Want to know the different types of Skyway Tuff BMX Wheel? This post will hopefully give you all the information you need to find the type of Skyway Tuff wheels you have and when they were made.
A BRIEF SKYWAY TUFF HISTORY
In 1974 SKYWAY introduced the first of the composite Skyway Tuff Wheels made for BMX racing – ‘The Tuff Wheel 1’. Skyway Tuff BMX wheels were and still are fabricated using Skyway’s own secret composite blend. Skyway claim their composite Tuff BMX wheels are lightweight, durable and maintenance free.
Over the past 40 years there have been many updates to the Skyway Tuff BMX wheel design. Skyway have also made many limited edition retro wheel sets over the years. For example in 2011 Skyway remade their Tuff wheels with original 1982 (Gen 2) alloy hubs. Skyway only made 20 sets of black and 20 sets of white. The wheels were clearly marked with the 2.11 date stamp to differentiate them from the original 1982 wheels.
THE TYPES OF SKYWAY TUFF WHEELS
Tuff Wheel 1 – The first Tuff Wheel, available in 20″ black only and featured a coaster brake.
Tuff Wheel 1 OEM – The first of many OEM wheels to be produced, they were originally made in yellow for Schwinn in 1977 for their “Scrambler” BMX. Red and Blue Tuff 1’s were immediately introduced at this time as well.
The Tuff Wheel II – Released in 1979. The Tuff Wheel II was lighter and more durable than the Tuff 1. It featured the “Kool hub” flange design. A 5 spoked flange designed to keep the wheel cool as the hub heated up internally during use. The first production Tuff 2’s were available in coaster brake only, in black, red, blue, and yellow.
At the beginning of the 80’s, Suntour provided Skyway with the first freewheel style Tuff Wheel hub. Each of the Kool Hub shapes differed slightly. You can check which hubs you have below (chart by Warren Eales).
At the same time, to make their factory riders stand out at the race track, Skyway introduced the famous Graphite Tuff Wheel with it’s bright gold anodised hub made by Campagnolo, commonly referred to as “Campy”.
In the early mid 80’s Skyway introduced the first 16″ and 24″ Tuff Wheels. And around 1985 Skyway improved their Tuff Wheel design, re-tooling their molding machines creating the Tuff Wheel design still available today. The modern version of the Skyway Tuff no longer had the metal or alloy Kool hub flanges, the hubs were molded directly into the wheel.
Throughout the mid to late 80’s and 90’s Skyway made Tuffs Wheels for other bike manufacturers. These were called OEM Tuff Wheels.
Skyway OEM Tuff BMX wheels were made in both 5 and 6 spokes. I believe the mid to late 80s OEM wheels were made with a 6 spoke design and then in the early and mid 90’s the 5 spoke design was made. The fin or spoke design was quite different to the regular Tuff Wheels and featured a narrower inverted fin or channel.
The 90’s 5 spoke Skyway OEM Tuff wheels – like the ones below, are date stamped inside one of the spoke channels near the hub. The earlier, late 80’s OEM wheels do not have any date stamping.
Have you got any more examples of Skyway Tuff BMX wheels that aren’t listed. Let me know.
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