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                                        From The Coaster archives April, 1982

What is a Classic Bicycle?

A classic Bicycle is generally one built between 1920 and 1965. However, to a true enthusiast, a bicycle that is not a balloon tired bicycle is not a true classic! Balloon tire bicycles were built primarily between the years of 1933 and 1960. They include the ever popular Schwinn Phantom. This bicycle came in three different color styles, the Green Phantom, the Red Phantom, and the most popular Black Phantom. They were in general the same, but the different color combinations gave them each a different personality.

These bicycles were highly desirable when we were children, as they usually were very expensive and few of us had parents, who could afford them. They were especially expensive when all of the options were added on; Crash bars, spoke lights, horns, sirens. This is not to mention all of the standard equipment, such as the horn tanks, chain guards, the horn, tail lights and etc. Of course these weren't truly standard equipment, but no bike was or is complete without all or at least some of the above.

The bicycle built in the 1920­1933 era is called the single-tubed bike. This bicycle had no tube in its tire and the solid rubber tire was cemented onto the wheel. It provided a rough ride, but one considerably smoother than its pre­decessors. These bicycles are very expensive to restore, unless the tires are still intact and in good condition. A set of single-tubed tires costs well over $100. This is just an estimate. They have been sold for as low as $80.00 but that is rare. (remember this article was originally written in April 1982, so these prices may not be true in today's market)

The middle weight bicycle is the most common bicycle found. For this reason, it is not the most desirable to a collector. However, they are beginning to come into their own, especially some of the top of the line models.

This article originally appeared in the April, 1982 issue of "The Coaster", a monthly publication of the Classic Bicycle and Whizzer Club of Michigan. A special thanks to Steve Culver for permission to publish this article.

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