Not too many folks (other than real Buell fans) know that Erik Buell worked on a bicycle project with Schwinn Bicycles back in 1991. Chris Fiorini, a product designer at Schwinn’s Paramount Design Group, wanted to design a mountain bike for downhill racing with long travel suspension. He contacted Buell because he had heard about the suspension system they were using and thought it might work on the bike. Erik liked the idea of working on the project and the SASS (Schwinn Active Suspension System) was born. The bike was called the Paramount Buell SASS bicycle.
The prototype bikes were built in the famous Buell Quonset hut factory and testing was done by riding back and forth on nearby railroad tracks. A 3rd generation prototype was sent to Italy and Glen Adams, seeded 52nd for the 9th World Mountain Bike Downhill Championship, rode the bike to a Bronze medal, just .002 seconds from the Silver.
The bike was then released to the public in September 1991. It had 4 inches of rear suspension travel with the shock working under extension, just like Buell motorcycles do it. Everyone building mountain bikes took a look at the suspension and said, “Nice idea!” and it started popping up everywhere.
If you’re looking for some bicycle history or something to park next to your Buell in the garage, this is it!
Link: auction over
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