Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Schwinn Catalogs

After running scans of those old Schwinn ads from the '60s and '70s last week, I had a couple of people write mentioning how much they also loved the Schwinn catalogs from the same period. There are some great sites that feature complete archives of old Schwinn catalogs online, HERE, and HERE.

My favorites are the catalogs from about '65 through '74 -- those are the ones with the full-color spreads, attractive models, and travel-destination settings (Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Hawaii were among some of the locations).

Of course, go check out the archives, but I have a couple of favorite images to share for a brief post for today.
1965 Mens "Sport" bicycles . . .
. . . And Ladies "lightweight" models. Looks like a simpler time, doesn't it?
1968 Men's Paramounts. Photographed in front of the LA Coliseum. Very clean-cut looking guys, given the time.
1968 - Ladies "lightweights." It could just as easily be a fashion spread.
1971 - Breeze and Collegiate ladies models. And a couple of cute lady models. The '71 catalog was shot on location in Hawaii.
From 1972 - Sport Styling for the Girl On-the-Go. Got to love the tennis whites.
From 1973 - Yes, Virginia, there was a "ladies" version of the Paramount. 

And the ladies Super Sport. Cute dimples.

1973 accessories. Do NOT lock your bicycle to a tree.

And then there's this one - my favorite, and a favorite of some readers, too. Today's swimwear's got nothing on this model's paisley bikini. And that dude's outfit? Wow. Re-defines bicycling fashion. 
Oh, yeah - and the bike is pretty awesome too.
Hope you enjoyed - Just a brief post today.


  1. I remember those catalogues because I was starting to become a dedicated cyclist myself. And, yes, I love that last photo: It has to be one of the best catalogue images of all time.

    Something I find ironic, though, is that the idea of an adult riding a bicycle at that time was still fairly countercultural, if not subversive. Yet everything in those Schwinn catalogues was so squeaky-clean. It's as if Schwinn was still riding on its image as "America's Bike" and trying to get young people to buy the bikes their grandparents rode.

    1. That's a good observation about the squeaky clean image. I mentioned it in the post about the ads from that time, that there was something wholesome about the people in the images, and that they were probably trying to portray adult cycling as "Apple pie" normal and American. If only more people had gotten the message. . .

  2. Thanks for the links to the old catalogs! I was fun to see the old ’75 catalog again. I used to pore over that one and visit a local dealership (in Maplewood MN - BTW - Park Tool Co. was housed in a building behind the store!) to buy parts for my gas pipe, Murray road bike. That one was replaced by a red ’75 Le Tour when I was 15. Of course, I rode the heck out of it then and it carried me on my first, AYH century ride in ’76. Two years later, this child of the hot rod-obsessed ’60s gave it a multi-coat, hand-rubbed, black lacquer paint job, Shimano 600 derailleurs, bar end shifters, Weinmann concave rims, etc. I rode the heck out of it some more until it got sidelined by a new, Peugeot, PXN10LE in ’79.

    The Le Tour was a solid bike and was thrilling to ride after struggling along on that cheap Murray.

    1. I recall reading somewhere that Park Tool got started in the back of a Schwinn dealers shop. In fact, when I'm searching for old Park tools, I occasionally find them with red handles instead of the familiar blue, and the Schwinn name on them.

  3. In my comment, I didn't complete the first sentence. I meant to say that I recall those catalogues because they came out around the time I was becoming a dedicated cyclist.

  4. Everyone knows, lugged steel pulls chicks.