I just bought a Schwinn Sycamore

changl

New Member
I got a great deal on a Schwinn Sycamore. I was drawn to this bike for its price, power (350W) , battery size (500w), warranty (2 years electric components), front suspension, and name brand recognition. (I used to ride Schwinns as a kid).
Here are my early thoughts/pet peeves:

Issues:
1. Assembly is not for amateurs. Best to have a helper hold some heavy parts while you set up the other heavy components. For example, you don't want to have the handlebar dangling off by its cables while you set up the front wheels (with the disc brakes). Also, the front stem attachment needed to be detached and turned 180 degrees, but the owner's manual gave no indication of that. I had to compare with the photos online. If you do not have experience assembling a bike with disc brakes, have a professional set it up for you.
2. The rear tire arrived flat. After inflation to the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall (50-70 psi), the tire was flat again by the next day. Repaired the tube. That popped. Replaced the tube. Popped again. After replacing the rear tire on an ebike 3x, I became an expert on removing this rear wheel. But it was only through searching online for tips. The owner's manual merely assumes that you're replacing the front wheel and makes no mention of the complexities of replacing the tire on the REAR wheel that has an electric motor, which involves aligning the axle tabs, removing the disc brake calipers, getting an 18mm offset wrench, etc. I guess having the early flats was a blessing in disguise (giving me the experience needed to do this on the road in the future), but it would have been helpful if the owner's manual gave further information.
This time, I installed a $13 puncture resistant tube. Now I'm praying that I don't get a flat during my 16 mile commutes through the city. Could it be that the rims from the factory have sharp edges? I checked everywhere on the inside of the rim and did not feel anything. The rim rubber covered each spoke. Was it because the rear motor hub is placing too much weight on the tire and thus rear tire punctures are just a common problem for these types of ebikes?
3. Adding to the complexities of removing the rear wheel, there is no easy way of placing this heavy bike upside down as the top computer (Bafang) touches the ground. The owner's manual says you can slide the computer off, but the manual is incorrect. This is bolted on and can only be removed/adjusted with an allen wrench. Furthermore, the wires are very tight which limits its movement. You do not want to risk tearing the cables that control the motor and battery.
4. I was originally unable to remove the battery. There are no diagrams or photos to show in which direction to pull, but it will not come out unless you position it exactly in a certain angle, then stop and pull it directly outward as if on a plane--sort of like a 2-D pizza being pulled outward. It is not intuitive. Any other direction and you might break some tabs.
5. The charger gets very hot. I decided to put a fan next to the charger/battery when recharging.

Joys:
6. The 5 levels of pedal assistance are based upon your speed. I was able to go up hills and attain speeds of 20mph even with a headwind.
7. The battery is rated 500W, which is plenty.
8. The front suspension does a good job of absorbing bumps on the road.
9. The seat is comfortable.
10. Would I buy this bike again? ABSOLUTELY!
(But I do have my eye on a mid motor Trek in the future).

Anyone else with this bike, please advise! Thanks!
 

harryS

Well-Known Member
Bicycle wheels will easily support 150 pounds on each axle, so the 8 pounds added for a 350W motor and 8 pounds for a battery are trivial.

A tube that continues to leak may have a burr in the rim, but the hole would re-appear at the same spot. I found that the use of screw drivers to pry off the tire increased the risk of tube damage. Plastic tire levers are better. For stiff tires, plastic tire levers with a steel core are really good.

Good rims are double wall rims. You would see the spoke end nipples in a recessed hole that can never get close to a tube. Instead of rubber strip for rim tape, they use a layer of adhesive paper/cardboard tape, about 3/16" thick nestled in the groove of the rim.

When I flip a bike, I use a thick towel to protect the display and put a brick or spacer under each handle bar grip.

Enjoy the Schwinn!