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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Schwinn will mark the 50th anniversary of its popular "Sting-Ray" bike in 2013




In 1962, Peter Mole of John T Bill & Co. of Glendale, CA contacted Huffy Corp about making a new bicycle called High Rise.  This was supposedly the first high-rise bike manufactured in the U.S.

In June 1963 the Schwinn Bicycle Company of Chicago officially launched its version of a California-style high-rise bicycle, which was called the “Sting-Ray.” 



The new seats they put onto their bicycles were called Solo Polo seats, and were made by a large U.S. cycle seat manufacturer, Persons Majestic.  The seats were much longer than a standard seat, and when viewed from the side they were kind of “banana” shaped.

These seats extended far out to the back, and had to be supported in the rear by a chromed looping strut that bolted to the rear axle.  The handlebars were much taller and wider than standard handlebars and, on the street were called butterfly handlebars or ape hangers.

Al Fritz, a Schwinn executive, was in charge of research and development decided that Schwinn should market its own version of a California-style sport bike. Many Schwinn employees were initially skeptical.

Schwinn eventually sold more than two million Sting-Rays before the model was discontinued in the late 1970s. Vintage models now sell for thousands of dollars.


3 comments:

Scott Mumford said...

Oh, Lordy...did I ever want one of these when I was in elementary school! Alas, my parents thought them too expensive, and/or those "ape hangers" too dangerous.

I should have hit them with, "But Mom, they'll be worth a FORTUNE one day!

Marsia said...

this was my first bike as a teenager in NYC. Took me everywhere. So much more comfortable than the 10-speed I bought when we came to Los Angeles.

Marsia said...

this was my first bike as a teenager in NYC. Took me everywhere. So much more comfortable than the 10-speed I bought when we came to Los Angeles.