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Does anyone know who invented the Stingray bike?

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Does anyone know who invented the Stingray bike?

Old 10-13-20, 07:08 PM
  #1  
Rocky Gravol
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Does anyone know who invented the Stingray bike?




Did someone just dream it up,
or was there an evolutionary move towards it?
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Old 10-13-20, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post



Did someone just dream it up,
or was there an evolutionary move towards it?
Supposedly Al Fritz at Schwinn did in 63 but they got the idea from kids in CA. that were doing it.
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Old 10-13-20, 08:00 PM
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My dream bike when I was 9- I think that stick shift would have easily taken out my private parts in one of my many crashes. I think we can assume the kid beat out the dragster with a mighty holeshot.


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Old 10-13-20, 08:23 PM
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There was surely some kid (or his dad) trying to get a few more years out of his 20” bike. Whoever it was could probably claim credit for the 1972 boom
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Old 10-13-20, 08:28 PM
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According to this article, prior to 1963, "California kids had started to take old 20-inch bicycles and customize them into motorcycle looking sport bikes. They were replacing the factory seats and handlebars and using instead 'Solo Polo' or 'banana' seats and tall 'butterfly' type bars. This California fad was noticed by Al Fritz the director of research and development for Schwinn, and he reacted very quickly, making a prototype that was mostly laughed at by the Schwinn upper management."
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Old 10-14-20, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
According to this article, prior to 1963, "California kids had started to take old 20-inch bicycles and customize them into motorcycle looking sport bikes. They were replacing the factory seats and handlebars and using instead 'Solo Polo' or 'banana' seats and tall 'butterfly' type bars."
Where did those kids get the seats and bars? My brother and I did this around that time, in Schenectady, NY. My first bike build. But I assume is was after the Schwinns came out, otherwise where would we get the handlebars? Black bombed frame, white banana seat and ape hangers. Very cool and fun. That bike lived in the basement behind the furnace for decades after we both left for school. I'll bet the tires were dust (ozone) by the time Dad binned the bike.
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Old 10-14-20, 06:23 AM
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Info and video of a collector. He has an 1963 original Apple Krate autographed on the seat by Al Fritz.
https://www.metv.com/collectorscall/...the-collection
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Old 10-14-20, 06:26 AM
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Home-built bikes were called pig bikes when a banana seat, sissy bar, and ape hangers were added.

Supposedly the Huffy Penguin was the first production "muscle bike" beating the Schwinn Stingray to the market in spring 1963: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huffy#...opper_Bicycles
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Old 10-14-20, 07:50 AM
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Styling bicycles to look like motorcycles is nothing new. The practice goes back to the very early 20th century. Early motorcycles were nothing more than bicycles with motors but as the power output of the engines grew, they began to evolve. Frames were strengthened, usually with the addition of an extra top tube, with the gas tank being situated between the two top tubes. Trusses were added to the forks to prevent collapse. The motor increased the wheelbase and consequently the handlebars had along backwards sweep. Kickstands were mounted to the rear axle.

Most boys aspired to motorcycles but had to make due with bicycles. So they started modifying their bicycles to look more like motorcycles and the bicycles companies soon caught on, releasing commercial versions with the most popular motorcycle influenced features being dual top tubes, faux gas tanks, truss forks and motorcycle style handlebars and kickstands. It added substantially to the weight but then, like now, image often played a bigger part than practicality. By the time of the Great War, the genre was firmly established and the motorcycle style bicycles were generically known as motorbikes. The style evolved along with motorcycles and was commercially successfully through to the hi-riser era.

So, when bicycle designers came up with the concept of the hi-riser bicycle based on the popular chopper motorcycle, it was no surprise. They were simply following a commercially successful practice that was a 1/2 century old. From that perspective, the development of the hi-riser bicycle was an evolutionary process.

Here's an example of early motorcycle and an early Motorbike. The bicycle copies the twin top tubes, gas tank, truss fork, handlebar style and kickstand style.


