The Huffy Corporation is an American importer and manufacturer of inexpensive mass-market bicycles. It has its roots in 1887 when George P. Huffman purchased the Davis Sewing Machine Company and moved its factory to Dayton, Ohio. They made their first bicycle in 1892. In 1924, George's son, Horace M. Huffman, Sr., founded the Huffman Manufacturing Company. From then until 1949, Huffy continued to manufacture and sell bicycles under the "Dayton" brand.
During the 1930s, Huffy participated in the revival of the American cycling industry, during which Horace Huffman commented on a "change of attitude". Although Huffy dabbled in the high-end of the market, they never overcame their entry-level reputation. During the 1980s, many Huffy Aeros were purchased only for the Shimano Dura-Ace AX gruppo on it, stripped, and then scrapped.
In 2004, Huffy sold its Huffy Sports division to Russell Corporation. Huffy Sports manufactures sporting goods, including the Hydra-Rib basketball systems used by the NBA. By 2006, Huffy had sold more than 100 million bicycles. Bicycle sold under the Huffy name are now made in China.
Early history 
In 1949, Huffy developed the Huffy Convertible, a children's bicycle with rear training wheels and foot steps. The Convertible revolutionized the children's market and was the first Huffy bicycle under the Huffy name. In 1953, a Huffy logo was created and Huffy switched all its bicycles to the Huffy name. Popular models included the Special Roadster, the Racer, the LaFrance, and the Streamliner.
By 1960, Huffman was the third largest bike manufacturer in the United States. Popular models of the Huffy era include the Radio Bicycle, which had a radio in the frame; the Scout, a 10-speed road bicycle; the Dragster, a wheelie bike; and the Sigma, a BMX bike.
In 1962, Peter Mole of John T Bill & Co contacted Huffy Corp about making a new bicycle called High Rise. The bikes had a long seat called a banana seat with strut and taller handlebars. Huffy hesitated for several months before agreeing to make the bike with the stipulation that if it was a flop Peter Mole would buy all the left over parts and bikes. The new bike verbally called the Penguin, was finally being sold in stores by March of 1963 and was the first of this type to market.
In 1966, Huffy introduced a new long frame called the Rail. The new frame was approximately 4" to 5" longer than the usual frames. This new frame became Huffy's base model until 1968. In 1968 Huffy added a steering wheel to its Rail and called it the Huffy Wheel. This new model had a race car-style steering wheel for fast turns and comfort. In mid 1968 Huffy released the Flaming Stack chain guard which looks like a Corvette exhaust side pipe. In late 1968 Huffy released the new Slingshot model with 16" front dragster wheel, and 20" rear. The new 1969 models where the last year for the three-bar Rail frame style. In 1970 Huffy deleted their three-bar frame and went to a two-bar Rail frame. They added more two-tone fade paint jobs, and Persons striped seats. They continued until 1971 when BMA (Bicycle Manufactures Association) and government regulation restricted the bicycles until they were no more.
Modern era 
In 1970, the Huffy Corporation was founded as an umbrella company to house the Huffy Bicycle division, as well as Huffy's emerging sporting goods line. Huffy purchased YLCE (Yorba Linda Cycle Enterprises) and converted that Southern California Company to a national service company, assembling bicycles and other products for mass merchants such as KMart, Target, Sears, and Walmart. Other divisions were purchased and added to the Huffy stable of companies, including Gerry Baby Products (Denver), Washington Inventory Service (San Diego), Raleigh Bicycle USA (Kent, WA), and True Temper Garden Products (Pennsylvania). The growth of the corporation during the 1980s was significant and Huffy (on the New York Stock Exchange) was nearly a Fortune 500 Company.
In the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, United States athletes riding Serotta-built bicycles racing under the Huffy name won two gold, two silver, and one bronze medal. A technical development center housed in the Huffy Corporate Offices in Dayton, Ohio was formed to research and create next-generation carbon fiber road and time trial bicycles. It was led by Mike Melton and Steve Bishop, two legendary custom bicycle builders. Sponsorship of world class and professional cyclists was only partially effective, as famous teams and riders, such as Greg LeMond and the 7-Eleven team used the Huffy sponsorship for financial support while openly maligning the company and even using different bicycles for competition while sponsored by Huffy. The subsequent fallout in the cycling community was devastating to Huffy, but not surprising considering the nature of the athletes involved. Huffy spent $500,000 to be named the Official Bicycle of the 1996 World Cycling Championships, held in Colorado Springs, the only time the World Championships has been held in the United States.
