Drive My Bike


My Bike: Schwinn Midtown from Costco

When I started thinking about this bike commuting thing, of course the first thing that popped into my mind was “What am I going to ride?”.  I hadn’t owned a bike in at least ten years, and I didn’t really have any idea what I needed to start bike commuting.  A few days later I happened to be at Costco, and noticed that they had a couple of bikes available, one of which was the Schwinn Midtown, which they called a “comfort bike”.

Schwinn Midtown from Costco

I certainly wasn’t familiar with what a “comfort bike” was, so my first impression was that it sounded like the kind of thing I might buy for my mom. I knew what a “cruiser” was, and this bike had some of the curved lines of a cruiser, but then it also had things that made it look more like a mountain bike. After doing some research about what kinds of bikes were common today, I came across the term “hybrid”.  A “hybrid” bike is basically a cross between a road bike (similar to the “ten speed” I had in high school) and a mountain bike (the grown up version of the BMX bike I had in sixth grade). A hybrid is often considered to be a great commuter bike, because it is a bit more rugged than a road bike, with wide tires and upright handle bars, but it is still designed to ride on pavement more than dirt. I learned that sometimes hybrids are also called “comfort bikes”. Mystery solved.

So, now that I knew what a comfort bike was, I decided to shop around a little bit to see what other options were out there for commuting.  I read plenty of things that warned me about buying a “department store bike”, but when I looked at this model that Costco was selling, it looked like it had been upgraded quite a bit.  I checked with some local bike shops, and found some very nice commuter bikes in the $400-$600 range, but I wasn’t ready to make that kind of investment since I wasn’t sure I’d stay committed to this commuting idea. The Schwinn Midtown at Costco was $220, which seemed like a pretty good value, and I knew that with Costco’s generous satisfaction guarantee I could return it if I had any problems.  So I took the plunge and bought one…

That was about two months ago, and since then I have put almost 100 miles on my Schwinn Midtown.  I have added numerous things to make it more commuter friendly, and it now looks a good bit different than it did originally.  A couple of weeks ago I pulled up behind another bike commuter at a stop light and noticed he was also riding a Schwinn Midtown.  I said hello and commented on our bikes, and he did a double take before he recognized they were the same.  “You’ve got fenders!”, he exclaimed.  “Yeah, and a few other things also”, I added.

Rear Rack

To the basic Midtown I’ve added a rear rack, a front fender, a rear view mirror, a headlight, a water bottle, a seat bag, and a lock. Improvised Rack Brace Mounts I had to get creative with the rack mount, since the bike has full rear suspension, and doesn’t have standard mounts on the frame to attach the rack braces.  I found a couple of rubber lined plumbing mounts at Home Depot, and after bending the rack braces a bit I was able to get a solid configuration by using the plumbing mounts to fasten the braces to the rear frame right below the shock.  Solving this problem was very satisfying, as the rack was the first thing I added to the bike, and it was a great way to “make it mine”.

UPDATE: Go here to see how I mounted the rack on my Midtown.

UPDATE: Go here to see how I mounted the front fender on my Midtown.

UPDATE: Go here to see how I solved some flat tire issues on my Midtown.

I have searched to find more information about the Schwinn Midtown, but it is not listed on Schwinn’s website, and I have only found a couple of articles mentioning this model.  It is common for Costco to get manufacturers to create exclusive items only sold by Costco, so I am assuming that is what Schwinn did with the Midtown.  I certainly don’t know much about quality bike hardware yet, but it seems to me like the hardware on my Midtown has been upgraded and is of good quality.

So far, it has been a good bike for me to get started.  The only problems I have had are the few flats on the rear wheel that I have blogged about, but I haven’t had any more flats after my last repair.  My only other negative has been the weight of the bike, because it is not light.  I’m used to riding it now, but I’ve looked at some more expensive commuter bikes and have been amazed at how much lighter they are.

If I had it to do over again, would I buy another Schwinn Midtown for my commuting?  Probably not, but only because I now know that I’m committed to bike commuting, and I know more of what I want, so I would be willing to spend a bit more than before.  I would probably look for something more along the lines of a road bike built for touring, and maybe next year I can do that, but for now I’m happy with this bike, and I’m sure I’ll put a lot more miles on it before I get rid of it. If you are looking for a very reasonably priced bike to get started with your commuting, then you might want to head down to Costco and take a look at the Schwinn Midtown.

What about you? Do you have a Schwinn Midtown, and if so, do you like it? If not, what did you use to start bike commuting?

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91 Comments so far
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I just got one of these bikes yesterday as it seemed a good price for a decent bicycle. I’m more curious about the rack that you have (brand/model/price/retailer) as it’s one of the next purchases after I get a lock and helmet.

The next most important purchase I’m looking for is lighting. Much of my riding will be in the dark and I want good lighting. What I remember from 25 years ago is that lighting wasn’t all that bright. Hopefully the technology has improved since then. What did you get for lighting and why?

Comment by Aaron Eidinger

Aaron, I bought the rack at a local bike shop, and I think it is an Avenir RM100. I didn’t have a clue back then, so I just found a shop that was friendly and told them I wanted a rear rack, and that was the only model they carried. I think this is the same rack from Amazon. It has worked fine for me, and I appreciate the way the design of the rack also acts as a partial rear fender, since I haven’t found a rear fender that would work with my Midtown. The weight limit is supposed to be around 25lbs, but I’m sure I’ve already pushed that on a few trips to the grocery store, and I haven’t had problems. As I mentioned in the article, the big challenge was figuring out how to mount the rack braces on the Midtown. I think you will have the same issue no matter what kind of rear rack you use, unless you go with one of the seat mounted racks that fastens to the seat post. I don’t like those because they appear to be less sturdy than a full rear rack. Hopefully you can see from the pictures how I attached the rack braces. If you have more questions when you mount your rack I’ll be glad to try to answer them.

