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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    My gosh, Schwinn made a lot of bikes

    How did they ever go out of business? I often walk around downtown during lunch, and old Schwinns must outnumber other brands of bikes by about 10 to 1. These bikes are all many years old, but they still far outnumber the Treks, Giants, Specialized and other brands most sold in bike shops these days.

    I realize that you can still buy Schwinn bikes, but I'm talking about the old ones from back in the days when they were still made in the USA.

  2. #2
    MB1
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    These old Chicago Schwinn bikes were built to last and weighed 40+lbs right at the time everyone fell in love with lightweight bicycles weighing less than 30 lbs. Schwinn couldn't adapt to the new market fast enough and had expensive labor costs compared to the overseas competition.

    So it goes.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
    Hai.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1 View Post
    These old Chicago Schwinn bikes were built to last and weighed 40+lbs right at the time everyone fell in love with lightweight bicycles weighing less than 30 lbs. Schwinn couldn't adapt to the new market fast enough and had expensive labor costs compared to the overseas competition.

    So it goes.
    Doesn't mean I don't love my Chicago Schwinn frameset, though.
    Man up, dumb down, and do one gear.

    /AYHSMB

  4. #4
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel2 View Post
    How did they ever go out of business?

    I realize that you can still buy Schwinn bikes, but I'm talking about the old ones from back in the days when they were still made in the USA.
    There's your answer. Hard to compete with stuff made cheaper.

  5. #5
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    Used to have two Schwinn Stingrays as a kid, a fixie and 3-speed. Bomb-proof, but unfortunately not hindsight-proof (as in hindsight, I wish I had had the foresight to keep them).

  6. #6
    warrrrrrrgh!!!
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    How many TIG'd Schwinns were made by Giant? They pretty much got Giant off the ground with their massive frame orders, I don't get why they couldn't do that investment in the states, creating a subsidiary they could control a little better.
    I hate you all

    j/k lol kthxbye!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by foto View Post
    How many TIG'd Schwinns were made by Giant? They pretty much got Giant off the ground with their massive frame orders, I don't get why they couldn't do that investment in the states, creating a subsidiary they could control a little better.
    Cause Schwinn became to dependent on its suppliers. Not having to worry about labour costs and other costs associated with manufacturing, and really becoming just a marketing company, Schwinn wanted to distant themselves from giant since they were becoming to big and giant had no other choice to try to go it alone after the fact.

    Transfer of knowledge. Very deadly when your knowledge is the one being transfered.

  8. #8
    Wave, dammit!
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    I can tell you CL around here has that same 10:1 ratio of Schwinns for sale on a pretty regular basis.
    When a cyclist in your area is injured or killed by a motorist, make an extra effort the next day to go for a ride. It doesn't have to be an organized ride, or even a long ride. Hell, ride a 15 minute loop around your neighborhood if you want.

    Just be seen riding your bike.

    Do it to make people aware we're out there. Do it to honor a fellow traveler. Do it because you're lucky enough to still be able to.

  9. #9
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    I love Schwinns!

    I still ride my Schwinn!
    You'd think we were here for something other than fun. - Ishmael

  10. #10
    Cheese is my copilot
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    Life is better in the big ring.

    http://theclemencyblog.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    i LOVE my Schwinn!!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My gosh, Schwinn made a lot of bikes-bike3.jpg  

  12. #12
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    I'll have to read that book, No Hands. It probably makes a great case history for business students. It's still amazing that a company could sell so many bikes and go out of business, while many small bike companies from those days are still around (and still small).

    My two main rides these days are direct descendents from the Schwinn legacy, a Waterford RST-22 and a Gunnar Sport. As most Waterford buffs know, the company is run (owned?) by Richard Schwinn of bike dynasty. My Waterford is the best riding bike I have ever owned, and I've had quite a few in my 50+ years of cycling.

  13. #13
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    Schwinn made a lot of bikes, Studebaker and AMC made a lot of cars, Lockheed and Douglas made a lot of airliners. Markets and manufacturing processes and networks change; not all companies change in the right ways to move with them. It's tempting, but hard, to find general lessons from specific cases.

  14. #14
    old school drop out
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    I've not read the "no Hands" book, but I hear it's good. Most of the bikes that Schwinn made were made by electro-forging, which is a way to quickly and cheaply make very heavy bikes with thick-walled tube sets (Sheldon Brown has a great description of the electro-forging process). Bikes with this style of frames worked fine form the 1920s until the 1980s for Schwinn. All of the cruisers and Varsities used this process. The big issue with the frames made this way is that they're heavy - my late '70s Varsity road bike was about 45 pounds (seriously). The process could not be applied to thin-walled tube sets.

    In the 1980s as interest in bikes (mostly mountain bikes) grew, Schwinn wasn't ready to adapt to making lots of high-quality bikes. They didn't have the tooling for it. They always made nicer bikes, but in relatively low volumes. When it came time to ramp up their production of nice frames they looked to Giant to make the bikes. Giant grew, Schwinn did not.

    There's lots more to the story, but mostly it was Schwinn was an old conservatively run company that couldn't change how they did business rapidly enough or successfully in a market that changed dramatically in the 1980s and '90s.

  15. #15
    I ride.
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    I have 4 old Schwinns.

    1. 1958 Schwinn Jaguar. It's a very heavy bike and not comfortable to ride. Still, it's a sweet bike.

    2. 1983 Schwinn Le Tour converted to fixed gear and flat bars.

    3. 1985 Schwinn World Sport with upgraded everything and flat bars using bar mounted old school MTB friction shifters. This bike was produced for Schwinn by Giant.

    4. A fully restored to original 1984 Schwinn World. This bike belongs to my wife.

    These are all great bikes that were imo, very well made. I will never give them up.

  16. #16
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    Schwinn paramount the classic usa bike

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