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Waterford Precision Cycles/Gunnar Cycles Shutting Down

Waterford Cycles framePhoto c. Waterford Precision Cycles
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Sad news from Wisconsin a few days ago, Waterford Precision Cycles will no longer be taking any new orders and plans to close its doors after fulfilling all current orders. As initially reported by Bikepacking.com, this closure will include Gunnar Cycles, as well. Waterford Precision Cycles has built custom bikes under the Waterford badge for four decades, and fabricated Gunnar Cycles frames and forks as an option for a lower-cost, production frameset available in stock, non-custom sizes.

Waterford Cycles stainless
Photo c. Waterford Precision Cycles

It was way back in 1981 that Waterford took over the Schwinn Paramount production. Under the leadership of Richard Schwinn, the small bicycle frame manufacturer produced iconic hand-built custom, high-end, steel frames that became synonymous with quality craftsmanship.

After a large number of long-time employees are soon to be retiring, Richard Schwinn has decided to retire and close up shop to spend more time doing something else. I would imagine after “doing the bike thing” for as long as the Schwinn family has, it would be an attractive thought to find something else to do in your later years.

Waterford Cycles headtube

In some of the groups I follow, the word (aka, the bike rumor) is that in the email Richard Schwinn sent out to his existing dealer network, the implication was that somebody may take over the business, in whole or in part. But that it isn’t firmed up enough to disclose any specifics.

Fingers crossed.

So, this may not be the final end for them, just yet. Stay tuned.

WaterfordBikes.com & GunnarBikes.com

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22 Comments
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dick
dick
10 months ago

I love my waterford

Ron
Ron
10 months ago
Reply to  dick

It is not a shock that they are both closing their doors. Richard does not return emails in a timely fashion and when he does, he isn’t helpful.

dick
dick
10 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Not true. I had a nice, and timely, phone conversation with Richard about a customers Gunner.

Ron
Ron
10 months ago
Reply to  dick

Looks like we had different experiences.
It is unfortunate that steel frames are being passed up for aluminum and carbon frames. new cyclists are easily influenced by the big brands’ advertising.

Fake Namerton
Fake Namerton
10 months ago

That blows. I really like Gunnar frames had one that took a number of blows crit racing and still performed every Wednesday night.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
10 months ago

I wish I got a custom Waterford for myself before this. I had an old, used Waterford a built up as a fixie in college that was stolen

Steve Gillespie
Steve Gillespie
10 months ago

I have both a Gunnar Roadie and Street Dog with many thousands of miles on each. The stems are shorter and angled up now but the ride is still sublime. So happy to own them.

Shafty
Shafty
10 months ago

The frames from Waterford were always nice, but it seemed they were hesitant to modernize and adopt new features. Hopefully, someone takes over with a vision for the future. A flexible manufacturer that can work with shops is definitely needed.

Johnny
Johnny
10 months ago

Bummer…if you buy a timeless frame built to last a lifetime you won’t need to replace it within 5-10 years and what is the fun in that for marketing departments of the big four? As a tech of 20+ years, I have seen enough carbon frames wear out and deteriorate in such odd ways; ie dropouts, headtubes, and bottom brackets, that I’ve absolutely lost any desire to ride carbon. The built in obsolecsense is completely unpractical.

Dinger
Dinger
10 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

Carbon frames have no more “built-in obsolescence” than steel frames are and they last a great many years. If your experience were longer you’d have seen just as many steel frames fail (braze joints, cracked dropouts, rust..) for odd reasons. There wasn’t a great deal of engineering in them back in the day. I also routinely see early carbon frames continuing to rack up the miles out on the road. Progress marches on.

Johnny
Johnny
10 months ago
Reply to  Dinger

Even though that’s not true…tell me why it is

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
10 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

You must be the only anomaly as a mechanic. I’ve seen plenty of carbon bikes with well over 100k miles and counting on them and while I’ve seen the same with steel, I’ve seen plenty fail with a lots less mileage too

SteveT
SteveT
10 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

I had a Trek 2300 OCLV carbo frame last 15 years with thousands of miles on it before donating it to a local race team. In that same time span I had an ultra foco steel frame crack at the bottom bracket and chainstay junction for no apparent reason. Generalizations are just that, generalizations and they are often wrong.

Mike
Mike
10 months ago
Reply to  SteveT

I have a 23 year old Marinoni Squadra built up with Columbus SPX that has 100,000+ miles on it that’s still rocking.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
10 months ago
Reply to  Mike

Steel is great and can last a very long time. But your bike is heavily fatigued now. That frame is nowhere near as stiff as it was when you bought it. You just may not notice because it’s happened so gradually

Robin
Robin
10 months ago
Reply to  Johnny

Well, I guess the 16+-year-old CF frame behind me must have something wrong with it….or maybe your assumptions are wrong. Note that your limited observations may not represent the experiences of all.

Oh, and “built-in obsolescence” has nothing to do with frame material and everything to do with manufacturer priorities and choices. Conflating frame material with the latter is dumb.

Shawn
Shawn
10 months ago

30 years in bike shops, and I have never, ever, heard more ridiculous words leave the mouth of an industry insider than I have from Richard. After telling a customer that a seat post would always slip for 200lb mountain biker, he recommended installing a dowel between post and bb on his new Gunnar. The customer, being quite funny, informed Richard that he was thinking about drilling through the frame and post and running a bolt through them. Richard thought it was a brilliant idea. The customer let him know he was being cynical, hung up, and promptly sold the frame. My first high end mountain bike was a lugged Waterford, so it stung a little extra.

Chad
Chad
10 months ago
Reply to  Shawn

Interesting story, but reselling a frame that was knowingly built wrong doesn’t say a lot about this customer.

SteveT
SteveT
10 months ago
Reply to  Chad

Nothing wrong with reselling such a frame so long as the buyer is made aware of the issue. There are loads of people out there willing to buy such a frame at a discount, who will fix the issue themselves or have someone fix it for them.

Jay
Jay
10 months ago
Reply to  Shawn

I hate that I totally believe this story, but I do.

Sirclimbalot
Sirclimbalot
10 months ago

I have a 2013 Gunnar Roadie with a beautiful classic look. Rode into work today, and get way more compliments than I ever got with my now sold carbon road bike…. Also have no problem keeping up with/ dropping riders on full carbon rigs – this thing rides great and I’m amazed at the smoothness.

+ A 2010 Milwaukee Orange that I usually commute on and it’s a joy to ride. Both bikes have a timeless look and don’t have me wishing for disc brake / electric shifting for paved use! I’m very zen with these!

Ves
Ves
10 months ago

Great news, another one bite the dust.
Beside Parlee this made my, ugh, hmmm a – year.
People who never ever had anything to do with frame manufacturing, got there because of “easy” money.

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