Preserved Pea Picker: 1971 Schwinn Krate

1971 Schwinn Pea Picker

If you were a kid in the late sixties and early seventies, then you probably wanted one of these. The Schwinn Krate was one of the coolest bicycles that money could buy. I personally think they still are. So, when Jim S. sent in a link to this nicely preserved “Pea Picker”, I couldn’t resist. The spring fork, five speed shifter, and rear slick made this thing about as close to a car as a kid could get! So, if you are like me and never had the chance to own one of these beauties, this could be the chance to make up for it. It’s going to cost you though! Find this one here on eBay where bidding starts at an eye watering $2,100!


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  1. Howard

    I had the Apple Crate. $105.00 was a lot of money in 1970 for a single mom. It was always breaking. The shocks, the front brake, the gear shift always had problems. But I loved that bike.

  2. Howard A Member

    Wow, do I ever remember these. There were several models, the orange crate, the lemon peeler, the cotton picker, and the apple crate, usually, just the color was different. ( they had beautiful paint jobs) This was a pricey bike in the late ’60’s, costing $94 dollars, or $610 dollars today. Only the luckiest kids got these, as I had to take a 20″ bike, and put my own high rise bars and banana seat on, but still was the “wheelie king” in my alley. My late sister and her husband found one in a storage locker about 20 years ago. After she passed away, I asked her husband what happened to it, and he can’t remember. These are pricey today, and this one seems a little steep, especially with a flat tire. Thanks for the memories jim.

    Like 1
  3. redwagon

    always wanted an orange crate. loved that color. made do with a single speed sears version in gold with a faux tiger skin banana seat. lock the brake and fishtail to the right leaving tire marks on the sidewalks all over town. eventually the slick in the rear was very uneven. learned a lot about wrenching with that bike.

  4. E55

    My dad thought they were too expensive. So, I got a similar bike made by Columbia – five speed shift lever on the top tube and front fork shock. (I don’t think that shock ever compressed – even a fraction of an inch – under the force of either my massive 68 lb body or the incredible stopping power of that front hand brake!) When it was stolen, we replaced it with a dark green Schwinn Deluxe Stingray – coaster brakes and no gears, but since it was a Schwinn, it still had the panache and family connection to the Pea Picker, Orange Crate et al. An, those were the days…

  5. Stuart

    “Spoiled” best friend got the Lemon Peel. About the equivalent of a new ‘Vette in the eyes of a 10 year old in 1970!

  6. Benjamin

    What a flashback to my childhood and the local playground. Only the kids from wealthier families had these, but EVERYBODY admired them. I had a Sears knockoff that totally lacked the panache of the Schwinns.

  7. Fred

    Didn’t have one of course, but my best friend Robert down the block did. It braked a lot quicker than my clunky 26″, so when traveling behind him at a high rate of speed, I wiped out and broke my left arm.

  8. Howard A Member

    Apparently, the Schwinn story has a sad ending. I remember many companies came out with Sting Ray type bikes. The AMX Swift Hornet was one, that I believe, Schwinn sued them for copy infringement. As with most American companies, bad 3rd and 4th generation business decisions, ( totally missed the BMX craze, as they deemed it too dangerous) along with Asian knockoffs, were the end of this mighty American heritage after over 100 years in business. And so it goes….

  9. Toast54

    I remember this style of bike with banana seat but I quit riding them in ’69 when I got my license. No telling how many collectible baseball cards I ruined in the spokes….oh well.

  10. Chris

    Santa gave me an Apple Crate for Christmas in 1970. That bike was dope, as the kids say (do they still say that?). Alas, it was stolen from the school bike rack in short order and never recovered. No “crate” bikes were available, so my generous dad replaced it with a green Schwinn Fastback ( Fun, but not as cool.

  11. Mark B

    Wow, That brings back memories. My brother and I each got one of these in 68. His was green but had the “rams horns” handlebars. Mine was blue. I added a 3 foot tall sissy bar on the back of the seat. Haven’t thought about that term in a long time. Came home from college after my first semester and my mother had given both away. I was bummed to say the least. But really didn’t even notice until mid-way through summer when I wanted to go for a bike ride! Too busy driving the family Vega.

  12. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    The Raleigh “Chopper” was the British equivalent (small front wheel, big rear, shifter). All the cool kids had one. I got a Raleigh “Jeep” touring bike with a three-speed that, while beautiful, had absolutely zero cool factor :-(.

    Like 1
  13. George

    Those were the days my friend. We thought they’d never end…

    I don’t remember the model of the bike I had. It was third hand and I got it from my brother after he went to a 10 speed Peugot and gave me his. We didn’t have the income for new, so he had gotten it used from a friend of his. Mine had a twin shift, one shifter for the gears with a black handle, and a brake on the right side with a red handle that would lock up the rear brake to skid.

    Trying to find the my model was fruitless, but seeing the bikes in the google search brought back memories. One was going down my street, hitting the brakes, and having the front wheel pop off and going rolling down the street as I crashed down on the forks. I’m pretty sure a wheelie had proceeded the incident. But also seeing the long, long forks. We created that look with just shoving disassembled fork from other bikes together, taking any frame, adding a banana seat and backrest and having a cool cruiser. For some reason they fell apart on a regular basis too.

  14. Sam

    Is it April Fools day again? Bicycles?

