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  1. #1
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    The truth behind the downfall of Schwinn...

    Anyone here superstitious?

    "On September 11, 2001, Pacific Cycle, the nation's largest importer of quality bicycles, purchased the Schwinn/GT Corporation out of bankruptcy court, and united the two brands with the company's other quality lines like Mongoose, Mongoose Pro, Roadmaster and Pacific."

    Just thought this was a little bizarre. I was cruising the site looking for any vintage resources for 1972 Opaque Green paint (need some touch-up work on my Super Sport). I'll email 'em and post back when I get a reply.
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  2. #2
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Twe's off to scour the Internet for the Pacific Cycles/al Qaeda connection.

  3. #3
    seeking simple
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    Hey mods, is it too late to change my member name?!??

  4. #4
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    Definition: Quality - degree of excellence.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

    * no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  5. #5
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. I realized after posting I might get flamed. It's definitely a joke. I also the like the part about Pacific's "quality" bikes. Didn't know they owned Mongoose. Damn, I have two. Oh, well. Anyways, back to Google...I might've found something...

    P.S. Schwinn doesn't stock old paint, so I asked if they had any leads on where to find some. Any suggestions here?
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  6. #6
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    I have never been able to find any paint that was an "exact" match for old paint. And, every year, "old" paint changes its color a bit. When I have used colors that "almost" match, it simply draws attention to what a third-rate painter I am.

    So, for touching up "dime" sized spots, and nicks and scratches, I just rub the old paint clean with alcohol and touch it up with clear fingernail polish. If I were a fanatic about color matching, I would go with fingernail polish. Every color you can imagine. Many colors you can't imagine. Easy to remove if you mess up.

    Nail polish probably about as durable as a typical factory clearcoat. I usually let the "base" coat dry, and then put on a second coat. Soap and water won't take it off. But, nail polish comes off easily with nail polish remover.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 05-16-05 at 06:59 PM.

  7. #7
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    I was wondering about just clearcoating, but didn't want to deal with the hassle of stripping the components. How permanent is the fingernail polish?
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  8. #8
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Have you looked at bunchobikes.com? He shows his Phantom being painted with PPG's Omni LV. I'm not a Schwinn expert but the pictures look purty.

  9. #9
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Fortunately, I ride a REAL Schwinn. Given what subsequently happened to the company, I shall probably never buy a NEW Schwinn, but a red-white-and-blue late 1980s Paramount road bike would complement my mountain bike nicely.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E
    Fortunately, I ride a REAL Schwinn. Given what subsequently happened to the company, I shall probably never buy a NEW Schwinn, but a red-white-and-blue late 1980s Paramount road bike would complement my mountain bike nicely.
    Well, Schwinn fans could argue a long time over what is "a real Schwinn". I know that a bike built in the Chicago plant in the '70's is a "real Schwinn". I'd probably accept that a bike built during the '80's in their "let's hide from fair wages" factory in Mississippi is a real Schwinn.

    But, after the Mississippi plant closed, Schwinn became a "decal" operation. They simply bought bikes made in Asia, and slapped decals on them. The small number of bikes built by Waterford when it was owned by Schwinn were probably the last "real" Schwinns. So, the last real Schwinn was the final bike to leave Waterford with the name "Schwinn" on its frame.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kerk's Avatar
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    I bought a new Schwinn last year and have never regretted it. Full Ultegra except the Dura Ace rear derailleur. The bike rides flawlessly. I rode a lot of bikes before settling on the Schwinn, but I’m glad I did. The ’73 still rides great too! So now I can choose which kind of ride I want, steel or aluminum, depending on my mood.
    2011 Raleigh International
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    Proud owner of all three colors made! Orange, Blue , Yellow .

  12. #12
    Chronic Tai Shan ofofhy's Avatar
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    I've got a friend with a year old Schwinn road bike. She loves it.
    From Craig's List: IF its a singlespeed that means----all the other parts are broken cut off and dumped...dont buy singlespeeds, the bikes will make your balls fall off

    * no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

  13. #13
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    El,

    Does waterford have Touch up paint for old schwinns? they
    do restorations so it wouldn't surprize me.

