Dragster bike of 1969

Zaz Von Schwinn uploaded this 1969 Popular Mechanics diagram showing the specs for a spectacular dragster bicycle with all the trimmings.

Popular Mechanics July 1969 page 152 (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


    1. If you love it so much why don’t you marry it?

      Well somebody had to slip in a Pee Wee reference somewhere in this thread.

  1. knew i had seen this somewhere!

    thanks again.  still want this thing!

  2. I remember these bikes.  I always wanted one.  There were a lot of these banana seat style bikes around before the whole BMX thing became popular in the late seventies/early eighties.  

  3. That is an image of a model produced by Schwinn in the the early 70’s – I believe that there were at least three or four of them in my neighborhood. A kid down the street got one and in short order two or three other kids had to get copies right away. I stuck with my Sears brand knockoff :)

    1.  I think you’re remembering the Krates – Schwinn was 1st (aside from what folks cobbled together on their own) and then other manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon.

    1. I just came in here to the comments hoping someone would tell me what a drag brake is.  It already has two brake handles, so my best guess is a brake for completely locking up the back wheel so you can do a cool skid– while only holding on to the handlebars with one hand?

      1. Engage the brake, stand on the pedals, pop the brake, PEEL OUT! “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.” IOW, didn’t really work, but made for great fantasy.

    1. The high point of my 8-12 year old life was finding a bright orange Raleigh Chopper at a garage sale and cruising the neighborhood ca. 1979…    

  4. The bike looked cool but it was a hazard to ride on. The drag brake just locked up (or slowed down) both wheels. If you slide off the banana seat, a lad could castrate himself on the shifters. I should know, I had this bike in the late sixties. Looked good but was not safe to ride on. 

    1. Nevertheless, I would ride this home from work today, in DC, and leave my road bike in the parking garage overnight to retrieve later. There was a banana seat bike at my grandfather’s place that I would use as a kid, but it was nowhere near this cool. I think it even had hard tires. Form over function can be fun.

    2. Yup, I had the standard stingray, and a kid down the block had the “console stick shift” arrangement shown here. I always thought they were so cool, and was pretty jealous. Until he ran into a curb and slid forward, breaking the shifters with his balls.

      Some pretty good photos here: (Of the bikes, not of the accident!)

  5. One of my first bikes in the sixties was called a Stingray… it had 16″ wheels, the banana seat, and the high curved handlebars. O I loved my Stingray.

    1. That’s pretty much the standard name for it on motorcycles.  Funny, but not as funny as “pedestrian slicer”.

      1. Actually there was no “Cherry Picker”. There was the Apple Krate, Orange Krate, Pea Picker, Cotton Picker, Lemon Peeler, Grey Ghost and later the Grape Krate!

  6. I had the Sears knock-off when I was a kid.  The front suspension was different, with (iirc) a torsion spring located lower on the fork acting on a link that pivoted on the fork (a short trailing arm).  It looked cool, had almost zero movement.  I found that if I flipped the link over and changed the pivot points it stuck the tire out farther like a chopper and the suspension actually worked.  The problem was it changed the trail so it was very unstable, like trying to push a caster wheel in the wrong direction.  Fixed that with an bicycle inner tube looped around the forks and the seat post–a crude steering damper.

    1. Because not a single engineer ever came near this thing, let alone in the marketing department.

      LOL, torsion spring. Although I guess when you think about it, coil springs are twisted when they’re extended or compressed… for anything shaped like a helix to deform, it pretty much has to twist a bit, if it’s stiff enough.

  7. I would have loved a banana seat bike as a kid, but instead I got a heavy single-speed with front and rear baskets for my paper route. Razzn frazzn Abe Lincoln uphill both ways in the snow…

  8. ++Torsion Spring detail, +Banana seat w/quilted backrest, -bad knee clearance on Pretzel Bars.  Oh! always a critic.

  9. I can’t believe no one commented on the obvious MOST important thing that is MISSING… a clothespin and a playing card… duh… (edit: nevermind, someone did, thank goodness, I was getting worried)

  10. I converted my first bike to something similar by adding ape hangers and a banana seat. I saved my birthday and Christmas money to buy the bars and seat from Western Auto. I think the year was 1968. I was so cool I could pop-a-wheelie. My older brother was so much cooler though, he added a Briggs and Stratton motor to his bike.

  11. We all put our hi rise handlebars as far forward as possible. This gave a desired look ,but most of all,allowed you to stand upright on the pedals and “run” up hills . My brother and I had this style bike from JC Penneys. I had asked for green metal flake,sissy bar and red striped drag slick. My brother did not yet ride,so he had no preference. Come Christmas morning, there were two bikes under the tree. A green metal flake,sans sissy bar and red striped slick. Also a red bike,with sissy bar,red striped tire,crossed checkered flag accent on the seat.I jumped the red bike and was in heaven. Mom got up later and strongly insisted I was on the wrong bike. I won that discussion. I soon tore the sissy bar off and the seat along with it on a tree. I put a very cool leopard print seat (along with a strategically placed Valvoline decal)
     from my friends sisters bike and never looked back. And I have loved red since then.

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