is a bit off from a typical toy, but hey, many of us looked
at them and used them as much as toys. Here are 2 pretty cool
Bikes That have passed through my hands. I wanted to show
pictures to many of you who have followed me back in time
with toys we had (or wanted) as kids. My apologies to the
ladies, This is certainly a biased "boys toys" article,
The urge for these cool bikes hit me when I was about 4-5.
I would be heading out of Grants or Ames dept stores with
my parents and like Emeril says... "BANG!" there
they were, shining at me with chrome and bright paint. Huffy
Rails lined up along the entrance ways and sidewalks of the
stores. Deep candy apple red, bright orange, and even dark
mettallic purple! I recall Sitting on these cool machines
on the "banana seats", my feet could barely touch
the ground, shifting that 5 speed like a race car! It was
heaven to a 4 year old. I also recall my parents pulling me
off saying I was too young for speed bikes. And handbreaks?
I was told they were life threatning, dangerous, I would flip
over the handle bars?, you name it. Huffy 5 Speed Slingshots(Small
front 16" wheel), Rails (this bike), or "Stingrays"(actually
a Schwinn Bike)were not going to be an option for me. I wonder
now if it was a price thing?? They sold for $60-$70 in old
catalogs I have since seen. I bet that was big bucks back
in 68'. In fact, dept store bikes cost the same today!
Well In 1973 3, 5, and 10 Speed Stick Shift Levers were banned.
As a result, bicycles went to lame thumb shifters. At that
time I was 6, starting with 20" bikes, but stock coaster
bikes. Before you knew it I was old enough for 5 speed rails
but the Shifters were long gone, so I cared less for 20"
speed bikes. Quickly I bumped up to 24" English Racer
10 speeds. They became the standard as time went on in the
Now the details. The orange bike is a 1969 Orange Mettalic
Huffy Rail 5 Speed, was stored for over 30 years. . (I always
confuse the terms, rail, stingray, and Slingshot?) It is a
20"X20" bike, Red line tires, slick tire in the rear, skinny
1 3/8ths front tire. I belive Stingrays had a 16" tire
in the front? What I can say, Is I have seen several variations
of this bike. Sears sold this in 1968 catalogs with 2-3 configurations.
The bike has white line pedals, dark ORANGE mettallic paint!
Huffy flaming stack chain guard, MINT matching seat, grips,
lever covers and sissybar seat pad. All Original as it sat.
This bike originated from the basement of a closed bike store.
The next bike shown is a 1968ish Sears Spyder in bright mettalic
blue. The Bike was restored and modified some, Itlooks
pretty much correct to original. The sears 20" stick
shift Spyders are pretty neat. many were made in 24"
wheel size. This bike also sports the cheater slick tires,
standard 20" front tire. Note how the older 10 speeds
had no chain guard! I hope kids had these babies adjusted
correctly! I can see pants getting caught in the chain, and
chain coming off. I also have a 1/2 wheel style handlbar option.
here to see the alternate handlebars. This was
taken as I receved the bike. Note the seat was wrong, panted
If you have any old 24" or 20" Stick Shifter bikes,
let me know! I may consider taking it on a trade for items
on this site. I really enjoy working on these wheels, they
are pretty neat. I especially am looking for the Huffys and
Schwinn Krate bikes. My email form is on top of this page,
let me know, I especially am looking for one in Dark Purple
Mettallic Slingshot in Mint condition. Tom- VTR .... Enjoy