Schwinn Bicycles

My interest in the Giant made Hotfoot and variants available in other countries eventually lead me to the Predator range of bicycles made for Schwinn in the early to mid 80s. These bikes are classic Giant and some models are almost identical to the Hotfoots sold here in Australia. Most disappointing though for me is that these bikes seem to be higher spec than ours - look at the 24" full CrMo cruiser the US got compared to our HiTen version..

Please browse through all of the material I have collected:

If you have any Schwinn information or photos, please forward them to me and I will add them to the site. I am especially interested in brochures and advertisements as these are most valuable when restoring bikes back to their original glory.

Hall of Fame

Below are some Schwinn bikes that have taken my fancy. The beautiful thing about these bikes is that they span from factory original - down to the brakes, calipers, seat and other small parts - to a modern build where the only OG part are the frames and fork. That's one of the things I like about the bikes and their builders - anything goes. These aren't rare bikes and no-one is going to get upset that you have chosen non-original parts or colours.


Hall of Fame: Schwinn

The name Schwinn is synonymous with BMX. The Schwinn Stingray and Scramblers are considered by many to be the first BMX pre-dating anything that BMX Products (Mongoose) built. As with most American companies, production moved from the United States to Asia in search of cheaper labour rates.

At the beginning of the 1980s Giant was manufacturing 100,000 bicycles per year for Schwinn. When Schwinn's workforce went on strike in the fall of 1980, Giant shipped Schwinn 80,000 bikes in five months. Production returned to normal after the strike, but Schwinn's aging manufacturing capabilities were not being upgraded. The American company became increasingly reliant on the Taiwanese manufacturer, sharing both manufacturing and design expertise. In the fall of 1982, Giant shipped 130,000 BMX Schwinn Predators, Schwinn's first successful BMX entrant. By the end of the year, Schwinn shifted most of its production to Giant and closed its Chicago plant.

In 1984, Giant produced Schwinn's first chrome-moly mountain bikes, the Sierra and High Sierra. They were an instant success and unit sales triple three years in a row. Giant shipped half a million bikes to Schwinn that year, 2/3 of Schwinn's sales. In 1985, Giant produced 1 million bikes, most of which went to Schwinn. By 1986, Schwinn depended on Giant for 80% of its inventory.


Hall of Fame: Schwinn Predator

The 1982 Schwinn catalogue featured the Sting BMX and the new models known as the Predator. These were initially available in three variants - the Predator CrMo, the Predator MAG and the Predator Z which came equipped with a chrome moly frame, Tuff wheels and ACS Z rims respectively. The MAG and Z models used a heavier, carbon-steel frame but all came equipped with Dia Compe MX-1000 brakes.



InkedUp's '82 Predator was a mess when he got it but a lot of love and a ton of time was spent restoring it to its former glory. He used as much era correct parts as possible to build a fun, low-budget rider!

   
PaulUrias built this Team 20" Predator to match his 24" version. The Team version came equipped with a CrMo frame, Sugino GT cranks, Dia Compe MX900 calipers / Tech II levers and a choice of Araya 7x rims or ACS Z rims. Nicely equipped!


RatRodBikes' started restoring this original '82 Predator but eventually parted it out. Although not original equipment, the black Maxy Cross cranks and black Uni Hammer seat goes well with the chrome!

   
Taco's Schwinn Predator P2200 looks awesome in chrome with red annodised accessories - Sugino 175mm crank, spider and 43t ring, MKS pedals, Tange headlock, Red Viscount Aero, Dia Compe MX 901 calliper / Tech 3 lever and a Suntour copy stem.


hallw36 has quite a collection of Schwinns including this '83 Predator. Like the Hotfoot Team models of the same period, these bikes were made from full chrome moly tubing and featured a unique twin plate gusset for rigidity.

   
I found this '83 frame on eBay. Like the '84 / '85 Hotfoot it has the oval 'aero' tubing albeit only on the down tube. This example is in quite good condition - I wonder why someone hasn't snapped it up at USD $149?

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Hall of Fame: Schwinn Predator Nighthawk

The Schwinn Predator Nighthawk featured a full chrome moly frame in a distinctive black chrome finish with chrome and polished alloy accessories. It was well equipped with a range of Japanese parts including SR MS424 stem, SR SP518C pedals, SR MH301 hubs, Araya 7X rims, Dia Compe MX900 callipers / Tech IV levers and a Suntour freewheel.



Although now sold, RodRatBikes' '85 Predator Nighthawk is a really clean example and includes the original Araya 7x wheels, Sugino cranks and alloy spider and Viscount Dyna seat. All it needs to finish it off is an original handlebar pad!

   
hallw36 has quite a collection of Schwinns including this Nighthawk. This example is essentially all original - with the exception of the seat - and includes the original Sugino cranks, spider and chain ring.

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Hall of Fame: Schwinn Predator Qualifier

From the 1985 Catalogue: The Qualifier is the best entry level bicycle available. Designed to stand up to the rigors of the younger competitor, the Qualifier is built with strength, durability and toughness for which Schwinn is renowned. The Qualifier featured chrome-moly main tubes - with high tensile steel seat and chain stays - and for the '85 model, Pro Class-style rims with oval holes between the spokes, SR MS4224 stem, Dia Compe 890 / 1020 callipers and matching Tech IV levers ..



Aballer bought this on eBay. It was all original except it had no wheels, tires, seat or seat post. It now sports new Skyway tuff II's with sealed bearings, AME grips, NOS Velo freestyle seat, Duno Comp III skinwalls, orange pads, brake cables and number plate to finish it off.

