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My New 27.5 Schwinn High Timber!
on October 3, 2015
My search for a new bike started last June when I was hit by a car. I was miraculously untouched after hitting the pavement, but my old Murray Redwing ... not so lucky. Since I had given my 1972 Schwinn Collegiate to my son, so it was time for a new bike. The car driver gave me 100 clams to replace the Redwing and I was naive enough to think I could.
There are many bikes out there in the under $200 range and the best selections are online. Many bikes listed online by big box stores never make it into the stores. Additionally some are shipped from a different retailer, not the one you are purchasing it from.
So how do you find out which bike fits your Body Size and Feels Comfortable if you can't even try it out? You have to dig into the very limited specs provided by sellers on Frame Size, Tire Size, Components, and Bike Manufacturers. It's pretty much a small - medium - large choice (dictated by tire and frame size) to fit your Body Size (height and weight).
When you read bike reviews in this price range you will see alot of bikes have issues. Mostly cheap parts, bad mechanisms, or shoddy factory assembly. You MUST read the Customer Reviews! If the same design flaws / quality issues are repeated in the reviews, it will be a problem for you as well.
If you are buying a bike for long term, steer clear of Fad Designs and Trendy Paint finishes (Flat or Neon paint,textured finishes) which litter the bike market right now. Do your research, narrow it down to 3 bikes, and then make your decision. Finally if you are trying to get the lowest price be patient as they fluctuate daily (like a gallon of gas).
In the end I chose this Schwinn High Timber 27.5 believing that the bike would fit me, and offer lasting quality. I never found this bike in any store before purchasing it. Schwinn (made by Pacific) doesn't even list it on their web site. It offers a White 18-Inch Frame (L x W x H = 68 x 23 x 41-inches), 21 Speeds, and 27.5 Inch Knobby Tires.
There is not much to assemble out of the box. Add Handlebars, Seat, Pedals, and Front Tire only. Tools needed require 3 allen wrenches, an open end or adjustable wrench, screwdriver, and bike pump. Once assembled I went over all the nuts and bolts to make sure everything was tight from the factory (It was). Generic Schwinn Instructions (the big red book) omit that the front brake has to be loosened to get the quick release front tire on. The gears were Perfect out of the box.
The Front Shock seems to have the right amount of Stiffness. I've tried some bikes where you sit on them and the front suspension bottoms out. The Seat (10 x 7.5 inches) looks nice and is neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. Knurled Seat Post with Quick Release can be replaced by a bolt for those of you who want to keep your seat. Front Tire is also Quick Release and uses small diameter threaded rod (about #8) which doesn't seem like it could be replaced by a same size bolt.
Paint job rates an "A" overall. Glossy White finish is great, but on mine the cable holders (underneath cross bar) show signs of paint dabb off. The front forks are also White but with small Metal Flake. The 3 color graphics (Red - Silver - Black) are silk screened nicely, with only a few stickers added (warranty, wear helmet).
The Rims are Unfinished Aluminum with black spokes and hubs. Hard to tell by the pictures but the inner flat of the rims are painted flat black (see attached pictures). Frame is solid, welds could be better looking though if done by robotics. The no name tires (27.5 x 2.10 - 35 psi max) seem so-so quality, not alot of nubs, and you can see the mold seams in the center. The Pedals are made of plastic, but comes with Quality Kickstand with rubber tip.
There are Additional Mounts for a Water Bottle and Rear Rack. The weight is around 40 lbs which is Average for a steel frame bike. The Handlebar is on the short size (24 inches) with Rubberized Schwinn Grips, but has room for a few add on's. The 21 speed Shifters are Shimano with 7 Speeds on the Right Side, and 3 (+/-) adjustments on the Left Side. The Rear Derailleur "Shimano Tourney TX", the V Brakes and Brake Grips are "Artek Vigorous".
Pictures make this bike look beefy, but remember this is an 18-inch frame with 27.5 size tires. So it's only a little bigger than a standard 26-inch bike, and a little smaller than the High Timber with 29-inch tires. I am 6ft, 200 lbs and fit was the most important factor for me. If the handlebars were much closer this bike would be too tight for me. I have raised the handlebars up some (but not all the way). I have also raised the seat up some to get straight leg stroke. You ride sitting up on this bike, not hunched over. Right now I am riding it on Paved Streets and Bike Paths.
Overall this Schwinn High Timber 27.5 bike fits me well. It Looks Nice, Rides Smoothly, Brakes Great, and 21 speeds give you a wide range of pedaling power. In this price range I feel you are getting a Quality Design and Build with Dependable Components. No surprises, just what you would expect from the Schwinn brand name. As with my 1972 Collegiate, I believe this High Timber fills the bill for the long term. I hope This Review helps you with Your Decision!