The Schwinn Krate models included a spring suspension front fork. At least one model, the Murray Kingkat, came from the factory with long forks resembling a chopper motorcycle. Besides making wheelies easier,  the banana seats facilitated carrying passengers. Several manufacturers made tandem versions, including Schwinn,   Raleigh,   and Rollfast. Many after-market accessories were available for muscle bikes including wheelie bars, drag chutes, "slick" tires, speedometers, windshields, hand grip streamers, headlights, taller sissy bars, axle spinners, and back rests.
The Raleigh Chopper was the best selling children's bicycle in the UK. Dot Wiggin, formerly of The Shaggs , recorded the song "Banana Bike" in as a tribute to her sister Helen, who died in Helen owned a yellow imported Raleigh Chopper that she used to keep fit with, that Dot found amusing that a grown woman should be using a children's bike.
Helen explained that it was far more comfortable for her than a normal bike. Part of the appeal of these bikes was their colorful and evocative names. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sheldon Brown. Retrieved Wheelie Bike. Also known as a "high-riser", "Stingray", "polo bike", "banana bike", "Chopper". Bicycle, The History. Yale University Press. ISBN Meanwhile, a new juvenile craze broke out and propelled domestic bicycle sales past the four million mark for the first time. This time around, the demand was for new-fangled "high-risers" like Schwinn's Sting-Ray.
Hartford Courant. By today's standards, they are heavy, clumsy and laden with odd and dangerous accessories. But at a time when the Rolling Stones ruled the airwaves and helmets were unheard of, muscle bikes were the coolest things on two wheels. John T. Bill introduced the Penguin to their many So-Cal dealers on March 3rd , at the open house of their new corporate facilities in Glendale CA.
Raleigh Ron's Classics. National Bicycle History Archive of America. MBI Publishing Company. Pacific Cycles. London: The Independent. New England Muscle Bike Museum. Archived from the original on Skate and Annoy. Here are some facts regarding the banana seat bikes including how the seats were invented and their impact on the sport of bicycling today. The very first bicycle was invented in by Baron von Drais. This bicycle was was similar in body to what we know today; however, it was missing a key element: no pedals.
The bicycle seat itself was made of wood and not built for long term comfort. It wouldn't be until when an Englishman named John Kemp Starley created a comfortable "saddle"-shaped seat. Bikes with the banana seat, as it came to be known, were first produced in by the Schwinn company. The Schwinn "Sting Ray" had the banana seat and high-rise handlebars giving it the look of a "chopper" motorcycle and was an instant hit for the company. The long, padded seat meant a more comfortable ride, and it could accommodate more than one rider.
Banana seat bikes remained the top seller for companies such as Schwinn, Huffy and Sears through the s and well into the s. In the late s, bicycle enthusiasts in California began to modify bike models for off-road use and trick performance. This lead to the rise of BMX and mountain biking where smaller, lighter bike frames, wheels and seats were necessary for an optimum ride.
Banana seat bikes are enjoying a resurgence in popularity from baby boomers looking to recapture their youth and collectors of vintage products. A look at an online auction site such as eBay verifies a rising trend and, along with it, rising profits. A vintage banana seat bicycle in good condition can bring hundreds of dollars at auction.
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