Schwinn owners' reunion

Amoungst the riders at Memphis Unicycle Club, a fairly large percentage own or have owned a Schwinn unicycle. That makes me wonder how many unicycle riders currently own or have owned a Schwinn unicycle. I suspect the percentage is high amoungst the older riders.

If you have ever owned a Schwinn, please let us know when you got it and whether or not you still own it. Also, any other information you would like to share about it such as, was it your first unicycle, is it cottered, do you still ride it, etc.

My first unicycle was a Schwinn that I bought new in 2003 about 2 weeks after I turned 50-years-old. It was to be the “only unicycle I would ever need”. Now I have 7 unicycles of various sizes.

I still have my Schwinn. I do not ride it but use it as a loaner for people who want to try riding. It has cotterless cranks.

Sounds very similar to me, actually exactly the same(cotterless cranks, it was my first uni, I only use it as a loaner now, i have 7 unicycles now) except that I got my Schwinn when I was in middle school, and I think the year was 1997 (before UDC).

My first unicycle was a schwinn 21" my dad bought for me when i was 14 in 1977. I still own that unicycle. It has a new seat and tire though.


I guess that would be a “Schwinn 20 inch” since they don’t seem to have made other than the 20", 24", and 20" giraffe models back then.

My first unicycles were all Schwinns. I went thru quite a few since they didn’t take well to hopping, so I frequently broke their axles or bent the cranks. My brother John was in roughly the same boat. This was back in the early 1980s.

We started with 20"ers ($90) and moved up to the 24" ($105 or $110) relatively shortly thereafter. Within 2 years, we both had giraffes, which were about $200 back then.

We rode only Schwinns till about 1994 until I met a guy riding a Semcycle 26". It was a revelation. After a few Sems, we moved up to Cokers and then my Schlumpf. And a bunch of other unis. And there I stand.

It’s always a hoot to ride an old Schwinn at my uni club when someone brings one over.

My first Uni was a Sears. I broke the first year I had it. Me and a friend then each bought a Schwinn 20" 6’ Giraffe in about 1978 or 79 (which I still have). That was all i rode for a few years (mostly playing frisbee in a beach parking lot) until I went into unicycle hibernation for about 25 years. When ole Rip woke up (5 or so years ago) he bought a Nimbus Muni for himself and an old Schwinn off ebay for my 7 year old son to learn on. Still got in down in the basement. 3 or 4 other people have learned on that one.

Having started with a Schwinn in 1978 (?) I guess that makes me an “older rider” at 42. Gadzooks, I feel so dignified. Does that mean I’m finally a grownup?
(#1) I started with a 24" second (3rd or 4th) hand Schwinn and rode that exclusively until about 1986 or so. It had cottered cranks. (#2) In 1986 I got a brand new Schwinn 24" with the newfangled cotterless cranks. (#3) In 1989 I bought a 20" Schwinn, cut the forks, welded in some slabs of steel to extend them and put on a 27" wheel. With my new speed demon (Watch out for that 27"er! It goes FAST! Oh yeah.) I sold Schwinn #2, and by then I had long since lost track of Schwinn #1 . I rode, #3, my 27" Schwinn, until 2004. I’ve still got it in the basement, but it doesn’t have a tire, pedals or a seat. Even so, I can’t throw it away. Sentimental junk.

Who else was riding a wheel bigger than 24" way back in the 80’s? I’m sure somebody was.

Funny. My hibernation was about 30 years :D! The cool thing was, I was able to pretty much hop right back on and ride. My main problem now is getting in shape to ride longer distances and go off road. I still ride the Schwinn, but I have a Torker LX 24 and will someday graduate to a 24" DX or something like it.


I am honored to have your first 2 posts in my thread. Welcome (back) to the world of unicycling.

My first uni was a 20" Schwinn late 70’s, my Mom and Dad purchased it for me for Christmas one year, I cherished the uni and rode it all the time. Unfortunately, I don’t own it anymore, as I grew older, I sold it so that I could purchase a bike to ride long distances. No idea what the cranks were, the only thing I concerned myself with back then was riding everywhere and anywhere. I’m sort of thinking I want/need to get another Schwinn just to have for reminiscing purposes. I loved it!

Schwinn Unicycle

Given to me by someone who just can’t figure it out!

                            Looks like it never got riden.

                Still hasn't been riden, can't seem to get rid of it.

I like this thread, as I got my Schwinn 24" at NAUCC in Memphis :slight_smile:

I wonder what percentage of the unicycles sold out there end up the same way? That’s where all those pristine-looking old Schwinns on eBay come from. And where yours could go if you’re interested.

My first unicycle was a Schwinn Giraffe, purchased on Feb. 11, 1980. I already knew how to ride, of course. I started in 1976 on a POS Troxel, which fell apart under the pressure of “having somebody actually pedaling it”. Three years later (1979), I finished by riding my friend’s Schwinn Giraffe away from a car fender (lots of tries).

My second unicycle was also a Schwinn, a 24". It got converted into a cool track unicycle in 1981, with 1" holes drilled up the sides and a re-chrome job. Beautiful, but flexy.