As far as lighting goes, I have a cheap (under $10) Bell headlight that I got at Walmart. It is an old school bulb, as opposed to most of the new LED lamps. I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on a light, but I needed something, so that’s what I got. It is not the brightest light out there, but if you are on a dark road it makes all the difference in the world. I have only used it a couple of times and it has worked well enough. If I end up doing a lot of night riding I will probably spend a bit more to get something brighter. I also have some cheap red & white LED blinkie lights that I turn on at night, and I think they make a huge difference in visibility.

Comment by Scott

Hello. My wife and I both got these bicycles a week ago at Costco. So far so good. We got them primarily for recreation. I think the ride is pretty good compared to our last bikes. They are quiet and smooth. I thought the seat post suspension a kinda cool. I bought the Bell headlight and taillight combo for both. Haven’t had a chance to try them out yet. The headlight has a xenon bulb (supposedly). I added a seat post mounted rack to mine but am going to remove it since it does not let me mount the taillight. We live not too far from the super market so I am considering buying one of those child carrier/bike trailers to make our weekly grocery run. Figured I can save some gas and get some exercise.

A down side for the womens version is that Schwinn did not add a water bottle mount. I will need to mount the holder using hose clamps.

Comment by Jaime Guerrero

I bought my Midtown from Costco on the 21st and rode it up to the local bike shop for a tune up and to buy a bunch of accessories for it. I then found out that due to the way the bike was constructed, no rack would fit it without some type of modifications.

I considered taking the bike back to Costco, but later on that evening while searching for Midtown acessories on the internet, I found your post. My Home Depot had the rubber insulated clamps only in this store they were in the electrical department.

The bike does seem heavy, but as I am only going to use it for exercise and to go the the local stores for shopping the weight should not be a problem. It is a great bike for me and I really enjoy riding it. It gets terrific gas mileage also.

If you have the time, could you post the make and model of the accessories you have on your Midtown? It would sure save the rest of us some shopping time.

Comment by Bill Baldwin

Jaime and Bill, thanks for your comments!

Jaime, I mounted my pump to my frame with zip ties, which was quick and easy. I’m not sure how long they will last though.

Bill, thanks for your interest in the accessories. I just posted the article about mounting the rear rack, and I’ll post some others like that soon.

Comment by Scott

I just got this bike a couple days ago too. I found a Schwinn brand bike rack at my local Target that is mounted on the seat post. Being 6’0″ myself, I need the seat up fairly high anyway, so there is plenty of room on the post for both a tail light the bike rack.

If you buy this from Costco, take the time to adjust the handle bars and see to your liking because the assemblers just throw it together at the store which probably won’t be the comfortable for the average person. Also, I noticed that most of the nuts / bolts needed a little tightening so it is a good idea to give the bike a once over.

Comment by Greg

I just got a flat on my rear tire after just my second day of riding after purchasing this bike on Monday. What size is the rear tire and does it have an inner tube?

Comment by Noly

I have been riding a Schwinn midtown last year and have loved it.

But I am surprised to hear others have had flat front tire because I had small leakage on the Front tire as well.

I am biking a lot more and looking to shop for a custom fitted bike.

Comment by Neetha

How could anyone write so much.? You must work for Schwinn and want a good review!

Comment by Skip Tical

Noly and Neetha, I’m working on a post about tire issues with the Midtown. Stay tuned!

Skip, I assure you that I do not work for Schwinn, or Costco, or any bike store. I am just a guy who decided to start riding his bike to work (software developer), but then discovered a whole new way of looking at transportation. I got such a huge response from this first article about the Schwinn Midtown that I decided to try to offer help to those Midtown owners out there who seem to be having the same issues that I have dealt with. Hopefully I can help people have a good experience with their Midtown, and keep them from ending up in Costco’s return bin and eventually a landfill somewhere.

Comment by Scott

Bought the Midtown at Costco about a week ago and rode the bike everyday since. Had a rear tire blow out and when I went to the bike shop for tube we could not find the correct size schreader valve. The tire needed replacement, but the tube is now a problem. The valve floats loosely in the deep dish rim. I know someone has replaced the tube, what are you using?

Comment by Dave

I’m going to write a post soon about tire issues with the Midtown, but while I’m working on that let me say that I have been able to use regular 26″ tubes (26×1.75-2.125 Schrader valve) by squeezing the sides of the tube during installation to force the valve stem through the “deep dish” rim. Once you get the valve stem through the rim you can put the cap on to keep it from popping back out before you put air in. Getting the pump to grab onto the stubby valve stem can be a challenge, so you might consider using a screw on valve extender to make life easier. You can probably find valve extenders at your local auto parts store. I have not found a place that sells the tubes with the long valve stem, but I have been able to make regular tubes work.

Comment by Scott

have you ever heard of tuffy tubes or tire liners? put both of these on your bike and you will never have a flat again

Comment by jerry nanoff

I saw a Schwinn Midtown listed for sale on CL today for $150. Being in the market for an around town bike, I became interested, and found this site while researching the bike.The bike is brand new with tags. I have a deposit on it and will pick it up tomorrow. What a great site this is. I will start getting the acessories mentioned,and post a follow up later on.

Comment by Steve L

Hi All,

i am just getting into biking and have not gotten a bike yet. i had an old one that i was riding around on but it has broken down for good. i am not sure what to buy and do not have alot of extra cash for this project. i am 5’9″ tall and 255 lbs. i want to buy a bike and maybe this one however i need to know if this bike would work with someone my size. please respond to my email if you know anything about how much weight this bike can take.

thanks,

pat

Comment by pat

I’m 5′ 9″, 245. I have been riding this bike almost everyday since the end of June. I usually go 5-6 miles and give the gears a good workout. The only problem was the blown tire, but new rubber has been good, so far. The bike has performed great for me, but I have never ridden an expensive bike. I looked at the bike store stuff and feel this bike compares with the $300 models. It has a lot of the same type controls. Good luck.

