With all the mountain bikes, sport bikes, and race bikes that have graced this space, it might seem that this rather odd-looking kids’ bike is a bit out of place here. It is, in fact, the first Schwinn Stingray (more accurately, Lemon peeler) I have seen in the shop.

You might not realize it, but this is one of the best-selling bicycles in history. Produced from 1963 to 1981, in its heyday something like 60 percent of all the bikes sold in the US were Stingrays and variants.

Schwinn Stingray, Refurbished by Cap'n Jonny © Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange bikex.org
Schwinn Stingray, Refurbished by Cap'n Jonny © Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange / bikex.org

Many consider it the direct precursor of the mountain bike, dreamed up by Southern California kids to mimic custom motorcycles and an instant smash hit when a production version was introduced. 

The Stingray was one of Schwinn's most popular bikes.
The Stingray was one of Schwinn's most popular bikes.

This Stingray was built in 1968 and had been painted with house paint over the original purple enamel when I received it. The frame was stripped to bare metal and painted Rustoleum Safety yellow. I disassembled the springer fork, cleaned off rust, polished, and re-assembled it.

The famous springer fork of the Schwinn Stingray
The famous springer fork of the Schwinn Stingray

The original sissy bar was damaged. Luckily, Craigslist produced someone who was selling a nice chrome one with a new seat.

A new Schwinn seat completes our Schwinn Stingray
A new Schwinn seat completes our Schwinn Stingray

New front and back wheels and tires completed the build. Original parts include the frame, fork, bars, grips, crank, pedals, and seat post.

Original Schwinn grips!
Original Schwinn grips!

This bike will soon be up for grabs on our online store at shop.bikex.org and should help us refubish and donate a handful of bikes to those in need.

Have a bike in your garage that's collecting dust? Consider donating it to SVBE! Learn more here