Huffy Bicycles had manufacturing and assembly facilities in Azusa, California (closed in the late 1970s), and Ponca City Oklahoma (closed in the early 1980s), but largely manufactured most of their bicycles in Celina, Ohio, and at one time was Celina's largest employer. At their peak, the bicycle division manufactured over two million bicycles per year and were the free world's largest bike company.
In 1996, the bicycle division received a major blow when U.S. courts ruled that surging imports of low-cost, mass-market bicycles from China did not pose a 'material threat' to the last three major U.S. bicycle manufacturers - Murray Inc., Roadmaster, and Huffy. Huffy closed its Celina Ohio plant in 1998, and quickly thereafter closed two smaller bicycle manufacturing plants (in Farmington, MO. and Southhaven, MS.) which had been opened as a last-ditch effort to avoid the higher union manufacturing costs in Ohio. After it became apparent that continued U.S. production of low-cost, mass-market bicycles was no longer viable, Huffy had bicycles built by plants in Mexico and China, starting in 1999. The relationship with the Mexican plant was severed in 1999, and Huffy soon reneged on its loan promises to its Chinese partners, effectively surrendering the once proud company to its Chinese creditors. Crown Equipment Corporation now uses the former Huffy U.S. bicycle factory in Celina, Ohio, to produce forklifts.
Financial problems 
On 13 August 2004, Huffy announced that its financial statements had accounting irregularities. The price of Huffy stock (Stock symbol: HUF) declined by 40 percent on the next NYSE trading day. On 16 August 2004, the NYSE suspended Huffy stock and removed it as a listed stock. Finally, on 20 October 2004, Huffy announced that the Huffy Corporation and all its United States and Canadian subsidiaries would file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The accounting irregularities included the corporate (mis)use of pension funds. The pension program of Huffy Corp is now run by the U.S. federal government, under the Pension Benefit Guarantee Program.
- Caroline Thompson (May 26, 2011). "The History of Huffy Bicycles". Demand Media. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Company History". Huffy Corporation. 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Huffy Corporation". FundingUniverse. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- Herlihy, David V. (2004). Bicycle, The History. Yale University Press. p. 327. ISBN 0-300-10418-9.
- Berto, Frank J. (2009). The Dancing Chain, History and Development of the Derailleur Bicycle. Van der Plas Publications /Cycle Publishing. pp. 280–281. ISBN 978-1-892495-59-4.
- "Huffy Bicycles". SoCalBicycles. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- John Brain. "The Birth of the Factory Muscle Bike: 1963". "John T. Bill introduced the Penguin to their many So-Cal dealers on March 3rd 1963, at the open house of their new corporate facilities in Glendale, CA."
- William Hudson. "Myths and Milestones in Bicycle Evolution". "Leon Dixon of the National Bicycle History Archive of America notes: "This is a very serious myth. First, Schwinn merely copied the Huffy Penguin which existed BEFORE the Sting-Ray."
- "Evolution of the High Rise Bicycle 1963". Raleigh Ron's Classics. Retrieved 2012-01-16.
- "What's this new Huffy-of-California Bike Got that Others Haven't?". Life Magazine: 102. November 13, 1964.
- Liz Fried (August 1997). Schwinn Sting-Ray. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-7603-0330-4.
- Todd Spinner (August 6, 2009). "In defense of Huffy". Smile Politely, Champaign-Urbana's independent online magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- Sands, David R., Chinese Bikes Ruled No Threat To U.S. Makes, The Washington Times, 5 June 1996
- "Company News; Huffy Plans to Close 40-Year-Old Bicycle Factory". New York Times. May 29, 1998. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Company News; Huffy to Stop Making Bicycles in United States". New York Times. September 28, 1999. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
- "Huffy Bicycles Into The Swinging Sixties And Beyond". Bicycle-and-Bikes.com. Retrieved 2012-01-15. "Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 30. St. James Press, 2000"
- "Company News; Huffy, Maker of Classic Bicycles, Files for Bankruptcy". New York Times. October 21, 2004. Retrieved 2012-01-15.
Further reading 
- Coverage of the John T.Bill warehouse opening of March 3, 1963 showing the first factory built High Rise bicycle "Huffy Penguin". "Bicycle Journal" April 1963.