The Most Influential Gear of All Time: Schwinn Stingray BMX Bike

1976

An early Schwinn Stingray bike

An early Schwinn Stingray bike     Photo: Courtesy of Schwinn

It was 1962 when Schwinn designer Al Fritz learned of a new California youth trend: kids retrofitting their street bikes with knobby tires, hi-rise crossbar handlebars, and banana seats so that they could ride and race and jump motocross style. The trend inspired Schwinn to make the first commercially available tool for the job—the Stingray. It had a cantilever frame, 20-inch wheels, knobbier tires, a crossbar handlebar for strength, a banana seat, and coaster brakes. It was upgraded in ‘79 with a reinforced triangle frame, side pull caliper brakes, and a standard saddle. BMX racing fathered freestyle riding.

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