Schwinn Insider: Stranger Things Edition

Here at Schwinn, everyone was thrilled to be releasing the Stranger Things limited edition Mike’s Bike back in summer of 2018. As both bike lovers and fans of the show, it was a project that lots of people here are passionate about. I had the chance to talk with Patrick Hotlen, one of our graphic designers, and Justin Roberts, one of our product managers, who both played key roles in bringing Mike’s Bike to life.


What are your roles in the company as well as for the Mike’s Bike project?

Patrick: I am a Graphic Designer here at Pacific Cycle bikes. For this project I was responsible for the cosmetics of the bike, and also digging into some of the concepts of the show to make it all tie together. My daughter and I randomly came upon Stranger Things the weekend it came out, and we thought it was so cool and we just got into it. So I definitely approached the project from a fan standpoint.

Justin: I am a Product Manager at Pacific Cycle. I was in charge of the parts and pieces of the bike. Patrick heavily influenced some of the aspects of it because he is such a big fan of the show. While I was first exposed to the show because of this project, Patrick was really able to cue in on some of the graphical elements that make this bike really speak to the details a fan would appreciate.

How similar is the bike to the one Mike is riding in Stranger Things?

Justin: We knew what the bike was going to be by essentially copying what was already in the show. The show definitely harkens back to the iconic Schwinn Sting-Ray bike that would have been very prevalent at the time the show takes place in and it is something we are familiar with so figuring out the parts and pieces of it was pretty easy.

Patrick: We took the approach of this bike really speaking to the fan of Stranger Things. There are call outs on the bike that are hidden within the design that made it a really fun piece to put together.

What was the reasoning behind making the bike related to Mike’s character?

Justin: Almost right away we knew that this bike we were doing with Netflix would be Mike’s bike. He is clearly the main character of Season 1 so his bike is the most prominently shown bike as well as one of the most interesting bikes, and it helped that it was a Sting-Ray. Then Milissa, our Director of Marketing, and her team got involved and it was clear that everyone was really excited about moving forward with Mike’s Bike.

Can you talk about the specifics of the design of Mike’s bike?

Patrick: Netflix asked for it to feel very “in world,” that was the term they used. So from across the room it should look like a replica and feel like it really is Mike’s bike from the show. So taking that direction we started making sure there were the correct elements that are true to the bike you see in Seasons 1-2 of the show. The white wall tires and the seat having a duct tape feel to it are both directly taken from the bike that was on set. So we used a material that looked like duct tape. Then from there are some elements that weren’t on the bike in the show, but made a lot of sense for this specific bike, such as a bike license sticker that says Hawkins. After that we started hiding things and putting little surprises and Easter eggs on the bike. There is something under the saddle and something behind the chain guard that isn’t obvious at first glance. We tried to do as much as we could to add layers to something so it felt like more than a replica bike. As a fan of the show we knew fans would appreciate those extra things, so it was a clear decision for us to do it this way.

Who is your favorite character?

Justin: Sheriff Hopper.

Patrick: I really like Eleven, that is an obvious one. It’s interesting to see how her character has evolved and everything that has happened to her.