I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to carry my photography equipment for the ride, as usually new bikes come with the absolute minimum. However, I was very pleased to find that pretty much everything was supplied with the Cream – even down to the bell! Â New bicycle riders often forget the bits andÂ piecesÂ they will need when they are looking at the cost of a new bicycle, and these can add up to several hundred on top of the purchase price. The Schwinn Cream comes with all the required parts for a good city bicycle – it has (gorgeous) mud guards, a chain guard, a pannier rack, a kick stand, a bell, 3 gears and a nice wide comfy saddle. The onlyÂ otherÂ bits you would need would be some lights, which are not that expensive to pick up and perhaps a bag or basket to carry things in. The Cream also comes in a single speed (brown) in the ladies model and there is also aÂ gentlemanÂ model (Coffee), which is super-styley. I would love to test ride that as well, but I’m too short and I can’t get my leg over it!
The purchase price of this bicycle is very reasonable at $699 – find out more on T. Whites website
So, first impression … I really liked the look of this bicycle – it looked very elegant and simple but with some very nice touches that give it just that little bit extra. The frame is very nice with a classic swoop in the step through. It was lighter weight than I expected, which is important to some (personally I think that the importance of weight is over-rated if you are not into shaving seconds off your lap time!). At the same time it had a quality feel about it. I liked the fact that this bike doesn’t try to be too clever and ‘over-muscled’, withÂ suspensionÂ this and that, like some of the city bikes that are around at the moment. The Schwinn Cream has just the part it needs and it does those parts very well.
The ride quality was good and it felt very stable. The handlebars felt quite large to start with as they have quite a cruiser look to them and they are much wider than my own bikes, which have handle bars that wrap around towards me. However, it didn’t take long to get used to this. I did cause me a few problems as I live in a heritage apartment building with very narrow double doorsÂ and I can only open one side when pushing through a bicycle – but for most people this will not be an issue.
The mud guardsÂ andÂ chain guard are an absolute necessity if you want to be able to ride in your everyday clothes, from jeans to a ball gown (which I have done!), so its nice to see these included as standard. The mudguards are pretty special in hammered metal, which looks super cool. They also seemed quite robust, which is important if you are riding in a wind. The cheapÂ flimsyÂ plastic sort can rattle against your tyres and be quite irritating.
The bell is included, which is good, although it is quite small and the volume was not sufficient for a mass protest ride! Personally, I would replace this with something bigger and with a bit more personality, but it does the job. The brakes did what the’re supposed to do, which is all I ask. The handlebar grips had a bit of an unpleasant sticky feel, but these are easily replaced if necessary.
The Schwinn Cream has 3 twist gears. They were perfectly adequate for the 350 ride, which included a few ofÂ Auckland’s classicÂ hills onÂ theÂ way up to Ponsonby. People often think that heaps of gears are required for Auckland but essentially the difference in range between a 3 gear bike and one with 8 or 10, is not very much. The difference is in how many times you need to change gear within that range. If you are constantly trying to cycle at your optimum and beat your ‘best time’, then masses of gears may be imortant to you, but if you are just trying to get around, 3 gears are fine – use gear 3 for flat areas, use gear 2 for slight inclines or a bit of a head wind, and use gear 1 for hills.
For hills like these …
… get off and push! Personally, I have no problems admitting that ‘Iron man/woman’ is a title I will never hold!
The saddle is well sprung and very comfortable with a styley ‘S’ on the back. It felt very comfortable for the ride but I had quite a sore rear end the day after, which surprised me seeing as I ride all the time. However, I think this is because I amÂ accustomedÂ to my saddles (and they to me). There would probably be a ‘breaking in’ period for any new owner.Â It also has a good rack on the back (sorry, this is hidden under my pannier bag). The rack has a ‘vintage style’ spring loaded part that you can tuck your cardy under when the sun comes outÂ Â - nice to see!
It has an in-build stand, which is very stable and absolutelyÂ essential for a city bike – so it can stand by itself whenÂ you’reÂ paying for your tomatoes at the market or taking photos of stylish bicycle riders!
So likes and dislikes …
- It is a very simple and stylish bicycle with a lovely frame,
- it has petty much everything you need,
- the mud guards have to be a favourite – they’re gorgeous!
- I didn’t like the texture of the handlebar grips – they are a sort of sticky rubber, probably great for grip but this is pretty unnecessary for the kind of everyday riding that I do and it felt quite unpleasant to me. I was also thought their cream colour would get pretty grubby after a bit of use. This is not a biggy and wouldÂ certainlyÂ not put me off buying this bicycle if I was looking – grips can be replaced very easily and cheaply if necessary.
So to sum up …
I wouldÂ definitelyÂ recommend this bike – it’s stylish, it has pretty much everything you need, it has a couple of really nice touches and it is very well priced. It certainly gives the more expensive ‘dutch’ style bicycle a run for their money!