This is a continuation of a previous thread I started here about my Schwinn Rocket Comp Full Suspenson mountian bike:
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Bikes Direct Full Suspension route, which did have lower prices on various models, but I wasn't comfortable with their outdated frame geometry, which for some models, dated back to around 1998 (please, no hate - I have a Motobecane Cyclocross that I really like, but I have to tell the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
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