Women's bike designer Georgena Terry interviewed Richard Schwinn on her t-chatter podcast. Schwinn covers everything from the downfall of domestic bicycle manufacturers in the early 1990's to the effects wrapping a PowerBar® around the top tube of your bike. If you want to know more about the differences between aluminum, carbon fiber and steel, take a listen at t-chatter. Download the 26MB MP3 file here of Richard Schwinn on steel: Where it went, where it is and where it's going in bicycle frames.
Richard Schwinn helped to found Waterford Precision Bicycles in 1993. His brother Ed Schwinn runs a business selling gift baskets in Chiccago.
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Long time ago, I worked at a small manufacturing business that had as its president a former buyer for a large department store (to keep them anonymous, let's just call them Beers Slowtruck). He used to regale me with stories of how he used to beat up Huffy, Roadmaster and Murray by threatening to go to Taiwan for bikes. A bike is just a bike, right? I'm sure there are lots of other reasons why bike mass-manufacturers have departed the US, but I'm pretty sure that this attitude was a large contributor.
...thanks, fritz...that was one of the most erudite, fascinating & worthwhile discussions i've heard in regard to the industry...props to both terry & schwinn for shedding some new & interesting light...