Skyway BMX - Street thrashin’, race bashin’, freestyle flashin’


Skyway is a bike brand synonymous with old school BMX, most famous for their ‘Tuff Wheel’ product line, supporting an incredible professional team and as a key companion to a formative period in the history of BMX. Skyway was active in the early days when BMX racing was first emerging out of the west coast of America in the late 1970s and continues on to this day. While the brand might not have the same status in the modern BMX landscape, it continues to exist fondly in the hearts of many an old school BMXer and for those in the know, will always be associated with the core principles of what makes BMX so rad!

The following article will offer an informative discussion on the history of the Skyway brand, from the early days in the 1970s all the way through to present day in which we will touch on what happened with Skyway BMX, are they still in business, who makes Skyway and why they have lasted the test of time. Read on to find out more about one of the most important brands in the history of BMX, including where to find Skyway BMX for sale in Australia. 


- An early Skyway team rider, Dave Vanderspek, with one of the greatest tabletops ever photographed. 


Skyway was first founded in 1963 and through a developmental period, pivoted from the motorcycle industry to the BMX world - in which their claim to fame, the ‘Tuff Wheel’ was better suited. Having literally ‘reinvented the wheel’ from their manufacturing warehouse in Redding, California, Skyway BMX were the first company to produce a glass reinforced nylon product which presents as a 5 spoke wheel - chosen due to its ability to bounce back into shape after a tough landing. At the time, the wheel was the most sought after product in BMX and with the benefit of history, ultimately drove what is now visually identifiable as ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’ BMX through their use of radiant colours and the 5 spoke design. 


- The Skyway Tuff II 5 Spoke Wheelset, available for purchase through the LUXBMX online store here


The ‘Tuff Wheel 1’ was first conceived in 1974 and lasted 5 years until Skyway went back to the drawing board and created an improved version called the ‘Tuff Wheel 2’. This product was designed for maximum impact resistance and optimum stiffness, remaining lighter than the ‘Tuff Wheel 1’ while being able to absorb a 30% higher impact. Key to the success of Skyway from an early stage was a deal linked with Schwinn, in which the ‘Tuff Wheel’ was to be used for their ‘scrambler’ range. By the early 1980s, it was commonplace to walk into any bike shop across America and find a ‘Tuff Wheel’ hanging gloriously on the wall. 

Skyway produced a range of other products including forks, pedals, branded race gear and helmets, eventually a complete bike setup and most significantly, a beautifully engineered frame called the ‘TA’ (totally aerodynamic) which featured tear-drop shaped tubing with signature Skyway cut outs and the classic Skyway BMX branding. These products were first put to the test by a BMX race team including 2022 BMX Hall of Fame inductee Andy Patterson who actually had a signature ‘Tuff Wheel 2’ in 1984/1985. A year later, BMX freestyle was all the rage and Skyway were front and centre with a legendary team including Eddie Roman, Mat Hoffman and Kevin Jones. 


- Mat Hoffman / Indian air! - Houston King of Vert


By the late 1980s, the dominant trend in BMX was a move to the now well-established 36/48 spoke wheel as a result of the sport progressing and requiring stronger and more durable products. Ultimately, this meant the rather sudden demise of the brand who retreated to focus on their wheelchair division while continuing to supply a range of BMX products. Incredibly, Skyway still exists to this day and up until 2017, continued to manufacture products from the same warehouse under the same ownership and even with some of the original employees, including Rein Stolz who started at Skyway in 1980 and eventually ended up owning the business alongside Ken Coster and Parrey Cremeans.


- Skyway’s former President, Ken Coster (right) 


To round the Skyway story out, the business is now owned by Custom Engineered Wheels (CEW) which is a manufacturer based out of Indiana in the United States. The original owners made the tough decision to sell the brand to CEW who was a former customer and vendor, through which CEW will continue producing Skyway parts like the Tuff wheel. While this brings great sadness to many people, comfort exists in the fact that the Skyway name lives on and that Skyway BMX products are still for sale!

The era in which Skyway operated and the lasting influence it has had on BMX is remarkable and for good reason. To this very day, it would not be uncommon to find Skyway fans all over the world, still discussing old memories, Skyway BMX products for sale, classic memorabilia as well as putting Skyway bikes and parts to the test. You can read more about the impact of Skyway on the modern BMX landscape via this article, having featured on DigBMX back in 2017.


- October 1984 BMX Action Bike magazine cover 


While not made by the same people or in the same location, original Skyway products are still produced and distributed for sale around the world, including at LUXBMX who are one of the key stockists of Skyway BMX in Australia. Not only does LUXBMX stock classic Skyway products such as the (replica) TA (including a Skyway TA 24 inch BMX), Tuff II wheel and a range of other rad parts and accessories, we stock a huge range of BMX bikes and products from equally historic brands such as Haro, S&M and SE, resulting in an incredible vintage BMX line. 

Need help to buy the best Skyway BMX bikes in Australia? Check out our BMX buyers guide or head straight to the Skyway BMX collection or the retro & vintage BMX bikes section on, we have you covered!

- A mid school BMX with a Tuff II front wheel  |  Eddie Roman