So, I know all of you know better than this, but never, ever buy a bike that proudly displays the "Made in China" sticker on the frame for yourself, your kids or a loved one. And for the love of God, don't even buy one for your closest enemy. I know that some may be produced under "tight control of standards" by well-known US companies, but many of the rest of them are just flat-out junk.
I decided to do a co-worker a favor last night and give a once-over of his Made-in-China-bought-at-Meijer Schwinn Tourer bike. He's really gotten into the sport and loves the exercise, and we chat often about cycling. However it appears he's also one of those guys that has never once oiled the chain or adjusted anything since his purchase last August. But still, good for him for loving every one of the 650+ miles (according to his odometer) he's put on it so far. But now I'm going to have to tell him, it's time for an upgrade.
His wife is going to hate me.
I spent two hours on that bike last night and it's still not dialed in like any decent bike should be. Almost every bolt needed tightening. The stem wasn't even straight and true with the fork. (of course, this could have been built by Mikey, the pre-pubescent zit-faced high-schooler working at his minimum wage job assembling bikes with no cares in the world.) Or he WAS in an accident a few weeks ago and probably never got back to straightening it.
Anyways, I swear every time I squeezed the brake levers, they'd move somewhere else out of line. Every pull resulted in a different reset position. It was driving me crazy. Of course, I don't even want to talk about the insane limitations on being able to adjust the gears.
I know he will appreciate the work put in, but man it was brutal.
Now, I know, even the cheapest of bikes has their place in someone's heart (I've had my share of them as a kid), but for cryin' out loud, if you can't help it, don't ever put one of these things in your garage. I was actually amazed that when I rode it around last night giving it it's last check, I felt like a circus monkey riding in a show. I don't know, it could have been my outfit. I guess I'm just used to bikes that fit much better and have a decent geometry about them and good quality parts.
Of course, that all comes at a cost, but having that experience last night, makes me really appreciate what I have and just reaffirms (for me anyways) that I'm willing to work that extra weekend or graphic design job in order to afford a better ride for my wife or kids.
By the end of this, I was very disappointed in the Schwinn name and what I experienced.
And for that, I say "China...you suck."