What Makes a Schwinn Bike?

Schwinn bikes first appeared on streets in the 19th century and were built in such a unique way that decades-old Schwinns can still be seen in Chicago and other bike-friendly cities.
by | July 2013

In 1895, bicycle manufacturer Arnold, Schwinn & Company was founded in Chicago just as a craze for the two-wheeled conveyances was sweeping the country. But it didn’t last long. Within a few years automobiles and motorcycles outnumbered bikes on American streets.

Schwinn survived to enjoy another sales boom in the 1960s and ’70s. The company’s bikes of the period were built by a unique method, which made them strong but heavy. Those sturdy frames mean that 50-year-old Schwinns are still a common sight in the Windy City.

These vintage Schwinn bicycles were spotted on a recent stroll around the Loop.

David Kidd | Photojournalist / Storyteller | dkidd@governing.com