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Old 10-14-20, 08:35 AM
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Looking back with fondness, it's still hard to believe that the price of admission on the entry-level bikes still precluded many from being able to afford one.
Best, Ben
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Old 10-14-20, 08:39 AM
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Can I get a "back slick" in tubeless ?
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Old 10-14-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
Looking back with fondness, it's still hard to believe that the price of admission on the entry-level bikes still precluded many from being able to afford one.
Best, Ben
I am with you on that one. Could never get the money together for a String Ray and forget about asking the parents. So I turned the handlebars on my bike upside down, covered them with tape and had a “racing” bike. Wasn’t as cool as a Sting Ray, but I could ride faster than the banana seat crowd.
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Old 10-14-20, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by GMS View Post
Info and video of a collector. He has an 1963 original Apple Krate autographed on the seat by Al Fritz.
https://www.metv.com/collectorscall/...the-collection
Apple Krate, actually, any Krate bike was much later than 1963.
In '63-'64 the three speed Sting-Ray was a handlebar trigger job.
I got a new in 1966 Sting Ray three speed Stick shift... for Christmas that year. The stick shift was NEW!
Took lots of negotiating with parents, Schwinn was "fair traded" every shop the same price.
I argued that my parents had quality bikes, Carlton Catalinas, I should have one too.
The runner up was an American Eagle 5 speed sting ray style bike. Cheaper, more gears, I argued that the derailleur was vulnerable, the 3 speed was internal.
I got the Schwinn in coppertone gold, with a Faux leopard print vinyl banana seat. I really did not like the white with sparkles.
Would have taken black if it existed.
The Krates came out in '68? for Christmas?
Two friends had them, this was before the landing of Apollo 11.

The Schwinn history book, No Hands, has a segment on the history of the Sting-Ray. Schwinn won on quality and marketing. They were not really first.
But did come up with the million dollar name. (well, stolen from GM)
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Old 10-14-20, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Styling bicycles to look like motorcycles is nothing new. The practice goes back to the very early 20th century. Early motorcycles were nothing more than bicycles with motors but as the power output of the engines grew, they began to evolve. Frames were strengthened, usually with the addition of an extra top tube, with the gas tank being situated between the two top tubes. Trusses were added to the forks to prevent collapse. The motor increased the wheelbase and consequently the handlebars had along backwards sweep. Kickstands were mounted to the rear axle.

Most boys aspired to motorcycles but had to make due with bicycles. So they started modifying their bicycles to look more like motorcycles and the bicycles companies soon caught on, releasing commercial versions with the most popular motorcycle influenced features being dual top tubes, faux gas tanks, truss forks and motorcycle style handlebars and kickstands. It added substantially to the weight but then, like now, image often played a bigger part than practicality. By the time of the Great War, the genre was firmly established and the motorcycle style bicycles were generically known as motorbikes. The style evolved along with motorcycles and was commercially successfully through to the hi-riser era.

So, when bicycle designers came up with the concept of the hi-riser bicycle based on the popular chopper motorcycle, it was no surprise. They were simply following a commercially successful practice that was a 1/2 century old. From that perspective, the development of the hi-riser bicycle was an evolutionary process.

Here's an example of early motorcycle and an early Motorbike. The bicycle copies the twin top tubes, gas tank, truss fork, handlebar style and kickstand style.

for about 160k you can get a faithful reproduction of the Excelsior board track racer by Brodie. ZOOM.
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Old 10-14-20, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
My dream bike when I was 9- I think that stick shift would have easily taken out my private parts in one of my many crashes. I think we can assume the kid beat out the dragster with a mighty holeshot.


Yes, that stick shift sent me to the emergency room.
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Old 10-14-20, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
for about 160k you can get a faithful reproduction of the Excelsior board track racer by Brodie. ZOOM.
I've seen a few 'old motorcycle' styled motorcycles around here- there's a guy with an Enfield, and I saw a Harley Davidson branded one- kids were riding it around. It was cool to go to the Harley museum and see all those bikes.
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Old 10-14-20, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I've seen a few 'old motorcycle' styled motorcycles around here- there's a guy with an Enfield, and I saw a Harley Davidson branded one- kids were riding it around. It was cool to go to the Harley museum and see all those bikes.
Makes bikes too!

