1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Schwinn Rocket Comp Full Suspension Review

    This is a continuation of a previous thread I started here about my Schwinn Rocket Comp Full Suspenson mountian bike:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...st8776265.html

    I decided to start a new thread because I have a much better idea of what the bike can do now that I've finally been able to give it a test ride on an actual mountain bike trail. I think this thread will give a much more accurate picture of the offroad capabilities of the bike than the previous thread for those who are in the market for an inexpensive full suspension.

    To give some background, back at the end of November, I ordered a Schwinn Rocket mountain bike on eBay for $479.99. I had never owned a full suspension mountain bike, and after reading some threads here at mtbr.com, I started to get very curious about them. After doing a little online research, I discovered that full suspension mountain bikes were not cheap, usually starting out at about $1000 at bike stores. I wasn't sure I wanted to go the Bikes Direct Full Suspension route, which did have lower prices on various models, but I wasn't comfortable with their outdated frame geometry, which for some models, dated back to around 1998 (please, no hate - I have a Motobecane Cyclocross that I really like, but I have to tell the truth here). So, I was pleasently surprized to find the Schwinn Rocket listed at such a great price, and decided to purchase one.

    At first, all I could do was ride the bike through snow covered roads, which it did ok in, and on Christmas Day, I took it for a ride on some North/South light singletrack trails, but these rides didn't give me an idea of the bike's true offroad capabilities. Since I live in Nebraska and have to deal with crappy weather, and because most of the trails were covered in thick mud, I didn't get too many chances to ride it...until today, when I finally took it out. Man I was blown away!

    I have a Leader 510H Hardtail that I took out on Monday to a specific mountain bike course here in Omaha. On the first part of the course, I timed myself at right about 26 minutes. Today, on the same part of that course, I did it in just under 23 minutes with the Schwinn Rocket!

    Now, don't let that fool you, as a difference in time should be expected. The Leader has 2.3" WTB Stout wire bead tires, which are much fatter than the tires I have on the Scwhinn Rocket's 2.1" front and rear tread specific tires, so naturally the Schwinn should be faster. Plus, the Schwinn's Deore shifting system seems to be much better than the Sram X-7 shifting on the Leader, and the Leader's geometry was a little off compared to what I was used to with a longer, more aggressive stem, and flat bars that I'm trying to get used to.

    Of course, that doesn't take into consideration that the Schwinn, at 36 pounds, is at least 5 pounds heavier than the Leader! And the fact that outside of slightly bending the front derailleur on the Schwinn with a pair of plyers to make it line up better (a bike mechanic did this for me after I got it), no derailleur adjustments have yet been done on the Schwinn since I took it out of the box! Yes, I have yet to do an out of the box derailleur adjustment!

    What really amazed me, though, other than the faster time on the Schwinn Rocket, was how much easier it was to go over obstacles with the Schwinn's full suspension and 120mm travel forks. I was able to glide right over logs and roots, and honestly, during much of the ride, I kind of felt like I was gliding! There were quite a few times on the upper side of steep hills where I would normally "stall" right at the top of the hill, but was able to keep going with ease on the Schwinn.

    There were a couple of other things I noticed:

    My body felt much better and less "beat up" both during and after the ride on the Schwinn. I was pretty spent after about an hour on the Leader Hardtail, but was able to ride for another half hour on the Schwinn, and only for the second time at that particular trail, I finished the whole course! It was like I was riding at a much more relaxed pace than on my Leader, but still going faster!

    I was a little bit concerned about the rather upright riding position of the Schwinn, but it didn't take too long to become a fairly aggressive rider on it, and I expect that I will get a lot more aggressive as I get in better shape. I especially enjoyed going down hill with it, and it handled very well around corners too. Also, it made jumping a whole lot easier, but I don't know if I got the back end off of the ground! LOL

    There was one very challenging downhill section of the trail which is a series of ups and downs - kind of like mini dunes. Normally, I proceed very carefully through this section of the trail. With the Schwinn's full suspension, I was able to zip right through it!

