If you were a kid back in 1968, you were probably hoping that you’d wake up on Christmas morning to find a brand new shiny candy red Schwinn Apple Krate Sting-Ray parked next to the tree. With a retail price tag of $86.95 that would have been one pricey present to come from Santa. If you weren’t one of those lucky kids who’s parents shelled out the dough to at the local Schwinn dealer, don’t worry, you may still have a chance!
A Little History Lesson
Schwinn created the first Sting-Ray bikes for kids to ride in 1963. This design with the banana seat and the ape hanger handlebars was a direct response to the movement of kids across the country that were customizing their bikes to look like chopper motorcycles. Rail dragsters of the 60s were also heavily influencing this culture and Schwinn was smart enough to spot the trend and cash in on it.
Fast forward five years to 1968 and you have the release of the Schwinn Krate bikes which were the Sting-Ray concept on steroids. These bikes had a suspension sissy bar, drum brakes and very cool five speed stick shifter on the top bar of the frame. The first offering of the Krate came in three color options…an Orange Krate, a Lemon Peeler and the Apple Krate. These bikes were so popular that they continued to make them until 1973 and eventually produced several other versions like the Pea Picker, Grey Ghost and the Cotton Picker.
A 50 Year Reunion
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Apple Krate, Schwinn just released the 2018 Apple Krate Sting-Ray on Amazon. They are limited to only 500 bikes and are shipped for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member. They are also limiting these to one bike per Amazon customer account…in case you thought about hoarding a dozen of them.
If history repeats itself, these bikes will sell out FAST! The Lemon Peeler flew out the door at a record pace which left many folks wishing they had pulled the trigger sooner. If you missed the initial offering on those you had to wait and buy one at nearly double the price on Ebay…ain’t nobody got time for that!
The Parts List
One thing fun about this new model is the addition of a front drum brake, reminiscent of the original bikes from the 60s. This is a first for Scwhinn’s latest run of Krate replica bikes (Lemon Peeler, Grey Ghost & Mike’s Stranger Things Bike). These bikes also have polished aluminum wheels, a cool springer fork, stainless rear fender and the ever so popular suspension sissy bar with glitter banana seat. Just like the originals, they run a staggered wheel set meant to mimic the dragsters of the time period.
All Boxed Up
Schwinn double boxes these Krate bikes to protect both the bike and the interior collectible box. The outer box is very nice with a matte black finish, glossy stripes and metallic chrome finish logos.
The bikes are well packaged inside with plenty of foam and cardboard to keep things from getting damaged in transit. You’ll receive clear instructions that make it easy to assemble the bike with a few common tools. An adjustable wrench, 10mm socket and a set of hex key wrenches will do the trick. If you’re not brave enough to tackle the job yourself you can pay extra for expert assembly.
The quality of these bikes, although not as stout as the Chicago made Schwinns of the 60s, are still pretty nice by today’s standards. The paint is nice and finish on the chrome and aluminum parts is better than the Black Friday Krate bikes that were offered at Walmart back in 2007 for $59.
One key thing that people need to understand (especially Chicago Schwinn purists) is that this bike is basically a retro inspired version of an Apple Krate that wasn’t meant to be an exact replica of the bikes from the 60s and 70s. There are no gears and it’s missing the five speed shifter which was outlawed for safety reasons back in 1973. Had Schwinn produced an exact replica, the price tag would probably need to be somewhere in the $2000-$3000 range to cover the cost of tooling and finishes.
For Kids & Adults
These bikes can be ridden by an adult (probably 195 pounds or less) with the seat adjusted to the maximum height. Our test rider weighed in at 185 pounds and was 5’9″ tall and the bike was ridden comfortably with the seat at it’s maximum height. Kids can easily ride this bike and will definitely have fun blasting around the neighborhood on one.
Unboxing, Review & Test Ride
Once we received our Apple Krate we quickly put together a video to show you what you will receive. We go over all off the packaging as well as a time lapse of the assembly process, a detailed overview of the bike and we even managed to get a bit of riding action in as well. Be sure to click on the video below…we’re pretty sure it will answer all of your questions.
The Final Word
Overall we’re pleased that Schwinn is making an effort to connect with its roots and produce these fun retro inspired bikes. While they may not be for everyone, they will surely inspire folks of all ages to embrace Schwinn’s history and introduce them to the hobby of bicycle collecting and restoration.
So if you never received that Schwinn Apple Krate you wanted from Santa back in the day, don’t be sad, you can still grab one on Amazon and have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Schwinn’s official product description…
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Schwinn Apple Krate with this limited-edition replica of the classic 1968 design. With an aesthetic descended from drag racers and rocket ships, the Apple Krate oozes more vintage flare than your favorite retro binge watch. Revel in #throwback glory with the curvilinear Sting-Ray style frame in iconic candy-apple red. The Apple Krate also features authentic details like the high-rise ape handlebar, banana seat, and rear “sissy” bar. Plus, the sissy bar adjustability allows this bike to accommodate a variety of riders, from kids to adults. Front and rear fenders add to the classic styling while keeping you clean and dry in damp weather. A 16″ front wheel and 20″ rear wheel with a Sting-Ray Slik tire are great for street riding, while the intuitive coaster brake provides reliable smooth stopping. This limited edition run of 500 includes a commemorative booklet and pin with each bike. It’s the envy of the neighborhood – then, now, and always. Don’t miss your chance to own a real Apple Krate and enjoy the freedom of riding a Schwinn.
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