Huffy Sportsman: Spotted

On Wednesday while getting a waffle from a window aptly named “The Waffle Window” I spotted a Huffy Sportsman locked up. For those not in the know, Huffy was once America’s largest bicycle manufacturer and churned out low-quality bikes by the millions. You bought Huffy in the Kmarts and Walmarts of the world, not bike shops.

But every once in awhile Huffy realized it might be a good idea to have a “good” bike, and they were cognizant enough to realize they couldn’t build a “good” bike. So get someone else to make a good bike and slap the Huffy badge on the head tube. In the 60’s, the definition of “good bike” in the US (at least to those unfamiliar with French/Italian road bikes) was a trusty British three speed. So they had Raleigh make them “Huffy Sportsman” bikes, basically a lower-tier Sports model.

And Huffy didn’t hide the fact that they didn’t actually make this bike the bike, as “Made in England” is prominently displayed.* I’ve seen Huffy Sportsmans on the streets of Portland over the years, and this definitely is one of the better ones. Now if I was smart, I would have had a flyer for the next Three Speed Ride with me, and would have put it on this bike. But alas, I’m not always smart…

*Eventually, Huffy just built the Sportsman “in house”. These can be distinguished by one-piece (Ashtabula) cranks, stamped dropouts, lack of lugs, Shimano 333 hub, and lack of “Made in England” decals. More info here.

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2 thoughts on “Huffy Sportsman: Spotted

  1. robinchristopher says:

    Despite their drawbacks (one has to remove the whole assembly to service either BB or cranks/chain rings- anything else?), I’d take ashtabula cranks over cottered cranks any day! I dislike working with cotter pins, think they’re a sloppy way to connect cranks to spindle, and have suffered too many ankle bites (my own and my son’s) to have anything good to say about them.

  2. robinchristopher says:

    …Of course, said service can be performed with nothing more than an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver, as Sheldon Brown liked to point out.

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