Comment by Dave

I have a midtown for commuting and am quite happy with it. A question for anyone else who has one: recently, my entire seat was stolen. I bought the standard bore post (27.2) which doesn’t fit to replace it. Does anyone know the bore of the midtown post? Thanks. Alan

Comment by Alan Andrews-Katz

Thanks for all the info. I just bought a Costco Schwinn Midtown myself and so far, so good. But, I had one question about mounting a basket on the front. Will that work? Will any basket work? I found a few cute ones on Amazon. Are there any requriements for a basket on the front of the Schwinn midtown? Thanks!

Comment by Liz

Alan, wow, can’t imagine anyone wanting to just steal a seat and seatpost! Sorry to hear that. I don’t know what size the seatpost is on the Midtown, but I would recommend bringing your bike to a local bike shop so they can actually see the post size and help you find what you need. I would think most small bike shops would be glad to help you out. Post back here and let us know what you find out. Thanks for stopping by.

Comment by Scott

Liz, I don’t have a basket on my Midtown, so I don’t really know what will work. Most baskets that I have seen just clamp onto the handlebars, so as long as they don’t interfere with the front wheel you can probably make almost any basket fit. You might want to take your bike to a local bike shop to see what would fit, or if you are ordering from Amazon then take some measurements before you order. If you find some nice baskets then let us know about it. Thanks for reading.

Comment by Scott

Does anyone know how to adjust the angle of the handlebars? Having trouble…

Thanks

Comment by Sharon

Hi Sharon,
There are a couple of adjustment allenhead bolts on the neck. Two right over the handle bar and two more on the sides of the neck. I found that the two on top need to be cranked down pretty good once you have the handle bar where you need it. Just be careful not to strip them.

Comment by Jaime

There is also an allenhead bolt on the handlebar bracket towards the front of the bike. Loosening that releases a little metal wedge that holds the handlebar bracket at the desired angle. You can set the angle and retighten this bolt, being careful to get the wedge back in place correctly.

Comment by Scott

Hi I ordered one of these from costco 2 days ago…I am wondering is sombody can do a measurement for me as i think the bikes top frame bar may be to high for me to stand over….
Can someone please measure from floor to top of the frame bar that’s welded to the front tube where the fork goes through and also do the same from floor to center of top tube and last from floor to top tube where welded to the pipe where the seat post goes in?

to make it simple here is what the measurments will be:

1 will be floor to head set top of tube
2 will be floor to middle top of tube
3 will be floor to top of tube welded to seat post pipe

If somebody can please do this for me it will be great!

THANK YOU
Steve…

Comment by Steve

Thanks to all. I looked at the bike yesterday and was in need of some reviews prior to purchase. I too am planning on putting a basked on the front. If anyone has some luck, please post the details!

Happy Trails,
Donna

Comment by Donna

Anyone???
Stand over ride hight please….

Comment by Steve

Boy this place is dead as a door nail!

Comment by Steve

Hey Steve,
I suppose everyone’s out biking in the nice summer weather. I’d give you the measurements but I’m out of town and don’t have my bike w/ me.
When I get back, I check here to see if you still need the measurements. Until then, have patience…I’m sure someone else is reading this besides you and me.

Comment by Robert

any bike will fit you even a bmx .the seat should be at a hite where when your foot is on the down side of the peddling your knee is slightly bent.

Comment by jerry nanoff

Gee Steve, I don’t remember seeing anyone promising to provide customer service for you here… or did I miss it? Perhaps, as Robert mentioned, they have other things on their mind besides just your needs.

Anyway, I did take those measurements…
1 – 35″
2 – 32″
3 – 28″

These are based on a quick measurement, so don’t sue me if they are not exact. Hopefully your bike fits, but if not, I’m sure Costco will work with you. Next time you might try being a bit more patient and appreciative of this community.

Comment by Scott

Hi I am sorry guy’s it’s just that my bike will be shipped to me here on wednesday…
That sounds kind of high….I am 5’6″ tall with sneakers on…. My old Trek 950 mountain bike is
27″ seat side top pipe
29″ center of top pipe
31.5″ top pipe by front of bike

I think the bike may be to big… why don’t they give stand over hight measurments on line when you buy the bikes?

You should be able to stand over the bike with feet flat on the ground right?

I hope if it’s to tall they will take it back…man I am bummed as this would have been nice for riding around on the street my trek 950 is like for mountain bike racing and is not the best to drive on road…

THANKS
Guy’s

Comment by Steve

Well hopefully the bike will not be too big for you. I would imagine that Costco would work with you since they have a very reasonable return policy, especially if you can just return it to a local Costco. Worst case, you could probably sell it yourself for about what you paid for it. When I see bikes in that price range for sale here they seem to sell right away.

Comment by Scott

Hi Scott do you think i realy need to be able to put both feet flat on the ground when standing over the bike to ride it? would it matter if i had to raise my heels off of the ground when standing over it?

I will se on wednesday for sure how i fit…But i am just wondering if it can still be used if i was a little small?

Thanks

Comment by Steve

Anyone notice the new paint job on the bike…now it is red and black ..looks pretty! :-)
http://www.costco.com/Browse/PopupViewer.aspx?prodid=11203064&whse=BC&cat=06&lang=en-US

Comment by Steve

WOW got my bike today! at stand over the top bar hit’s my you know what bairly i would say i have almost a inch of room… so i fit on it !!
i put it all together and cheaked it over and tightened everything…gave it a spin out in the front of the house…much smoother over bumps than my mountain bike…. One ? i have is how do you put a water bottle holder on this thing it has no screw mounts on the frame?
THANKS

Comment by Steve

Hey Steve, glad that your bike fits and you like it! My Midtown has the screw mounts on the downtube for the seat post. You can see my water bottle mount in the picture above. If yours has them then you just need to use a hex wrench on the screws to attach your water bottle holder. If yours doesn’t have them, then Schwinn must have changed the design… which would be a bit strange. Let us know how that goes. BTW, did you end up getting the red and black paint scheme?

