A little while ago, I posted about having had the good fortune to trip over a 2007 Schwinn Fastback Sport 24 for a really good price on my favorite online classified, Craigslist.
So, now I’ve had it out for a ride or two and made a change or so. First, I pulled off the Schwalbe Blizzard Sport 700 x 23 tires. They didn’t seem like bad tires at all, but I’ve gotten to liking 700 x 25 tires in almost any situation. I’m a little heavier than I want to be, so the 25’s work better for me. I replaced them with Vittoria Zaffiro 700 x 25’s in black.
I also replaced the stock 110mm stem with an 80mm with 14 degrees rise, bought it new brake pads, and gave it some new, black, Bontrager bar tape. I also had it in to the shop for a small tune up of the derailleurs and a wheel truing.
These small changes – none of them terribly expensive, really helped to “dial-in” the fit and make the whoe thing much more comfortable. This bike is now a really comfortable ride for me, and fits great.
There are many good attributes about the bike.
In the medium size, which is what I’m riding, the compact geomety yields a stand-over height that is just about perfect for me. I run about a 32″ inseam and there is lots of room to stand over this without having the bar be “friendly.” The top tube is not overly long, which is good, because like most women I have a shorter torso and I can reach the bars easily with the introduction of the aforementioned stem. I particularly like the feel of the bike on the road – only the littlest buzz and vibration – not much at all, and definitely nothing to worry about. The carbon fork does its job credibly and dampens most of the road vibe right off. The tires seem to help some of the buzziness as well – I noticed it less with the Vittoria’s than with the Schwlabe’s.
The gearing does a pretty good job also – the 3 x 8 Sora drivetrain is not necessarily my “go – to” but has turned out to be competent and handles the hills nicely as long as the rider is able. 🙂 The Sora shifters also shift quickly and cleanly – haven’t had the chain drop off yet, but I’ll have to deliberately try for that to see if I can make it happen. The compact geometry is comfortable as well. I have plenty of room to stand and go to work on hills without feeling cramped, but the top tube isn’t so long that I can’t reach the bars with a little room leftover. I also like the fact that I can see some seatpost on this bike – there’s enough room to see it, but it’s not over-extended either – and it allows me to adjust it for my leg length comfortably.
The new brake pads have done a lot to aid the stopping of the bike. The old ones were nasty, so I replaced the cartridges with Tektro road bike pads. Wow – what a difference – I can now skid the tires to a stop and I need to pay attention, because it might put me over the handlebars! 🙂 That’s okay with me – the more brake, the happier I am. More is better than too little, for sure.
The ride is pretty smooth, as mentioned. If you step on the gas, the bike responds appropriately and quickly – not sluggishly at all. It corners well and solidly, and doesn’t flex when you’re out of the saddle doing some climbing. It’s not quite as stiff as my Madone, but I didn’t expect it to be.
For the most part, I really like this bike. It’s quick without being scary, smooth, and comfortable. I could definitely see doing a century on it as well as running errands. I think it will be a really good all-around, do-it-all, type of bike.
And while the mechanics of the bike are great, I’m still trying to get used to the paint job. I mentioned trying to get the white letters off – no go -they are under the clear coat, which I don’t want to damage. *sigh* Oh well.
So, if you’re budget-minded, and need a good starter bike, don’t hesitate to look at Schwinn’s higher end offerings. You may find yourself in my position – pleasantly surprised and glad of it!!!!