While the Paramount line was for many years built in the big Chicago Schwinn factory -- in a special corner of the factory known as "the cage" -- in the 1980s, the Paramount production was moved to Waterford, Wisconsin under the leadership of Marc Muller. After Schwinn went bankrupt in '92, Muller and Richard Schwinn bought the Paramount factory and continued operating under the Waterford name in 1993.
The re-organized Schwinn company went bankrupt again in 2001, and the name is now owned by Pacific Cycles. In general, it is only a shadow of its former self, mostly selling cheap mass-market bikes -- many of which are now sold through department stores. Too bad. And for the most part, the Pacific Cycles version of Schwinn has little or nothing to do with Paramount.
|Stainless steel lugs recall the look of the |
chromed Nervex lugs of the great bikes from the
60s and 70s. Note the port under the downtube
for electronic shifting wires (sigh).
For us traditionalists, you can see from the pictures that the frame is lugged steel and has a traditional level top tube. While the lugs have some of the elegance of the classic Nervex lugs of the 60s and 70s, they are a completely new and unique design with a somewhat simpler or cleaner look than the vintage lugs. Also, instead of being chromed, in this new version, they are rendered in polished stainless steel.
Buyers ordering one of these frames have a few options for the build. One option is tubing. It can be built with air-hardening steel tubing throughout ($3800 -- frame only), or air-hardening main triangle with stainless rear triangle ($4750 shown below), or with stainless tubing throughout ($5350) -- which would probably mimic the look of the old all-chrome Paramounts of the past. Unfortunately, they are all a bit too rich for my blood. Waterford-built steel forks range from $375 - $575, or there are carbon fork options as well.
In making this new Paramount a "modern" bike, besides the stainless steel and air-hardening tubing, the design uses updated tubing dimensions (slightly larger than the classic era) and calls for a 1-1/8 in. steerer. As already mentioned, there are carbon fiber fork options although the thought of a carbon fork on a beautiful, traditional-looking steel frame just appalls me. I'm afraid there will be more than a few equipped that way, though (see below).
|Electronic shifting and a carbon fork. Blasphemy.|
Overall, this looks to me like a nice bike, but for me, exactly how nice would depend a lot on how it was built and equipped. No carbon forks and electronic ports for me, thank you. Totally out of my league, price-wise anyhow -- but for a lucky 25 people, this could be a pretty special bike that artfully blends the past and the present: a modern version of a classic bicycling icon.