Comment by Scott

Hi Scott i have the black and red it’s sweet! I will take a photo and see if i can post it later after i take it for a ride :-)
I don’t think it has the mount holes i will look it over later and post about it..
THANKS
…PS is it possible to take the stickers off the rims? or are they meant to stay on?

Comment by Steve

Here is the new black and red. Also has no water bottle mount? what to do?
http://shutter02.pictures.aol.com/data/pictures/17/008/79/D9/A4/10/viCttz4a49lCXn-mR5VJa5O7amhoDwRt0300.jpg

Comment by Steve

I bought, er, my kids bought me this bike for Father’s Day a couple of months ago, and I’ve loved it. Granted, I’m not a hard core biker (which, in the Portland area, makes me a bit of an outsider), but I’ve liked it. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve put about 213 miles on it since then, commuting to the office about 10-11 miles each way from time to time (skipped all of August with the heat and all). No problems at all.

Ok, a couple minor ones…

1. Like people said above, you’ll definitely want to make sure you go through and adjust all the heights and tighten all the bolts when you get it home.

2. I’ve also had some issues with various accessories:

a. Fenders were a pain to attach, but I got them on. I’m using the Planet HC Freddy Fender 60mm set (http://www.rei.com/product/723105).

Front fender was a snap, though the back required a little bit of, um, maneuvering. In the end, a couple of inconspicuous zip ties ended up saving the day.

b. Like others, I had some minor issues attaching a bike rack. I eventually got the Topeak Explorer MTX rack installed (http://www.rei.com/product/723105) by attaching it to the quick release bolts on the seat post. Of course, I’ll probably run into some issues the next time I decide to adjust my seat, but it seems to work just fine.

I couple that with a Topeak EXP Trunk Bag to carry my work clothes. The bag is great, though I wish I’d gone with the slightly more expensive and expandable DXP flavor. Those few extra cubic inches definitely would be worth the extra $$$ to me.

c. I replaced the tires that come with it with a pair of Michelin City Trekking tires. Can’t find the link right now with the exact size, but I wanted something a little smoother and narrower. These are working out very well. Very quiet. Was able to keep using the factory tubes.

3. The only accessories I’ve completely failed with so far have been:

a. Toe clips. I couldn’t figure out how to attach the things to my pedals, though I just now realized that I only took off one reflector when I was looking for the screw holes… Maybe they’re behind door #2?

b. Handle bar bag. I bought a Topeak Compact Handlebar bag to put my phone, wallet, keys, camera, etc. into so I don’t have to stuff them with my work clothes in the trunk bag. Unfortunately, the handlebar on this bike is too little. The handlebar bag’s included clip only down-sizes to a 24.4 MM diameter, but in looks like the handlebar on this bike is probably 22.2 mm.

I was thinking about maybe buying some handlebar tape to make up for the difference if I can’t find a handlebar bag that’ll attach properly.

Comment by JustinS

Oh, and a bike lock… I bought one of those u-shaped locks, the mid-sized one that had a little mounting bracket that was supposed to attach to the frame.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough room in that space in the middle of the frame to put the lock, so I have to bungie it to my trunk bag. Not a big deal, but it has fallen off a couple of times.

Comment by JustinS

I am 5’6 1/2 and found the Schwinn Midtown bike too tall at Costco. I think I need a small frame. Is there such a size as a small frame? I want to be able to stand on the seat with the balls of my feet on the ground and with a slight bend in the knee when foot is on the pedal.

Comment by Jane

Jane, my local Costco has been rotating stock for the fall and winter, so all of the bikes are gone now. However, before they had packed things up, I did notice that they were carrying a women’s version of the Midtown, and it looked like it might be a bit smaller. It was white and looked quite stylish. I have not seen that model available on their website.

Comment by Scott

I received a midtown as a birthday gift, but had been asking for a mountain bike as I occassionally will need to take it offroad on some “sort of” serious trails for disc golf in the mountains and to try to keep up with my kid. I’m not thinking this bike can handle that, but maybe if it were to have different tires??? Just wanted to get some thoughts on this

Comment by prescott

I bought a mid town from Costco just like many of the other bloggers here and had problems from the start. First, the handle bar was a bit askew and when I tried to fix it I ended up scratching the bar. And second, the pedal came off after the third ride about an hour per ride. I was always under the impression that Schwinn had excellent products and that Costco sold good quality items. Putting them together does not equal better quality. I’m not sure who put this bike together, but Schwinn should probably take a good look at who does this because their reputation is at stake. It will be a very long time before I consider buying another Schwinn and an even longer time before I buy something expensive from Costco. Maybe The Hub or Performance Bikes is the place to buy, but stay away from Schwinn.

Comment by Rick

I just bought this same bike, but realized that the front tire doesn’t sync up with the handlebars.

In other words, when the handlebars are pointing straight (normal position), the front wheel is tilted about 20 degrees to the right. So in order for the bike to go straight, the handlebars have to be pointed about 20 degrees left.

I can take the front wheel off, but that doesn’t really solve the problem since it’s the “tube” that goes down to the wheel which is misaligned.

I bought the bike fully assembled at Costco. Any ideas?

Thanks!

Alex

Comment by Alex

Prescott, I haven’t done any off-roading with my Midtown. If you try it then let us know how your trail riding goes.

Rick, sorry you had such a bad experience with Costco and your Midtown. My local Costco has always been great about working with me when I was not satisfied with a purchase. I’d encourage you to go talk with them to see if they can make it right.

Alex, if my memory serves me correctly… at the back of the handlebar mount there is a rubber plug on top (facing up). Pry that out (don’t lose it) and look down in the hole and you’ll see a hex nut. My bike came with a couple of hex wrenches, and one of them will fit that nut. I believe that if you loosen that nut a bit (don’t remove it) you will be able to move the handlebars so they will line up perpendicular with the front wheel. Once you get things lined up then tighten that nut again and replace the rubber plug. You should be in business. Or… if it came that way from Costco and you don’t want to mess with it, then take it back to them and get them to make it right.

