Shelby Bicycles are regarded amongst vintage bicycles collectors among the most stylish of all bicycles. They held in a high esteem for their radical and progressive designs, that now we know that there were years ahead of their time.

The Shelby Cycle Company was founded at 1925, and continue to manufacture bicycles up until 1953. Shelby was located, guess where, at Shelby, Ohio, hence the company’s name. Take a look at some Shelby bicycles found on eBay:

The Lindy Flyer

Flying is very special for me, and so bicycles and bicycling. These two play a major role in my life. The fact that the history of flying and the history of bicycles are tied together makes me very happy!.

Did you know…?

Did you know that every year, the city of Shelby from where the Shelby Bicycle Company originated celebrates the company’s rich history by holding a festival known as the Shelby Bicycle Day?

During this festival, bike races for children, bicycle raffles and other bike and cycling-themed events are held. Even after all this time, the superb bicycles made by the company are still a source of great pride for the city’s residents.

The Wright brothers, known for inventing, building and flying the first heavier-than-air airplane on 1903, also designed and built their own bicycles.

On May 20–21, 1927, U.S. Air Mail pilot Charles Lindberg was just 25-years old when he was taking off on the single-seat, single engine Spirit of St. Louis to become the first man ever to fly an airplane across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Paris.

After his heroic transatlantic flight, Lindbergh’s has become a national hero. Many manufacturers askebrandsd his permission to use his name, or symbols related to his flight on their products. Shelby was lucky enough to get Lindbergh’s thumb up. This is by itself a true sign for their quality. One of the most popular early Shelby Bicycle model was the Charles Lindbergh-themed “Lindy Flyer”, a cruiser bicycle that was first manufactured on 1928.

The most notable aspect of the Lindy Flyer was the miniature Spirit of St Louis airplane mounted on its front fender. To make it even more unique its propeller was spinning as the wind was blowing while riding. Another uniqueness of the Lindy Flyer was that is one of the first ever bicycle to be made with chrome (actually it has a mixture of chrome and nickel). It was revolutionary because at that time nickel only plating was the standard. Incredibly rare nowadays, it’s thought that there are probably only around 10 Lindy Flyers still in existence today!

Other Early Shelby Bicycles

A bit more common, yet still rare enough, is the 1939 Shelby Speedline Airflo, a highly sought-after model that was one of the most radical designs of its days. This Bicycle was designed for fast cruising speeds, featuring a huge lighted tank, deep fenders, curved fender braces, and even streamlined pedals, to improve its aerodynamics.

The company was also responsible for making the Shelby Supreme, manufactures from 1940. Built with comfort in mind, this unique model came with an Air Flow Frame, Shock Ease Fork, a Long Teardrop Tank and a Zeppelin Type Chain Guard. It was quite noticeably larger than other bicycles available at that time, making it highly appealing for taller people who were looking for a comfortable ride, something which ensured that its popularity continues to this day.

Shelby Supreme

The Disney Era

From 1949 until 1951, thanks to its cooperation with Disney, Shelby bicycles made its highly popular Donald Duck bicycles range. They came in yellow and blue colors, and sported a Donald Duck head at the front of the bicycle’s frame.

At that time this unique model proved to be incredibly popular among children, and Shelby produced models for both boys and girls in various sizes.

The Donald Duck Bicycles also sported a number of unique novelty features that were totally original for its time, including a novelty horn which made a Donald Duck-like quacking sound, rather than the traditional bell. Some models also had lights in the eyes of the Donald Duck head mounted at the front of the bicycle. Besides the fun features, the Donald Duck bikes featured a replica gas tank, an adjustable spring seat, chrome handlebars with matching blue grips and chrome wheels.

Unfortunately, only a limited number of the Donald Duck bicycles were ever made, despite their popularity. Therefore, it can be quite difficult to find such a bicycle, especially in a good condition. Yet, some can be found at auctions, which have usually been restored by specialists. These restored models usually cost in the range of $5,000, while an original model in mint condition would command a price of $10,000 or more!

Other Popular Shelby Models

Other popular Shelby Bicycle models include the 1950’s Men’s Cruiser Rider Series, which sports several enhancements to the Speedline Airflow and Supreme models. This model is fairly common these days, and costs in the price range of $500 to $1,000. The Shelby Flying Cloud (1950’s) was especially designed for female riders and is known for its elegant, stylish design. It may cost around $500, if in good condition. Take a look at the Shelby Flying Cloud (1950’s):

Useful Links

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
Bill Cosby


Shelby Bicycle — 2 Comments

  1. Cleaning out Ma’s garage after her passing hanging from the rafters is a Shelby ladies bike. Serial number C04523. Any way to determine year built and model. Fair shape, original tires. Handle bar needs to be re-chromed.

    Thanks for your help

Leave a Reply