    Other than all of the positives, there are some things that aren't so great about the Schwinn Rocket:

    1. Its freaking heavy. Yes, over 36 pounds!

    2. The geometry is somewhat outdated - its from around 2002, maybe a bit earlier.

    3. It might not be the best choice for very aggressive riders. Its very upright - very similar to a hybrid.

    4. Its fine riding sitting down, but the fork does a very annoying pogo stick effect when trying to ride fast while standing up. Other than that, the fork didn't bug me too much...I didn't notice too many problems with it going downhill, on level ground, or even going uphill.

    5. It tends to feel sluggish on straight aways on fairly level ground.


    For anyone interested, as of right now, there are still at least 7 for sale on eBay. Here is a link, but some things are not described correctly in the listing:

    Schwinn best full suspension red mountain bike sale | eBay

    Things that are innacurate in the listing:

    1. Its listed as an 18" frame. Mine came in a a 17" frame.

    2. Mine is an 8 speed, not a 9 speed.

    3. Rear derailleur does not appear to be an LX - as far as I can tell, mine came with a regular Deore derailleur.

    4. Both Tektro and Hayes Brakes are listed. Mine only came with Hayes, which are DARN GOOD, by the way!

    5. It is listed as having a Manatou Radium rear suspension. Mine came with a Fox Vanilla rear suspension, but I don't know which edition.

    I can't promise you will like your Schwinn Rocket Comp as much as I like mine, but this is a great first full suspension bike at an excellent price...I researched this bike in the review section of mtbr.com, and some people paid as high as $800 for this bike a few years ago! The seller also has an Alivio equipped Schwinn Rocket selling for $264.99 for those with lesser budgets, but after my experience with this bike, I have no doubt that it is also a great quality bike. Here is the link for those who are interested:

    full suspension mountain bike schwinn overstock sale | eBay

    I'm going to take it for another ride tomorrow and will hopefully post some pictures, although I do have a few not very good photos of it in the original thread. Bottom line is that this bike really surprized me...finally being able to do a "real" test ride was worth the wait!

    Finally, here are member reviews of this bike at mtbr.com:

    Schwinn Rocket Comp Freeride Full Suspension Reviews
    Last edited by getagrip; 03-10-2012 at 10:51 PM.

  2. #2
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    a 'review' with no pics??

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricky916 View Post
    a 'review' with no pics??
    Sorry. Didn't take my camera to the trail, and my apartment doesn't have the best lighting. There are some pics in the other thread, but they aren't the best quality...of course a lot of people think my bike is "ugly". Will hopefully post pics tomorrow after the ride...

  4. #4
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    Here are a couple of pics from tonight's ride. Not the greatest angles, and it was starting to get dark when I took them. The second one is after my crash!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Schwinn Rocket Comp Full Suspension Review-schwinn-rocket-003.jpg  

    Schwinn Rocket Comp Full Suspension Review-schwinn-rocket-004.jpg  


  5. #5
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    Nice review. Good to see that you posted the negatives and positives. Not just, "I got a new bike and its freakin awsome" post. Looks alot better in the pics you took than the one on ebay.
    When the **** did we get ice cream?

  6. #6
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    Thanks for sharing. It seems like this bike is going to be fun for you. My experience with FS was about the same as you--I concluded my first real ride with a statement of, it is no wonder cars and motorcycles have suspension. A little comfort adds tremendously to the fun factor.

  7. #7
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    Getagrip, that's was a really review I'd rep you again but I just did

    When you said the geometry is somewhat dated what do you mean? I'd assume that it would have a steeper front than rear and the rear end would feel somewhat tall, would that be a good assumption?

    What fork are does it come stock on that bike can you adjust preload?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Getagrip, that's was a really review I'd rep you again but I just did

    When you said the geometry is somewhat dated what do you mean? I'd assume that it would have a steeper front than rear and the rear end would feel somewhat tall, would that be a good assumption?