Comment by Scott

Scott,

Thanks!!! I read the manual and couldn’t seem to find that tidbit. I just fixed it today and it is SO much better knowing that to go straight, I point the handlebars straight:)

One question for you: every few seconds when I bike, I hear a little “chip” sound that comes from the gears. It’s probably once every 3 pedal rotations. Is this normal?

Thanks,

Alex

Comment by Alex

Alex, my guess would be that your derailleurs may need a slight adjustment. I’m not a qualified bike mechanic, so I really wouldn’t want to give too much advice here. Some of the bike shops here have a low cost “tune up” designed for bikes purchased elsewhere. They basically tighten everything and help you get it all adjusted. Maybe you could look into something like that? Or, of course, you could take it back to Costco, but since they built it in the first place it might not be any better. :-)

Comment by Scott

Thank you for all the wonderful info. I just got a midtown (womens version!) and was going through everything and couldn’t figure out how to open the brakes to release the front wheel. I’ve found the wheel’s quick release, but the manual says to open the front brakes and when I look for more info it just says that there should be a quick release and every model is different. Can you help?Thanks !
Wendy

Comment by Wendy

Wendy, take a look at this video, and watch for “Step 4 Disconnect Brake Cable” to see how to open and service your V-Brakes… http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-v-brakes/

Comment by Scott

Aha! thank you so much! that was very helpful!
wendy

Comment by Wendy

I am looking for a deep dish rim (actually, even better a whole front rim w/tire). We had a fall and now the rim is bent :-( does anyone have suggestions?

Comment by diosia

Thanks for the reply, Scott. I did end up returning the Midtown to Costco. They have always been good at accepting returns. However, I ended up buying a bicycle from Performance Bike. The prices are very comparable and they offer free tune up for the life of the bicycle. Plus, I know that the bicycle was assembled correctly. They actually tuned up the bike before I took it out of the store.

Comment by Rick

The Schwinn Midtown is a BAD Bike! DO NOT BUY. My wife was riding and the back suspension broke off. Thinking it was an isolated situation my back shifter fell off. I figure next time if I want a cheap bike I will go to Walmart, if I want a good bike certainly it will not be a schwiin. The good news is that Costco takes back anything, so after a few months I returned the bike for a full refund.

Comment by Ricki and Jane

These bikes look nice but are cheap and assembled poorly…my front shock came apart during a ride and cut my throat…I am considering a personal injury attorney.

Comment by Mike Williams

Wow, really sorry to hear that. I hope things work out okay.

Comment by Scott

Diosia, any luck finding those rims? If you find a good source let us know.

Ricki and Jane, sorry you had such a bad experience with your Midtown. It sounds like your problems were most likely related to a poor assembly job, not the bike itself. I’m sure the quality of the assembly is related to the skill of the local Costco bike person. Several of my local bike shops have an inexpensive bike tune up that is designed for people who have purchased bikes elsewhere and just want the peace of mind that their bike is properly assembled and adjusted.

I’ve ridden my Midtown about 500 miles so far and, other than my initial tire issues, haven’t had any problems. It’s been a solid ride. I hope that you have a better experience with whatever bike you end up with.

Comment by Scott

Scott,

What type of lock are you using as it looks like it mounts to the bike.

Comment by Steve

Hello,

I am looking for tips on the comfort adjustments for this bike. I am referring to the seat and handlebar adjustments. They both appear to have three adjustments. The seat can be adjusted for height, distance to the handlebars or rail adjustment and angle. The handlebars have a height angle and top adjustment. I am not even sure how to change the height. I know there a stem bolt under the plastic cover and there is a 1 1/2″ nut where the stem goes into the frame. All of this is obvious to someone who has always had a bike but I haven’t owned one since I was a kid. Any guidelines on these adjustments would be great. I realize some of this is personal preference but I am looking for a general rule of thumb or starting point.

Thanks

Comment by Steve

Steve, the lock is just a cheap cable lock I got locally. Honestly not the most secure, but it works for me for short errands. As far as sizing and adjustments go, one could right a book. (Maybe I’ll do a post on this) In the meantime, you might want to checkout this article on seats and this article on handlebars. Sheldon Brown passed away recently, but he left a wealth of online information for the biking world.

Comment by Scott

Scott, thanks for the tips I have enjoyed reading about your experiences and have picked up some valuable information. When I realized that the Midtown isn’t even on Schwinns website I figured Midtown owners were on their own and essentially we are. Thanks again.

Comment by Steve

Hi Scott,

I wanted to see if you have been happy with the front fender and mirror as I may consider ordering them myself. I also wanted to mention some accessories I have bought for anyone reading these posts.

I bought a Schwinn Post mount rack from Walmart. It was easy to install, seems sturdy enough and was reasonably priced. The only down side is because it mounts to the seat post it puts the rack closer to the seat than a conventional rack. I also ordered a Topeak Modula water bottle cage from Amazon. It is adjustable for different size bottles. Finally an Avenir Bigmouth seat bag also from Amazon. It is a nice sized bag, is well made and extremely reasonably priced.

Comment by Steve

Steve, yes I have been very happy with the front fender and mirror. I haven’t been in much wet weather yet, so I can’t vouch for how well the fender performs in a real downpour, but it is better than a bare tire. The mirror has been great, and I have come to depend on it. I recently tried one of the helmet mounted mirrors, and it works, but I just can’t get used to it, and much prefer the handlebar mount.

Thanks for sharing your info with us, and thanks for reading. Enjoy your rides!

Scott

Comment by Scott

Hi Scott,

I am in the process of replacing my cheapie seatpost mount rack with a Topeak explorer rack. I chose this rack based on reviews and it is designed to accomodate a number of nice Topeak bags. I went to Home Depot and bought the clamps you used in the 1″ size. These are actually loose on the frame when fully closed and I am planning to by the 3/4″ size as well to see which one works best. This being the case the 1 3/8″ clamps would definately be too large for anyone interested.

