For kids that grew up as part of a certain generation, there was always that idea that if you wanted to find where your friends were, you’d look for the house in the neighborhood where all the bikes were parked. Those bikes often carried a distinctive style with a low stance, a banana seat, and a sissy bar on the back. I’m talking, of course, about the Schwinn Krate.
Those bikes were the epitome of cool, and as Schwinn notes, the Krate — which was an extension of its Sting-Ray line — “was to bikes what dragsters were to automobiles.” The styling was a part of that and among the most unique features was the “Sting-Ray Slik” rear tire — a treadless creation that evoked the rear slicks that hugged the asphalt for maximum grip to power high-powered dragsters down the strip. Now, in an era where families are spending more time together and a new generation of kids is experiencing the freedom of biking, Schwinn has reinvented the Krate for riders ages 3-7, or 38-48 inches, in height.
The 16-inch Schwinn Krate EVO borrows from the 1968 original, weaving details such as curvilinear shapes into the reimagined SmartStart frame — tailored to kid proportions — and a racing-style banana seat with adjustable height. And yes, the rear Slik is back, but the Krate EVO comes with training wheels for kids who aren’t quite ready to let loose.
One of the coolest features is something that most kids’ bikes never have: a front suspension fork. Usually, that’s a feature limited to adult-sized mountain bikes and such, but the Krate EVO packs that in to help kids tackle suburban terrain by smoothing the jolt of sidewalk cracks and bumps.
The Krate EVO comes in five colors — Shadow Black, Burnout Blue, Sunfire Yellow, Apple Red, Raspberry Pink — available directly through the Schwinn website. These are perfect starter bikes for kids who are ready to rock the neighborhood, and admittedly, they push just enough of the nostalgia buttons to make you wish you were a kid again.
But grownups and older kids don’t have to feel left out! Schwinn is still making the original Sting-Ray Krate bikes, but they’re often released in limited-edition colorways like this summer’s Grape Krate, and occasionally issued as retailer exclusives. Others, such as the sleek black Coal Krate are available year-round.