Huffy's Been Doing E-Bikes Since 1955. They Just Powered the Wrong Component

Huffy Radiobike 6 photos
Photo: Barn Finds
Huffy RadiobikeHuffy RadiobikeHuffy RadiobikeHuffy RadiobikeHuffy Radiobike
Everyone thinks that e-bikes are a rather new thing. While the level of technology they employ is modern and fresh, the idea of powering a bicycle component with electricity is nothing new. Take Huffy's Radiobike as the perfect example.
That's right, folks, what you're looking at is a 1955 Huffy Radiobike. Yes, it really does have a radio built into it. And even though that's the component powered by electricity, the way it was powered is as common a design as it is today, albeit on a different scale.

If you've never heard of Huffy, this piece may be one to show you a little-known manufacturer that's actually been making kids and adults alike smile for 130 years now. And I don't mean to brag, but I too once owned a Huffy. It was a BMX bike with a solid steel frame with only a top tube as the main support for the rest of the bike. It even had a gyro and pegs if you wanted to get wild.

As for the bike you see here, it's from back in the 1950s. It was produced throughout a couple of years, totaling around 8,500 units in all. While they ran for around 40 USD (35 EUR at current exchange rates) back then, today, you can find a restored version for around 8,000 USD or more (7,083 EUR at current exchange rates). So to find one intact, rust and all, for some, it's like finding a mint-conditon vintage car.

Now, much information about the frame isn't found, except that it was designed to be sturdy and safe. However, it's safe to assume that Huffy wasn't using titanium or aluminum but plain old steel.

Huffy Radiobike
Photo: Barn Finds
The bike also featured a solid front fork and obviously no rear suspension; a classic city-going bicycle. All of that was then set up on 24-inch wheels and controlled via a mustache handlebar, vintage, to say the least. The only suspension is granted by a set of springs under the saddle.

In line with trends in those days and even some current ones, the bike was also designed to carry loads and keep you riding no matter the weather. It features rack mounts, fenders, and a headlight.

Saving the best for last, it's time to see what made this bike so special and why most of us have never even heard of it. First of all, it displays one of the earlier versions of a portable battery pack meant to electrically power some component. In this case, that component wasn't some mid-mounted motor with the ability to assist your pedaling, but rather a radio mounted under the top tube.

That's what you see there in front of the rider, a dang radio. It has everything from dials and knobs on one side of the bike to an outward-blaring speaker on the other side.

Huffy Radiobike
Photo: Barn Finds
As for why Huffy stopped making these things, it's because they didn't fit with the current trends of those days. Heck yeah! They were way ahead of their time, in my eyes. Even today, countless bicycle manufacturers utilize this rear-mounted power pack design.

Then there was one other minor problem, one Huffy stated wouldn't exist for owners, issues caused by unfavorable weather. Simply put, people may have been seeing sparks, being electrocuted, or worse.

All that aside, imagine owning one of these suckers today, during the age of portable speaker systems. Heck, why not trick it out with a pair of Harman speakers and get things bumpin' in your hood.

You know what!? Dear Huffy, if you've read this, please make another 50 to 100 of these bikes, but try partnering with Harman for this modern age; they've got some solid IPX ratings on their sound gear.

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About the author: Cristian Curmei
Cristian Curmei profile photo

A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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