Waterford Precision Cycles produces mostly high-end bikes that you could almost classify as “boutique”. They are also an American owned and made company with historic links to the famous Schwinn Company.
- address: 816 W. Bakke Ave.Waterford, WI 53185
- telephone: (262) 534-4190
- fax: (262) 534-4194
- website: http://waterfordbikes.com
- e-mail: [email protected]
Richard Schwinn runs Waterford Precision Cycles with designer Marc Mueller. Those that recognize the Schwinn name will realize Waterford has true cycling pedigree. Schwinn is the great grandson of the famous Schwinn Bicycle Company founder who established his company in 1895. Schwinn became the dominant American manufacturer throughout most of the 20th Century. Today they are a sub-brand of Pacific Cycle, owned by Dorel Industries.
But Richard Schwinn is not Waterford’s only claim to fame. Waterford’s head designer, Marc Muller, was also a designer of the famous handcrafted Paramount racing bikes for the Schwinn Company. Muller is very well respected and has introduced a number of innovations to Waterford’s elite bicycles such as oversized tubing, cast-in cable guides and a patented full suspension system.
Initially Schwinn and Mueller continued to produce the Schwinn Paramounts but branched off into racing bikes and touring models. Today they produce mostly high-end bikes, which differs somewhat from the original Schwinn company’s low-end, mass-market approach. Waterford bikes are custom and hand-built using steel alloy frames, a facet that does remain true to Schwinn tradition. And the majority of their products are for road racing, track, triathlon, stage, criterium and cyclo cross. They do have an off-road model and some touring/commuting options.
The bikes range in price from mid range, about USD $2,500, through to the you-got-to-be-stinking-rich price of USD $8,500 (or a sponsored rider). Obviously the handcrafted nature of the bike and the higher costs of manufacturing in America are what raise the bar here. But their standard custom bike is reasonably priced for what you get, while the bikes in their main range you would definitely classify as boutique.
People that like the old school artisan design look will love the Waterford. Thankfully the bikes do enjoy all the new technological advances such as light-weight, faster frames. All the bikes are custom made to order with tig-welded and lugged steel frames. The bikes feature custom geometry and are sized to fit their riders. Distributors use the Waterford Fit Machine to get it right. The bikes are usually sold as a frame/fork combination, which gives riders some degree of freedom to create what they are looking for with other parts.
People that buy Waterfords seem to fit into one of these categories: they have owned one in the past, once had a steel frame and appreciate the smooth qualities of the ride, or want to treat themselves to something different. A lot of Waterford owners believe steel frames have a soul, therefore implying other materials don’t. Many are more likely to be people who like to get out for a ride but don’t necessarily want to be the fastest on the road. Waterford riders are also drawn by the idea they can still use their bicycle 20 years from now, with bikes that can be repaired or adapted to future innovations.
Waterford does have some lower-end, bang-for-buck options. These are largely the bikes Waterford builds for other brands under a private business label. For Gunnar Cycles they manufacture frames and forks for touring, racing, recreational and off-road bikes. For Standard Byke Company they make BMX bikes, frames for the Milwaukee Bicycle Company and also manufacture for specialty companies like Rivendell, Heron and Salsa. Gunnar frames and forks start at about USD $1,100 which you can get in 8 weeks. These bikes can still be customized a bit, but the more you do the price rises quickly.
Waterford has also sponsored riders to keep its designs competitive. Waterford bikes have now won numerous national and world championships.
Hours of work
Monday – Friday
9 am – 5 pm
- Standard Frames: No
- Custom Frames: Yes
- Retrofitting old bikes: No
- Year Established: 1993
- Products Made In: Wisconsin, USA
- Availability: authorized dealers
- Types of Bicycles: road, criterium, triathlon/time trial, stage, track/fixed gear, cyclocross, touring/commuting, off road
- Construction Methods: tig-welded and lugged steel
- Frame Materials: steel-alloy