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!)


52 Responses to “Dragster bike of 1969”

  1. Jake0748 says:

    I absolutely love that it has a 3-dimensional chain guard. 

  2. OoerictoO says:

    knew i had seen this somewhere!

    thanks again.  still want this thing!

  3. Larry OBrien says:

    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.  

  4. cog2803 says:

    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 :)

  5. Editz says:

    If it has front and rear caliper brakes, what the heck is a drag brake?

    • Richard Lack says:

      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?

      • dr.hypercube says:

        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.

      • Robert Cruickshank says:

         What could possibly go wrong?

  6. dr.hypercube says:

    A Murray Eliminator comes pretty close to this ideal. I had a /much/less flossy Eliminator, but never stopped wanting a Krate or a high-end Eliminator or a Raleigh Chopper… HEY SANTA!

    • squidfood says:

      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…    

  7. Tony Mariani says:

    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. 

    • huskerdont says:

      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.

    • jimh says:

      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!)

    • Boundegar says:

      Well weren’t you just the little Ralph Nader?

  8. cog2803 says:

    Here is a link to something very close. I recall that the “Drag Brake” was just another way to apply the rear brake. I don’t recall those specific handlebars but given the era  . . . I wouldn’t be shocked to see them as options or special editions.


  9. Dave Horton says:

    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.

  10. paddle2paddle says:

    Sissy Bar, huh?

  11. Nash Rambler says:

    I want this thing so bad I’m actually salivating.

  12. Amorette says:

    Groovy colored tires!  Wow.

  13. Daneel says:

    Look at that quilted banana seat. Just look at it.

  14. Rosscott says:

    Anyone got a pic of the real thing?

  15. Steve Page says:

    Reminds me of my Raleigh Chopper in the 70s

  16. drkptt says:

    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.

  17. Editz says:

    Even more bizarre were the Swing bikes that pivoted on the seat tube:


  18. Dwight says:

    That looks just like a Sears Screamer to me. Of course, the one I had, I pulled out of a ravine and it was well rusted.

  19. looks like an Italian Saltafoss http://i.imgur.com/T6MJb.jpg

    or a modified bike as i see in Merida(MEX) http://www.flickr.com/photos/e-coli/2734829803/

  20. Bob Knetzger says:

    Why does the call out say ‘”torsion” spring?

    • Kimmo says:

      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.

  21. sockdoll says:

    Schwinn Orange Krate?

  22. Halloween_Jack says:

    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…

  23. JIMWICh says:

    My Orange Krate of yore…

  24. Ahh I remember these, with the deadly gear shift that crushes your jewels when you crash.

  25. Art Fugue says:

    Where’s the card between the spokes? 

    Vroom, vroom.

  26. Joel Wilson says:

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

  27. dmc10 says:

    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)

  28. Jack_Walker says:

    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.

  29. there4im says:

    They are COMPLETELY missing the mandatory clothespin and playing cards for the spokes.  Lived it, loved it.

  30. Stuart Bogue says:

    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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