  15. Todd Zuercher

    I always wondered how many kids lost their chance at fatherhood due to those gear shifters…..

    • jim s

      searching the internet show information that the shifters were removed from later bikes because of safety issues.

  16. Gary Member

    I still have my 1969 Pea Picker that I got for Christmas of ’68. That’s right, a “new for the 1969” model year color. I was just 8 at the time, but have always kept it in perfect working order. My younger brother got the Lemmon Peeler that same year. Every spring our parents had the bikes sent in for preventive maintenance before summer arrived. Mine came with a cable driven speedometer, head light, and the rare “cat’s eye” tail light. Both of our bikes are as new and will probably stay with us. The kids today just don’t appreciate the thoughts of a luxury bike like we did as kids. We were the envy of the neighborhood! By the way, I accumulated over 1800 miles on my bike as a child, and road that bike up until I received my learner’s permit.

  17. jim s

    i did not have either of the muscle bikes listed today but i did buy, the first in my area, a banana seat for my 26″ bike. i did noticed that the seat was long enough to haul a girl on the back, which was a good thing. i also noticed that the girl wraped her arms around me instead of holding onto the bar at the back of the seat, which was a good thing. i then noticed that if i angled the seat down at the front the girl sat closer to me, which was a good thing. i further noticed that the faster the bike went the tighter the girl held on to me, which was a good thing. but then i notice that other boys my age, called the competition, very quickly had installed banana seats on their bikes and the same girls were riding with them also, which was a bad thing. might be a life lesson or three there.

  18. Richie C

    I wanted a couple Stingrays to decorate my dealership and it got a little out of hand. :)

  19. Stuart

    Its funny, various guys have given note to it, but the way that we felt about a new hot bike was eventually transferred to our affinity for cool cars, trucks and motorcycles…our transportation toys just got bigger and more expensive!!

  20. Barzini

    My next door neighbor – Bruce – had one in the 1970s and I thought it was the best looking bike I ever saw. My opinion has not changed. Thanks for the nice flashback.

  21. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    Come on guys, Krate, with a K. My brother and I had paper routes in 1969, he was better saving his $ than I and bought an Apple Krate, it was so cool, springer fork, 16 inch front drum brake, and shocks on the rear seat bars, full suspension. I went to the Schwinn shop and they were sold out, so I started making payments on a Raleigh Chopper, but never finished it off, I was too busy ruining my teeth with candy bars. Then his Krate was stolen, weeks later I saw a guy riding a flat black Krate and we figured out who stole it. We snuck in his garage and checked the serial numbers, sure enough, just then he came out of the house and we ran off, being chased by a barking German Shepherd, thinking we were going to get bit. To our surprise, the dog ran up beside us and kept running with us. The cops got the kid, kept the bike, and eventually made him buy my brother a new bike, unfortunately the only thing they had was a Schwinn Run A Bout with 16 inch tires, a 3 speed folding bike. It actually rode pretty good, but wasn’t a Krate. Funny that now they are also very collectible.
    I got into Schwinns and bikes again in the 80s, buying and selling several, currently have a replica 5 spd Apple Krate I assembled with a 69 frame, a restored Lemon Peeler coaster Krate single speed, a rough original Orange Krate, and a reproduction Pea Picker single speed that was made around 2004. Some other brands, to include a Raleigh Chopper 3 speed I found locally at a yard sale for $20. Check out the Schwinn Manta Ray, a 26 inch adult sized Stingray, with a wide seat even, also collectible. Schwinn later came out with a white Cotton Picker, and a silver Grey Ghost, both harder to find, part of the Krate series.

  22. Stuart

    Tell you what guys, as much as I love the car talk, these bike stories crack me up. Chuck F’s is great. Back then, any new Schwinn was the equivalent of a Cadillac. Now they sell crappy stuff with that name plate from Walmart. I had a big copper 2 speed (just kicked back the pedals to down shift) 26 inch and started my paper route with it. Then I bought a second hand beast of a delivery bike from the local Schwinn dealer, with big baskets. I could take half a weeks of sunday papers in that thing (probably about 100 lbs each trip) It got hit by a car one early morning. Sprayed papers everywhere, but that bike just laughed at the contact. Straightened the front bars out and kept riding!!

  23. Howard A Member

    These bikes spawned a whole generation of “chopper” type bikes. Remember when kids ( with dad’s that worked at machine shops) did this?

  24. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I loved reading all the comments on this one! I wasn’t sure how bicycles would be received here on the site, but obviously many of us we’re obsessed with two wheels before we moved onto four.


    Back in the old days 1969-70 me & my friends we mounted 5 HP snow blower engines on my apple crate I went a little crazy removed the pedals used a 24 inch motorcycle front wheel & brake assembly made the rear frame wider and welded a rim pulley to the rear wheel used a large fan belt and a mercury clutch my dad clocked me at 62 MPH on the beach road on long island I only wish i could find those old photo’s

  26. Tom

    I still have my Schwinn Grey Ghost. Got it new for my birthday in 1971. Like new condition and 1100 miles on the original Schwinn speedo! I think the Ghost is the rarest of the Schwinn Crates.

  27. Mark R

    My brother had the Pea Picker, I got the orange 5speed stingray, I tried to soup up my stingray but to no avail..The Pea Picker was stolen while locked up at theTRI STATE MALL Claymont De.

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