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Waterford Precision Cycles

Matthew Butterman

Wednesday 15 June 2016

David O. Cannady's 75th Anniversary Schwinn Paramount

Bicycle Collector David Cannady brought his 75th anniversary Schwinn Paramount with him to the recent Classic Rendezvous Weekend bike show.

David O. Cannady's 75th Anniversary Schwinn Paramount
Photo: Matt Butterman

Classic Rendezvous member and bicycle collector David O. Cannady, from Charlotte, North Carolina, brought a 75th anniversary Schwinn Paramount with him to the recent Classic Rendezvous Weekend in nearby Greensboro. The bike was custom built in 2013 by Schwinn Paramount shop successor Waterford Precision Cycles.   

There’s no bike more American than a Schwinn. The history of the brand has been intertwined with the history of cycling in the U.S. ever since German-American immigrants Adolph Arnold and Ignaz Schwinn began producing bicycles in Chicago in 1895. And the flagship model of this storied brand has been the Schwinn Paramount.

Decal Set from the 1st Generation Schwinn Paramount in 1938.   Photo courtesy Waterford Precision Cycles

From its beginning in 1938, the Paramount has represented the epitome of American bicycle craftsmanship. Almost extinguished in its early stages by the industrial demands of World War II, the Paramount line reemerged and became the bicycle of choice for America’s top racers from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. In 1981, Schwinn opened a separate, specialty production shop for Paramounts located in Waterford, Wisconsin.

After Schwinn was sold in 1993, a group of employees bought the Waterford production facility and started Waterford Precision Cycles, continuing the Paramount legacy of full custom options and fine craftsmanship. Waterford-produced Schwinn Paramounts have been in and out of production since the shop sale, but in 2013-14 Waterford produced a limited number of Paramounts celebrating the 75th anniversary of the model.

Cannady was one of the lucky recipients of these special Paramounts. It’s built up from stainless steel tubing with full custom geometry. In ordering his bike, Cannady worked directly with Richard Schwinn, great grandson of company founder Ignaz Schwinn and now head of operations at Waterford.

Fittingly for an anniversary edition bike, this Paramount also features Campagnolo’s 80th anniversary gruppo and wheelset. Although representative of history and tradition, the bike is clearly no dinosaur, with the carbon fiber wheelset and a pair of Speedplay Nanogram pedals - the lightest production pedals ever made.

Although he’s an avid cyclist himself, Cannady says he’s never ridden this bike and has no plans to do so; it’s purely a show bike. He was hesitant to assign a dollar value to it, but did concede that it is valued “well inside the five figure range.”

Cannady’s 75th anniversary Paramount is one of several historic Schwinns that he owns. He plans to hold on to this one, at least until the 80 or 85th anniversary edition Paramount is released, whereupon he might sell this one to finance a new piece of history.