    Marty
    Sono più lento di quel che sembra.
    Odio la gente, tutti.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    I found a book in the library yesterday.

    "no hands,the rise and fall of the schwinn bicycle company,and american institution"
    by judith crown and glenn coleman

    very enlightning.it would seem the days of selling the schwinn name in dept stores has come full circle,as thats how they started. it also would seem like they were responsable for their own downfall.a great read overall.

    october 1973 "this is hardley a good time to start promoting dirtbiking and stunt riding,which do involve increased risk of injury to the rider." ray burch,schwinn exec.

    they were scared to jump on the train that was BMX and mountain bike that they set in motion with the stingray! they were the pen of their own demise! in hind sit,someone should go kick ol ray in the nuts for that thinking!
    "When a man lies, he murders some part of the world"

    God Bless Chris LeDoux. R.I.P. 1948-2005

  15. #15
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spanky4x4
    october 1973 "this is hardley a good time to start promoting dirtbiking and stunt riding,which do involve increased risk of injury to the rider." ray burch,schwinn exec.

    they were scared to jump on the train that was BMX and mountain bike that they set in motion with the stingray! they were the pen of their own demise! in hind sit,someone should go kick ol ray in the nuts for that thinking!
    It's just another case of a large corporation losing touch with market dynamics. Look around and see it (by the victims' absence) almost everywhere.

    Never owned a Schwinn myself, but I've outridden plenty of them. I'll leave you nostalgians to simmer in the juices of "what once was in Chicago/Waterford". My preferred marque can boast of a few glory years on the European tour before they were overtaken.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  16. #16
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Never owned a Schwinn myself, but I've outridden plenty of them.

    Don't be too smug; on a good downhill, they'll pass you like you were tied to a tree.

  17. #17
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    It's just another case of a large corporation losing touch with market dynamics. Look around and see it (by the victims' absence) almost everywhere.
    Perhaps, instead, it has something to do with an good American corporation being unable to compete with third-world slave labor wages. Schwinn made good quality bikes for many years. In the end, there was no way for them to compete... especially in the mass market.

  18. #18
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntreader
    Perhaps, instead, it has something to do with an good American corporation being unable to compete with third-world slave labor wages. Schwinn made good quality bikes for many years. In the end, there was no way for them to compete... especially in the mass market.
    In this case, I think it was some of both. The Japanese were able to win on price, but Schwinn was a bit behind the curve with realizing lightweights were superceding their old bread and butter - the heavy, indestructible battle-tanks. From the excerpt of the memo up the thread, it looks like they misread the market on BMX/Mountain bikes too.

    Please bear in mind, I'm not saying they didn't make some good products - but there are two universal rules at work here.

    Nothing man creates lasts forever.
    Everything happens for a reason.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  19. #19
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    In this case, I think it was some of both. The Japanese were able to win on price, but Schwinn was a bit behind the curve with realizing lightweights were superceding their old bread and butter - the heavy, indestructible battle-tanks.
    Agreed.

    I just get a little tired of some of the attacks on Schwinn as if they're bad guys who deserve ridicule... usually by people too young to remember when Schwinn was a great company.

    I still remember getting my first Schwinn more than forty years ago. It was a great bike... reliable, comfortable and fast enough to keep me happy. I wish I had it now.

  20. #20
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    My bike's a "real" Scwhinn (handbuilt, too!), but I've never ridden a new one. All I know is that they are (mostly) a dept. store bike, although I've seen some high-end new road bikes that looked pretty nice.

    I'll check those leads on paint...Heh, and the paint is leaded, too...
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  21. #21
    crotchety young dude el twe's Avatar
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    No luck anywhere. Still waiting on Schwinn, not expecting much. I might just start looking around for something clear. Or, if I just wax it more often, will I protect my rust spots?
    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid View Post
    I explained that he could never pay me enough cash for the amount of work I had put into that bike and the only way to compensate me for it was to ride the hell out of it.
    IRO Angus Casati Gold Line

  22. #22
    Glutton for Punishment
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    I think during the '50s and '60s, Schwinn made a product well suited for its clientele; well made, and sturdy enough to absorb the punishment it was likely to receive. I owned several Schwinn 'lightweights' as a teenager, and I doubt that the more sophisticated bikes I have now would have stood up as well -- and I was one of the more careful of my crowd in terms of riding and maintenance.

