Recommendation: Let me start off by saying that I'm not a "mountain biker". I was looking for an inexpensive, durable bike to use as a recreational/commuter bike, and I found it in this one. I purchased the bike in the early spring after not riding for 25 or so years. (I'm 49, by the way) I had a road bike back then that I was constantly repairing flats on due to harsh road conditions so I wanted something that could hold up under urban use, but not be punished. I was 90% happy with the bike right out of the box, it needed some minor adjustments since it was a department store bike, but I don't mind doing that sort of thing. I made some minor changes for reasons of my own personal taste. Here's what I added/changed... Planet Bike Comfort Gel Saddle
Sette XE Curved Alloy Bar Ends
Mosh Half Step Platform Pedals with Wellgo Strapless Toeclips
Shimano M-191 Crankset 28/38/48
Shimano UN54 Bottom Bracket
Sette Quest QR Clip On Seat Bag
Topeak Explorer Rack
Topeak MTX TrunkBag EX
Cycle Star Short Stem Rearview Mirror
Serfas SL-200 Headlights (2)
Planet Bike Superflash Stealth Taillight
Additional Water Bottle Cage
Planet Bike Protégé 9.0 Wireless Computer
With these modifications I'm now 100% pleased with the bike. If you're looking for a bike to use as I do then I'd recommend this one. As for off-roading, I really can't comment, since I don't use it for that.
Pros: I am a beginner and my wife bought me this bike to see if I was really going to ride. Over the past 2 years this little engine that could has held up to me going several places I should not have gone, splilling down more than one rocky downhill, and took me through a 70-mile cross country this past winter. It is a durable, all-purpose bike for someone starting out.
Cons: It is not exactly upgradable so I am now in the market for a second bike.
Recommendation: If you want to get started without paying 1000, 2000, ... this is a great bike to cut your teeth (and split your lip, and bust up your knee, etc.) on.
Pros: This bike is great for all round use, I found it a very comfortable and a smoothride on-road. Off-road this bike performs really well as it is sturdy and tough. The shinamo shifters work really well and its pretty light compared to other steel frame bikes.
Cons: Could improve a bit on the seat, but not a big issue.
Recommendation: Great low price bike, with a long lifespan and durability.
Pros: After I added a newer bigger seat for my bigger seat, I found the bike to be very comfortable to ride. I have a trailer that I pull my 2 yr old grandson around in. I have never taken it off road, I bought it because I like Schwinn bikes and the price was right.
Cons: I dislike going up hill when pulling the trailer.
Recommendation: I'd buy another one...mine is 2 years old and doing great. I put maybe 250 miles on it per summer..which is about nothing compared to most other riders I think.