Fritz Fifty Schwinn Stingray 2

It may seem like just yesterday to some, but 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Schwinn Sting Ray. Created by Schwinn Engineering Vice President Al Fritz, the Sting Ray became a fixture in many garages with its banana seat and ape hanger bars. The Stingray was originally produced from 1963-1981 with the popular Krate models offered from 68-73. Sadly, Al Fritz passed away earlier this year in May, and as a tribute to the late designer Schwinn has introduced a limited run of the “Fritz Fifty.” However, before he passed, Schwinn had the chance to work with Fritz one last time to create the first new Sting Ray design since 1973. Always a dream of Fritz for the Sting Ray, the limited edition bike has a completely chrome plated frame and only 500 will be made. Individually numbered, each bike has a seal of authenticity adorned with Fritz’ signature. To further honor Fritz, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association in his name.

Fritz Fifties will be available the first week of December exclusively at independent bicycle retailers in the US, though Schwinn is offering a chance to own one for free through their Facebook Page.

A brief history of the Sting Ray after the break.

Fritz Fifty Schwinn Stingray2From Schwinn:


  • In 1962, Schwinn designer Al Fritz learned of a new California youth trend: retrofitting bicycles with the accoutrements of motorcycles (high-rise, ape hanger handlebars and banana seats).
  • As a result, in 1963 a wheelie bike was introduced to the public as the Schwinn Sting-Ray.
  • By the end of 1964, Schwinn Sting-Rays accounted for 70 percent of bike sales in the U.S.
  • The Schwinn Sting-Ray remained in production until 1981, with nostalgic reissues of the original Krates in 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2011.
  • On May 7, 2013 Al Fritz passed away, but not before helping to recreate the magic of the iconic Schwinn Sting-Ray by developing this 50th anniversary commemorative, chrome Fritz Fifty in tandem with the Schwinn Bikes team.


Founded in 1895, Schwinn is an American icon, building some of the best-known and best-loved bicycles of all time. With a continued dedication to quality, forever synonymous with the Schwinn name, America’s most famous bicycle brand looks forward to providing another century of innovation and performance to people of all ages. Information about Schwinn bicycles is available at Be sure to follow Schwinn on Twitter at @RideSchwinn and like Schwinn on Facebook at Ride Schwinn.

Schwinn krate ad 1968
Image from


  1. this is sweet, but are these limited production bikes being manufactured in the usa?

    highly unlikely. schwinns of made in chicago, long gone. Should have found an american frame builder or company to do it. Just my opinion.

  2. 70 % of the market by the end of 1964. I remember that time as a kid. we couldn’t afford a new stingray but by Dad picked up an second hand AMC Flash frame, banana seat, bars, had a big slick tire on the back. Couldn’t wait to get it built. Had so much fun dirt jumping that thing. Still a very vivid memory.

  3. Cool bike to honor Mr. Fritz. Has a former large Schwinn dealer. I just hate what has happened to the brand. Wish the Schwinn Family could of held on to the company and made some wiser choices in the past. Also would have been cool if they could have made these in the USA but it would have cost to much. Dorel would have to dump them after they could not sale them, just like the US made Black Phantoms (from the Schwinn Boulder group).

  4. Oh man thats a memory right there. My very first bike ever in lemon peeler yellow!!!

    LOVED MY STING RAY! I mean how much more enduro specific could you be?!

  5. What a hack job! This “design” only reminds us of everything that’s wrong with coprorate design. Any real Schwinn freak will look at this piss poor frame and know that other than the cantilver tubes, there is nothing to do with what a real or a good re-production stringray shape. Tig welded, almost no bend to the down tube, wrong chainwheel, fenders that don’t fit. Al would be embarrassed to see how his baby turned out. A soul-less POS. Let them rot in a Doral warehouse.

  6. As a child of the 60’s, I remember saving up to buy a “slick” rear tire and then waiting for the rain. “Burnouts” on the side street and seeing how long we could “lay rubber” were the order of the day. Dry days we were all “Evel Kinevel” building ramps and jumping over anything we could find. Somehow we survived….. Great memories of my favorite bike.

  7. @oldman I was about to ask what you were talking about but the funny thing was you’r elooking at the new frame and I didn’t even see the new frame. Just the original advertisement, WHICH I also knew that location because my mom was a nurse and worked at both the Orange County race way and the Riverside race way.

    The new bike looks like a POS, filet welding is a lost art.

  8. I have little doubt that this thing is just another piece of modern desposable crap like most of the new medium priced bikes are these days. As I sit on my front porch and watch the kids ride these new bikes I am disgusted by how cheap and breakable they are. Everything, from the handle bar grips which fall off, to the kick-stand assemblies that break off, the cheap plastic brake pads that come undone to the gearshift wires which snap off, they are simply junk.

    My kids have gone through no less than three bikes each in their teenage years. Back in my youth, our Schwinn bikes lasted for a decade, and beyond. I remember coming home from college to visit and there was my five speed Schwinn Sting-ray sitting in the garage, ready to ride. It was scratched and banged up a little and the paint was not so bright anymore, a few rips in the banana seat, the chrome a little faded and the pedels worn down, but it was all origional equipment and it all still worked. That bicycle out lived my dog. This modern crap they pawn off on us now has a life span of two, maybe three years.

    Schwinn bikes were built to last, and to take the abuse and neglect of teenage boys. We could drop them, throw them, bounce them off curbs, jump them over trash cans, ride them across creeks, roll them down hills with no rider, leave them out in the rain for a week, jam them in potholes, fly over speed bumps, crash into things, set them on fire, blow them up!!!! and the freaking things just kept on going. The kick-stands didn’t fall off, the brakes didn’t fall apart, the wheels didn’t bend, they did not fall apart. And, with that banana seat, you had room to carry a passenger. They simply do not build them like that anymore. Ahhhh….memories.

  9. To all the “Haters” I guess all I can add is that although the quality of this bike will probably not be what the Sting Rays of the ’60’s were, I wanted to get something similar to what I had as a kid in the 1960’s for my grand-son. This looks like it’s going to be about as close as I’m going to get.

    I also owned a 1965 Mustang as a teenager. I have a funny feeling that the 50th anniversary model that Ford will be announcing next week will also be a little bit different than the original. I’d like to own one of those too!

What do you think?