Chuck Raudman, the founder of Skyway Machine and co-developer of the now iconic BMX wheel has passed away.
Skyway’s former President, Ken Coster announced the passing of Chuck on Wednesday, writing: “Parrey, Rein and myself are sad to announce the passing of Chuck Raudman, the founder of Skyway Machine, Inc. in 1963. He along with his brother Jon, developed the Tuff Wheel which became the most iconic BMX product ever made. It was a pleasure working with him through the years until he retired in the mid 90’s. He will be missed! RIP Chuck Raudman!”
Having enjoyed celebrity status in the BMX world, Raudman retired in 1995. His product featured in the book “Wall to wall: The Birth of the Freestyle Movement”, which catalogues the significant impact products like the Tuff wheel had on the market.
Raudman’s plastic BMX wheel came to market in 1977, rolling off the production lines in Redding, California and into the history books. The wheels were made in multi-ton injection molding presses.
To this day the original wheels attract a high price among collectors and have consistently been reproduced despite the BMX market’s evolution. UK distributor Avocet Sports has stock to this very day, retailing a set at £99.99.
In 2017 the business closed its plant following the sale of the company to a former customer based out of Indiana, Custom Engineered Wheels, which sought a route into the bike market. The deal guaranteed that Skyway Wheels would continue to be manufactured in the USA.