Vintage Bicycles Done Proper :: Corvallis, Oregon
On the heels of a Schwinn High Sierra refresh, an unearthed catalog highlights Schwinn’s finest All Terrain Bicycles for 1985, “providing vehicles to take you where a four-wheel drive can’t.”
Ahh, the All Terrain Bicycle (ATB). The marketing buzzword that just didn’t quite catch on. Unfortunately for you, ATB, the word “Mountain Bike” (MTB) stole your spotlight and it never quite came back around to you. But, in 1985, the promise of whatever you want to call mixed terrain bikes became clear and Schwinn quickly opened up their line to accommodate. This stand-alone, multi-page printed piece demonstrated the robust investment Schwinn had made to the market and was distributed throughout bike shops nationwide to promote their exciting new wares.
On the top of the food chain was the Cimarron. The only model to feature a Tange unicrown fork and SunTour dropouts, along with a sexy two-page, fold-out spread. It was clearly the pack leader and proudly sported a full Shimano groupset, sans a SunTour Superbe seat post. The Cimarron was not significantly lighter or with geometry vastly different from the High Sierra but it was clear who the alpha, and ultimate ATB was, even with the embarrassing handlebar setup found in the image above. To this day, the Cimarron is still the most coveted, and valuable, from this lineup.
Now, if riding through fields of golden wheat or bombing down some singletrack was your idea of a good time, and you were paying attention to the awards (hello “Bicycling! Magazine’s ‘Good Buy’ pick in 1984”), then the Sierra line was your bag. This was a budget Cimarron and although not the top-tier components, they were still respectable and carved a place between trail and pavement. But, fear not, marketing dictated it was clearly more trail than pavement.
Lest we forget this catalog also highlights two other models, the Mirada and the Mesa Runner, but both quite “lightweight” and more akin to dropping off curbs as an urban assault vehicle than hitting more technical terrain. But, a dirt path here and there—no problem! Build quality was hi-tensile steel frames and forks here but the catalog made it clear these models were still dressed in modest, yet classic, groupsets.
This obscure and forgotten Schwinn ATB showcase piece is offered here for download as a PDF.
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