Marlon Would Approve
Feb 20, 2006 (Updated Feb 20, 2006)
Review by steven_snyder
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Cool style, very safe design
Cons:heavy, poorly assembled, no kick-stand.
The Bottom Line: Just like a real chopper it's built for going slow and looking cool (and is exceptionally safe to boot).
Oh where to start - this is such a sweet ride for your little one, although I'm guessing that most parents buy it more for their selves than for their kid, like me, because of the style and the popularity of Orange County Choppers (OCC) as seen on the bleeping Discovery Channel with Paul Sr and Paul Jr. The rear tire is 3" wide, the fender is short, the seat is cool, the handlebars are swept - the style is 100 percent OCC.
Recommend this product?
The bike comes in three different wheel-sizes - 12-inch, 16-inch and 20-inch wheels. We have two of the 16-inch versions, one for each kid. My son was 3.25 years old when we got his and he just barely fit it, but it did fit. My daughter is 6.5 and I just bought her a 20-inch (regular) bike to replace her Schwinn chopper. So based on my experience I'd suggest that the 16-inch model is well-suited for the 3 - 6 year-old range. Alas, the 20-inch model seems a bit big for a 6 or 7 year old, so they don't seem to have the whole age range covered. Don't worry Mom & Dad, they have choppers for grown-ups too! Go see more here => http://www.schwinnstingray.com/
They also come in a variety of colors. Some of the colors might be considered more traditional for boys (red, blue, black, etc) while other colors might be considered more suitable for girls (pink, purple).
Anyway, I bought both of our at amazon dot com at different times, so I paid about $150 shipped for one and $95 shipped for the other. You'll typically find them at Toys R Us or Wal-Mart, etc., as Schwinn is essentially a department store bike line now. Yes, that's a little sad and yes, they advertise the "history of Schwinn quality,", but the sad truth is that Schwinn died in the 90s and its name was sold a few times and is current owned by Pacific Bicycles, who is sort of equivalent to Huffy, Rand, Murray, etc. But I digress.
The first thing that you'll notice when you get it is that it's HEAVY! 30.5 pounds heavy! Way heavier than my road and mountain bikes and probably close to what my tandem weighs. It weighs more than my son who's riding it! This is probably the one and only drawback to this bike, but it's worth noting. If you live on top of a steep hill you may want to pause and give further consideration before purchasing this.
The next thing that you'll notice is that it's partially assembled in the box (unless you bought it assembled in a store obviously). The rear wheel, chain and chain-guard are already mounted, all that you have to do is install the fork legs, handlebars, seat and the front wheel and you're done. However, let me do you a favor and repeat that Schwinn is essentially a department store bike and as such the bikes are poorly assembled.
What I noticed when I pulled it out of the box is that the crank would barely turn and the wheels would barely spin. Since my son hasn't developed his mammoth quads yet, I went ahead and disassembled the bike and packed the hubs and crankset with grease (yo Schwinn - bearings need grease okay?) and it all worked much better, though 11PM Christmas Eve was an inconvenient time to realize that I had never disassembled a coaster-brake before. I strongly recommend that you reassemble yours too or else your child may find it too difficult to pedal.
The only other bad point is that one of the tabs on the fork legs that the front wheel mounts to was only welded on one side; a potential safety issue as it'd obviously be stronger welded on both sides. None of the other bikes I;ve seen have this problem though.
Anyway, I, er I mean Santa, had the bike all reassembled in time for Christmas morning and my son loved it (and still does 14 months later). As far as adjusting the bike to fit, the seat goes up and down and the handlebars can pivot forward and back, but the handlebars can't be adjusted up or down. Although the bike has a kickstand mount, it comes without a kickstand.
After watching him ride for a while and watching other kids ride normal bikes I've come to realize that not only is this bike cool, it is quite possibly the safest bike your toddler could ride.
Non-obvious Safety Feature 1 - The pedals are placed much further forward than normal and your child sits lower. This allows for a lower center of gravity which means your child can place both feet flat on the ground while seated. So if he/she gets into trouble all they have to do is put their feet down. And if they do happen to tip over, the lower center of gravity means they won't be falling as far to the ground as a normal bike.
Non-obvious Safety Feature 2 - The steering is very slow and limited. This bike has a very long wheelbase and a huge turning radius due to the very relaxed fork angle as well as the limited steering range (the front wheel can only turn about 45 degrees to the left or right). Have you ever seen a kid suddenly turn the wheel and do an endo ending in a face-plant? Can't happen on this bike.
Non-obvious Safety Feature 3 - The training wheels on this bike are not only cool (they're supposed to look like wheelie-bars), they are the strongest, safest and most adjustable training wheels I've ever seen. It's essentially a 1-piece tube that bolts to the frame. Unlike the normal flimsy things that bolt to the wheels, this one isn't going to bend. Even better, the wheels can be raised both by moving the wheels in the slots as well as adjusting them mounting bolts to raise and lower the entire bar. I was able to raise them high enough that once my son could ride without letting a training wheel touch the ground I just took them off and didn't have to teach him how to ride without them - he already had it down. How cool is that?!?
Non-obvious Safety Feature 4 - Because of the forward placed pedals your child won;t be able to stand while riding. This is somewhat bad when riding over a bump, but it's great in that it make the bike unsuitable for jumping!
Final Observations - Between the combined heavy weight and the fact that your child can't stand up and use their weight to help pedal this bike can be hard for a smaller kid to get going if you're starting on an incline, such as crossing the street when the light turns green. They'll eventually learn to muscle through it, but in the beginning they might need a hand getting started sometimes.
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