Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: Forge Athena 17" bicycle

My husband enjoys cycling, and I wanted to be able to ride with him sometimes. The bike I had was a garage sale find, but the frame was too big for me. I considered a bicycle from a bike store, but I had trouble paying $325+ for a bike that I might not end up riding that much.* Since I am a new rider, I wanted a step-through frame. I also wanted to be able to put my feet flat. I also wanted multiple speeds, so that I could pull my child trailer. I decided on the Forge Athena based on price and features.

What I like:
  • aluminum frame
  • 21 speed
  • step-through frame
  • quick release wheels and seat
  • name brand components
  • looks stylish (the paint is 2 toned which I didn't realize when I bought it)
  • fits me well (I'm 5'8)
  • upright riding position
  • saddle is comfortable (so far, haven't taken it more than a few miles)
  • very comfortable ride
  • kickstand
What I don't like:
  • can't put feet flat (that's ok, I just lower the seat) and as I get better this isn't a big deal
  • isn't really anywhere to put a water bottle or basket due to shape of the frame and where the brakes sit. The seat post has a shock absorber, so that's out too. I'm going to look at it more closely and see if I can figure out a solution.
  • set up was a pain. I'd advise to plan on spending an extra $50 to get a tune-up from a bike shop. Actually putting the bike together wasn't hard, but getting the bike ridable took longer than I expected. The wheels were out of true (my husband could play "yankee doodle" on the spokes.) The chain was rubbing on the derailleur cage. The brakes were not working correctly at all. One of the pedals was loose. After 2 trips to bike store (stupid derailleurs) and my husband tweaking things, it seems to be working perfectly now.
  • doesn't fit across the back of my sienna, even with the front wheel off. I have to lay a seat down. (my husband's mountain bike and road bike fit there). It would probably fit if I took off the back wheel, but I don't want to go through trying to get the chain on and off.
  • because of the step-through frame, the bike won't fit on our bike rack. I've ordered a bar to fix this, so we'll see how it goes.
My husband's comments:
  • he rode it on one of his usual rides and averaged 13 mph (instead of usual 16-18), but the frame was small for him and he had a bad head wind.
  • he likes way it rides
  • not a speed bike
Would I recommend it? So far, yes. I've had a lot of problems and it's taken me a while to get to ride it, but most of that was initial set up. I'll update this after I've ridden it a little more.

*(Although looking at how much I spent on this bike, the bike store bike wouldn't have been that much more expensive. If you can get free shipping, it would be a better deal.)

No comments: