Schwinn bikes

Schwinn is a classic in modern design and traditional quality for more than a century of company’s existence. Throughout its history, Schwinn brand has experienced many ups and downs, but one thing has remained unchanged – Schwinn has been, is and will be favorite bicycle brand for many generations. If you are interested in a truly stylish and high-quality American bikes – you came to the right place!

Schwinn history

Schwinn’s history begins on October 22, 1895, in Chicago (Illinois, USA), where Ignaz Schwinn, together with his colleague Adolf Arnold, founded “Arnold, Schwinn and Company”. By 1896, there were about 300 bicycle companies in the US (more than a hundred of them were located in Chicago).

Despite such competition, in 1896 Schwinn was already holding races under its own name, and their bicycles had more victories than their competitors. A few years later, the company became a recognized leader in quality and technology of bicycle production.

A century later, Schwinn has acquired a status of American bicycle building icon, and by that time had released a number of most famous and most popular bicycles of all times, such as “Aerocycle”, “Paramount”, “Phantom”, “Varsity”, “Sting Ray”, “Krate”, “Homegrown” and others. World leader in manufacturing and technology, Schwinn was an indispensable player in bicycle revolution and in world of cycling .

Famous or infamous (depends on who you ask) American cyclist, six time Tour de France winner – Lance Armstrong, began his career riding Schwinn’s bicycle. In 1978, at the age of 7, his mother bought him Schwinn “Mag Scrambler”, and in 1990 lance took part in his first international competition, which was held in Moscow (junior championship). He was racing on Schwinn “Paramount”

A very popular among millions of young people form of cycling – BMX, can also trace its roots back to Schwinn, from first BMX bikes that hit the track to modified “Sting Rey” in mid 60s. However, Schwinn was seriously delayed in entering the mountain bike market, which was trending at that time and received an explosive growth in the late 80s.

These circumstances, alongside other mistakes, led the family business to bankruptcy in 1993. A year later, in 1994, under new management, Schwinn company had moved from their native Chicago, Illinois, to the Mecca of cyclists – Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Schwinn brought back its former strength, hiring the most talented specialists of bicycle industry and giving free rein to fresh trends. After adjusting production and reviving the conveyor, the company immediately received positive customer feedback.

In 1998, Schwinn joined forces with another leader on American market – GT Bicycles, and the “Schwinn”/”GT” alliance was formed. Powerful in terms of technology, innovation and development, “Schwinn”/”GT” became the dominant player in the bicycle (and cycling accessories) market, using GT’s independent dealers channels.

Despite all of this, Schwinn / GT suffered serious difficulties. This led to bankruptcy that was declared in 2001, in Denver. On September 11, 2001, Pacific Cycle – country’s largest importer of quality bicycles, bought Schwinn / GT from a bankruptcy court and combined the tandem with other product lines – Mongoose, Mongoose Pro, Roadmaster and Pacific.

Under new management and together with these production lines, company began working with large dealers in 2002. Affordable and high-quality Schwinn bikes began to sell in most stores – it became part of the new policy of the company.

Schwinn still continues its victorious tradition of sponsoring world-class cycling athletes, such as the two-time X-Games international competitions gold medalist – king of dirt jumping, T.J. Lavin.

In 2004, the international consumer company – “Dorel Industries”, acquired “Pacific Cycles”. Now this division of Dorel Industries and its headquarters are located in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.

Thanks to these transformations and unwavering commitment to quality, which is synonymous with Schwinn, America’s most famous bicycle brand is confidently looking into the new century, topping new heights in quality and reliability of bicycles.

Advancing forward, Schwinn continues to lead the industry with its innovative developments such as: the patented “Iso-Drive” suspension for mountain bikes, lightweight Super Sport road bikes, as well as Sierra and Voyageur wich are excellent in terms of ergonomics.

Traditional cruisers, BMX and kids bikes, thanks to which Schwinn became a household name for many generations, are not forgotten either.

Chronology of events

  • 1895 – Ignaz Schwinn and his colleague Adolf Arnold found “Arnold, Schwinn and Company”
  • 1986 – Schwinn holds competitions under its name, their bikes have numerous victories in races
  • 1899 – New world speed record is set at 60 km/h.
  • 1909 – Thanks to a technological breakthrough, first kids bicycle begin to appear
  • 1911, 1917 – Schwinn acquires 2 motorcycle companies – “Excelsior” and “Henderson”
  • 1925 – Invention of mudguards – main achievement in cycling world of the 1920s.
  • 1929 – Great Depression destroys most American bicycle companies. Schwinn takes countermeasures to develop.
  • 1935 – Invention of a first bicycle lock
  • 1941 – French rider – Alfred Letourner sets new speed record of 108.92 mph riding Schwinn “Paramount”.
  • 1943 – During WW2, Schwinn produces top-secret electronic devices, ammunition, aircraft parts and other war related things. Receives award from the army and navy.
  • 1946 – begins the production of new “post-war” bicycles with improved frame design and built-in kickstand.
  • 1949 – Company announces Schwinn “Black Phantom” – every boy’s dream bike at that time. Bike was equipped with Chrome mudguards, tires with white stripes on sides, front and rear lights and a suspension fork.
  • 1952 – Company begins the production of spare parts and accessories, opens its own dealers network.
  • 1955 – Hollywood stars Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Ronald Reagan and others choose Schwinn as their bikes
  • 1960 – Schwinn presents a new type of bike to America with help of 8-speed “Varsity” and 10-speed “Continental” bikes
  • 1963 – Legendary “Sting Ray” appears on the market
  • 1967 – On January 1st, “Arnold, Schwinn and Company” becomes ” Schwinn Bicycle Company”
  • 1985 – New trend appears – Mountain biking, unfortunately, Schwinn won’t be able to keep up with.
  • 1994 – Company moves from Chicago to Boulder, Colorado – mecca for cyclists
  • 1995 – Schwinn launches new line of bicycles, including the new Moab S – prize-winner of “The Mountain Bike” magazine
  • 1998 – Schwinn merges with GT bicycles company
  • 2001 – Both Schwinn and GT are purchased by “Pacific Cycle inc”.
  • 2004 – “Pacific Cycle Inc.” becomes a part of “Dorel Industries”.

