The Huffy RadioBike

When I was a kid I saw an ad for a new bicycle with a built-in radio. What a dream! Like any other kid I dreamed of one, but it never happened. But – read on!

Huffy radio-bike from the 1950s
Huffy radio-bike

The Huffy RadioBike, made by Huffy Bicycle (Huffman Corporation) of Dayton, Ohio, came out in 1955. The radio was in the “gas tank” between the handlebars and the seat. It ran on three vacuum tubes and  turned on and off with a key – just like Dad’s car. AM only in those days.

Vacuum tubes needed high voltage & large batteries: you can see the power pack mounted above the rear wheel. Poor battery life –  and expensive. Transistor radios were brand new. An article I read said they came out about the same time but cost about $40, almost as much as the RadioBike. Remember, this was 1955, the same year the US minimum wage was increased to $1.00 per hour. Only about 8,500 were ever built. It was available for 2-3 years. I didn’t get either a RadioBike or a transistor radio!

Fast forward to 1978. I took an engineering job with Yellow Springs Instruments (now YSI). Yellow Springs, Ohio is a small village/college town about 20 miles (32 km) east of Dayton.

Imagine my surprise when I found a RadioBike tank on the marketing Vice President’s bookshelf, complete with a radio. YSI had made them for Huffy!

Here’s the circuit schematic drawn by Hardy Trolander, engineer, one of the founders and the first President of YSI. One of my favorite people.

PS: 50-plus years earlier Dayton was home to the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop. Huffman began in the late 1800s, so I’ll bet they knew each other.

References: Huffy Radiobike – American Vintage Bicycles (

1955 Huffy Radiobike – The Online Bicycle Museum.

1955 Huffy Radiobike | (

2 thoughts on “The Huffy RadioBike

  1. Wow! That was the doodad that got me started in radio. Yeah, I’d been around radio since I was an infant, but the Huffy Radio Bike got me wondering how that magic worked. Mom & Dad helped me with books and whotnot and now, six decades some later, here I am, with 25 radios in the room, some of which actually work. (By the way, I worked with a guy who was once employed at YSI, Phil Metz. He was my supervisor at R.L. Drake.)
    73 de Nils R. B. Young / W8IJN

    1. Thanks, Nils. Yes, I remember Phil Metz. It’s been a long time!
      25 radios – wow! When I was in high school, my cousin called on advertising accounts for the local paper. Those were the days when people took their radios & TVs to the local shop to be repaired. One Christmas he collected maybe 6 or 7 radios and two TVs – all but two were dead – and gave them to me. Vacuum tubes! I got two radios working and used the rest for parts. The TVs (both dead) were big, heavy tabletop units with small round screens.
      By the way, this Huffy Radiobike post is the one visited most often.

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