The Hiawatha bicycles are among the great memories of the past, especially for the seniors that enjoyed riding these beautiful bikes in their good old days: Many of the veterans from WW II cohort and Baby Boomers have enjoyed the joyous rides on Hiawatha bikes for many decades.
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The Hiawatha bikes have served the nation well, when there were lesser modes of transportation and people used to ride a bicycle. Very few of those vintage bicycles are still in use, and most of them are now part of vintage bicycles collection by bicycle lovers.
About The Maker
The first Hiawatha bicycle was manufactured by Huffman Manufacturing Company back in 1930’s. Some bicycles are also built under the name of Shelby Manufacturing Company. Hiawatha bikes earned a reputation of sturdiest bicycles and are known for their durability. These bicycles served their owners well for decades.
Tip: If you’re unsure about the authenticity of a Hiawatha bicycle, look at the bike tank.
One of the most iconic images of the Hiawatha company is the Hiawatha bicycle tank. If a Hiawatha bike is authentic, it will feature the Hiawatha logo on the inset panel and a second decal on the chain guard which also reflects the bicycle’s model number.
The World War I affected the American economy in very negative ways. Soon after that, World War II hit the nation again, driving more depression to the society and to the economy.
Bicycling was always a cheap mode of transportation, and during these difficult days the cheap and durable Hiawatha bikes became a big hit in the market.
The increased demand to bicycles have made the company to reach a hallmark earning of $1 million in just few years of its existence.
Evolution in Bicycles
The Hiawatha bikes went trough many changes along the years. Both Huffman and Shelby built bicycles, but there was a big difference between the two.
The Huffman company made Hiawatha bicycles sturdier and with more metallic and heavy look. Those bicycles were made in post WW I depression eras.
The later Hiawatha bikes of the 40’s and the 50’s were made by the Shelby Bicycle Manufacturing company, were more agile and had less bulky look.
The hallmark tank, located between the handlebars and the saddle was bulkier in the early models, and got thinner in later models of Hiawatha bikes.
Along the years of its production the Hiawatha bicycles came in various models. Hiawatha made bicycles for both men and women. There were also bicycles for kids. Their classic vintage feminine bicycles had a classic rank in the women bicycle category. They got the touch of delicacy and sophistication, while the Hiawatha bicycles for men were sturdy and had a heavy look.
Hiawatha Arrow Bicycle
Some of the most famous models of Hiawatha are the Arrow, Airflow and Flyer. The Arrow was made under the brand name of Shelby. The Arrow bicycle grabbed lot of attention from the customers across the USA. This was the reason for Shelby to continue their production till late 60’s.
Some well-maintained Hiawatha Arrow bicycles are still in use, and can be purchased on a reasonable price. The price is ranging from $200 to $500, depending on their condition and the modification done on the bicycle.