Balloon Bicycle

The balloon bicycle was first produced in the 1930s. The term balloon refers to the tires that were on the bikes. The tires replaced the smaller, thinner single tubed tires which were harder to maintain. The balloon bicycle tire was much wider and had a tube that was easier to maintain. These tires also required less air pressure than the older version, giving a more cushioned ride to the bike.

1936 1937 ELGIN Womens Bicycle 26 Balloon Tire
1936 1937 ELGIN Womens Bicycle 26 Balloon Tire

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1980 schwinn cruiser Balloon Tire Jaguar Panther
1980 schwinn cruiser Balloon Tire Jaguar Panther

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1980 SCHWINN CRUISER Studded Balloon Jaguar Panther
1980 SCHWINN CRUISER Studded Balloon Jaguar Panther

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Vintage Schwinn Tornado Balloon Tire 26 Bike Bicycle Barn Find
Vintage Schwinn Tornado Balloon Tire 26 Bike Bicycle Barn Find

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Vintage Hawthorne Deluxe Balloon Tire 26 Bicycle Barn Find 30s to 40s era
Vintage Hawthorne Deluxe Balloon Tire 26 Bicycle Barn Find 30s to 40s era

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1948 Roadmaster BALLOON TIRE TANK BIKE BICYCLE RESTOMOD
1948 Roadmaster BALLOON TIRE TANK BIKE BICYCLE RESTOMOD

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Vintage 1940s Ladies Colson Balloon Tire Bicycle
Vintage 1940s Ladies Colson Balloon Tire Bicycle

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VTG ORIGINAL 1930s ELGIN WOMENS BIKE BALLOON TIRE ANTIQUE BICYCLE LOCAL PICKUP
VTG ORIGINAL 1930s ELGIN WOMENS BIKE BALLOON TIRE ANTIQUE BICYCLE LOCAL PICKUP

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BICYCLE KNOBBY BALLOON TIRES 26 X 2125 VINTAGE OR NEW
BICYCLE KNOBBY BALLOON TIRES 26 X 2125 VINTAGE OR NEW

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BICYCLE TIRES EXTRA WIDE JUMBO 24 X 30 CRUISER BALLOON
BICYCLE TIRES EXTRA WIDE JUMBO 24 X 30 CRUISER BALLOON

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Prewar Vintage US Royal Chain Tires 26x2125 Balloon Tires HawthorneElgine5c
Prewar Vintage US Royal Chain Tires 26x2125 Balloon Tires HawthorneElgine5c

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Schwinn Panther 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Chromed Fender Set Rocket Ray Light
Schwinn Panther 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Chromed Fender Set  Rocket Ray Light

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Red Balloon Tires Pre War type tread Schwinn size 26FREE TubesFREE SHIP USA
Red Balloon Tires Pre War type tread Schwinn size 26FREE TubesFREE SHIP USA

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VINTAGE SCHWINN SCRIPTED WHITE CHUBBY BALLOON BIKE FULL SIZE HANDLEBAR GRIPS ORG
VINTAGE SCHWINN SCRIPTED WHITE CHUBBY BALLOON BIKE FULL SIZE HANDLEBAR GRIPS ORG

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SCHWINN BALLOON BICYCLE PHANTOM HORNET A S SEAT POST CLAMP 20 24 26 BIKE
SCHWINN BALLOON BICYCLE PHANTOM HORNET A S SEAT POST CLAMP 20  24  26  BIKE

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1940 50s Vintage 24 2125 Balloon Tire Bicycle Wheels Lobdell Schwinn Monark
1940 50s Vintage 24 2125 Balloon Tire Bicycle Wheels Lobdell Schwinn Monark

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The balloon bicycle was introduced by Schwinn in 1933. In two years this style became the industry standard. All bikes were manufactured with this type of tire for many years, with the war having slowed down bicycle production during the 40's to assist with the war effort. A 1932 Montgomery Ward's advertisement shows pictures of a 1932 Montgomery Ward Hawthorne ACE with balloon tires as well. While it appears on first glance to be a standard 28" tire, it is actually a 26" tire. This ad predates Schwinn's claim of the first balloon tire bike in American in 1933.

The Balloon Bicycle was made sometime in the 1930s until the mid 1950s; however, it is believed that the very first one was most likely presented in the year of 1934. It is alleged that it was named for the huge, fat wide tires with a smooth tread that are commonly referred to as balloon tires. This type of tire runs on a higher pressure than many other bicycle tires.

Balloon bicycles generally had a light on the front fender and a decorative tank that looked like a motorcycle gas tank. The seats were often called saddles because they were made out of leather and resembled a horse saddle. The handlebars on this traditional bike had a number of twists in them. Many bicycle enthusiasts consider the balloon bicycle a classic that is unsurpassable.