HERMOSA BEACH 1967 BY LEROY GRANNIS
Al Fritz, creator of the Schwinn Sting-Ray passed away last week at the age of 88. The Schwinn Sting-Ray, with its chopper-style handlebars and banana seat, has sold millions since its introduction in the 1960s. His “creation” however was actually inspired by a trend he spotted in Southern California of kids customizing and souping-up their bikes to look like motorcycles. Realizing the mass-market potential, Fritz built a prototype which he called the “Sting-Ray”, because the shape of the handlebars reminded him of a swimming stingray.
Despite initial corportate resistance, the first Sting-Ray was produced in 1963 and went on to great commercial success before it was discontinued in the early 1980s. Various models were produced during that time, including the iconic “Orange Krate”.