Schwinn Tourist

These are bikes that work well on the road for recreational riding or trips to the store and also work for paved or well groomed bike trails, rails-to-trails and around the block.
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Schwinn Tourist

Postby EscobarSLV » Wed May 18, 2016 9:54 am

Based on some people's opinions on Target bicycles, I should be dead and the previous owner of this bicycle should have died 5 times by now. I bought this bike used from a young woman in her mid 20s about a year ago. I didn't notice any broken legs or missing arms on her despite the fact that she owned a bike from Target for the past 3 years. What I did notice was how fit she was. She lived in DC and did not own a car. This was her only means of transportation (DC Metro as well if you can call that thing transportation these days) and she put on quite a bit of miles on the bike. I really liked the frame and color scheme so that's what really made me want to buy the bike. It's a VERY light aluminum frame.

The bike was well taken care of and I would assume so if this was someone's sole source of transportation. After I got the bike, I knew I would have to do some upgrades and small repairs. The wheels needed to go, especially the rear freewheel. The hollow axle shaft was on its last leg and I found a good deal at my local Performance Bicycle on their in-house Forte brand wheels. With that I went with the 8 speed SRAM cassette and chain along with new brakes, brake wires and housing, derailleur wires and housing, new all in one shifters and brake levers along with a saddle (it's a damn seat but whatever), red pedals and bottle cage.

The headset and crankset were surprisingly clean and in great shape. So was the bottom bracket. The previous owner said she had done the work herself. I had to check not because I didn't trust her as a woman, but I just had to verify the work myself even if it was some burly mountain man. She did an incredible job. Should have believed her. After all, she had even said to me "Hey, I'm Indian, we had nothing but bikes in my village growing up. I know bikes."

So I've been enjoying this bike for about a year now. Even during winter and rainy days, I take it to the metro parking deck across the street from me at night and ride it. It's like a poor man's velodrome for me. The bike is amazingly fast! With the slicks I've rode alongside cars going to the Target up the street from me. The bike's been all throughout DC on the trails as well as my favorite, early morning weekend city rides. I've ridden with friends on bikes 2-3 times as much and had no trouble keeping up or even passing them. It's all about the "engine" really anyway right?

The parts on this bike are comparable to what you would find on a $450+ bike in a bike shop. I'm still surprised and jealous some people snagged their Tourist for as little as $60 during blowout sales at Target. The weakest link on the bike is that rear freewheel which still will give you years of service if you're not taking it on jumps. The rear Altus derailleur shifts like a dream. I keep wanting to upgrade that just for the sake of upgrading and having some eye candy but I can't part with something that works so faithfully and easily. The front derailleur is finicky as hell but I finally dialed in the right adjustment and besides, front derailleurs run off magic and voodoo anyway. DC has a couple really bad hills and having a triple really saves me from ever having to walk the bike.

I'll probably go with a lighter fork at some point and the crankset will be replaced. But that's still a year or more away at the very least. This bike just keeps on rolling with no problems. It's as reliable as my Honda Accord. I've ridden friends' Treks, Fujis, Giants, Felts and Specialized bikes and they all ride really nicely but I can't say definitively they're better than my own bike at this point. The frame is still sturdy and as rigid as I want it to be and the bike is as fast as I'm willing to go, faster if anything.

So that's my experience on my Schwinn Tourist originally from Target. And I've heard similar stories from other owners in various forums and blogs. Even the bike snobs generally agree the bike is a good bargain even when it was full retail price. Yet they would rather pay for a bike twice the price just because it's from a bike shop. If you know or want to learn basic bicycle maintenance, don't be afraid to try a bike from a big box store. Granted, they are not all of the same quality and you'll have to do some homework and research but if you're looking to save money but do so responsibly, it's a great option. This forum itself has been a big help to me even though I just lurk. Youtube also is a tremendous help but keep in mind they make a lot of stuff look extra easy when you should slow down a bit and not go as fast or attempt to do something in the same 4 minutes span they did. Don't be afraid to go the used route as well. I went for a used big box bike for crying out loud! And I'm having the time of my life with the bike. I actually love working on the bike as much as I do riding it so that may differ from your experience as well. If you're ever around Rockville/N. Bethesda, look for the Asian guy with a big smile speeding along Rockville Pike.

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Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 9:11 am

Re: Schwinn Tourist

Postby Tomcat65 » Wed May 18, 2016 8:03 pm

You're definitely one of us lol.. I don't care if you bought your BBB new or used. We even claim the guys who have LBS bikes and post here.
But our favorites are people like you, who are having an awesome time riding and tinkering with their bikes.
Keep us posted on the Tourist! Stay safe out there in the city, and chime in when you see others who might benefit from your experience!
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Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:12 pm
Location: Western Kentucky

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