The Schwinn® Fitness Story
Schwinn® is an American icon, and a leading brand of bicycles, recreation products, and home and commercial fitness equipment. The brand is on the forefront of advances in fitness technology, and has been an indispensable player in revolutionizing bicycling and fitness around the world. Schwinn® knows that who we are is in direct relation to where we came from... and the vision of our founders.
- 1895 — Ignaz Schwinn and partner Adolph Arnold incorporate "Arnold, Schwinn & Company" on October 22, 1895. The company is founded in Chicago.
- 1896 — There are 300 bicycle companies in the US (101 in Chicago, alone). Schwinn starts its racing program. By the end of the year, Schwinn bikes have more victories than any other bike company.
- 1902 — Bicycling is an adult-driven market. A racing bike costs $150 ($27,450 in today's dollars), and bicycles are where most advances in machining and metallurgy take place.
- 1908 — Ignaz and the Mrs. have a baby, Frank. Ignaz Schwinn buys the interest of his partner, Adolph Arnold, and becomes the sole owner of Arnold, Schwinn & Company.
- 1909 — Manufacturing advances mean lower prices, making bicycles available to children for the first time.
- 1933 — Arnold, Schwinn & Company introduces the bicycle balloon tire, shortly to become an industry standard.
- 1934 — The Schwinn Aerocycle takes bicycles to the next dimension, styled to resemble airplanes, streamlined automobiles and motorcycles. This new aerodynamic style sets the trend for not only the '30's and '40's, but into the '50's.
- 1935 — Schwinn introduces the Cyclelock®, a solution to the bicycle theft problem.
- 1938 — Schwinn introduces the "Fore-wheel" brake, "Cantilever Frame" and the "Spring Fork." This style is the predecessor to today's off-road bicycles.
- 1943 — In World War II, Schwinn produces military items, including top-secret electrical devices, shells, ammunition, plane parts and numerous other war-related items. Schwinn receives the Army and Navy "E" award for Excellence.
- 1949 — The Schwinn Black Phantom® is introduced as the top of the line and a classic in the making.
- 1963 — Schwinn introduces the Sting-Ray®, with high-rise handlebars, banana seat, stick shift and racing slick tires.
- 1965 — Not just bikes anymore. Seeing the trend towards fitness, Schwinn introduces the first in-home workout machines - Deluxe Exerciser exercise bikes.
- 1967 — January 1, 1967, Arnold, Schwinn & Company becomes the "Schwinn Bicycle Company."
- 1978 — The Airdyne® stationary bike is introduced.
- 1995 — Schwinn partners with Mad Dogg Athletics to distribute a line of exercise bikes developed by Johnny Goldberg.
- 1998 — A significant year for Schwinn -- Re-introduces Sting-Ray and Krate bicycles: acquires Hebb Industries, a leading manufacturer of treadmills; and joins forces with GT bicycles to form the Schwinn/GT Corporation. Schwinn also introduces the Fitness Advisor® system, an interactive data assessment network for health clubs.
- 2001 — Pacific Cycle, Inc buys the Schwinn and GT brands for outdoor recreation products, and Direct Focus, Inc. a leading marketing company for fitness and healthy lifestyle products, acquire the assets of Schwinn/GT's fitness equipment division. Relationship with Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc. ends, and Schwinn re-launches its Indoor Cycling bikes the Pro and Elite.
- 2002 — Direct Focus, Inc. changes its corporate name to The Nautilus Group, Inc., and launches new Evolution line of Indoor Cycling bikes.
- 2003 — Schwinn Fitness steps up efforts in the sporting goods and department store sales channels by launching the 101 and 103 Upright bikes, and the 201 and 203 Recumbent bikes.
- 2004 — New equipment models that eventually win kudos from several consumer ratings organizations include the 112 and 113 Upright bikes, the 212 and 213 Recumbent bikes, as well as the 418 elliptical machine.
- 2006 — Innovation again takes hold with the year-end launches of the smaller-footprint 430 Elliptical machine, and the step-through 231 Recumbent bike. Early consumer feedback has been terrific, with more to come.