First blog post, so let’s start it off with a bang. This is the 2000 Schwinn Homegrown mountain bike that I bought off Craigslist for $250. :0 Back in the day, these were some of the nicest bikes money could buy and most (all?) of them were welded and assembled by hand in America. Some were even welded in Durango, CO by this little shop called Yeti- which has gone on to become a huge name in the industry.
Mine was one of the last before Schwinn went bankrupt, sold out, and became a producer of lower-end bikes. Originally it sold for around $1500. There’s a little sticker on the bottom of my frame that says it was built by Omron? in San Diego.
I bought this off another engineer. It was cool talking to him because we clearly both appreciated the brand and the design quality. Take a look at the detail on this frame. Amazing!… Was that waterjetting?
I believe the front fork includes some magnesium to make it even lighter. I’m really into lightweight bikes, so I pulled off some chainrings and the front derailleur. It’s now a 1×9 speed instead of a 3×9. In Texas, I find that 9 speeds is plenty. The bike weighs in at 26 lbs, which is incredible for a full-size aluminum frame. Compared to the low-end, $300-600 Treks and Diamondbacks I’ve owned, the HomeGrown is just amazingly nimble and fast. I’m very glad this bike found me through Craigslist and it is worth every dime and drop of sweat I’ve poured into restoring it. I can definitely appreciate why other sites wax poetic on the Homegrown lineup and even claim they are still raceworthy two decades later.
Although I could probably sell this bike for a quick $50 profit, I think I will hang onto it. But I will certainly keep an eye open for more Homegrowns on Craigslist… Rebuilding these things could become a fun little hobby and it has given me the mindset of appreciating older things.
From the standpoint of frugal living, the moral is:
It is often worthwhile to buy an older, high-quality item rather than the newest and greatest. You can save a lot of money and there’s a good chance that an amazing item from a decade ago is still relevant and impressive today. I do this with videogames, too: i.e., the classics from 1995 are just as fun as the newest PlayStation/Xbox/whatever titles today.