Former Schwinn director of research and development and designer of the iconic Sting-Ray, Al Fritz, has died aged 88.
Schwinn’s Facebook page said of Fritz:
"We are deeply saddened today to learn of the passing of the brilliant Al Fritz, inventor of the original Schwinn Sting-Ray. In 1963 as Director of Research & Development for Schwinn, Al helped revolutionize cycling and the entire bike industry with his prototype for the one and only Sting-Ray, a bike loved and cherished by so many. Our thoughts are with Al’s family at this time.
"Today we ride in honor of Al."
The 1963 Sting-Ray is widely praised for its roots in BMX and quickly became known as the ‘wheelie bike’ thanks to its low slung ‘banana’ seat and high handlebars enabling it to be easily popped onto the rear wheel. The Sting-Ray was a hit for Schwinn and was soon imitated by many other manufacturers.
Fritz served over 40 years at Schwinn, beginning on the factory floor and rising through the ranks to be credited with many of Schwinn’s top-sellers, including an early stationary exercise bike, dubbed the Airdyne.
Schwinn is said to have sold nearly two million Stingrays, in various designs for both boys and girls, over the years.