August 3, 2009
East to find, inexpensive (roomie paid $200 for Target floor model with a couple of scratches), fairly light, springy suspension.
Seat isn't great, would prefer rear disc brake (but cantilevered brake works fine), roommate thinks gearing is too low.
First, in the interest of disclosure: this isn't my bike, it's my room-mate's. I commute by bike and only ride off-road once in a while, so I usually ride a light hybrid (a Schwinn Avenue, successor to a GT Arette which got stolen) with 700x38c tires.
However, he commutes by car, so I ride his bike whenever my bike is out of commission, and I do enjoy it.
My roomie wanted a mountain bike that would both suit his frame (he's 5' 7" and around 180 lbs of solid muscle) and let him keep up with me on my hybrid. He's also a bike novice: he hadn't been on a bike since he was a kid. We tried a lot of bikes both at big-box stores and bike stores, but had trouble finding a model that he really liked (excepting a couple that he thought were too pricey, since he wasn't 100% sure he wanted to make a lifetime commitment).
The S60 DSX proved to be a good fit: a comfortable, novice-friendly ride with enough muscle to handle light off-road riding -- exactly what he wanted.
I recently blew a tire on my hybrid, and it took me a couple of weeks to get around to replacing it. During that stretch, I have been riding this bike exclusively.
At first, I was a little worried that the weight would slow me down. However, this the S60 DSX proved surprisingly light, fast, and manoeuverable on the roadways. I did not find my morning commute to be appreciably more difficult, and found the low gearing useful for the long climb on my evening commute.
The S60 DSK is also a heck of a lot of fun off the road. I agree with TheFlyingIguana -- the suspension might be *too much* on a narrow, rocky track -- sometimes, you feel like you're floating, which can be a little nerve-wracking. However, it's great when you're faced with, for example, an unkempt alley full of potholes or a wide, bumpy, not-too-steep bike trail. I've also ridden this thing down stairs (long story), which was ridiculously fun (on my bike, it would be doable, perilous).
My room-mate complains that the low gearing makes it difficult for him to keep up with me on my hybrid. I've never tried to keep up with anyone on his bike, so my only complaint is that the gearing on this bike maxes out at a slightly lower speed than mine. However, the S60 DSX makes up for it when you need to haul your hiney up a steep hill on a sticky-hot Louisville afternoon.
Overall, I'd say that this is a good entry-level bike: the quality is pretty solid, and it has the bells and whistles that make riding in rough terrain comfortable. An experienced mountain bike rider would probably want something a little higher-end, but if you want to get your feet wet on a good bike without breaking the bank, the S60 DSX is a good choice.
Oh, and people apparently think it's one good-looking machine, as well. Even older fellows in their 60s and 70s seem to like it.