To set the stage, this last year I really wanted to get into Mountain Biking, however had a smaller budget, so the hunt for a budget mountain bike was started!
Of course, also with the pandemic going on, it also was increasingly difficult to find a mountain bike in the first place!
After a lot of research, I had decided on the Schwinn Boundary, however once I arrived at the store the one I had just seen there had been bought, and I was left without a bike.
Setting up in-stock notifications proved to fail, as when it came back into stock online, it was immediately bought up before I could purchase.
So instead of continuing to hunt for a bike I likely wouldn’t get, I opted to go a different route!
The Genesis Incline was in stock, and ready to buy! It had many of the similar specifications, such as 29″ wheels, however was definitely not quite the quality I was looking for. However it was getting late in the year, so I wanted to bike before the snow came, so I bought it.
The Genesis Incline 29″ Mountain Bike
The Genesis Incline is the bike I have the most experience with between the two bicycles, as I ended up with the Schwinn around the time the snow began to fly, and the cold moved in.
What is the Genesis Incline?
The Incline is a 29″ wheel bicycle with a 19″ frame. It is meant specifically for taller folks like me (I’m 6′ 1″) however I think people a bit shorter than me would be right at home.
It has knobby tires, 21 gears (3 in front, 7 in back) and is over all a decent bike for the price.
The bike also offers a full suspension, which means you have shocks in the front and rear of the bike.
Braking is done by using front disc brakes and rear rim brakes, that are both wire driven.
The styling is also really great. I like the matte black with green accents on the frame, but also green components as well.
The Aluminum frame is relatively lightweight.
What I liked about it
There was a lot to like about the Genesis Incline, including the price, its suspension and even the styling, let’s take a look at everything more in depth here.
You really couldn’t go wrong with this bike’s price. It was sub $200 and offered a lot for the price, as we will talk about here in a moment.
I’m a big proponent that every product is meant for someone, and just because a bicycle isn’t high end doesn’t mean it isn’t great for someone to get into a new sport and upgrade as they go.
The price on this bike opens it up to adults who are trying to get into mountain biking, or teenagers who just went through a growth spurt (ahh the growing pains, I do remember that).
I must say, a lot of people don’t like low end bicycles with a full suspension, as supposedly the rear shocks tend to bounce and it makes for a pogo stick affect.
I found the rear suspension on the Incline to be perfect! I’m honestly not sure if it was just my bike, or if all of these bikes are that way, but it gave just enough, but not too much suspension in the rear.
It made for a comfortable ride.
As I had mentioned earlier in the article, I really do like the way the Incline looks with its color scheme, frame style and overall proportions.
Now this honestly is up to personal preference, some people my height seem to like 27.5″ wheels, while others like the 29″ wheel on their bikes. However my preference, and only option I wanted was the 29″ wheel, and the Incline has it!
I’m not sure why, but the seat on the bike was incredibly comfortable. It doesn’t look like it should be, but I was able to ride long distances on the bike.
What I didn’t like about it
While I did like a lot of about the Incline, here were some things that detracted from the experience.
Nowadays mountain bikes tend to be flatter and wider, however the Incline offers a more standard handlebar more like my hybrid bikes.
On trails, it doesn’t give you quite as much control and confidence in your ride, which unfortunately isn’t a great thing.
As we will get to later, this was one of my biggest issues with the bike. I was planning on keeping the bike long term, and this was a big detractor.
The hanger on this bike is integrated into the derailleur, rather than being a separate component. This means if something hits the derailleur and bends it, it is quite possible that it will crack the frame and destroy the bike completely. If it is separate then that small component can be replaced and you are good to go!
It’s hard to get passed the point that this bike has disc brakes on the front, and rim brakes on the front. While it is completely usable, it is just strange, and doesn’t look right.
It should also be mentioned, I got much better braking power from the rim brake on the back…
While aesthetically, the quality of the bike was fantastic, I did run into quality issues. The front shock squeaked when I went over bumps, and the front derailleur wouldn’t shift through all of the gears.
Neither of these issues really helped me want to keep the bike.
One thing you should pay attention to when shopping for an inexpensive bike is the shifter type.
Twist shifters tend to be a quick and easy way to tell the quality of a bike. Unfortunately the Incline is equipped with twist shifters.
This in the end though, is more of a personal preference thing, and you may have no problem with it! Other than some issues with the front derailleur I had, the shifters themselves did function as they were supposed to.
The Schwinn Boundary 29″
Now, while I have had quite a bit more time with the Genesis, the Schwinn Boundary is the one I have ended up with
What is it?
Much like the Incline we talked about earlier, this is a 29″ wheel bike with a 19″ frame, making it perfect for taller people!
In contrast to the earlier bike though, it offers 7 speeds, with 1 on the front and 7 on the rear. These gears are operated by a single trigger shifter.
The brakes are used with disc brakes on the front and rear of the bike, making for a nice look.
It gives you wide, flat handlebars.
Why I like the bike?
There are a lot of things that I like about the Schwinn Boundary, so lets talk about them!
Separate Derailleur Hanger
As I mentioned with the Incline, the Boundary has this functionality. I don’t have to worry about destroying the frame of my bike if I hit the derailleur.
It’s a small thing (quite literally), but a big thing for keeping the bike in good working condition.
The Schwinn Boundary can easily be upgradable! With its proportions, and tapered headset it can have many higher end components added the bike to make it comparable to bikes much more expensive than it is. This includes new forks, better derailleurs, better handlebars and so much more.
This future proofs the bike for years to come, rather than being stuck with what you have.
1 x 7 Gears
I have found that a 1 x 7 gearing is a better setup for me. It means less shifting, less weight (due to lack of front gears).
High Quality For The Price
For the price, the Boundary obviously has higher quality then it probably should! It looks, and functions above its weight.
What I don’t like about it?
Now there aren’t many things I don’t like about this bike, other than the following.
So far, the only thing I find that I don’t like is the brakes! I feel like they should have a bit more oomph to tham than they do.
I haven’t spent enough time quite yet adjusting things though, and likely I will be able to fix this going into the next season.
Why I returned the Genesis Incline and bought the Schwinn Boundary
Alright, now we have gone through what I like, and don’t like about each bike. So what made me finally decide that I wanted to go through the trouble of returning the Incline, and trade it for the Boundary? It came down to two things.
Squeaking Front Forks
With a new bike, I don’t think the front forks should be squeaking. This was a major reason I didn’t want to keep the bike. I wasn’t totally sure if that was just how it was, or if they were actually bad.
I wasn’t willing to take that risk, and was a major reason for upgrading to the Boundary. So far I haven’t had this issue!
Separated Derailleur Hanger
My plan was to upgrade the bike as I grew with it, and having this one component being the deciding factor of if the bike would last or not just didn’t give me the confidence I needed.
Having a slightly better bike that I could upgrade makes all of the difference.
While I am sure many other people will have different experiences than me with these two bikes, these were my thoughts!
Let me end this with that fact that the Incline was a good $75 cheaper, and offers an awesome bang for the buck! It would be awesome for someone that wants to get started, but knows they will get a completely different bike down the road, and doesn’t want to upgrade it.
However if you are like me, and plan on keeping this bike long term, the Boundary is worth the extra money for that peace of mind.