May 21, 2005 One of the aspects of convergence we didn’t see coming was the convergence of childrens bicycles and adult commuters. That’s what seems to be happening as the wildly popular Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycle is being upgraded with an electric motor. The new Sting-Ray Electric shares the original design characteristics of the Street Series Sting-Ray, but adds an electric motor and a battery pack in the form of a motorcycle engine casing so it looks even more like the chopper it originally emulated when it took the world by storm way back in the early sixties. The new Sting-Ray Electric will reach 14 mph and the battery will last up to two hours for a price of US$399. Those specs are distinctly commuter machine territory.
The original Sting-Ray, widely considered the most popular bicycle of all time, was first introduced in 1963 during the muscle car craze and remained on the market until 1982. More than 1 million bikes were sold in 1968 alone resulting in teenagers on every corner tricking out their banana seat Sting-Rays with headlights, mirrors, wheelie bars and other accessories to make each bike unique. Any kid not lucky enough to have a Sting-Ray certainly dreamed of owning one
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Special features of the electric model include: variable pedal, electric or dual power mode; an on-board computer to make best use of energy; LED throttle indicator of battery condition; removable rechargeable battery; and rear wheel motor mount eliminating chain or belt breaks. Most importantly, the battery pack has been designed to look like the traditional V-twin motor that powers the world's choppers.
In February 2005, the 20" Street Series Sting-Ray was named the 2004 Outdoor Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association, Inc. That Sting-Ray model had sold nearly 600,000 units in less than a year, making it what Schwinn claims to be the fastest selling bicycle in history.
When Schwinn Bicycles launched the new Schwinn Sting-Ray "Street Series" juvenile chopper bike in April 2004, the company knew it was on to something special. The first retailer to receive the bicycles sold what was thought to be a three-month allocation in one weekend. Soon, every retailer selling the new Schwinn Sting-Ray was asking for more Sting-Rays to meet unprecedented consumer demand.
The new Schwinn Sting-Ray bicycles are modern chopper versions of the classic banana seat bike of the '60s and '70s. The new Sting-Ray line has created an entirely new category for the bike market, which has been traditionally comprised of BMX, mountain and traditional sidewalk bikes.
Founded in 1895, Schwinn is an American icon and has built some of the best-known and best-loved bicycles of all time.View gallery - 8 images