Who We Are:
A century ago when the bicycle's popularity peaked for the first time, a young German engineer named Ignaz Schwinn started a bicycle company in Chicago, then, the world center of bicycle building. Fifty years later, his son, who had started mass producing bikes, created a special place within this factory to build elite racing machines. By pioneering the use of high-strength steel alloys and then later, low-temperature silver brazing, this factory dominated the US racing scene for decades. Many noted framebuilders such as Albert Eisentraut served their apprenticeship under the master framebuilders.
In the late 1970's, a young rider, designer and builder named Marc Muller brought the experience and innovation from his own framebuilding enterprise and took charge of building these elite bicycles. Marc moved the factory to Waterford, Wisconsin and continued building elite bicycles and also created a cycling design laboratory. Marc and his staff introduced a number of key innovations including oversized tubing, 26" wheels, cast-in cable guides and our patented full suspension system. These advances allowed them to design and build bikes for National and World champions such as Ned Overand, Marc Allen, Mike Engleman, Tom Prehn and many others.
Marc Muller and Richard Schwinn, manufacturer and great-grandson of Ignaz formed an independent organization, completely dedicated to building fine bicycles. Less than two years into the new business, Waterford and Criterium rider Jeanette Norris earned its first national championship. In a world where America again leads in elite bicycle design, our team of designers, riders and builders continues a one hundred year commitment toward excellence and innovation.
Why we do what we do:
The renaissance in American framebuilding and design has grown from the many experiments of builders and inventors who continue to explore new materials, structures, geometries and applications for the bicycle. While we also experiment and watch with excitement the developments in our field, we don't believe in using our riders as test pilots.
We believe that good fit and geometry have more impact on rider performance than any other factor. Our selection of materials, design of tubing and lugs as well as integration of other components assures high performance at every level. We design and build our bikes so that twenty years from now you will feel as good about your investment as you did the day you made it.
While many companies have moved toward disposability, we continue to offer bikes that are completely repairable. We believe this gives you more choices as a rider: the choice to adapt your bike to future innovations or to restore your bike to like-new condition. This also places less stress on our world's precious resources. Every aspect of every Waterford has been carefully considered and reconsidered by designers and engineers who love to ride, and who seek for themselves, and for you, the ultimate bicycle frame.
Why our tubing?
Though it has a long history as a tubing material, steel remains the best choice for riders seeking excellent riding characteristics as well as lasting value. No other material offers the strength, resilience and restorability of steel. The Reynolds 753 tubing we use in our highest quality bikes is the strongest, most precisely drawn production bicycle tubing available in the world. Only a few companies are permitted to use 753 because Reynolds certifies every person who brazes it. They've told us our brazers are among the best they've ever tested..
We don't stop at a great material. Reynolds precision manufacturing lets us customize every tube on our bicycles. We tune every aspect of the ride through special dimensions, flaring and butting. Finally, Waterford offers several different strengths of tubing to assure riders great ride quality throughout our wide range of sizes.
Why investment-cast lugs?
Lugs reinforce the joints between tubes - the area of highest stress during riding. Lugs let us use thinner tube walls than other methods. Traditional lugs are stamped and then welded to form the lug shape. By using investment-cast lugs we maintain closer tolerances and therefore produce stronger joints than stamped lugs. Our new low-profile lugset is the lightest weight, most advanced lugset in the world, weighing little more than the rod used to TIG weld a comparable joint.
Why silver brazing?
Brazing and welding affects every material. The higher the temperature, the more the material is affected. TIG welding of heat-treated steel, aluminum or Titanium reduces tube strength by 30-50% because of extremely high temperatures. Brass brazing - including fillet brazing - has a lower but still significant effect on strength.
We use ultra-low temperature silver alloys to join our tubing. This process reduces strength by less than 10%, less than any other brazing or welding process. This means that we keep all the strength in our tubing - and your frame.
Why our geometry?
Our frame geometries reflect our close association with national and world class riders. They have taught us that proper position has more of an effect on performance than any other factor:
- Our long top tube lengths closely fit American riders and riding styles.
- We stress low bottom bracket heights which create a more stable ride and build rider confidence.
- We distribute weight to balance the needs of good handling and braking.
The next most important factor for a superb ride is a straight frame. Every step in Waterford's manufacturing process - starting right from tube selection and cutting - insures a straight frame - before the alignment table. This level of craftsmanship insures our riders the finest ride possible.
World-class bicycle frame construction requires know-how, the combination of these and thousands of other details gleaned from a century of riding and frame construction. No other framebuilder puts it together the way Waterford does - into a ride without peer. Put our know-how and our passion to work for you.
What We Build:
Model 1200/2200 Road Racing Frameset
Our premier road racing frameset represents over a century of technological advances and careful refinements. This design balances the need for minimum weight, maximum pedaling efficiency, rider comfort, responsive handling and superb fit. Twenty one standard sizes. From $1,100.
Model 1100 Road Racing Frameset
Our entry-level road racing frameset represents and economical path to a world class ride. Same geometry as the 1200 with our special Reynolds 531 OS tubeset, forged chrome-moly dropouts and our exclusive integrated cable guides. Seven standard sizes. From $800.
Model 1250 Sports Touring FramesetPerfect for supported touring such as RAGBRAI and BAMMI, the 1250 combines the athletics of the 1200 with the comfort of a classic road touring bike. The 1250 includes rear rack support for credit card touring. Twenty-one standard sizes. From $1,100.
Model 2400 Off-Road Racing Framesets
More and more riders have come to appreciate the Waterford off-road Ride. Great fit, supple handling and durable construction add up to great performance! Fourteen standard sizes. Rigid or suspension forks available. From $1,050.
Model 1600/2600 Multisport Competition Frameset
From the pioneers in 650B wheel design comes a bike with the ideal acceleration and rider aerodynamics for multisport competitors. Seventeen standard sizes. From $1,100.
Model 1700/1800/2800 Competition Track Frameset
Bred from decades of world championship competition, our competition track framesets thrive on the rigors of track. Each tube and lug has been custom engineered to meet the requirements and withstand the rigors of track riding. Our geometries and stiffness insure the maneuverability needed to excel. From $600.
Model 1900 Adventure Cycle
New for '96, our model 1900 Adventure Cycle frameset builds into a bike ideal for both cross-continent unsupported touring as well as commuting around town. Clearance for big 700x40C tires, canti- brake studs, double front and rear eyelets, rack braze-ons, triple water bottle bosses support all the creature features you'll ever need. Twenty-one standard sizes. From $1,100.
S and S Coupling System:
S&S Machine has developed a wonderful system which lets you make your bike travel friendly. We've been installing them since1994 to the delight of those riders needing a travel bike. S& S Couplers can be installed on Models 1200, 1250, 1400, 1600 and 1900, allowing riders to enjoy everything they love about the Waterford Ride without the expense of air travel in oversized boxes and cases. The couplers are installed on the top and downtube just ahead of the seat cluster and bottom bracket. The Stainless steel of the coupler has a jewel like look that doesn't draw attention to itself.
The nice thing about having couplers on your bike is that when you get to where you want to go, you're riding the same bike you'd be riding if you were home. We've had a number of people report that even though they bought a Waterford coupler bike to supplement their bike collection that the Waterford has become their primary riding bike. Gary is one of our first riders who installed S and S couplers on his bike. He wanted it to supplement his stable of elite bikes - as the bike he could take on his frequent travels. One year later, Gary tells us that his Waterford has become his everyday bike, as well.
Retail installation cost: $400.
Phone: (262) 534-4190