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Which bike defines America?

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Which bike defines America?

Old 08-11-12, 06:19 PM
  #101  
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The Schwinn Stingray was the front-runner of the American Bicycle Boom, so I'd have to say that little guy. If not him, whichever one of Schwinn's best-selling 10-speeds (the Varsity or Suburban, I think).
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Old 08-11-12, 06:28 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
I'd have to say it would be the namesake Schwinn American, in black or red, with a Wald basket and a non-drive side photo.


... and a doggie.
+1
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Old 08-11-12, 06:39 PM
  #103  
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I would say that any tank bike from the 1930's to the 1960's and the Schwinn muscle bikes are clearly "American" style. I would also include the modern mountain bicycle as an American invention.

"American Bicycle Styings would include, but not be limited to:

Shwinn Phantom
Huffy Radio Bike
Sears Spaceliner
All the Murray "Space Bikes" like the Cosmic Flyer
Bowden Spacelander (Droooooool!)
Schwinn and other makers of muscle bikes like the Stingray, Krates, and Choppers.

Also modern mountain bikes starting from the 1980's including Trek and others. Invented in the USA by mountain diver enthusiasts, it took American fashion power to make such a use-specific off-road bicycle a part of daily on-road life - like 4WD ATV automobiles and Hummers that are used almost exclusively on paved streets.

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Old 08-11-12, 08:56 PM
  #104  
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Yes, but...

I agree with adding the Varsity if only because it was such an icon of it's day - and the most mass-produced bicycle in the history of bicycles with over a million Varsity being produced every year during it's heyday.

However, from a truly "American" perspective, the Varsity has some holes. It was truly a European design - so much so that the original Schwinn road bikes were imported from Europe as market testers before Schwinn started manufacturing in the USA.

I will give Schwinn credit for Americanizing the European road bike when they designed the Varsity and the Continental. Both were very reliable and intelligently designed for the American kid who had little knowledge of bicycle finesse that would have been required to keep a delicate european hand-made machine on the road.

With stylish disregard for weight concerns, Schwinn drizzled the Varsity and the Continental with rich shiny chrome from the handlebars to the hubs. Luscious paint glammed up nearly indestructable gas-pipe steel frames with welded (not brazed) tube joints.

Built in kick stands held the bikes up with solid posture so the owner did not have to lay his Schwinn flat on the ground like a dead horse.

In this regard, the Varsity and the Continental were America's response to the European racing bicycle. The message seemed to be "Americans don't have to be fast when you look this good. We get the chicks and in the end, we cross the finish line first anyway..."

Last edited by mike; 08-11-12 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 04-09-15, 07:16 AM
  #105  
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hello rhm I like to see you allegro special, I have one but cannot identify the year, do you have an idea ? thanks very much
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Old 04-09-15, 07:46 AM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by dgodave View Post
The modern mountain bike.
.
Its the USA's most meaningful contribution to cycling, on balance.
.
The ones that were made in Japan for American companies, ?
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Old 04-09-15, 08:50 AM
  #107  
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No love for the big chrome murray?
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Old 04-09-15, 09:23 AM
  #108  
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It would be a bike designed in the US, frame manufactured in China through a Japanese company, components a mix manufactured in Europe and Southeast Asia. Frame and components would meet in Africa to be painted and built by a Latin American owned conglomerate. Completed product would pass through the Suez Canal on a Russian owned freighter, arriving on the West Coast (and, of course, sitting in queue on the water for three or four weeks). The bike would be sold out of an immigrant owned shop by an American company based in Ireland. The brand would have a vaguely European name, with the model names being Spanish.
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Old 04-09-15, 10:21 AM
  #109  
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To me, the bike(s) that define America are the scrapped ones loaded on a big truck on their way from the county dump to the smelter. Mostly cheap Asian-sourced bikes from WalMart, with a few elderly Europeans and a couple old USA-built Schwinns thrown in there as well.

America, the great melting pot.
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Old 04-09-15, 10:41 AM
  #110  
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Its the Marine Shipping container, with the off shore Manufactured Bikes from Asian subcontract manufacturers ..
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Old 04-09-15, 11:02 AM
  #111  
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As an immigrant in the 1960s, I'd have to say the classic Schwinn Stingray, which was uniquely american. I had never seen a bike anything like this anywhere else in the world and everybody I knew had one. Eventually they morphed into BMX bikes which are still going strong today. The Stingray is also reflects the american car culture, with a stick shifter, "mag wheel" chainring and often whitewall tires. The Varsity would be in second place. It was also ubiquitous, but was really a european-racing-bike-wannabe with french derailleurs, not an american original like the Stingray.
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Old 04-09-15, 11:04 AM
  #112  
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Agree with the mountain bike posts - the original innovators/frame builders rode old Schwinn "klunkers" to the point they were breaking frames. In walks th likes of Joe Breeze, gary Fisher, Mike Sinyard, Tom Richety, etc. Check out the documentary Klunkerz sometime. Pretty cool stuff right there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=firWsbY4Jp8
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Old 04-09-15, 11:27 AM
  #113  
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I like the idea of the Phantom- ostentatious in that '59 Cadillac sort of way.

Then something like the Racer- I love the "Hat In The Ring" decal on the Paramounts and the Racer- it's cocky and brave.





