The Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat was cool

Originally published at: The Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat was cool | Boing Boing


no mention of the ‘best bit’?: coaster brake! whole summers spent trying to be the kid who “laid the longest patch”.


This looks like the one I had as a teen. Moving up from a one-speed bike with coaster brake to this rad five-speed gear shifter and hand brakes was awesome. That seat is long enough that my little sister could ride behind me.


I had the one with no gear. But those ape hanger handlebars! Great for wheelies. I rode mine until the frame broke underneath me going over a jump.


I don’t remember BMX dirt bikes in the 70s.

I had a banana seat 3 speed and then a more adult Schwinn.

Ten speeds with thin tires and rams horn handle bars wrapped with all kinds of tape were also popular when I was a kid in the 70s.

And let’s not forget a playing card and clothespin to make that cool sound.

And always having rubber bands to keep your pants out of the chain.

Coaster brakes were awesome.


A friend of mine had a gold one like that with the added amazing bit of shock absorbers on the rear seat supports

That was amazingly cool to my young 80’s brain, not sure if that gets called out in the video…


The plane-jane schwinn bike I got at age 5 got upgraded to the ape hangers and banana seat at age 8 or 9, and I rode that everywhere including the vacant acres next to the tollway that dirt-bikers had turned into a track. By middle school I was way too tall for that frame, and it was replaced with a stodgy 3-speed Raleigh which eventually rusted out in college.


I had TWO. The original one speed with coaster break. Best for doing cool spin outs and laying patches. Once I outgrew it, I got the five speed (not, alas, w/ the pseudo-stick shifter, just a typical handlebar mounted shifter w/ hand breaks. And yes, the big ol’ apehanger handlebars.

The old one speed got its banana seat and bars tossed and I bought a cheap saddle seat and a a set of ‘dirt bike’ handlebars with the cross beam. That became the jumping/stunt bke. The 5 speed was to actually go places.

That lasted 'til I got my first real 10 speed (green, w/ drop handlebars, also a Schwinn) when I was 13. I took that bike to college, where it was finally stolen.


Did anyone catch the clips at the end of the video where hand signals were being emphasized? I remember learning those when I was a kid, but do they even teach that anymore? Are they still valid, ie, legal? Shoot, I’m thinking that no car driver would recognize that “slow down or stop” hand signal these days. I love seeing a those old cars on the road, though!


I still see bikers, riding brand new Harleys, using hand signals.

I wish people would learn to alert others on multi use trails that they are approaching and passing.

And stay to the right unless you are passing.


I got the Gray Ghost version for Christmas one year (1972?) when I was a kid. Super sweet bike, front and rear shocks, 5-speed gearshift that I can’t believe made it past the lawyers, and the rad fat slick in the back. It weighed a ton but I didn’t care, because I had the coolest bike in the neighborhood!


“Now available in White Cotton Picker!”

Wow. The marketing department really went for it, huh?


I remember one of my friends had one in the early seventies. He hacksawed the front forks off another bike and hammered them over the ends of the Stingray’s front fork, creating a homemade chopper. Coolest thing in the trailer park until he popped a wheelie. Held on by the powers of friction and leverage, of course it fell off.


not only to bicycle users still use them (they are very much legal to use. I’ve even seen guys in old Willys Jeeps (which did NOT have turn signals standard) using them. Ditto riders of custom motorbikes that don’t have indicators for design reasons.


See the source image


Redline was founded in 1970, and I remember well the sweet Redline BMX my friend had when he began to enter races in the late 70s. I never had anything that nice until I was an adult.


These bikes were perfectly timed for the Evel Knievel craze of the 70s, doing wheelies and jumps.


Ah yes, my yellow-banana Stingray. We would do “ghost riding” where you jump off the bicycle while it is still in motion and let it crash into someone else’s ghost ridden bike. My Stingray never got hurt, while the poor kids on Huffy bikes were always walking home in shame to get theirs fixed.

Loved the safety training with the kid constantly looking back to see if a car is about to run him over, and then waving the car ahead of him so he wouldn’t have to keep an eye on it.

The kids doing wheelies in bare feet seemed quite comfortable away from the cars.

What a slice of the 60s/70s psyche.


I believe that after some nasty accidents, they moved the shifter to a more conventional (but less cool) location on the handlebars.

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So cool indeed that I had my Honda xr600r frame cut and re-welded to accommodate the schwinn banana seat