Whether it's the classic beach cruiser or the traditional 10-speed, that Schwinn you're seeing at
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hasn't been a consistent American classic for more than 20 years.
After feeling the pinch from competitors such as
and losing the ability to make bikes at a competitive cost, Schwinn originally sent all its manufacturing overseas in 1991. It went bankrupt a year later, but resurfaced in 1993 as a boutique outfit making lightweight bikes.
Schwinn's last bankruptcy in 2001 sealed its fate in the U.S. Schwinn was sold to Pacific Cycle. Pacific, in turn, was bought by
, a Canadian company that also makes furniture and baby products. The Schwinn bikes consumers see today are built in Taiwan and China and have little in common with the company's history -- besides a nameplate.
In today's bicycle industry, though, being foreign-made is about the most American thing a large bicycle manufacturer can do. The National Bicycle Dealers Association says 99.5% of bikes sold in the United States are mass-market imports from Asian countries.