Tank bicycles were introduced around 1933. They were developed because of the decline in bicycle sales during the great depression. Tank bikes were built to be sturdy and resilient, and to resemble motorcycles. These cruisers even had faux gas tanks, hence the nickname. After the war tank bikes boomed in popularity. These new heavier frames and wider tires were popular with paper boys and delivery persons. Sales fell off in the late 1950’s when racing bikes became more popular.
Tank bicycles made a comeback in 1995 when Schwinn re-released the Black Phantom to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. Since then they have become a hot item for collectors and cyclists. Some owners personalize their cruiser by having their tank custom painted. Some are restored to their original color and pin striping. Tank bicycles definitely have character and are still some of the most sought after collector’s items on the market.
Various styles of lightweight as well as middleweight bicycles were made from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. These bicycles have helped to make bicycles what they are today. Today these bicycles are known as vintage bikes, due to these tank bicycles are no longer made. Tank bicycles made with small tanks that were fitted in the middle of the bicycle.
There were many variations of these tanks depending on the manufacturer that produced them. These tank bicycles were made differently for each gender, mostly coming in either blue or red in color. Many tanks also featured radios, horns, and batteries that were connected by a wire that ran from the headlight that was located on the front of the bike to run the radio and horn.