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Not about computers.

Tuesday, 24 October, 2006

Schwinn has a lot of problems. Primarily because the remnants of the legendary cyclery are now a mere division of a sports products-company who don’t know what to do with it. Whatever problems Schwinn was having as the top brand of a coalition of cycle marques, that’s nothing compared to the fact that no one seeks out a Schwinn anymore. They are crap. Not real crap, but Dorel has diluted the brand to such an extent it stands for next to nothing. You can buy a Schwinn bike at Target. Via internet, you can buy a Schwinn motor scooter of top mass-produced chinese-slave-labor quality. You can buy an upscale electrified scooter with the brand slapped on it at a few gas stations in Indiana and such places.

Monday the 16th Schwinn Bicycles released their 2007 models. October sixteenth, just in time for back to school.

The brand has lost so much of the prestige earned as one of the few innovative cycle makers even the local retailers are dropping them. Among those dropping Schwinn this year is University Cyclery in Austin Texas. If for some reason an Austinite would like to see and touch a Schwinn product he would have to go to suburban San Antonio, or north to Oklahoma City. It is a compelling problem for the company. If only they had some kind of killer app which could get just plain folks interested in the brand. Again. After twenty years. Of solid decline.

Schwinn now licenses a propulsion system called the Protanium Mini Motor. Allegedly, it is the most efficient hub-motor in mass production. To the shock of the entire cycle industry Schwinn is shipping, with a minimum of fanfare, Protanium-powered electric bicycles with a battery which fully charges in four hours and an alleged range of forty miles. That is, half the charge time and double the range of all other electric bikes. Pricing information has been published nowhere, but rumors circulate that these bikes are selling from $400 to $700. Essentially half the price of other electrified whole bikes, and similar to the cost of conversion.

Yes, that’s a shaft drive on the Continental. Time will tell.

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