https://flashbackfab.com/
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Old 10-14-20, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
Looking back with fondness, it's still hard to believe that the price of admission on the entry-level bikes still precluded many from being able to afford one.
Best, Ben
Agreed. My West Point banana seat, high rise bar bike, new in probably 1970 or so, was $44.00 at the local True Value hardware. I think the Sting Rays were $127 or so and you had to drive to Madison to get one. But they were very cool. Everyone wanted the 5sp stick on the "console," the flat slick with either the stripe or the raised white letters. Keeping the bikes clean was paramount (pardon the pun) and of course, the baseball cards were a must. The high rise bar was very functional, as your baseball mitt or football helmet swung without interfering with the steering. The banana seat was functional in that you could carry that kid who didn't have a bike, and it served a bit as a fender when running through puddles. Not that we would.
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Old 10-14-20, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Agreed. My West Point banana seat, high rise bar bike, new in probably 1970 or so, was $44.00 at the local True Value hardware. I think the Sting Rays were $127 or so and you had to drive to Madison to get one. But they were very cool. Everyone wanted the 5sp stick on the "console," the flat slick with either the stripe or the raised white letters. Keeping the bikes clean was paramount (pardon the pun) and of course, the baseball cards were a must. The high rise bar was very functional, as your baseball mitt or football helmet swung without interfering with the steering. The banana seat was functional in that you could carry that kid who didn't have a bike, and it served a bit as a fender when running through puddles. Not that we would.
My new coaster brake Sting-Ray in October 1969 with 5.25% sales tax was $63. rounded up with a Los Angeles bicycle license.
My three speed Stick shift was stolen in early 1968. I was advised I had to buy the next one. took 20 months of hard saving, no model cars, no hot wheels, no candy, (comic books- which I did not buy anyway) even Mad Magazine, cheap at 25 cents.) washed cars, repaired and cleaned other peoples bikes, house sat cats... coming up with the cash was a challenge.
What ticked me off is when I went to the bike shop they would not sell me the bike until they spoke to a parent. Fortunately, Mom was home.
Granted, I was 9 years old.

Parents never paid for another bike. Boosting the bike fund would have helped me buy a Masi sooner.
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Old 10-14-20, 02:35 PM
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Small world. My cousin is married to the kid on the Junior Sting-Ray in this catalog. They were shooting in his neighborhood and just rounded up some kids.
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Old 10-14-20, 03:23 PM
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In my faulty memory, the kids in my neighborhood had Apple Krate-like bikes, probably the cheap copies purchased at the Grant’s Department store in Clark, NJ. But then some older brother showed up on a Schwinn Varsity! Wow! Talk about a paradigm shift.
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Old 10-14-20, 05:40 PM
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Yeah, I had a Huffy that sort of looked like a stingray. Wanted a Stingray though. Bought a couple of the Chinese replicas, a purple one in 2008, which was a great copy with very good metallic paint - this was not one of the Walmart versions. I later bought a Walmart version when there were none others available for the other child. The Walmart copies were pretty junky. I have kept the earlier purple one. Might be worth something some day - not sure if it will ever be considered collectible. Or, could be a nice gift for a friend's child.

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Old 10-14-20, 07:17 PM
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I remember seeing this ad in DC and Marvel comic books. My childhood friend got a red Apple Krate back in 1969-70 and he let me ride it. We are still friends and we still ride together.


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Old 10-14-20, 10:21 PM
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I grew up in the inner city where there were mostly apartment buildings and many, many kids on just about every block. We all had bikes, mostly 20" wheel types with banana seats and butterfly handlebars, but I only remember one kid who had a Stingray and another who had a Schwinn that looked like the stingray, but had 24" wheels.

One summer, we all made "choppers" out of our bikes. We took old bikes and cut the front fork blades off at the crown and pounded the open ends onto the lower ends of our forks. Some went as far as taking pipe, probably electrical conduit, smashing the ends and drilling holes for the axles. It must have been quite the sight to see a dozen or so kids riding these modded bikes down busy urban streets with small inflated balloons wedges between the seat stays and spokes for that "Hell's Angel" effect.







...

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