My first bike was a banana seat Schwinn and I am willing to bet yours was too. The iconic Sting-Ray turns 50 this year and in order to celebrate this momentous anniversary, Schwinn is bringing it back. Named after the original designer Al Fritz, the new all-chrome Sting-Ray Fritz Fifty is set to become a more popular collector’s item than the Rob Ford bobblehead this holiday season.
Originally introduced in 1963 at a price of $49.95, the Sting-Ray quickly became Schwinn’s best selling bike. Al Fritz, Director of Research and Development for Schwinn at the time, noticed that Southern California kids were all modifying their bikes to look more like motorcycles. Going after the same look, Al created the Sting-Ray prototype that was first laughed at by Schwinn upper management.
Ceasing production in 1983, Schwinn worked with Al earlier this year to create the first newly designed Sting-Ray since 1973. Sadly, the limited edition all-chrome Fritz Fifty is to be the one last special model designed by Al, as he passed away last May.
The Fritz Fifty is essentially the same bike as the original with a short frame, high rise handlebars, and long, bucket shaped saddle, better known as the banana seat. This design lends itself to quick maneuvers, fast starts, and short radius turns.
The Sting-Ray Fritz Fifty features an all-chrome classic frame (something Al always wanted) with endless possibilities for color customization. Other design features are still there, such as the custom springer fork, fat silk rear tire, smaller 16” front tire, and fenders for riding in all weather.
Each Fritz Fifty bike is individually numbered and has a limited edition seal of authenticity signed by Al Fritz. A portion of the proceeds from the bike sales will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of the man himself.
If you want one, you better hurry – Schwinn is making only 500 of the Fritz Fifty, available for purchase exclusively at independent bike retailers across the U.S. during the first week of December.
Do you remember your first bike?