Balloon Tired Bike Museum

Below are some pictures and details of the balloon tired bikes that we house as part of the MOMBAT collection.  These bikes are not for sale. The bikes and parts we currently have for sale can be found on the MOMBAT for sale page.

Click on image to begin a slideshow of each bike. 

Whizzer   1949 Schwinn Whizzer 300: Whizzer sold engine kits that could be added to most full-sized mens bikes.  Since Schwinn was the most popular brand, the Whizzer kit was often installed on Schwinn bikes.  This is the 300 model engine which put out 3 hp and was advertised as having a top speed of 40mph.  Pull the compression release lever, pedal the bike up to speed and release the you go.  This bike features an optional generator light that runs off the drive belt.  Nicely restored.
Shelby   1951 Shelby: Super clean 24" wheel bike.  This was one of the first bikes in the collection when my father purchased it at an auction in Shelby, OH. The person holding the auction had family who worked at the Shelby factory and had other items such as time cards and Donald Duck heads.  The bike was the only thing dad purchased.  The bike was featured in an article in the local newspaper at the time.  It features all original parts and is very clean.  The only minor damage is from the typical leaking batteries on the front fender and, yes, the horn still works!    
Panther   1952 Schwinn Panther: The Panther was one of the most equipped Schwinn bikes of the era.  This one features spring fork, rear carrier, chrome rims, chrome fenders, whitewall tires, deluxe chain guard, chrome tank along with a chrome accent Delta Rocket Ray headlight.  This bike is a clean example which happens more frequently with the ladies bikes since they tended to be a little easier on their bikes than the boys.
Columbia   1941 Columbia F9T: There was a run of reproduction balloon tired bikes in the mid 1990's including the Roadmaster Luxury Liner, Schwinn Black Phantom and Columbia F9T.  The Columbia was arguably the most "correct" of the bunch since many of the parts were made by the original manufacturer using the same tooling.  A couple of items could have been a little closer to original, such as the one piece crank, but overall a very nice effort.  

Trek Rail  
2005 Trek Rail: In 2005, Trek introduced the aluminum framed Rail model.  This type of bike is often made as a show piece but they don't often make it into production.  It can be difficult to make a business case for a $1,000 CNC aluminum framed cruiser bike but this one obviously made it through the bureaucracy.

JC Higgins  
1952 JC Higgins:  JC Higgins was sold by Sears after WWII.  This bike features the batwing headlight.  The lights were often broken since the protrude past the fenders and base was made of plastic.  When the bike was knocked over, the lights were often damaged (this one has been repaired).  Nice jeweled tank with a large shark fin skirt guard to keep your skirt out of the spokes. 

Schwinn Panther  
1950 Schwinn Panther: The Panther was the top Schwinn model with the "Straight bar" tank.  It featured chrome fenders, chrome rims, chrome tank, two-tone paint, Rocket Ray headlight, rear carrier and deluxe chain guard.  This bike has been professionally restored using all correct components. 

1957 Schwinn Jaguar: By the late 1950's Schwinn was trying to lighten up their bikes to compete with the new English "lightweights".  Tires were now 1.75" instead of 2.125".  A Sturmey Archer 3 speed internal hub was added.  The front and rear carriers, headlights and horn tank carried over from the older heavyweight bikes. 

1939 Rollfast:  Nice original old Rollfast.  Features a skirt guard to keep the skirt out of the spokes.  Good original paint and saddle.  Light is a replacement for the the original that was eaten away by battery acid.   The "ball bearing" head tube badge was one of the nicer ones of the era.

Luxury Liner  
1953 Roadmaster Luxury Liner:  The Luxury Liner was probably the signature Roadmaster bike of the era.  The combination of red, black and chrome is striking.  The flared fork truss rods and carrier struts are unique as is the headlight.  This bike was restored by the previous owner to a nice amateur standard.

Trek Rail  
1950's Shelby.  Nice original bike, clear down to the tires.  Lots of chrome on this one along with a nice integrated fender light.  The spring fork features three separate springs and is considered by many collectors to be the best riding spring fork of the era.  Paint is very nice although the chrome is little pitted (but still shiny!)

Elgin Twin  
1940 Elgin Twin:  The Twin used a unique frame design with no seat tube.  It was offered in different models with a different amount of accessories.  This is one of the more basic models and should have headlights affixed to the head tube pod.  The seat pod is attached to the top tubes.  Very unique design. 

1937 Ingo Scooter:  The Ingo featured a rear wheel with the hub laced "off center".  The rider would push down on the foot board and use the rear wheel motion to maintain momentum.  It was originally conceived as an exercise machine and was featured in a 3 Stooges movie.  As a promotion, an Ingo was ridden from Chicago to Miami.  The front brake is a plunger style that pushes down on the top of the front tire.  Both tires are the single tube type with the rear being a 28" and the front a 20"


Bike Museums

Pre 1930's Museum

Lightweight Bike Museum

Stingray Bike Museum

Balloon Tire Bike Museum

Bike Histories



William Hoefler

Olympic Bike

Original Plastic Bike


Other Pages

Resource Links

MOMBAT in Dirt Rag

MOMBAT in Bicycle Times

MOMBAT in Other Publications


"Until mountain biking came along, the bike scene was ruled by a small elite cadre of people who seemed allergic to enthusiasm." Jacquie Phelan

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