Here is a list of classic and vintage bicycle brands and manufacturers. They are listed by the country of each individual company. Some are manufacturers and others are importers.
AMF – American Machine & Foundry. Purchased Roadmaster in 1950 and made bikes in the USA with that branding. They also imported Raleigh built bicycles and some from Austria. Went out of business in 1985.
Azuki – similar to Nishiki the brand was made in Japan and distributed by West Coast Cycle. Started during the 70s and ended in the 80s.
Beacon – company founded in Milwaukee, WI in about 1950. The first brand produced by Giant in Taiwan. Company was closed in the late 70s. Considered department store bikes.
Centurion – founded in 1969 in Newbury Park, CA. Started by importing bikes from Japan. Vintage brand ended in 1990, German company continues the brand now.
Coast to Coast – Coast King and Marquis brand. Private labeled bikes for Coast to Coast hardware. Generally budget bikes. Ross made some of the early models. Out of business.
Columbia – first to make bikes in the USA in 1879. They made bikes for departments stores, so they are mostly all entry level. I don’t believe this brand is still active.
Colson bicycles – Ohio company that began making bicycles in 1917. Made Firestone and Goodyear branded bicycles most notably. Stopped making bikes in 1962.
Concord – bikes were imported from Japan by Columbus Cycles out of Ohio. Full range of bikes, mostly entry level to maybe mid-level.
Hawthorne – this is a brand of bikes made for Montgomery Wards. Early bikes were made by Cleveland Welding Company, some were made in Austria likely by Steyr. Not very collectible due to branding.
Huffy – founded at Dayton, OH in 1892. Brand still active in big box stores.
Kent – founded at New York City in 1909. Still active.
Lotus – founded in New York in 1980. Started by importing road bikes from Japan.
Monark Silver King – established in 1934 in Chicago. Bought by Huffy in 1956.
Murray – founded at Cleveland, OH. Started making bikes in the 1930s. Don’t believe they are still offered.
Nishiki – Japanese bikes imported by West Coast Cycle. Brand is currently owned by Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Roadmaster – founded at Cleveland, OH in 1936. Brand still active in big box stores.
Ross – founded at Williamsburg, NY in 1946. Brand still alive.
Sanwa – brand of bicycles owned by Wisconsin Cycle Supply starting in the late 70s through the 80s. Most bikes seem to be made in Japan. I believe these are all road bikes.
Schwinn – founded at Chicago in 1895. Was the largest of the USA manufacturers for most of the 20th century. Brand still survives for big box type stores.
Sears/Free Spirit – this brand was used by Sears. I see a lot of these bikes for sale in this area, many are considered nice bikes and are made in Austria by Steyr. Later US made models not as nice. Not very collectible due to branding.
Shelby Cycle Company – found in Shelby, OH in 1925. AMF purchased Shelby in 1953.
Takara – brand started in the early 1970s and imported bicycles from Japan. Original company went out of business in the late 1980s, but it appears Kent now owns the brand.
Univega – brand started in the early 1970s by Ben Lawee in southern California. Bikes were made by Miyata and imported from Japan. Brand is still going and making bikes in South Carolina.
Western Flyer – private label brand of bicycles started in 1931. Some of these were made by Huffy and Murray. Old ones seem to have decent collectible value.
Westpoint – this brand was made for True Value Hardware. Some of these were made by Murray or Cotter. Generally low-end bikes, not very collectible due to branding.
Steyr-Daimler-Puch – was a large manufacturing company based in Steyr, Austria. They began producing bicycles in 1894. I see their name mostly associated with making the Sears made in Austria bicycles.
CCM – best known bicycle manufacturer in Canada and was started in 1899. Made some nicer road bikes, but mostly made low end bikes.
Chimo – bikes were imported from Japan and Hong Kong by Interex in Vancouver. Brand seems to have started in the 70s and went through the 80s.
Skyline – these are entry level bikes distributed by Consumers Distributing in Canada, a catalog store.
Raleigh – founded in Nottingham, England in 1887. Brand still active.
BSA – began making bicycles in Birmingham, England in 1880. It appears a company in India is now making BSA bikes with the same logo.
Dawes – English company founded in 1926. Currently owned by Tandem group.
Hercules – founded in Birmingham, England in 1910. Company was bought by Tube Investments in 1946. Tube investments would go on to buy Raleigh in 1960 and form TI Raleigh Industries. Hercules name was used as a brand for Raleigh and produced through at least the 1970s.
Humber – Thomas Humber made his first bike in 1868 and went on to build his manufacturing business in Nottingham, England. Brand sold to Raleigh in 1932 and they used it into the 1960s.
Robin Hood – not sure when they were founded, but Raleigh purchased them in 1906 and used the brand at least into the 1970s.
Rudge – in 1894 Rudge-Whitworth cycles was formed when Rudge Cycle and Whitworth Cycle merged. Company went defunct in 1946. Raleigh bought the name and used the brand for a number of years.