Schwinn ParamountToday Schwinn is a bicycle building icon. And this status is well-deserved. Name a person who haven’t heard about Schwinn’s legendary models – Aerocycle, Paramount, Phantom, Varsity and Sting-Ray? They have become an integral part of cycling history, inscribing Schwinn’s name in ranks of world’s best brands.

Schwinn “Cruiser” marked the beginning of the mountain bike era. Yes, you heard it right. In mid-70’s, a group of teenagers decided to descend on bicycles from the mountainside. After an unsuccessful experiment, they realized that a completely different frame, tires and brakes were needed for this type of routes.

It took a couple of years to start a mass production of mountain bikes, which was organized by Gary Fisher, Tom Ricci and Joe Breeze.

Today, Schwinn is one of the leaders in cycling industry. It produces stylish, high-quality bikes, which bring joy both to adults and children. Schwinn is a legend embodied with help of innovations and technologies.

Schwinn bicycles are designed to ensure that regardless of age and physical abilities, you will experience the sheer pleasure of riding. The company is represented by a complete line of bicycles that meet the needs of riders around the world – from simple kids bikes to racing models participating in the Tour de France races.

Types of bicycles

  • Mountain bikes (hardtail) – “Mesa” and “Frontier”
  • Cross bikes – “Searcher 700c”
  • Hybrid bikes – “Sierra” (26 inch wheels) and “Voyageur 700c” (28 inch wheels)
  • City bikes – “World 700c” (made on basis of Sierra and Voyageur)
  • Folding bikes – “World Folding”
  • Cruiser bikes – Schwinn “Cruiser”
  • Kids bikes and bikes for teenagers – “Midi Mesa”, “Mini Mesa” and “Micro Mesa”. “Sidewalk” – cruiser for teenagers.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Wow alot of great content here but all jumbled together, maybe a nice conclusion and some photos of the progression of the brand would really help to tell a story with pictures not just words

    1. This post is not finished yet, still working on it.

  2. As I was jus thinking about getting a new bike this is perfect for me! Thanks so much

    1. Check out my other posts, there’s a lot of useful information there.

  3. wow brings back memories of my youth riding my Schwinn delivering news papers. Great content of the history of this historic bicycle. Enjoyed the read.

    1. Schwinn is a legendary brand with a rich history. To bad they are not as popular as they used to be.

  4. It’s great to see the evolution of Schwinn bikes. I hope they continue to make more bikes and stay in business. To think they have been in business for over 100 years it’s mind-boggling! Great post very informative.

    1. Yeah, Schwinn is one of the oldest brands on the market. They are not as popular today as they used to be, but still they have their own special place in cycling world.

  5. Schwinn is not available in my country, but I am really glad I’ve found this brand thanks to your blog. Their design is really awesome + they have quite the history. I am now very eager to learn more about this company and their products. By the way, I love your blog. I can tell you are passionate about bikes as I am.

    Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Check out my other posts on brands, there’s a lot of interesting info there.

  6. That history of Schwinn Bikes was fascinating. Thanks for sharing so much detail there! One of my first road bikes was a Schwinn Bike and I put a lot of miles on that one. It’s neat to know more about the company that I was not aware of. Thanks!

    1. Check out my post about “Orbea” bicycle company. They been on the market since !1840. They have a rich history as well, and of course their bikes are works of art.

  7. It’s my first time to know Schwinn, so cool and I really like its old-school style, it’s so pity that Schwinn is not available in my country, I wish I could get one 🙁

    1. You can buy one online. To bad I don’t have links to their official dealers yet. I will let you know if/when i’ll get links to them.

  8. Great Information here.
    This is The First Time I have heard of The Schwinn Brand.
    Interesting History Thanx.


    1. Schwinn is a legendary American brand. A household name. I’m glad you found this info interesting.

  9. Great post!
    I remember seeing those old Sting Ray bikes everywhere when I was a kid. They were the ultimate bike that everyone wanted.

    I had no idea that Schwinn had been around that long. I am happy to read your history and I know that my dad was stoked to buy a Schwinn Cruiser, which I guess reminded him of a bike that he had as a kid.

    1. Yeah, back then Schwinn bicycle was every boy’s (and girls) dream. They were quite expensive, but they were build like tanks. And the design was far ahead of it’s time. Sting-rays turned out to be good bikes for BMX, which didn’t even existed back then, and Cruisers where somewhat related to MTB. It is sad that Schwinn entered MTB marked so late. This made them bankrupt in the end.

  10. This post was very interesting to read, I’ve seen the stingray before because an old friend of mine used to have one. it was a pretty cool bike.
    I’ve never really heard about Schwinn until now. they’ve been around for a long time and I am happy that I got to read the history behind it.

  11. Honestly, I did not realize Schwinn was a brand name. I thought it was a synonym for a bike. That is how often it was used in the ’80s and ’90s when I was young. It is sad to see that they have fallen on hard times and eventually had to sell the company.

    Though it is relieving to know that the Schwinn name and quality is still being carried on by the new owners, hopefully, they will not get behind with the times and will continue to push forward. It always surprises me when companies refuse to jump on new opportunities. But I guess that is why people say hindsight is 20/20.

    Thank you for this illuminating article and keep up the good work!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Schwinn was and still is a very popular brand name. They still have some very good bicycle models.

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