Sunday, January 24, 2010

The All Time Coolest Bike Ever Built (and it's mine!)

This post is sort of an epilogue to The Jaguar Project. As I mentioned early on in that narrative, my three classic Schwinns were doing time as living room decor, and hadn't been ridden since sometime in the mid 80's. In '97 I crated them up, and they were buried deep in the rat's nest of my garage. Right now, I'm having the wheels to the B-6 re-spoked, and while I was at it I pulled the wheels from the Jag, and took them in as well. They needed to be trued up. With a little luck I'll have both bikes done by the end of next week, and then I can start work on the Starlet.

So how did I catch the fever again? What made me go to all the trouble of cleaning out the garage (no small task!) unpacking the oldies, and finishing the overhaul that I never quite completed thirty years ago?

It has to with this post, here.
I had been thinking about motorcycles. More specifically, I had been amusing myself by pipe dreaming about getting hold of an old Harley Davidson Panhead, and building a chopper. I was killing some time checking e-bay motors, and going through Google images when I stumbled across a picture of one of these:

It's the Schwinn Stingray Spoiler adult sized chopper bicycle. The Schwinn company filed bankruptcy on 9/11/01. They were bought out by an outfit called Pacific Cycles, and the bikes were being made in China. Pacific introduced the Stingray Chopper, and decided to take a gamble on an adult size version. They went out on a limb with the high end Spoiler, and promptly went belly up. It was introduced for one model year, in'04, or '05. They didn't make very many. Pacific was sold. Schwinn bikes still exist, but they're little more than a badge on inexpensive discount store bikes. Sad.
I found this one on e-bay. It was owned by a former Schwinn dealer, and never uncrated. I had it shipped down from Washington state this last December.
Anyone who gets into cool machinery, new, vintage, or custom, does so, in part, for the attention it draws. Part of the fun of riding the Jaguar, or the B-6 around is that people notice the bike, comment, and strike up conversations. I'm used to that, and I enjoy it immensely.
The Spoiler is in another class entirely. Even I was unprepared for it. I've had several people actually pull their cars off to the side of the road, and flag me down to get a better look. Harley riders (notoriously impossible to impress) stop and stare. I've secured a reputation around here for being that crazy-ass old fart with the wild bike. This is not a toy for shy people. But dammit is it fun!



JKAGPR said...

I've had one since they came out.. rode it so much now I need to replace the rims.. the search begins..

Almin Nesimi said...

I have one,just all black,Cheers from France!