Gallery: Ann’s Schwinn Frontier FS

My bike is my trusty 21-speed, 2001 Schwinn Frontier FS mountain bike. I added electric assist last summer, installing Currie’s kit. I had found that I wasn’t cycling that much because my knees would give me heck. (I retired to a beautiful forest west of Glacier National Park after spending most of my career working in Washington, D.C. Needless to say most hills here are steep.) After adding power assist, I began not just exploring the vast 2.2 million acre forest that I live in, but using my bike for errands into the nearby town that’s about 10 miles away. Since July of last year, I’ve put more miles on my bike than on my truck. I won’t be able to go car free. The rural area where I presently live has no mass transit, taxis or car rentals. I also buck and split my own firewood and need the truck to do that. However, I use the bike to scope out areas in the forest where I can cut firewood and mark it on my GPS unit–I don’t fell trees but cut up trees that have fallen or been felled by the forest service. I also run many of my errands, including shopping trips, on my bike. You’ll see it’s evolved–I added pogies for winter (love them), added fenders that I’m going to keep on year round and recently added a bipod kickstand and front rack. I may invest in a larger set of rear panniers so I don’t need to contemplate taking my trailer for larger grocery runs. Who knows, if I end up moving back to an urban area, I might just be able to go car-free. At present, I’m trying to patiently wait for the spring thaw so I can ride in the forest again. Over the winter, my rides have all been into the nearby town or on paved roads that don’t run deep into the forest.

FYI–If you’re wondering what the rectangular lights are on the front and rear of the bike–they’re turn signals. It drove me nuts that many younger drivers didn’t seem to understand hand signals so I made turn signals using 2 sets of super bright amber LED strobes that I control via a center-off toggle switch on the handlebars. (I also added a brake light while I was at it that’s triggered by a micro lever switch attached to the rear brake cable.) It’s a DIY project I’d recommend and cost less than $30.

Ann

16 Responses to “Gallery: Ann’s Schwinn Frontier FS”

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Wow, Ann, I’m impressed–with the bike and where you live. Fantastic. What is the range of the electric assist? I can easily see if my knees give me trouble, I’d go that route as well.

    Nice set up!

    Scott

  • Doug R. says:

    Ann! you are a hero among us! Stay in the forest away from the idiots in cars and pollution.
    You have a story book environment to live in! Dougman

  • arevee says:

    How does the Hebie bi-pod kickstand work with a loaded rear pannier? I am using a Pletsher 2 legged stand and the bike falls over with just a little weight in 1 pannier. The Hebie is quite costly, but I’d spend the money if the bike would stay upright.

  • Ann says:

    Scott,

    I pedal and reserve power assist for the hills. I’ve still had power in the standard Currie 24V 10AH SLA pack after 25 mile trips. I’m in the process of ordering LIFEPO4 batteries to build my own second 24V 20AH pack. I plan on using ABS sheets and chemical welding agents to create my own Currie-style case that will fit in the Currie Rear Mounted Battery Rack. That will keep the weight of the batteries low. LIFEPO4 is a safer chemistry in the Lithium battery line (it’s cathode is Iron Phosphate and it doesn’t have issues with fire and explosion unlike other Lithium batteries). The range should be enough to help me make it to the peaks of some of the steep mountains that I began exploring by bike last year as well as make round trips another town that is 22 miles from my house. I highly recommend electric assist, especially if you live in hilly terrain or have knee issues.

    Doug,

    Thanks. I agree that this area is beautiful. I’m fortunate to be here and to get to slow down and take time to “smell the roses.” There’s something beautiful everywhere, we’re usually just in such a hurry that we may over look it. I hope everyone can take a little time off periodically to slow down and observe their environment and enjoy the beauty they see.

    arevee,

    I installed the M-Wave bipod kickstand, which is patterned on the Herbie but is much less expensive. It’s doing great holding up. I haven’t had any problems with the bike wanting to tip when loading the panniers. I do use a strap with velcro to hold my front wheel in place while loading the basket.

    Ann in Montana

  • arevee says:

    Too bad there is no domestically available steering stabilizer spring. Hebie makes one of those, but it would need to be ordered from Europe and is expensive for what it is. I think a with a little imagination plus some hose clamps and a spring one could DYI a steering stabilizer. The flopping front wheel is an issue with the 2 legged kickstand and front loads.

  • Roland Smith says:

    Extremely good idea, fitting those pogies! Thank you very much for posting! Mind if I borrow it? :-) I always get very cold fingers during winter commutes, and gloves that work well enough are usually too cumbersome to operate the gears and brakes properly.

