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Waterford…still realizing the best Schwinn had to offer.

As I walked into the shop earlier this week, I was immersed in some memories from the past again. The former parent of what would become Waterford was Schwinn Bicycles. The real deal. Made in Chicago. I could go on.

This Waterford was dropped off for a tuneup. A few years old. And steel!

So, as we set the wayback machine…we hit the mid 2000’s and my old shop, Koehlingers, in Indiana. Working at our West location ( I spent most of my time earlier at our North store), I worked day in and day out with a gal named Kathy. The gal rides her bike! A lot! In the I don’t know how many years of serving the area, she built up a reputation to be the best bike fitter in the Tri-State area. One thing most didn’t know is she had some of the most amazing marketing ideas for a bike shop.

She always had the coolest bikes. Two that I remember were her Waterfords. Both were road bikes, one being more touring geometry and the other more race, at least I think that’s how they were?! And they were truly beautiful bikes. Steel. Handmade. I’ve heard the ride was amazing.

Apparently, she knew Richard Schwinn fairly well. That fact alone puts her into the supercool realm.

Paramounts in the early 1970’s were built by Richard Schwinn and his crew . Handmade in the USA. Sweet bikes. Our Maplecrest location had the Anniversary black frameset with gold covered stays and fork. Again, beautiful.

A little later in time we get dumped into the Taiwanese Paramounts from Schwinn. I had one.

NOTE: I am not delving into any memory of anything under the Paramount name today. Not the same.

So, Schwinn was sold in 1993 and Richard started Waterford Precision Bicycles with Marc Muller in the old Schwinn Paramount factory in Waterford, Wisconsin.

You can click on some of the links above for more info. If you are a retro grouch and believe steel is real, you may want to seek out your nearest Waterford dealer and throw a leg over.


4 Responses

  1. Good bike history lesson Marla.
    I used to commute with a Schwinn Varsity, I’m thinking it was around mid 70s, it was indestructable.

    • I had one in the late 70’s. I think we later called the tubing stove pipe steel!

  2. I almost ended up with a Waterford. I spent 7 or 8 years trying to decide who I was going to buy my dream bike from. My brother recommended Waterford. He owned a bike shop from 1990 to 2005. In order to sell Waterfords they required you to have one model in the store. Naturally he bought one in his size. The frame hung on the wall for several years. Eventually he built it up. Over time it went from an occasional ride on the Waterford to it becoming his go-to bike for most rides.

    I was about to order a Waterford in mid-2008 when I stumbled across Ellis Cycles. A former Waterford frame builder going it alone. I instantly knew I had to have an Ellis. Either way, I would have had a very nice steel frame.

    Visit Ellis Cycles bog. He just put up a couple of posts of a finished 29’er frame that is an updated version of a customer’s old Paramount mountain bike. It’s gorgeous.

    • Thanks. I’m heading over to check it out. Even though my Paramount was Asian made, I loved it. The steering was super quick, which was why we used them for trials.

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