Schwinn Sting-Ray: History Of The Chopper-Inspired Bike Every Kid Wanted

By | May 28, 2020

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With its banana seat and "ape hanger" handlebars, Schwinn's Sting-Ray bicycle looks a bit dorky today, but if you were a kid in the '60s and '70s it was the bike to have. The sales figures don't lie -- this was a product that exploded onto the market, becoming not just successful the year it launched, but dominant. The Sting-Ray, with its slight resemblance to a motorcycle, was a step toward the bikes kids would really want a decade later -- BMX bikes. Unfortunately for Schwinn, the clairvoyance that guided their development of the Sting-Ray deserted them when BMX began to trend.

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Schwinn was formed in 1893 by German immigrant Ignaz Schwinn and his partner, Adolph Arnold. When Schwinn entered the bicycle market, his goal was to make the most advanced bicycles and in 1950, 1 in 4 bikes sold in America was a Schwinn, however by about a century after their founding, because of several forces, the company went under and declared bankruptcy. However, in the ‘60s, they did have an interesting surge with the introduction of a new design inspired by trends in California.