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Old 11-09-09, 02:26 AM   #1
brainchopper
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First factory muscle bike revealed - and it's not a StingRay!

The webzine "Bike Rod and Kustom" reveals the true story behind the birth of factory made "muscle bikes". The Schwinn "StingRay" (once considered the originator of the style) can no longer hold on to that title.

Americas first factory made muscle-bike was produced in California. Now revealed:

http://bikerodnkustom5.homestead.com...63_muscle.html


Links can be found at the bottom of this article to other pages about muscle bike history.
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Old 11-09-09, 03:23 AM   #2
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A Huffy, who would have guessed. At least they're from the Buckeye state. Now it's just another US in name only company.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for posting that. I knew about the trend starting in San Diego, but did not know about the Penguin.

For Christmas 1966, I received a blue Monark high rise bike. I rode the crap out of that thing for several years. I knew it was a rebadged Huffy, I don't recall if it even had a model name.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:18 AM   #4
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That is extremely cool to know.
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Old 11-09-09, 10:36 PM   #5
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Something that was really popular here in the 70's was to make Varsities or Continentals into "cruisers" by fitting high rise handlebars and standard brake levers. Usually a middleweight seat was used. I never had one, but rode a few from time to time and they were pretty comfortable. Our shop took one in trade, so I got to use it running errands. I kind of liked it, but not enough to buy it.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:08 PM   #6
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I put a long "gooseneck and "ape hanger" bars on my Schwinn middle weight in about 1958. I remember buying the parts at Western Auto and my Dad helping me install them. I have modified every bicycle, motorcycle and every car I've owned since then. I've spent a lot of money and a lot of time on my machines but I don't regret any of it.
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Old 11-09-09, 11:22 PM   #7
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What cost $52 in 1962 would cost $366.26 in 2008.
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Old 11-10-09, 12:04 AM   #8
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One of those Penguins recently was posted on Chicago CL for $45. I didn't know the story at the time.
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Old 11-10-09, 12:09 AM   #9
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I rode my first bike with the "butterfly" handlebar during the summer of 1962. Staying with my grandparents in Huntington Park, we visited friends of theirs one evening. Their oldest son let me ride his chopper conversion, a 24"-wheel Schwinn with a sprung fork, that he'd equipped with the "ape-hanger" handlebar and "banana" saddle. It was a difficult bike to control, but it sure looked cool.

When I returned to school in the fall I commandeered my father's Raleigh Superbe Tourist. In the spring of 1963 I first saw images of the Sting Ray in Schwinn ads in Boys' Life magazine. It's wonderful to learn the true stories behind stuff I was only seeing from a distance at the tender age of 10.
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Old 11-10-09, 12:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabid Koala View Post
Something that was really popular here in the 70's was to make Varsities or Continentals into "cruisers" by fitting high rise handlebars and standard brake levers. Usually a middleweight seat was used. I never had one, but rode a few from time to time and they were pretty comfortable. Our shop took one in trade, so I got to use it running errands. I kind of liked it, but not enough to buy it.
I thought I remembered seeing banana seats on those, as well as the ape hangers.
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Old 11-10-09, 09:21 PM   #11
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I got a Huffy Cheetah Slick in the spring of 1968. It was my first new bike. I remember that it was the only time my parents ever got me anything that big when it wasn't my birthday or Christmas. It was my only bike for about ten years when I got my first ten-speed. I always thought that Schwinn was the inventer of the muscle bike style.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:14 PM   #12
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i recall developing a mania for stripping down and modifying our cruiser weight bicycles in the early 60s, with stuff bought at Pep Boys. certainly a pair of ape hangers, white walls, and assorted gewgaws and doodads. a banana seat came next. mucho coin. then the big one dropped, my mom got me gold Stingray which i soon modified with a slick. may, 1965.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:23 PM   #13
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I thought I remembered seeing banana seats on those, as well as the ape hangers.
I never saw them with banana seats, but plenty of them had Pletscher racks, which sort of balanced them out visually. I guess it is easier to ride while carrying a surfboard if you have ape hanger bars. Doing that with drop bars would be awkward.
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Old 11-11-09, 06:26 PM   #14
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Interesting story. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 12-03-09, 07:39 AM   #15
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Thats very cool that people remember their early kustom bikes, I love reading the stories. I hope that everyone found the pages for each year starting with 1958: http://bikerodnkustom5.homestead.com...history58.html . Every year links at the bottom of each page, along with other cool bike stuff. You can pick your year to see if it jogs a cool memory. All the best....John Brain



Ride till you die......and then some

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Old 12-03-09, 11:29 AM   #16
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Very cool.
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Old 12-03-09, 12:50 PM   #17
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Woops...I passed on one of those at the dumps simply because it said "huffy"
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Old 12-03-09, 04:12 PM   #18
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Damn, I was ahead of my time! Back in 1963, I took a Schwinn kids 20" bike and converted it over to a Sting Ray style. Of course, it only had the little kid's chainwheel, so I didn't get a lot of speed out of it. However, that was the first bike I ever built. After making it, tore it back down and dad took it to the car dealership and had it painted for me.

Not bad for the boondocks of western Pennsylvania.
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