I bought this bike, ostensibly for my wife, just because I liked the looks and concept of it so much. The white frame and red rims look mighty cute to my eye, but more important were functional features like the rear rack and the fenders and the good brakes. In my opinion it is a shame that most bicycles sold in America are nothing more than fair-weather toys... I lived in Japan a couple years and had the great pleasure to ride to work and do all my grocery shopping with a 3-speed bicycle of what Americans would term a "women's" design. In reality the step-thru frame design is great for men with older joints, or anybody who has a large box strapped onto their rear rack. I should mention that I also bought a Schwinn "Point Beach" bicycle for my wife's older daughter at about the same time as I bought this bike. The Point Beach is similar in many respects, but has an aluminum frame and fatter tires. In my opinion, both of these bikes are rather well made. The frame welds are good quality, unlike virtually all "Huffy" brand bicycles I have looked at. The tapered fork of the "Admiral" is really a classy touch. We have had no problems with the tires on either of them. Many bicycle purists will no doubt bemoan the "heavy" weight of these Wal-Mart bikes, but in my estimation most Americans should be a lot more concerned about getting 10 pounds off their bodies than about getting 10 pounds off their bicycles. After all, what is your reason for cycling? Do you really expect to compete in racing at an elite level where a few pounds will affect your results? Or do you want exercise or a utility bike? Anyway, the main problem I have found with this Admiral bicycle is that the frame geometry is bad. The tube of the frame that the seat post slides into is too close to vertical, so that your hips are almost straight above the crank bearing area. This means, however far the pedals are away from you, the ground will always be much farther away. So you have a choice to either put the seat dangerously high above the ground, or put the seat uncomfortably close to the pedals. It is actually bad for your knees to pedal with the seat set too low... your legs should very nearly straighten out at the bottom of the stroke. Schwinn should have slanted the seatpost back a lot more, so your butt could be far from the pedals without being too far from the ground. The handlebars on this bike also leave a lot to be desired. The shape is not at all ergonomic, unless you tilt them back at an angle that looks very bizarre and spoils the bike's looks. Worse yet, the stitched-together grip covers are slippery, loose, and lack durability. They are seriously gimmicky. There has been a problem on both the Admiral and Point Beach bikes with keeping the brakes from dragging. I cannot adjust the spring balance enough to eliminate it... I think the RH and LH springs are too much different in tension to adjust out. It is a shame, because otherwise the brakes on these bikes are a big advancement over the horrible weak caliper brakes common on cheaper bikes 20 or 30 years ago. These are very powerful and stop the bike very positively. I do not like the derailleur shift mechanism on these bikes. The Admiral has a single sprocket in the front, and 7 rear cogs from 13 to 28 teeth. I calculate a total transmission range of 215%. In my opinion an internally-geared-hub type transmission would fit the utility-bike concept a whole lot better, requiring less adjustment, less maintenance, and less mechanical ability to use. For example, the SRAM brand 5 speed hub would give a total range of about 250% and be much more reliable than this cheapo 7 speed derailleur. And unlike more expensive derailleurs, this shifter's parallelogram linkage is not tilted to follow the overall contour of the sprocket cluster. The result is that the idler sprocket nearly rubs against the 28-tooth cog when in lowest gear, and shifting overall is not very good. I would rather see a good troublefree 3-speed hub on here than any derailleur. It was my secret plan to change this bike over to a 3- or 5-speed hub originally, but now I feel the bike is not worth it because of the bad frame geometry. With its good frame welds, powerful brakes, handy rear rack and step-thu frame, this bike is so very close to the practical bike I dream of having. Unfortunately it seems very uncomfortable to pedal due to the flawed frame geometry, so I can't recommend it except for very casual use.
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