It may seem like just yesterday to some, but 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Schwinn Sting Ray. Created by Schwinn Engineering Vice President Al Fritz, the Sting Ray became a fixture in many garages with its banana seat and ape hanger bars. The Stingray was originally produced from 1963-1981 with the popular Krate models offered from 68-73. Sadly, Al Fritz passed away earlier this year in May, and as a tribute to the late designer Schwinn has introduced a limited run of the “Fritz Fifty.” However, before he passed, Schwinn had the chance to work with Fritz one last time to create the first new Sting Ray design since 1973. Always a dream of Fritz for the Sting Ray, the limited edition bike has a completely chrome plated frame and only 500 will be made. Individually numbered, each bike has a seal of authenticity adorned with Fritz’ signature. To further honor Fritz, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in his name.
Fritz Fifties will be available the first week of December exclusively at independent bicycle retailers in the US, though Schwinn is offering a chance to own one for free through their Facebook Page.
A brief history of the Sting Ray after the break.
ABOUT THE STING-RAY
- In 1962, Schwinn designer Al Fritz learned of a new California youth trend: retrofitting bicycles with the accoutrements of motorcycles (high-rise, ape hanger handlebars and banana seats).
- As a result, in 1963 a wheelie bike was introduced to the public as the Schwinn Sting-Ray.
- By the end of 1964, Schwinn Sting-Rays accounted for 70 percent of bike sales in the U.S.
- The Schwinn Sting-Ray remained in production until 1981, with nostalgic reissues of the original Krates in 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2011.
- On May 7, 2013 Al Fritz passed away, but not before helping to recreate the magic of the iconic Schwinn Sting-Ray by developing this 50th anniversary commemorative, chrome Fritz Fifty in tandem with the Schwinn Bikes team.
Founded in 1895, Schwinn is an American icon, building some of the best-known and best-loved bicycles of all time. With a continued dedication to quality, forever synonymous with the Schwinn name, America’s most famous bicycle brand looks forward to providing another century of innovation and performance to people of all ages. Information about Schwinn bicycles is available at www.SchwinnBikes.com. Be sure to follow Schwinn on Twitter at @RideSchwinn and like Schwinn on Facebook at Ride Schwinn.