The Joust is a new bike from the Fleetvelo brand for those who are serious about bike polo. For Richard Schwinn — the founder of Waterford Precision Bicycles, father of Joust designer Tucker Schwinn, and great-grandson of the legendary Ignaz Schwinn — the bike is not just a tool for polo, it’s a symbol of the potential bike polo has to transform America. But before I get into that, here’s what makes the Joust such a great polo bike.
“I’m convinced that polo will be a huge growing market. It’s a great urban sport… It’s the first sport you can do with bikes that could be as ubiquitous as basketball.”
— Richard Schwinn, Waterford Precision Cycles
The geometry has been dialed in specifically for bike polo by Tucker himself, a guy who we’re told eats, sleeps and breathes bike polo. Based on a 26-inch wheel platform, the Joust has a high bottom bracket to prevent pedal strike and a short chainstay for snappy handling. The Hammer Schmidt crank offers two-speed internal shifting with the triggers on the left (so you can swing the mallet with your right hand). Another cool feature of the Joust is the 135 mm hub spacing front and rear, which allows you to use a rear wheel on the front. This means you can have four different cog options (including fixed if you want) at any one time. For the polo player who travels, you can upgrade to S & S Couplers which allow the bike to break down and fit easily into a box for shipping. The Joust is made out of TrueTemper OX Platinum steel and it retails for $750 frame/fork and (the S & S Couplers is are a $600 upgrade and the 2-speed cranks are an extra $100).
I asked Richard Schwinn why he wanted to make a production bike for bike polo — which isn’t exactly a market that the industry is chasing in a big way right now. His answer surprised me.
“I’m convinced that polo will be a huge growing market. It’s a great urban sport. It’s the first sport you can do with bikes that could be as ubiquitous as basketball. The real possibility is a monumental shift of bike polo becoming a sport for kids. I see this as a potentially transformational thing for America.”
Richard’s point was that polo bikes are perfect for kids because of their versatility and the fact you can play pretty much anywhere. “You can commute on them [the Joust has rack braze-ons] do tricks, and play polo.”
I know bike polo is becoming more and more popular in the U.S. all the time, but I never thought of it really catching on as the next big youth sport. I like the way Richard thinks. I wonder if we can get kids playing bike polo as part of the Safe Routes to Schools curriculum…