I am a final year engineering student who recently bought a new Schwinn Sporterra Sport 2012. What follows is an account of what I did and the thoughts I had in the 2 months I researched before making the purchase. Firstly, like most newbies here will agree Bikeszone is doing a phenomenal task of 'enabling' us, so a big THANK YOU is in order The Beginning
I have almost always had a crush on bicycling. I used to ride a Hercules TopGear (the one with the split top tube, which continued as the seat stays) until I had to go out of Bangalore for college. I used to absolutely love this bike but it has now rusted a bit; this coupled with a long standing want for a better ride, made me go down the 'new bike' alley. The 'want' got stronger after I rode a friend's Firefox Target, the ride experience was simply incomparable to my previous experiences. While looking for what people on the internet had to say about the Target I stumbled upon Bikeszone; and boy! how things changed after that. The Research
I spent a long time everyday for about two months looking through this forum and the web for all things related to cycling. Got a grasp of the different brands there were, the dedicated shops (the abbreviations- LBS, BSO), and most importantly the different classes of cycles there were. I realised that I wanted a hybrid. At the beginning I had a budget of around 12k, read a lot about the Rockriders, the Schwinns, the Treks et al., then reading about the budget hike and general hike on 2012 models, I relaxed the upper limit a bit.
I had already read enough to know the different makes and qualities of forks, rims, derailleurs etc. and that I definitely did not need rear suspension, disc brakes which appeared fascinating earlier lost its novel charm (understood that cheap discs would be difficult to maintain), I understood front suspension was trade off between weight and speed, and that it was not really a necessity on roads. I was fairly particular about getting thumb and index shifters rather than revo shifters. So all the candidates were put through a screening of group-sets versus cost.
Then began my trips to different LBSs in the city. First visit was to BOTS, I was thoroughly impressed by the dedicated and passionate team there, took test rides on the MTB 3700 and hybrid 7100. The effort difference was immediately apparent, but so was the cost difference, MTBs, in general, appeared to be cheaper than hybrids. Tempted by the lower costs, I somehow convinced myself that I could do with an MTB though most of my usage would be limited to roads. All the Treks and Bergamonts at BOTS were way out of my then budget, so I resumed searching. I learnt about the KHS alite series of bicycles and made a trip to Wheelsports. I could not meet Venkat there nor was I offered any test rides, I inquired about some bicycles and left not very impressed about the service (it probably was a one off case). Budget had, by this time risen to 20k. After a while made a similar vain trip to Pedals&wheels, Malleshwaram.
After all this I sorta 'settled' at a Rockrider 5.2. Went to Decathlon-Bannerghatta road, rode the RR 5.2 liked it and almost confirmed buying it. I was now just waiting for a friend to decide, who also wanted RR 5.2. In the period when I was waiting for a member to get the cycle for me, I had a major change of heart.MTB v/s Hybrid
I had earlier narrowed down on MTBs because of their generally lower costs than hybrids. I had a discussion about this with my dad and he asked me if I really did plan to go on trails, he told me not to compromise on the ride quality during 95% of the time trying to save a couple of thousands. I also realised that going on trails without company (most of my friends dont have bicycles, let alone MTBs) would be very boring. So had a swing back to my original intention to buy a hybrid, but with slightly increased budget now.The Buy:
From the week I started my research I had my sights on Schwinn Sporterra Sport. I took a day to do a quick comparison between similarly priced bikes. Contenders were Schwinn Sporterra, Sporterra Sport, Bianchi Spillo Rubino. Alivio RD on the sporterra sport placed it on top, the Bianchi's handle bar was not very appealing. By this time I had gotten so restless that I couldn't wait longer. I visited RR cycles, Madivala to see all these together. Found the Sport to be most appealing (or perhaps I had a predisposition towards the Sporterra-Sport
) Finally decided on Sporterra Sport. A word of caution
: Do not not buy from RR cycles if you don't know how to choose sizes and are worried about fit of the cycle. I am about 5'9", had read in numerous places that a medium sized frame is suitable for me. I tried both the M and L frame, handle bar reach was slightly too close than I liked (it was probably not adjusted properly) so went with the L size which barely satisfied the traditional "2 inch gap" theory (I perhaps made a mistake with the size, but so far, I feel quite comfortable-in the end it is the only thing that matters)
There was a kick stand attached to the frame, I got a bottle cage and a Btwin cable lock. Total price inclusive of taxes Rs. 23000/-Post Buy
On the first day after purchase, I tweaked the handle bar, saddle height to my requirement, tried out how the quick release works (I tried removing the wheel without dis-engaging the brakes it got messed up, so had to readjust the brakes a little)
I have had it for about a week now, have ridden about 40km (have been very busy in during this week) and it is a dream compared to my previous cycle (not that it was bad, I still like it). I will write a detailed review after I ride a more considerable distance on it, but for now I am absolutely loving the lightness and control which it gives me. The Alivio rear derailleur needs special mention, shifts are extremely crisp and fast, handles well even when the chain is in tension. The ergonomic grips which come with the Sport are amazing, they support the wrist and makes you think why all cycles don't have them.
PS: The most annoying thing post purchase is trying to justify the cost to friends. I use a Maruti-BMW analogy when I am calm, and "what do you know, you lazy ass" at other times. Most stupid question must be "What does it do for all that money?" as if it is supposed to do magic tricks.
A few pics:
(i was not able to embed it here, so here is a picasa web album link)https://plus.google.com/photos/100508446893124063676/albums/5770510030370513857?banner=pwa