  23. #23
    Out of breath again. suntreader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    I doubt that the more sophisticated bikes I have now would have stood up as well -- and I was one of the more careful of my crowd in terms of riding and maintenance.
    I think people need to understand the difference between "golden age" Chicago Schwinns and the X-Mart bikes of today. Although the ordinary Schwinns were modestly priced bikes aimed at the general market, they were built and sold with a lot of care. They were very reliable... unlike today's X-Mart bikes which tend to disintegrate fairly quickly.

    The 3-speed Schwinn "English Racer" I got when I was twelve years old was my lifeline for years. It stayed with me until grad school when some neighborhood punks stole it and ripped it to shreds. That is the bike I would love to have again.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by suntreader
    Agreed.

    I just get a little tired of some of the attacks on Schwinn as if they're bad guys who deserve ridicule... usually by people too young to remember when Schwinn was a great company.

    I still remember getting my first Schwinn more than forty years ago. It was a great bike... reliable, comfortable and fast enough to keep me happy. I wish I had it now.
    I dont want it to seem like I think they were bad guys. in fact I am to young to remember the glory days,but I currently own and cherish 7 different chicago built models. I never knew it,but after reading this book,it is clear that the "family" refused to follow trends. they tried to set the trends and were very succesfull with some.(stingray) in the later years they also refused to update the chicago plant with modern equipment to keep up with the smaller upstarts like mongoose,trek,and specialized. not to mention fisher,cunningham,ritchie,and breezer were all growing very fast. the contemplated a new factory in tulsa and only after conditions got so bad the employess got the UAW in the plant did the do anything about it.

    there is no 2 ways about it,and the facts printed in the book make it perfectly clear. the business was always run by the family. in the early years,they were commited and driven and still lived humbly,despit the millions they made. the later members of the family tht ran the company lived it up.after all ,they were born with a silver spoke in their mouths. the didnt want to pay a good wage,offer any kind of retirment or pension,like was done in the early years. the also would not modernize the factory to keep up with modern demands. they insisted the way they did it was right,and by the time they realized this it was too late. when they turned to the asian market,it was already too late,they became a follower,that just couldnt keep up. the children of ignaz schwinn drove his company to bankruptcy by refusing to do respond to what the market wanted. until the very end,they thought they set the market,they told everyone what was"right" and how to do it. they were schwinn...how could they be wrong?

    it does sound like an attack,but its not.its a fact. the beook is really a good one and I would recomend it to any enthusiast,even if they can pass 'em on the hills!
    Last edited by spanky4x4; 05-17-05 at 06:57 PM.
    "When a man lies, he murders some part of the world"

    God Bless Chris LeDoux. R.I.P. 1948-2005

  25. #25
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    The irony of it all, is that the Schwinn name actually ended up in the hands of a next door neighbor. Last year, Pacific Cycle was bought by Dorel Industries, a Canadian corporation. Pacific Cycle has leased the brand name to another Canadian company. Schwinns are now designed in Canada, but manufactured in Vietnam and China.

    Canada has a suprisingly robust bicycle industry. While many of the Canadian brands contract the manufacturing offshore, there is still a suprising amount of frame manufacture done in the country. Raleigh still has a facility there and even the entry level $80 US models have the frames built in the Great White North. The high end is nicely covered by companies like Argon 18, Marinoni and Cervelo, who provide the frames for CSC, the team classification winners in last year's Tour de France.

    As John E. implies, now might be a good time to start hoarding the Chicago Schwinns you find. There might be a good market for them in the near future.

    While the current Schwinn models are primarily entry level oriented, I have to say that whomever is building them is doing a good job. I'd even say that they are a quality bicycle, going by the the industry definition: quality = conformance to requirements.

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