Well this is a couple days over a week since I made that last post the day after I purchased the Schwinn.... So I'll tell you all about it now that I have ridden it and found every, little, little issue with it and adjusted it so right now there's not a single thing out of wack.
The assembling process was easy, it took several hours though because it slowed me down to look for the correct tools (this bike... is made up ENTIRELY of allen wrench bolts, so if allen wrenches are something you infrequently use dig 'em out before you buy a Schwinn!). The first thing I did was attach the front wheel, and it's really nice that it has a quick-release lever so I didn't have to go looking for the correct wrench. I had to take one of the brake pads off, though, so I didn't shove the tire through the brake area. That was simple, though. Then I attached the handle bar. The brake and shift cables were already connected, but I had to disconnect the brakes because they were interfering with getting the handle bar on. Then I put the seat in, and the only thing I had to do to the peddals was screw on the black part. The peddle arms were already in place and adjusted. I put on the rear reflector and the water bottle cage on without a problem, but the front reflector... it's a bit tough to find exactly where to put it. I think it's in the wrong place, but all of the other metal poles in that area are too wide and I'd break the reflector trying to get it on. I couldn't put it around the suspension rod, either.... so I settled on a smaller one right up top near where the actual handle bar is. Five or ten minutes getting the brakes adjusted just right, and I went outside for the maiden voyage. I noticed that I heard a little bit of a scraping noise, and I found out that it was that the front derailleur had been adjusted so it didn't slack enough when it was all the way down in the first gear. So I just took a screwdriver, and one turn of a little screw did the trick. But then I noticed that the front fork was facing backwards... off comes the tire and the brake pad, out come the breake cables, I turn the fork the right way, and on everything goes again. After that- everything is perfect. It rides very smoth, makes absolutely no noise except for tire over sand, (yes, I live on a dirt road, unfortunately for my bicycles!) and the shifting is seamless. It is always in the right gear and the knob for shifting feels very solid. It's a Shimano shifting system; now I know why they're in practically every bicycle brand! The suspension on the front is very soft; I had always thought that the suspension on my old Roadmaster was pretty stiff; the combination of that and the suspension of my new Schwinn being designed to be softer than usual makes an extremely pleasant change for me.
I already have a "hero" story for this Schwinn. So my road is very hilly; there's one stretch where there's a fairly short, steep hill and then it's slightly downhill for maybe a quarter of a mile or so. Then there's another big hill down and there's a big straight way, so I like to start at the top of the first short, steep hill and fly down as fast as I can. Now, there are only two of three people who live beyond me and there's very little traffic, so when I'm out there for 45 minutes or so riding my bike only 1 or 2 cars go by. I'm flying down the strech of hill, and what a perfect time for my idiot neighbor to come flying out of his driveway like a maniac (Maniac is actually what I refer to his son as.) and I'm only about 15 or 20 feet away from him. What do I do? Slam on my brakes, obviously. I must have gone from 30 MPH to zero in about seven feet. Now if it was any other bike, especially my old one, I probably wouldn't be telling this story now. Well, I guess that I could have veered off the road and flown in to the ditch, but I'd probably have wound up breaking something anyway....
So, overall the bike is extremely well made, the setup process is easy but it takes a few rides and a few hours to get everything perfectly adjusted, and yeah... the brakes are excellent!