American Character Bikes: Rollfast Hopalong Cassidy, Shelby Donald Duck, Huffman Dial-Your-Ride


Dial Your Ride?

DIAL YOUR RIDE…What a crazy idea, you might think. But, in 1950, you could do exactly that.

After World War 2, every country was desperate to rebuild a solid consumer society. America had a head start, with fabulous aerodynamic designs for everything from fridges to trains. American bicycles were styled by the world’s top designers, who had to keep coming up with new ideas to outsell their competitors. It was against this background that Huffman introduced the Dial-Your-Ride.

The Dial-Your-Ride had the biggest front fork ever seen on a bicycle. And you could adjust it according to the condition of the road, or according to the rider’s weight. Of course, nobody bothered to adjust it as they were riding. But it worked wonders for your social life whenever you stopped, as kids crowded around your new bike to try out the fantastic adjustable front fork.



Originally, this term was applied to bikes linked to a famous celebrity or icon. For example, the Rollfast Hopalong Cassidy Boys Bike and the Shelby Donald Duck Girls Bike, which you can see on this website. But does a bicycle’s ‘character’ necessarily depend on a cap pistol and holster? Does it need a front-mounted duck’s head that quacks when you press the horn?

60, 70, 80, 90 years down the road, most modern bikes lack character. These old clunkers positively ooze personality. So I’ll be expanding the ‘character’ theme beyond its origins.


This website illustrates my projects. They’re not the rarest, nor the most expensive. None are shiny or over-restored. They’re just a little offbeat. Bicycles are purchased as components, their marques researched, required parts hunted for and located, other parts manufactured …and then each project is assembled. It’s not a fast process, but is a very enjoyable one. Throughout each year, I have several such projects on the go. I hope this website might inspire you to get your own spanners out of hibernation and start working on your rides.