Comment by Steve

Hi all,

I received the Schwinn Midtown bike as a gift back in June and I was pleased by its performance. However, the right crank arm was stripped, causing the right pedal to fall out back in September. The biek itself is a good build but I believe I should blame the bike “mechanics” at Costco for putting it together poorly. I adjusted and tightened the whatnots right I got it. But overall, its a very good bike. Unfortunately, I want something a bit spiffier and faster so I plan taking advantage of Costco’s return policy and may purchase a road bike instead.

Comment by Jason

My wife and I bought the Schwinn Midtown bikes at Costco in late summer 2007. We went through a similar thought process as Scott (and I came to the same conclusion in using it for commuting). I have 866 miles on my Midtown and my wife has over 550 miles. These are good bikes for the money and we got a lot of use out of them. They are very comfortable and we credit this bike for creating our passion for cycling. We have ridden this bike on roads, paths, gravel, and dirt trails. I weighed over 270 lbs, when I bought the bike last year. I rode this bike almost everyday from May to August of this year. In doing so, I logged over 700 miles and lost 60 lbs. In August, we bought road bikes, because we out grew these as cyclist. We were spinning out the gears at 3-7 and we got tired of being passed by people on road bikes (especially on hills). I now commute to work daily for 25 miles (in the cold and rain) and we ride 50-100 miles on the weekends with road bikes. We wouldn’t be doing this, if we hadn’t caught the cycling bug from riding our Midtown bikes first.

UPGRADES

I bought a Schwinn rack at Target or Wal-Mart that mounted to the seat post. It was easy to install. I am surprised no one mentioned this. We added other standard stuff too: lights, cyclocomputers, locks, and a seat bag. My bike has water bottle mounts, so I added a water bottle holder. For some reason that year, the women’s version didn’t have the mounts or the room for a water bottle. That is a big problem for long rides. We ended up finding a new old-stock water bottle holder on eBay that attached to the thick curved down post with Velcro.

PROBLEMS

1. Costco didn’t assemble the bike well. I had to do some adjustments and tighten some things up after I bought it. What caused me to this was the rear suspension fell off after riding it just one week. Schwinn support was useless, but they did try to help. I eventually figured out how it should be installed and I haven’t had a problem with it since. Later, when we started doing 1-2 hour long rides, I had my local bike shop give it a tune up. They adjusted and sized the bike better for us.

2. The women’s version lacks the mounts for a water bottle. This is a big problem for long rides.

3. We have a gear on each bike where the chain slips (4th gear for me and 3rd gear for my wife). Again, read the manual to adjust the derailleur, talked to Schwinn support several times, and eventually took it the local bike store. It never got fixed. I think the sprockets in the cassette are cheap.

4. At around mile 860, the sprocket for my 6th gear snapped…the metal ring broke clean. The bike is still ride able. In fact, I found this blog looking to see if anyone else had this problem. Since it broke, I haven’t ridden my Midtown. Now, I am looking at my alternatives to fix it.

5. With all the miles, and some rough terrain, we have had only one flat — in the rear tire. It was a fluke puncture by a tack. We always made sure the tires were fully inflated before we ride. That helps reduce the risk of flats. Fixing flats for the deep dish rims is a problematic, but this blog has covered this.

6. I am 6’0″ (31.5″ inseam) and my wife is 5’10″. The Midtown is a bit too small for us. We have the seat posts lifted as high as they can safely go. Compared to our fitted road bikes, the pedaling position is a little awkward and it causes strain on my knees at the end of long rides. At first, I thought the pain was from pushing my old body. However, I haven’t experienced the knee pain on my road bikes yet.

7. The tires on my Midtown are badly worn. The life on them are somewhere around 800-1000 miles.

8. The bike is too heavy. You’ll get a great work out riding up hills.

9. Rust. It is an aluminum frame, but it has steel parts. We took our Midtowns to the beach this summer and the steel parts rusted in a few days. When got back, I had to give it a thorough cleaning. Sea air and rain are not good to this bike.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Recreational Riding
I recommend this bike for beginners and for recreational usage. It is a good value and pretty simple to use. As long as it holds up, we will continue to use our Midtown bikes on family bike rides with the kids. When it dies, I will consider buying another one for the family bike ride, if it they make them a little bigger.

Serious Riding
No. I can’t recommend it for the avid cyclist. I am concern about its durability and ease of maintenance. I can’t imagine someone taking this bike to a club ride.

Commuter Riding
I would not recommend this bike to commute to work. I commute to work daily by bike and I haven’t even thought of using my Midtown. Not all the parts on this bike are not standard sizes and it is hard to find replacement parts. The rear wheel needs a quick release. If you get a flat, it is a pain to change on the side of a road. The bike is heavy. If you have hills to climb, this bike doesn’t climb well.

Racing
Ha! No way. If you are looking for speed, then you should look else where. The Midtown doesn’t go nearly as fast as a road bike. It tops out around 20 MPH on flat ground before I spin out the top gear.

Comment by Lemond Guy

Two additonal comments:
1. I have rode the Midtown in the rain and wet ground. You get a lot of spray from the front tire. I have fenders on my commuter bike and they are fantastic in wet conditions.
2. Forgot to mention in the upgrades…we swapped out the pedals for dual-sided pedals that support clipless shoes on one side and street shoes on the other side. I highly recommend clipless pedals and MTB cycling shoes for this bike. It makes the ride much easier.

Comment by Lemond Guy

Scott you asked “If not, what did you use to start bike commuting?”

I use a cyclocross bike to commute. I have a Lemond Poprad with a rack. I’m seriously considering adding disc brakes. They are the only thing that works to slow you down on rainy days. If you have to stop suddenly in the rain, regular breaks will not do the job.

Also, I use two large waterproof rear paniers with a laptop sleeve. Now that it is dark on my rides, I am looking into buying a good helmet light. It is too hard to see the road with my cheap (under $30) “to-be-seen” front light. In addition, to my bright rear blinker, I bought the LED light stick pack (~$10) from Costco a few weeks ago. It has two red flashing light sticks. My seat bag has a little holder on each side and I pop them in there.

