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.

Vintage Mens 24 Western Flyer Balloon Tire bicycle boys skip tooth
Vintage Mens 24 Western Flyer Balloon Tire bicycle boys skip tooth

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

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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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Vintage BF Goodrich Schwinn Balloon Tire 1951 starlet girls bike horn tnk
Vintage BF Goodrich Schwinn Balloon Tire 1951 starlet girls bike horn tnk

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1951 Mercury Bicycle musselman balloon tire murray drop center troxel skip tooth
1951 Mercury Bicycle musselman balloon tire murray drop center troxel skip tooth

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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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1950S X 53 WESTERN FLYER BOYS BIKE RED BLUE UNRESTORED BALLOON TIRE BIKES
1950S X 53 WESTERN FLYER BOYS BIKE RED  BLUE UNRESTORED BALLOON TIRE BIKES

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Vintage SHELBY Supreme Balloon Tire Rat Rod Bicycle Brass HEADBADGE
Vintage SHELBY Supreme Balloon Tire Rat Rod Bicycle Brass HEADBADGE

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Schwinn Approved Panther 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Chromed Front Fender
Schwinn Approved Panther 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Chromed Front Fender

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Vintage Mens 24 Western Flyer Balloon Tire bicycle boys skip tooth
Vintage Mens 24 Western Flyer Balloon Tire bicycle boys skip tooth

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FENDER SET 26 BALLOON 50s 60s VINTAGE NOS COMPLETE w STAYS
FENDER SET 26 BALLOON 50s 60s VINTAGE NOS COMPLETE w STAYS

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Schwinn 24 Bicycle Balloon Tire Unmatched Colors Fender Set NOS 3 Wide DD
Schwinn 24 Bicycle Balloon Tire Unmatched Colors Fender Set NOS 3 Wide DD

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Schwinn Typhoon Hornet Hollywood Wasp 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Fender Brace Set
Schwinn Typhoon Hornet Hollywood Wasp 26 Bicycle Balloon Tire Fender Brace Set

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20 x 2125 Schwinn typhoon cord balloon tires pair dated carlisle USA Made
20 x 2125 Schwinn typhoon cord balloon tires pair dated carlisle USA Made

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20 Balloon Tire Bicycle Fender Brace Set Shelby Monark Higgins Columbia
20 Balloon Tire Bicycle Fender Brace Set Shelby Monark Higgins Columbia

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Schwinn 20 Balloon Tire Bicycle Rear Fender Brace Set Wasp Tornado Streamliner
Schwinn 20 Balloon Tire Bicycle Rear Fender Brace Set Wasp Tornado Streamliner

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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.