   
Bigc1979 bought this bike at a swap meet for $25 and it is totally original - the tyres still have the original nipples on them and the bike came with its original service manual. This bike is almost identical to the Hotfoot HiTen of the same year.


SteveK's '87 Predator Qualifier looks to have been restored recently. The first picture shows the bike with the original OPC Sugino cranks and spider whereas the other pictures show polished 3PC cranks as well as new Dominator seat, grips and decals.

   
jamminj187's '85 Predator Qualifier is one, clean bike. This bike is fitted with some nice parts - a set of Redline Forklifter bars, a Redline spider, Specialised cranks, Araya 48s and an ACS stem - which all work well together!


The orange and black chrome combination on JerseyDevil13's '86 Predator Qualifier is a nice change from chrome with blue or red annodised parts. Its finished with some nice parts - Sun rims, Bullseye hubs, Sugino stem, Tioga stem lock and seat clamp ..

   
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Hall of Fame: Schwinn Predator Free Form EX

The Predator Free Form EX (Expert) was released in 1985 to satisfy the growing freestyle and flatland demand. It took many of its design cues from Haro amongst others - gone were the chrome and anodised parts and instead the bikes featured modern, mid-80s colour schemes with colour-coded Redstone wheels and tyres.

The design of the pad and decal set on the Predator Free Form were used on the 1986 Hotfoot. Repco's freestyle bike for the Australian market was vastly different from this model as it incorporated twin top-rails and integrated seat and chain stay stands whereas the Schwinn used a classic frame similar to the early Predators but with the inclusion of a grab handle. The rear brake was moved below the chainstays - perfect for a freestyle bike as it is out of the way but not very practical for a dirt bike!



Lugi found this 1986 Predator Freeform EX survivor in a barn and believes it is all original with the exception of the Kenda tyres. The white colour scheme - including Dominator Seat, Redstone mags and tyres - looks great but would be a pain to keep clean!

   
I found these pics on an eBay. The seller BudgetBicycleCenter had serviced it and was asking a cool $1,450 USD for it .. It features what look like GT fork standers and front pegs to complete the freestyle look.


In stark contrast to the $1,450 being asked for the '86 model above, SonicMouse sold this pink and white example for only $300 which IMHO is a bargain for such a clean bike. As with the Hotfoots, the build date and serial number of this bike (G1185 and 5332498) conform to the Julian date theory.

   
LouieLouie's '86 Free Form Ex is beautiful in its original blue frame, colour coded pad set and white accessories. This is an immaculate build - look how clean those tyres are, I bet they have never been ridden on!


While researching details for the restoration of my Hotfoot FS, I contacted fixed1313 who owns this nice survivor Free Form Ex. At some point in the production of these bikes, Schwinn opted to move the caliper from the upper brake bridge to the lower chain-stay position. Likewise the internally routed cable was routed externally under the down tube. Check out the Yo! Rock and Roll seat ..

       
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Hall of Fame: Schwinn Predator 24"

The Schwinn Predator 24" was first released in late '82 / early '83 and replaced the King Sting cruiser. Made from CrMo tubing, the Team 24" version had custom designed handlebars, Dia Compe MX900 brakes, Araya 7x rims and Sugino cranks and spider. When Repco finally imported the 24" into Australia in late 1985, the specs were much lower - HiTen steel frame, Lee Chi callipers and levers and no-name rims.



PaulUrias built this Team 24" Predator to match his 20" version. Whereas the 20" Team was blessed with Sugino GT cranks, the 24" was only equipped with a Sugino OPC crank and steel spider.

   
Donvader88 bought this 24" Predator from a police auction in March 2010. The bike came with some great parts but some of these have made their way onto other bikes with this bike being built as a daily rider.


I don't have much information on Smoopy's 24" Team Predator .. from the look of it, its is in excellent condition and the red and black accessories contrast nicely against the flawless chrome.

   
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Extra Info / Links

   OldSchoolMags.com  Have you ever wished that you could go back in time to the late 70's and early 80's when you could walk into a newsagency and see the latest issues of BMX Action, BMX Plus, Super BMX and Freestylin' in the racks as crisp and clean as the day they were printed? If you said yes to any of these questions, this is the site for you ..

   BMX Works  This site has everything you will ever need to restore an old school bmx from loose parts - nuts, bolts and bearings - through to complete brake sets, cranks sets and finishing parts, such as pad sets and decals.

   Madman's BMX Painting Services  Pete's work is second to none. I have two frames painted by him - a Hotfoot Freestyle in white and a Hotfoot 24" Cruiser in Hazard Yellow - and both have come out beautifully. Pete can also handle the stripping of paint and chrome and other prep work.

   Re-Rides  Sydney Australia based BMX restoration and photography. Rebuilding retro BMX bikes from 80's old-school, 90's mid-school and 00's new-school era's.

   SDBMX  SDBMX sells a distinctive range of cast alloy BMX rims that will finish of any old-school, mid-school or even new-school build. Styles include the Blizzard, Cyclone, Hurricane, Tornado and Typhoon.

Blizzard Cyclone Hurricane Tornado Typhoon

   Vintage Mongoose  Anyone who is interested in Mongooses (Mongeese?) has probably already found this site. When I was restoring my Motomag, I found this site invaluable for information and reproductions decals and grips. Warren, who is behind this site, is a local who is passionate - no obsessive - about the Mongoose brand and it shows.