This just reminded me of another problem we had with the Midtowns: the front and back tire reflectors on both of our Midtowns broke off between miles 200-500. They are impossible to find replacements. None of the Schwinn dealers or LBS in my area carry it. I can’t find them on the Internet either. Anyone know where I can get them?

Comment by Lemond Guy

Lemond Guy… wow, thanks for your in depth comments!

That’s great feedback on your experiences with the Midtown. I’ve got around 600 miles on my Midtown, and haven’t really had any of the problems that you’ve experienced, but I can certainly see those kinds of things happening. I agree with your assessment that it is a great bike to get started, but that it will probably be “outgrown” if a person becomes serious. Like you, I have moved on to a different bike for my daily commuting. I have an old Trek 830 that I bought cheap and rebuilt (for not so cheap) and that is my main commuter now during the winter months. When things warm up again I’ll probably ride the Midtown a bit, but like you I would like to get a lighter road bike that is more my size. I’ll probably look for another used one that I can recycle by rebuilding it.

It sounds like we have made a similar journey from bike rookie to serious commuter, and I commend you on starting that journey and sticking with it. Congrats on your weight loss also… yet another one of the wonderful benefits of bike commuting.

Thanks for stopping by, and I welcome hearing more about your experiences in the future.

Comment by Scott

Received the midtown for xmas. The bike does not have any manuals or tools. I went back to Costco to see if this was normal. They had about 6 of these bikes left on the rack – none of them had manuals or tools, so I assumed this was normal. The other 2 models they had did have manuals/tools. After reading this blog, I’ve learned the midtown should come with manuals and tools???!!!? Therefore, I plan to return it to Costco. I hope to be able to find one with manuals/tools since based on your comments, it seems to be a good bike.

Comment by Marv

Is the Midtown a good bike to ride on the beachwalks of So .Cal? Any websites that sell the tires and tubes?

Comment by xrxman59

I bought two of these Schwinn Midtown bikes tonight at my local Costco. They were marked down to $150 each! I thought they were a pretty good deal at $230, so I was pleased to see them priced so low. It seems like we’re getting a lot of bike for the money, and I’m sure they will suit my wife and I (casual bikers) just fine. Anyway, There were only a half dozen or so left; I guess Costco is moving the rest out the door. If someone is looking to buy one of these, now’s the time.

Comment by Nathaniel

Scott,

Thanks for the blog! Good information.

I just won this bike in a contest and noticed that the handlebars have a little play in them (about an inch) they move back and forth. Is that normal? I haven’t ridden a bike in a long time and didn’t even realize they went up to 21 gears!

I’ve also noticed that a few other riders have taken it to a local bike store to have the bolts tightened up and to make sure that it was assembled correctly. Do you think that’s a good idea?

Thanks again!

Comment by Ben

Tightening the handlebars isn’t difficult, but if you can find a good local shop that will give your bike the once over it might be a good idea. Enjoy your new bike!

Comment by Scott

Wow. I just noticed these posted about the Schwinn Midtown bike that I bought back June 2008. I had similar reasons for buying this bike as did Scott. It was 25 years since I bought a bike, and didn’t know the terms for the kind of bike that are offered. I bought mine online and noticed that it was black/red compared to the blue/silver in the store. A few improvements such as the kickstand, seat, cables and rear derailleur. I personally like the red/black better.

The first accessory I got for my bike was the air horn which is great and has saved me from getting hit by cars. It’s amazing how drivers can be looking right through you until you blow that horn, then they wake up from their trance. At this point I knew I was into riding my bike so I got an expensive Light and Motion HID light. This thing is amazing! Cars at night would slow down as I would to see what was so bright, giving me the safety needed on the road. I found it easier and safer at night with fewer cars. As for the rack. The cost of the light was more than the bike but worth it. I didn’t have any problems with the Topeak MTX E-type rack. It installs easily and quickly. I have two with one plain rack and one with the Walden foldable black baskets to it. When I go shopping I just switch racks. I also have the bungee cargo net which works great to secure this in the baskets. Besides the other gear like a camelback water fanny pack, reflective vest, helmet and the third eye mirror. I went all the way to converting my bike to an E-bike. It’s been even more fun to ride especially on those days when the wind is in your face and you can pedal without breaking a sweat. The other things I want to put on I will save when I upgrade to a better more expensive bike.

When I got the bike from Costco, I had to do all the adjustments with the handle bars when putting it together, and took awhile like normally does when you have put something together before. I did notice the the tires a
truing, which you could learn to do yourself or just send it to the local bike shop. With that needing to be done I had to keep adjusting the V-brakes. I’ve learned so much again with this bike and would recommend it if your not sure if you are going to commit to riding. It is a dependable bike and has good quality where it’s needed. I would replace the tires since I got a flat in the rear with a kevlar tire. Armadillo tires 26″ x 1.5″ is what I have on them and I never got a flat. I ride on the streets and on light dirt trails. I hope this helps anyone who’s on the fence. Maybe you will do what I did by converting my bike to an electric bike. Good luck.

Comment by Ben D.

Sorry for the errors in my writing. Too excited to write what I’ve done. It’s a pain to proof read such a small box to write in. I think you get my meaning.

Comment by Ben D.

I forgot to mention that I have an Alex rim on the back of my bike. I needed a stronger rim to support the hub motor that’s now on my Midtown bike. It’s a double wall rim. An Alex rim DM24 is a little too big without adjusting the brake pads. Go with a DM18 or DM 22 to fit properly. I will be getting one for the front wheel soon. Anyway, I haven’t got a flat with the Armadillo tires on either rim.

Comment by Ben D.

I also bought one of these bike for my 8km (round trip) commute to work in 2008. I live and work in Japan and bought my bike at Costco Japan. The bike was great for the first three months, but Japan get a lot of rain and its very humid which had caused many problems. Most of the alloy parts on the bike have began rusting (even though I maintain them weekly).