    What fork are does it come stock on that bike can you adjust preload?
    Thanks, I appreciate that.

    What I meant by dated geometry is that it is just an older model. In my review, I quoted "its from around 2002", but I just researched Bikepedia, and the earliest Schwinn Rocket model with the same frame as mine is from 2004. So, its a little newer than I thought, but its still an 8 year old design. That doesn't necessarily mean its a "bad" design, its just not on the cutting edge of technology.

    The fork is a Manitou Axel Comp, listed here in the review section at mtbr.com - not the greatest reviews:

    Manitou Axel Comp 2004 Front Shocks Reviews

    It has preload adjustment, but it doesn't really do a whole lot when you turn the knob. You can turn it 100 times and it basically feels the same. On most parts of the trail, it performs ok and doesn't travel much more than an inch, but it pretty much bottomed out on the really technical "hilly dune" section. I imagine it might also bottom out on more aggressive riders, but for my level, it works ok, for now...although it did send me flying over the handlebars when I hit a root on Christmas day!

    What do you mean by steeper front end vs rear end? I apologize for my ignorance, but I'm a little clueless when it comes to certain bike terminology...or how to accurately measure certain aspects like geometry, but I'll do my best.

    Schwinn Rocket Comp Freeride Full Suspension Reviews

  9. #9
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    What I meant was older FS geometry promote more steeper head angle for more XCish climbing feel and tall rear that tends to promote climbing. Usually combo with shorter travel in the front and longer travel rear.

    For example a Klein Mantra, exceptional URT design for it's time very hardtail firm pedaling and plush travel while coasting. It has 80mm/3" travel in the front and 150mm/6" in the back My Ibis Szabo is very similar with same travel in the front and 5" rear geometry corrected of course.

    Your Schwinn looks like a single pivot design which is a very reliable design and less to maintain. May be with a bit longer travel in the front when you upgrade would make the geometry feel more like a current trend, I did with my Szabo I put a 5" fork and I just love it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    What I meant was older FS geometry promote more steeper head angle for more XCish climbing feel and tall rear that tends to promote climbing. Usually combo with shorter travel in the front and longer travel rear.

    Your Schwinn looks like a single pivot design which is a very reliable design and less to maintain. May be with a bit longer travel in the front when you upgrade would make the geometry feel more like a current trend, I did with my Szabo I put a 5" fork and I just love it.
    Thanks for your comments. Just to clarify, the Schwinn Rocket Comp that I ordered does have 120mm of travel in the forks. Not sure what the travel is in the rear. For me, climbing is really slow, but that might just be me, not the bike, as I've always beem a slow climber, even going back to my high school road riding days.

    Below, I've included links to various models of this bike from mtbr.com, which can give more insight into what this bike can and can't do, plus the cost others mountain bikers have put into this design to make it work for them. Reviews are kind of mixed, with extremes of "I really liked this bike", to "this bike sucks'. I'm happy with mine, but will likely upgrade to something else next Spring or Winter, when local bike shops have their clearance sales...not uncommon around here when $1000 bikes get marked down to around $650.

    Schwinn Rocket XC Full Suspension Reviews

    Schwinn Rocket 2 XC Full Suspension Reviews

    Schwinn Rocket Comp Freeride Full Suspension Reviews This one is the model I purchased!

    Schwinn Rocket Pro Freeride Full Suspension Reviews

    Schwinn Rocket 1 XC Full Suspension Reviews

  11. #11
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    EDIT:

    Just for the record, this comment was a reply to other replies on this thread, which have since been deleted. Can't we all just get along?

    Wow. Don't know what to say about the technology comparisons, but I certainly hope you enjoy your Rocket! I really enjoyed mine for the brief time I had it, but at 36 pounds, the thing was a tank, and when I found I was faster on my hardtail, I decided to sell it. I doubt that the suspension would be as advanced as the more modern suspension designs out there, but that won't take away the fun of the bike!
    Last edited by getagrip; 08-02-2013 at 01:10 AM.

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