    If your knee troubles are purely related to cycling, you might need to look at the set-up of your bike. Particularly the distance from the saddle to the bottom backet, and the gearing ratio. Saddle too low and gearing too high are common mistakes that can lead to knee pains.

  • Simon N says:

    Fascinated by the micro-lever actuated brake light. Genius. It’s a wonder this hasn’t been implemented in the the commuter market already.

    The indicators are a good idea too. My commute involves a left turn at the bottom of a steep hill in the middle of the city, straight across a pedestrian crossing. If I indicate with my left hand I’m only braking the front wheel (in Australia, so everything is reversed). Needless to say, locking up the front wheel coming down a steep incline ain’t good. At the moment I indicate by pointing left with my right hand behind my back, but from what I understand in touring circles that means ‘pass me on the left’, so it’s not ideal. An indicator button near the shifter would solve that problem.

    Anyway, well done.

  • Phil Barns says:

    Where might I be able to obtain a pair of ‘pogies’ ( never heard of them before ) in the UK/Europe? At the moment in bad weather/low temperatures I have to use a pair of army surplus arctic mittens- they’re great for warmth and dryness, but turn my hands into flippers, which makes gear changing and braking into a challenge.
    @arevee: the Hebie bipod is more than up to the task of supporting a loaded bike- I had four ( young ) trees on the back of mine, no worries. Make sure the load is balanced, and I’d advise putting some old innertube on to the frame where the clamp goes, so you don’t knacker the paint and invite rust. The thin rubber they put on the clamp isn’t up to the job. Also, keep an eye on the bolt- like all bolts, it can work loose over time.

  • townmouse says:

    @Phil – I didn’t know that was what they were called (I suppose I would have called them ‘handlebar muffs’ if I had to give them a name) but I’ve seen photos of them on Copenhagen Cycle Chic so they must be available in Europe somewhere! If you find a UK stockist let me know…
    @SimonN – don’t know about brake-operated rear lights (but what a good idea) but at least in the UK you can get handlebar mounted indicators called Winkku (combined with a mirror)

  • Ann says:

    Phil,

    I got mine from Amazon in the US for under $18.00. It doesn’t look like their UK site sells them. The ones I ordered are actually for ATVs but work fine on bicycles, too (Kwik Tek ATV Hand Protectors is how they’re listed). Doing a UK Google search, I found this link and I suspect you can find many more, especially if you use a generic search term like handlebar mitts rather than pogies. http://www.ultimateaddons.co.uk/Vehicle_Accessories/ATV_Accessories/Handlebar_%20ATV/Motorcycle_%20Mitts___896.htm
    Good luck.

    Simon,

    Thank you. I would encourage anyone who feels their hand signals aren’t understood or who rides in the dark to tackle a DIY signal light project. It isn’t hard to do, just takes a bit of time and patience wiring everything up. If I can do it, anyone can.

    Roland,

    I love my pogies and think you would love pogies, too. Thanks for the advice on proper bike setup. My knee issues are related to running, which I did until knee problems cropped in my 40s.

    Ann in Montana

  • Phil Barns says:

    Thanks Townmouse and Ann: the Ultimate Addons link has the UK price- £16.99 is pretty cheap, so my Mundo’s definitely getting a pair *grin* I frequently ride in the dark, and have a pair of fluorescent green retroreflective bands round my wrists for signalling; throwing an arm out when you’re going down a 1 in 10 isn’t the safest of manoeuvres, I will admit, so perhaps DIY indicators are also in the future.

  • Edward says:

    Where do you find the fenders for 2000 Schwinn Frontier FS? I am looking for them, thanks!

  • Ann says:

    Edward,

    I installed SKS Commuter Fenders, which are plastic and have mud guards (they come in black or silver). I got mine online. I ordered the 60mm mountain bike version. They work well to keep you clean; however, now that the weather is nice and I’m riding deep into the forest, I’m not sure I’ll be keeping them on during the summer since the paths I ride have lots of natural debris, pinecones, twigs, etc. They do have breakaway attachments should a stick or other debris become lodged between the wheel and the fender. Good luck.

  • Edward says:

    Plastic? I thought they looked metal :) But anyway thanks for the reply!

  • Ann says:

    Edward,

    I would suggest that if there’s a bicycle shop near you that you see if they have the SKS fenders in stock and take a look at them if they do. Although they’re plastic, they’re very sturdy and they look very nice. Planet Bike also makes nice fenders, too (also plastic). Good luck.

  • Edward says:

    Ann,

    That’s the plan! I did check both plus few other brands on amazon.com and elsewhere.

    Thanks again!

 
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