Triumph – founded in Coventry, England in 1894. It appears you can buy a Triumph branded e-bike now.
Viscount –hard to find info, but seems to be an aerospace company that made bikes in England during the 1970s. Many came with a fork which was prone to breaking…
Follis – founded in 1903 in France. Made some nice road bikes. Closed in 2007.
Jeunet – started in Dole, France in the early 1900s. Run by the Jeunet family, they made some very nice road bikes. Believe they went out of business in the late 70s.
Mercier – founded in France by Emile Mercier in 1919. Started by manufacturing bike parts, but moved to full bikes in 1930. Filed for bankruptcy in 1985. They are now a cycling clothing brand.
Motobecane – this French company was founded in 1923 and became a large manufacturer of bicycles. They went bankrupt in 1981. Currently Motobecane USA is using the brand name.
Peugeot cycles – founded in Beaulieu, a suburb of Mandeure, France in 1882. Brand is still active in certain countries.
Bianchi – founded in 1885, in Milan Italy. Oldest bicycle manufacturer in the world. Still making bikes.
Bottecchia – founded in Italy by Ottavio Bottecchia in 1924. Made some very nice-looking road bikes. Many seem to consider them the budget option of the Italian brands. Company is still in business.
Cinelli – founded in 1948 by Cino Cinelli. Based in Milan, Italy.
Colnago – founded in 1954 by Ernesto Colnago. Based in Italy. Still active.
Masi – founded by Faliero Masi in Italy during the 1950s. Great racing road bikes that were ridden by some of the greatest including Fausto Coppi and Eddy Merckx. In the US the name is currently owned by Haro bikes.
Pinarello – founded in 1953 by Giovanni Pinarello in Treviso, Italy. Still making bikes.
Bridgestone – these bicycles were imported from Japan by Bridgestone USA starting in the 1980s. Road bikes, hybrids, and mountain bikes were in the line. The same company as Bridgestone tires. Stopped USA sales in 1994.
Fuji – founded in 1899 in Japan as Nichibei Fuji. Started by importing US and English bikes. Began making their own bikes and were Japan’s most popular brand by the late 1920s.
Kabuki – brand manufactured by Bridgestone. While I mostly see low to mid-level road bikes from them, they did have some top-of-the-line models. These were imported into the US starting in the 70s. No longer an active brand.
Maruishi – hard to find info on this brand, but it may go back as far as 1884 in Japan. Made their own bikes and also produced some Nashbar bikes.
Miyata – founded in 1890. Exported lots of bikes to the US during the 70s and 80s. They made bikes for several other brands including Nishiki, Fuji, Centurion, Lotus, Univega, and Bridgestone. Panasonic became a large shareholder in Miyata in 1959. Brand is no longer sold in the USA, but still exists.
Panasonic/National – known as National in Japan, Panasonic became their exporting name. Company was founded in 1918 and started exporting bikes to the USA in 1971. Made bicycles for Schwinn, including the Le Tour. Pulled out of the US market in 1989. They still make bikes for the Asian market.
Sekine – company made nice bikes in Japan with the slogan “World Finest Bicycle by Sekine”. I believe the company history goes all the way back to 1912. Bikes were good quality and in 1973 they started making them in Canada. The Canada plant closed in 1982, not sure how long Sekine in Japan lasted after that. I mostly see 70s and 80s bikes in the US.
Shogun – founded in 1977 in Japan.
Zebrakenko – made in Japan, the company history may go back to the early 1900s, but they didn’t show up in the USA till the mid 70s. Full line of road bikes from entry to expert. Olympic Ace was top model. Very few people seem to have heard of this company, so not much of a following or collector value. Seem to have disappeared from US market in the 80s.
Concorde – Dutch brand made really high-quality road bikes from 1982 to 1993. Founded by Manfred Krikke. Many believe their frames were Italian made.
Zeus – founded in Spain by Luis Arregui in 1926. Manufactured bicycles and components. Went out of business sometime in the early 1980s. Zeus name is owned by Orbea now.
Firenze – most sources say these were made in Taiwan and used as a giveaway item for companies in the States. Buy a tv, get a bike with it. Considered low quality and not collectible.
This list is a work in progress. This will never be a complete list of all vintage bikes, but I hope to make it a complete list of those you may run into on the market. Only counting brands/companies that had strong production by the 70s.
24 thoughts on “List of Vintage Bicycle Manufacturers and Brands”
Reblogged this on Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News.
Never thought that much about bicycles, but this was really cool stuff. Who knew? Obviously, not me. I have a friend I think would like this, so I’ll share the link.
I was at a “block party” in a small town last summer, signing books, and every 15 minutes or so a man would ride by in one of those bikes with the HUGE front wheel and high seat. It made me smile every time. (It also made me cringe a little, because he was way up there, not wearing a helmet. Once a mom, always a mom… :/ )
I’m surprised this many manufacturers are still making 27 inch tires. Another thorough post Fab Jim, nice job.
Yes, they aren’t the top line models, but many manufacturers offer at least 1.