Sunday, April 15, 2007

Times Have Changed

Times Have Changed
Originally uploaded by Facility Bike Club.
I saw this sign in Garberville, CA. Remember when Schwinn made real bikes? I had a Stingray back in the 70's. My first bike was from the dump, but the Stingray was my first nice bike shop bike. I can still remember that day pretty well. I tried out a BMX bike, but opted instead for the ape hangers, red metallic sparkle banana seat, sissy bar, and fat rear tire. Besides, the kid across the street had one too. The bike that replaced this one was a Schwinn also. The first BMX Bike.

Nowadays, Schwinns are soulless clones in a Mega Store that I refuse to shop at. They are assembled by the guy that was selling video games the day before. Nobody even cares if the bike is assembled properly or it even includes all the parts. Times have changed....


Tim said...

I think it's a sign of age to be among those of us who can remember when Schwinn had soul. When I was a kid, that was the brand to ride. My first bike was a Schwinn paper-boy bike. Swept-back handlebar, chrome fenders, the whole bit. It was nearly indestructible through several years of being used by me and my little brother. It finally met its end during the '70s BMX craze when I stripped the fenders, added some knobbie tires, and then spent a summer jumping it off a homemade ramp until the welds started to split.

Try that with a Schwinn today, and you'll be lucky if it survives the afternoon.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other great bikes made today. But seeing trashy Schwinns sold at Wal-Mart is like seing a once-great rock band playing the state fair circuit 20 years after it should have retired with some dignity.

Chris said...

My first MTB was a Schwinn High Sierra SS. It is the bike that I now have a baby seat attached to for tooling around the neighborhood with the boy.

Schwinn is a company. Companies are in business to make money. They felt their piece of the pie was lower end bikes. Lots and lots of people are happy with low end bikes, so I think they fulfill a need for sure. Schwinn still makes on model that is worth a damn. That is the Peleton Road series. The Peleton LTD has been named a best buy in some of the recent Buyer's Guide issues. The Peleton Pro is also well equipped.

Jeff said...

Schwinn was a company. They went bankrupt, and the name was bought by Pacific Cycle, which was later purchased by Dorel Industries. I don't think the current incarnation has anything to do with the original. It is like you said, just a business to make money. I don't think there is any passion behind the product being sold.

The vast majority of bikes sold are cheap bikes, but most of the bikes I see out riding are bike store bikes. So it seems that people are buying these cheap bikes, but not riding them. The ones I've worked on were a pain in the butt. The parts aren't made to be serviceable...just thrown away.

The high end Schwinns you are talking about must be sold in bike stores. I doubt they'd let some monkey install Dura Ace components... Still though, I just think it's the corporate giant trying to get its fingers in every piece of the pie to sell more "units". I won't argue that they probably ride just as nice as anything in their price point though. I guess it boils down to who you want to give your money to.

High Sierras were pretty popular in their day. I've seen lots of them on the trails over the years!

Fritz said...

Schwinn has their mass market retail channel bike shaped objects, but they continue to sell decent Dura Ace equipped bikes through the IBD channel also. They were making okay city/commuter bikes before city bikes became cool and Trek, Raleigh, and Giant jumped into the act.

Jeff said...

Wikipedia has a pretty good entry for Schwinn. Interesting history!

Jeff P said...

The first bike I ever took apart and never put back together was my brother's Schwinn.

philip said...

Yeah, Schwinn is now owned by Pacific cycle. if you want the good old Schwinn quality, get a Waterford. The company is run by a descendant of Ignaz Schwinn & their frames are a dream to ride