Before we can talk about the bike, we’ve got to discuss the brand. Schwinn brand has been through plenty of struggles in the past two decades. The company failed and was then split out to several buyers. Some of the buyers put the Schwinn brand all over other companies’ workout equipment. Others slapped it on other companies’ bicycles.
And, a small number of bikes wer eproduced with a higher standard that accurately reflects the Schwinn brand
The bottom line is, unless you know which one of the models are a high-end Schwinn or a lower end model, you can get duped.
It’s unfortunate, but it is how the company stayed in business.
The Mesa has impressed me as a solid starter bike. It was either sold at local bike shops (I sold some from the shop I worked at) or at Dick’s and MC Sports (I saw them in there).
It is a little heavier than most of the other mountain bikes, but it is also typically a little bit less expensive, which makes it ideal for folks who are new to the sport.
The Fork is a Zoom brand. In my experience, they are very similar to the entry-level Suntour branded spring forks. You get 60 mm of travel on this one, so clearly a starter fork. Depending on the year manufactured, they may or may not have a lockout.
The brakes are either v-brakes or linear pull. If you ride hard, I would upgrade these to a higher end caliper and handle set to get a more responsive pair.
However, the EZ-fire shifters and 7×3 gear system is ideal for both off-road riding and commuting. These also have held up well in my opinion, with many customers continuing to use their setup a decade after they purchase the bicycle.
If you happen to run across one or have one in the garage that you are thinking of brushing off, I would imagine that it is worth investing a few dollars into. I probably wouldn’t invest over $100 into getting one rideable, since, at that point, you are already 25% of the way to purchasing a new model.
But for a basic cycle that you can get muddy, this is an excellent all around starter machine.