Recently the bike started squeaking and I have not been able to identify the problem. I thought it might be the bottom bracket, and so last week I repacked the crank bearings ( I was disappointed a little at how low quality the bearings were ;( ) in hopes that it would stop, and gave the bike an overall lub and tune. To my surprise the squeak is still there and getting worse. Do any of you have a squeak problem?

Comment by Eric

An update on a couple of maintenance things:

I found long stem 26″ 1.95 tubes made by Giant. My Specialized LBS carried them for $10. They fit like the old tube in the deep rims.

I replaced my tires with Michelin CiTY 26×1.85. Mine wore out much sooner that expected. You can pick them up online for around $20. I ride mostly pavement. They seem to roll and corner better then the OEM Schwinns it came with.

I had to replace the freewheel too. I used a Mega Drive 14-34. I lost the high gear, which I use most of the time. Now I ride slower.

Eric – Squeaking problems could be the front suspension fork. Mine squeaked too until I greased it. My front fork now has some rust in the suspension and sticks every now and then. This is next on my list to replace.

Comment by Lemond Guy

I own a very early (about ’86 model) Specialized Hardrock, a Trek 700 and a Fugi. My son saw the Midtown at Costco and thought I might be interested since I was looking for a comfortable bike. I ride 10 miles a day – rain or shine – no matter the weather – once when it was 16 degrees with blowing snow.I bought the Midtown on sale for $159.00. No it wasn’t tuned perfectly, and much of the nuts/bolts were loose. I spent about twenty minutes tighting and adjusting. Bought this bike in March 2009. Added rear rack, Planet Bike fenders, front and rear lights. Current milage – one thousand six hundred fifty-two miles- without a single complaint. I also read all the garbage about don’t buy department store bikes – some truth if you can’t tighten a few bolts, and make minor adjustments etc. This is easily the most comfortable ride out there. Everyone that takes a ride on it wants one. My son and uncle both went back and bought the last ones Costco had. I don’t think you can buy one now. If this thing ever dies, I’m looking at the Schwinn World GS for a replacement. If your looking to compete in speed racing – you probably need to look elsewhere – I know a lot of people riding very uncomfortable bikes because they go fast – Why I don’t know – they never go anywhere that even test the speed of these bikes. Just want to spend a lot of money so others will look and say – wow “expensive bike.” I can go faster that I want to on this bike or any bike 30-35mph (I don’t want to be on a bike going any faster myself). A little common sense will tell you – Schwinn has been building bikes for a long time; they know how – (yes I know Cannondale now owns Schwinn) – they definately have the comfort market cornered.From my perspective five stars, no negatives, and still riding every day.

Comment by Phillip

I own one of these bikes now and am conducting maintenance on the brakes but i cannot find what size brake lines to purchase, ive got the housing and pins but i dont know the size of the wire gauge to use inside the housing at this point. I have the same type of bike, id appreciate the help, thanks!

Comment by Juan E. Gomez

Costco is now advertising this bike for $299.99
Quite a price jump from the original post here. I guess they are a victim of their success.

Comment by Randy

Just checked back to see if any more comments on the Midtown. I now have 1,980 miles without a problem. I have had one flat, but still have original tires and they look fine. The squeaking problem questioned is common to all bikes after riding them a while. The most likly culprit is the spoke seats. Buy some non-oil type bike lube-turn the wheel and place one drop on each spoke nipple (where the spoke attaches to rim) – that will usually last for a few months. Good luck – this bike is back at Costco – but at double the price – I’ed still buy one.

Comment by Phillip

Me again. Now over two thousand miles, same tires, and very few problems. I developed a bad cracklin noise in the bottom bracket. The bike store sold me the nec. tools to remove the cranks and get the bearings out for inspection. They were in terrible condition-rusted, and housing was full of gunk/sand/sludge. Bearins are not of good quality as someone else has previously commented. I bought loose balls, packed them in heavy grease, and put them back on-no problem, rides smooth, and quite (cost 22 balls@.10=$2.20). I would like to find a sealed axle unit for this bike. Biggest problem I’ve had is- no information exist on schwinn site. No detailed spec’s from Costco etc. Anyway – I still love the bike. If all I have to spend is $2 every 2000 miles I’ll stay pleased. Oh yes! The tools required cost about thirty dollars, but now I have them for future maintenance which I intend to do about every 500 miles or so. Looking forward to cooler weather-some days were really hot and humid this summer.

Comment by Phillip

I want to add toe clips but can’t figure out how to attach them to the pedals. Any ideas?

Comment by Joan Fargo

i bought a bike at Costco and loved it, but it felt a bit big for me so i returned it after a bad fall. They only sell the bike assembled at the store I go to. My problem is I am only 4′ 11″ and am 67 years old. How do I get a bike loke that to fit my inder tall frame. any suggestions at a reasonable price?

Comment by adrienne leibowitz

You need to go to a bike store and get fitted for a bike. A small will most likely fit your need. Not a costco bike but any other brand with size differentials….

Comment by Will Yang

I have down quite a bit of upgrade to my midtown since I started riding a few years ago. Now I am seriously considering changing out the Crankset and the Bottom Bracket. Do you know if the bike will take a external bearing mount bottom bracket without having to machine the bike frame?

Thinking about replacing with something like this:

Will this work?

Thanks in advance for your help !!

Comment by Will Yang

Did you ever figure this out? Looking at replacing my BB

Comment by jonw

I just bought a Midtown 3 days ago with the special up-grade of hybrid electrical power. The 500 Watt motor is mounted on the front wheel and leaves all 21 gears available for use. Three days can’t give a full picture but so far so good and besides being great for commuting this combination is a lot of fun.
Gil Ophir, Golan Hts., Israel

Comment by Gil Ophir

It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this superb blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for
book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.

I look forward to new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.
Chat soon!

Comment by Clifford




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