Huffy Bike

Huffy is a common name even today in bicycles - many people think of a Huffy bike when they think of bicyles. The very first bicycle to be manufactured under the brand name of Huffy was in 1949 when it manufactured the Convertible, a child's bicycle with rear training wheels and foot steps. Prior to that, the company had manufactured many bicycles under the brand name of Dayton. By 1953, the Huffy logo was created and all bicycles were then manufactured under the Huffy name.

The Huffman corporation was the manufacturer of many different brands of bicycles in the early years. After 1953, they only manufactured under the Huffy logo and brand name. Other brands that were produced by the Huffman Corporation, later shortened to Huffy, were the Hiawatha and the Dayton. Popular bicycle names were the Roadster, Convertible, the Radio Bicycle, Dragster and Sigma.

Huffy Bike

When a person thinks of a bike, the name Huffy springs up pretty much instantly. That may be because this innovative company made a huge mark for itself by always being ready to supply whatever people needed. From the first training wheels to the radio bicycle to an affordable and attractive new BMX bike, Huffy delivered. Always willing and able to make the changes it would take to rise to the top, Huffy has always been a force to be reckoned with and has become a lasting name in the world of bicycles.

It began in 1892, when the American sewing machine company owned by George P. Huffman made their first bicycle and sold it under the name Dayton(for Dayton, Ohio). This was already proof of their knowledge of how to get involved in the current times by jumping into the bicycle craze. A new design, the Dayton Special Roadster debuted in 1899 with the wood rims of the time and unique cylindrical ball hubs. This was followed by the Dayton Racer in 1904 with dropped handlebars and narrower rims. With the Racer's sleek built-for-speed design and sprocket inspired chain-wheel, one must have really felt like showing off their cool new bike. Addressing a common issue at the time, Huffman and company unveiled Dayton's Cushion Frame Roadster in 1913 with a one-of-a-kind shock-absorbing system. This meant no more rough rides. In 1920, the Dayton LaFrance was designed to look like a motorcycle with braced handlebars and a kickstand on the rear wheel as the motorcycle was rapidly gaining popularity. 1925 brought a new manufacturing company for Huffman and with it, steel rims in place of wood. This was when the Huffmans' involvement with the bicycle market would really flourish. During the Depression, production and promotion were increased from 12 bikes a day previously to around 200 daily, as they expected the bicycle to be a cheap alternative to automobiles at a time when so few could afford them. Their next creation was the Huffman Dayton Streamliner in 1936, which true to its name, had a new speed-savvy frame and featured what was known as balloon tires that are very similar to the tires we have today. Huffman became the first bicycle manufacturer to use straight-line conveyor belt assemblies in 1940 and they doubled their ability to meet demand. Again meeting the needs of the times, 4,000 bikes were made in 1943 solely for the military during World War II. Bicycles would often fill in for soldiers where walking and using vehicles were less efficient and Huffy was there to supply. At the end of the war, the market was poor and a change would be needed to keep the company maintaining at its high level. Horace Huffman Jr. was elected president of the company after his father passed away and, with his guidance, the company was streamlined to get out more bikes, more efficiently. This put the company not only where it would maintain, but would thrive more than ever before.

More History of the Huffy Bike

The first bike with the Huffy name, as we know it today, was the Huffy Convertible in 1949. This was the first bike ever with training wheels and it completely changed the face of the bicycle market. It would be easier for children to learn to ride, and that meant more children willing to try and more parents buying bikes. Their next great innovation, the Huffy Radio Bicycle in 1955, featured a radio built right into the frame with a battery and antenna on the back. Music was changing society at a rapid pace and Huffy was there with a way to carry your music with you on the road. Huffy became the third largest manufacturer of bikes in 1960 and it was in 1962 that they made their one millionth bike. There was an attempt at a new bike with a steering wheel instead of handlebars, called the Huffy Wheel in 1968. It was expected to give people more of a sense of control. To appeal to the BMX crowd that was forming, the Huffy Dragster debuted in 1969 and it actually helped boost the popularity of BMX bicycles by getting this type of bike available to a wider group of customers. The Dragster was the first bike of the high-rise style, featuring a banana seat and higher handlebars. Four years later, 1973, the Huffy Scout really appealed to the new '70s customers with its Wild West themed coloring, 10 speeds, dropped handlebars and new seat designed for speed. Within three years, Huffy was the most popular bike brand in the United States. During the '60s and '70s, bikes became much more popular with adults for a way to stay fit as well as an environmentally conscious and statement-making mode of transportation. In the late '70s, the Huffy Thunder Trail kids bike became very popular and really boosted demand. When Huffy made their 30 millionth bike in 1979, they donated it to the Smithsonian Institute.

Several United States athletes won Olympic medals while riding Huffy bicycles in 1984. Huffy created a new bike in 1987, the Huffy Sigma, with features designed especially for Olympic athletes including 20" wheels with disk wheel covers. Huffy bikes helped athletes win more medals in the 1988 Olympics and the bike set a new standard for performance in its bike category.

Huffy also got in on the mountain bike action in 1991 with the Huffy Stone Mountain. Its 18 speeds, unique 26" tires and a matching attachable water bottle made it a top competitor in the mountain bike market. In 1995, the simple new idea of adding Looney Tunes character images to the bikes appealed to kids in a big way. With a new all terrain bicycle in the forefront of their minds, Huffy signed a long-term licensing agreement with Ironman Triathlon, probably inspired by Mark Allen's third straight win on their Huffy Triton bike in 1991. The record-breaking oldest and youngest winners of the Ironman Hawaii competitions became spokespersons for the new bikes. In 2006, Huffy celebrated 30 years as the top selling bike brand and made their 100 millionth bike. In keeping with the popularity of the Looney Tunes characters, Huffy has continued to make bikes with popular characters such as Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse, Thomas The Tank Engine, Spiderman, Toy Story Characters and Disney Princesses. They also have branched out into tricycles, a very popular line of scooters, and a type of recumbent tricycle known as the Green Machine.

This brand is so popular because they know how to give people what they want, at the time they want it. They change with the times and, because of that, become a part of it. Looking at images of Huffy bicycles through the years, you can feel the time in which the individual bikes were made. All of the bikes made from the '30s through the '60s are now collectors items along with several more recent models which have stood the test of time. It has also been proven by athletes that Huffy bikes can perform to the heights of their field, with their bikes submitted to museums in honor of the achievement. Whether it was women who wanted to prove their independence in the 19th century, teenagers carrying their hearts with them in the form of music, socially-conscious people choosing more ecologically sound modes of transportation or guys testing their meddle at extreme sports, Huffy gave you the bike you needed. Bikes can mean many things to many different kinds of people and the minds behind the Huffy bike brand have always known that. It may be a method to express yourself, a chance at freedom or a way to exercise, it doesn't matter. What matters is the love of the bicycle and the resilience of that love.

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