We also had a Schwinn 20" that we borrowed from a friend and eventually bought from him. It’s been used over the years to teach many a new rider. Then in 1984 it was used to win the Pairs Freestyle event at Unicon I. I still have it.

I have another Schwinn 24" that I tried to convert to a mountain unicycle in 1996 by cramming a 26" wheel in there. It works unless you pedal hard, which kind of disqualifies it from good MUni. Cranking up or downhill makes the tire rub, earning it the nickname “fart cycle”. Like a pair of corduroys. I still have that one too.

Another Schwinn is the Excessory Cycle, built from another 24" in 1981. I attached all the bike accessories I could afford and fit on there, while still having it rideable. But a flat tire in the late 90s put it out of commission. Eventually I took it all apart (necessary due to all the parts & wires attached). Now it’s in a box waiting for restoration and reassembly. Someday.

I also have a “backup” Schwinn Giraffe. Jacquie bought it for me some years ago, and it’s in pieces, scattered around the garage. It needs to be rebuilt/regreased to be usable, and probably a new chain.

In addition I have a Loyd unicycle, found on eBay. This is an early 1960s predecessor of the Schwinns. They bought the design from Loyd Wicker Smith. It looks like a Schwinn except it has a nasty-looking leather bicycle seat on it, which I think was the original seat!

About 1983. I was about 23 years old.

It was 24" with cottered cranks, don’t remeber where I bougth it, or what ended up happening to it. I rode it as a commuter (as my only mode of transportation other than walking or bus rides) for about two years. Never did learn any tricks, not even idleing or riding backwards. But as you might imagine I got very good at riding forward. Riding off curbs, bumping up curbs (wheelchair ramps were not then on call corners) and I could turn around in very small space which was helpful since I could circle to wait for something to pass since I couldn’t idle to wait.

I had no one to teach me how to ride but near my house was a nice long iron railing. I learned to do a roll back freemount since that is how I mounted when I was holding on to the rail.

In that 2+ years I replaced the seat once and the pedals once.

I took a 25 year hibernation (I’m 51 now) and now I have a Nimbus 24 to learn at least idleing and riding backwards. I would also like to learn to hop up stairs and ride (ride not jump) stair sets. I took unicycling back up to replace Martial Arts training that I quit due to my knees starting to go bad.

It’s cool you’re back into unicycling! Your story is similar to mine. I did Tae Kwon Do for about 4 years (up to 1st Dan Black Belt). I really enjoyed it but the demands became quite great and lots of the older guys started getting hurt. I decided I wanted to preserve my knees and other body parts.

I find unicycling fun and a great way to exercise. It also seems pretty low impact and I don’t plan on jumping off of anything.


I got a Schwinn 24" for Christmas in 1973 and rode it for 20 years until it disappeared. I now have a KH 29" and ride Muni on the mountain bike trails in the area.

A friend of ours bought an unused Schwinn 20" on eBay for ~$60 I think after I got him into uni, when he upgraded to his own muni he swapped it to another friend for an old computer. Several years later, that other friend is now my wife, and she still has/rides the Schwinn :slight_smile: Or at least she would if someone (me) hadn’t been negligent when upgrading her to a knobby tire (her choice, she likes it better than the stock smooth) and put the seatpost on backwards, so she stripped a crank when the pedal came out… :o Are those tapered cranks a standard size? :wink:

Christmas of 1974 (5th grade) my best friend and I both asked for unicycles. He got a cool Schwinn 20". I got a clunky 24" Montgomery Wards. Oh, the jealousy I felt for his uni … But we both learned–he was a little faster to pick it up, due (I’ve always felt) to the higher quality of the unicycle his parents gave him. :roll_eyes:

When I came out of my 20 year hibernation in 1997 or so, I picked up a 20" at a garage sale, and then a 24" Schwinn off eBay. It was from the 70s, with cottered cranks and a 24 x 1 3/4 tire. I almost immediately swapped those out for a brand new Schwinn 24" wheel & cranks for around $45. I put on a fattish tire and used it as a muni from 98 until 2000, when I got a Telford. The Schwinn was a loaner until I started accumulating too many unicycles, and I sold it to a college-aged guy in 2006 who almost immediately bought a KH and started loaning out the Schwinn to friends. It’s like that uni’s on a mission!

At my mother’s house in Chicago there are old Schwinn and Loyd unicycles, from the 60’s. The Schwinn is really rusty and has a flat, but the Loyd with the larger wheel is always brought out at family reunions.

How’s 1966 for a classic?

Hi! I got my first Schwinn unicycle for my tenth birthday in February, 1966. February in Wisconsin is not exactly unicyle weather, so I learned to ride in the basement, holding on to the ping-pong table and going around for hours on end. By spring, I was quite adept. A few months later, my sister received one for her birthday in September, but hers had a larger wheel than mine (looks like a 21"), so we traded (since I was taller and already knew how to ride.) We used to take those things on family camping trips and ride them all around the campgrounds. Once, my parents were asked if we were with the circus…

I still have that second unicycle, but the wheel looks like it needs replacing - there is quite a bit of rust on it and the spokes. Of course, the tire is shot. The seat and pedals, however, look just about like new.

I don’t know what “cottered” means. I would like to renovate my unicycle, though, and begin riding again. Any words of advice?

Debbie R.