's an upgrade after 2 months of training on 30lb road bike. I didn't realize what a clunker I was riding until now. Such a difference and this a lower end bike. I can imagine the better bikes.

gerv 09-03-09 07:05 PM

I've repaired several old Schwinn Varsities but only one Denali. The Denali showed up with a shifter that had mysteriously stripped out. To take it off, we had to take the brake lever off the handlebar. In so attempting, the handlebar mysteriously self-destructed. This is a two year old bike!

Schwinns were designed to be heavy and clunky bikes that would last a lifetime. They might wear you out pedaling them, but they are unlikely to fall apart unless you abuse them.

Magnificent777 10-01-09 11:54 AM

My First Bike Race
2 Attachment(s)
finally raced Sunday in a 15k, about 9 miles. This was my first bike race. I started training in late July and August. My official time was 29min and 40sec.
Here is a picture of the team I was part of. I have a different uniform because I was a late commer add on to the team.
We took Silver medal for the competition.

DallasSoxFan 10-01-09 12:40 PM

Originally Posted by Mr Danw (Post 9464912)
Ok, now some real world advice. Get the cheaper of the two. You will be riding to college. It will get stolen and you won't be out as much if you get the cheap one.

+1. Sage advice.

This is an internet forum for enthusiasts. It is not populated by the masses. For the most part neither of those bikes are acceptable to the kinds of individuals who not only go to a bike enthusiasts forum, but register for an account and post (prolifically).

If you enjoy it enough to make it more than cheap, stealable transportation then a lot of searching here will point you in the right direction in the future. If it remains a way of getting from point A to B and it breaks, come back here for advice on how to band-aid it back to health.

NormanF 10-19-09 07:11 PM

There is a difference between Schwinn sold in bike shops and Schwinn sold at Wal-mart. Stay away from the latter and stay away from any mass market bike named after a car.

clarkgriswold 10-20-09 12:38 AM

I've bought both the Schwinn Varsity CF (with brake/shifters) and the plain aluminum Varisty (with shifters on the bars) we looked at the Denali, but it really is just too low end. The shifters are bizzare actually - they are grip shifters but on the road style bars... not even sure how they got them on there unless they cut and re-welded the bars.

The CF varisty i began upgrading...bought it in March and by August I had upgraded: Fork, shifters, wheels, Cassette, pedals, derailleurs, seat, seatpost, stem, bottom bracket, crank, and frame- went with the Nashbar Aluc... Literally everything but the handlebars and brakes; and niether of those were particularly good.

I took all the parts, bought the missing ones and threw them back on the old Varsity CF frame for one of my sons.

The aluminum Varsity we bought a $99 Perfomance Bike frame and swapped all the components.

We also got lucky and found a great deal on a 1989 Trek 1200 with all Shimano 105 components.

My lesson learned? The Varsity CF was really ok as-is as a starter bike. The wheels are much more durable than the Denali or aluminum varsity (aluminum Varsity is similar to Prelude) but at $344 it was getting close to a 'real' bike shop bike. And sure its "carbon fiber" but they just wrap carbon fiber around the aluminum frame, so it's not light, and it's not structural, it's purely for cosmetics and is HEAVIER than just the plain Aluminum varsity frame.

After upgrading I was able to tell a difference in performance, but really not 2-3 times as good as the original.

My youngest rides the bike that was the aluminum Varsity (we got the other frame for a better fit) and he doesn't complain

The best deal was the Trek, and I highly recommend a good quality used bike. We got it cheaper than the aluminum Varsity, and it will resell at the same price we bought it easily.

The best advice i have if you get the new cheap bikes is to replace your rim tape on the lower end bikes like Varsity, Prelude, and Denali. The original rim 'tape' is a rubber strip, and it gets pushed down into the spoke holes, and causes flats. Read the online reviews and you'll see many people complaining about this without realizing what the real cause of the problem is.
We had to replace the rim tape on the aluminum Varsity. Since this it's been a decent ride.

If you jump onto the Road Bike Forum and search for "Denali" you'll find a guy who bought one a couple months back and put some miles on it. His rear wheel spokes blew out this week - not that this will happen to you, but I just don't think the Denali is as 'well built' as the Varsity.

I mean, if the Denali is around $100, break down all the components and figure out how much each one is worth? Thats like maybe $10 for each wheel, $2-3 for each tire, $15 for the frame, $5 for the forks, $20 for the shifters and derailluers, etc...

Tapeworm21 10-20-09 01:13 AM

If you buy a road bike with Grip Shifts... you're doing it wrong.

droobieinop 10-20-09 04:03 PM

I seem to remember a failed attempt at gripshifters on touring bikes in the '80's.

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