27 July 2012

A venerable Huffy in Nisswa


The Huffy in the garden
 My first bicycle was a Huffy Dragster- an early entry in the BMX market for Huffy. Although it could have been a pieced together monster with parts from the Huffy high-rise style bikes.
I don't see many Huffy bikes these days although they were the 3rd largest bike manufacturer in the US during the 1960s. I suspect Schwinn was tops back then. Both companies appear to have produced similar models of bikes through the 1960s to the 1970s.

Huffy started out as a sewing machine manufacturer in 1892 formed by George Huffman. The Huffy name did not really come into existance until the 1950s. Prior the bikes carried the Dayton name- because they were made in Dayton, OH. The name Huffy came from the name of company- Huffman Manufacturing- which the sewing machine manufacturer turned into in 1925.

While on holiday in Nisswa, MN I spotted this Huffy. The bike pictured here is what I believe to be a vintage 1970s men's Huffy 5-Speed Regatta with light. This one looks practically new. It appears to be simliar to the Schwinn Suburbans of the same period.

Huffy probably saw its peak in the mid-80s when US Olympians used Huffys to win medals at the 84 and 88 Olympics. Methinks the bike market was changing and becoming more competitive. Huffy was known for their entry level bikes but competition with imported bikes from Japan and Taiwan with high end features put them in a bind. They weathered the storm by continuing to produce decent entry level bikes. But then bankruptcy in 2004 and leveled them.
They continue to exist. I think they may have some bikes at Wal-Mart, Fleet Farm and Target. I still have a Huffy mountain bike that was made in the US that I bought at Target. Works great. Even has a the quick removable front tire.
These days it looks like Huffy is mostly producing kids bikes and cruisers. 

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