In any case, it's a Schwinn.
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Old 04-09-15, 12:15 PM
  #114  
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I would have to say Pope's bicycles and his domination of the bicycle industry in the late 1800's. He was ruthless businessman to gain the market by buying licenses and patent rights along with prosecution of royalty infringements. He then turned around and built bicycle manufacturing plants that were impressively huge. Although his business with high wheelers was threatened by the "safety" bicycle, he adapted and continued on. His brand? Columbia. So if there was a bike that would represent America, I would pick a Columbia from the late 1800's or early 1900's that represented the capitalistic character of America. I believe he also built a manufacturing plant in the UK and did tours of his facilities to European bike manufacturers at the time.

That approach paved the way for Schwinn and many others who followed.

This was an attempt to provide a C&V response!
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Old 04-09-15, 12:35 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by revcp View Post
It would be a bike designed in the US, frame manufactured in China through a Japanese company, components a mix manufactured in Europe and Southeast Asia. Frame and components would meet in Africa to be painted and built by a Latin American owned conglomerate. Completed product would pass through the Suez Canal on a Russian owned freighter, arriving on the West Coast (and, of course, sitting in queue on the water for three or four weeks). The bike would be sold out of an immigrant owned shop by an American company based in Ireland. The brand would have a vaguely European name, with the model names being Spanish.
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Old 04-09-15, 01:15 PM
  #116  
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Old 04-09-15, 02:05 PM
  #117  
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So...a big time bumped thread...cool

To me, it is not one bicycle...but one company...Schwinn...America is the melting pot...and Schwinn had very high quality and very low quality in almost every type of bike...from BMX to Cruisers to MTB's to Road Bikes all the way to top notch racing in all categories. The company has also been through many ups and downs and changes and all around good and bad times...another thing that America goes through...so...my vote goes to that great somewhat American company..

SCHWINN!
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Old 04-09-15, 03:21 PM
  #118  
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hello I like to see your allegro, I have also one allegro special
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Old 04-09-15, 03:23 PM
  #119  
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[QUOTE=rhm;14393605][/QOTE]
hello I like to see your allegro, I have one special also, see beyond my post. Thanks for sharing
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Old 04-09-15, 03:43 PM
  #120  
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Like others, I would say Schwinn. It exemplifies America's manufacturing history of the past decades.
Then Trek. It exemplifies America's present.
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Old 04-09-15, 05:04 PM
  #121  
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For me the non US built Sekine GTO represents the US better than any other bike I've seen. So much flourish, shiny bits, accessories, lights and chrome that it over shadows that this is actually a bicycle. A pure thing becomes so bloated and with all the various 'improvements' added it becomes less than the original, although damn it's flashy.
Simpsons fans, it's the car Homer designed. Campers, it's taking the generator and tv or to the extreme, a Winnebago. It's a Caricature of what it's supposed to be.

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Old 04-09-15, 05:22 PM
  #122  
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There are a few smaller manufactures... Some of them are known nationwide.

Consider Burley and Bike Friday.



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Old 04-09-15, 05:31 PM
  #123  
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neat thread idea! Glad to see it came back !


BMX and MTB's were bandied about

To me, nobody embodies the spirit of BMX like Chatsworth California's own Mongoose --- from the early Motomag's through the Californian and Supergoose models --- Mongoose was All American ! Honorable mention to GT



Mongoose ruled the playgrounds, school yards - and yes -- even a little bit of actual BMX back in the 70's and 80's ---- but if a guy was a real heavy hitter -- then , you'd go with SE

mine is a repro of their 26" cruiser, the OM Flyer (i wouldnt ride an original, most likely) , but think of all the innovative stuff they brought to the table -- the PK Ripper , Quadangle, Floval Flyer and others (honorable mention - Hutch, Skyway, Robinson, Powerlite - etc etc)





As far as a defining American mountain bike ? Well, with all due respect to Tom Ritchey, Mike Sinyard, Joe Breeze and Charlie Kelly --- i think one brand really sums up American style excess --- Yeti

From John Parker cruising the pits on his Indian , to bringing box vans to the races in support of Johnny T, - plus supporting so many up and comers (everyone seemed to ride Yeti until they got their "Big Deal" - Johnny T to Raleigh, Juli Furtado to GT, etc etc )
-- YEti was over the top and the bikes that a lot of people wanted to ride back then in the NORBA days
-- Johnny T hooked up and haulin' on a drop bar equipped ARC



Yeti bikes are still pretty over the top as far as i'm concerned --- not quite as technically advanced as a 12k Specialized engineering exercise -- but they still "bring it"

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Old 04-09-15, 05:40 PM
  #124  
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The icons, IMO:

Lugged/fillet brazed Chicago Schwinns (and Paramounts in particular)
late '70s-early '80s Treks
early Kestrel road bikes (as museum pieces only)
Waterford Precision bikes
Spectrum Cycles
Serotta (the perfect dentist bike)
Masi California

Roger DeCoster / Mongoose (particularly California & Supergoose models)
GT Santa Ana
Hutch Racing
Schwinn Sting
SE PK Ripper / Quadangle (USA made versions)

Fat Chance (Wicked; Yo Eddy)
Ibis (esp. Mountain Trials)
Cannondale (esp. Beast 26/24)
Merlin Titanium
Mantis XCR
Ritchey (P-series)
GT Xizang / Zaskar
Moots
Bontrager (steel)
Salsa (steel)
Ventana
Yeti
Mountain Goat
Litespeed
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Old 04-09-15, 06:05 PM
  #125  
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I love Iver truss frames and the pic is great. Is that like a glove box and requires no permits? (no *** thread required)
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