1970’s Evel Knievel Stunt Cycles
The original Ideal Stunt Cycle set was first stocked on the shelves of toy stores in 1973 with their first edition Evel Knievel, “King of the Stuntmen”, Stunt Cycle. Over the next several years the play set would undergo a series of makeovers.
The first issue Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle, a Gyro Powered Motor bike was an instant hit for children 5 years old and up. The first edition is the highest collectable Knievel toy in what would become a long line of action toys. If you are lucky enough to find a Knievel toy with its original box than you just may be in “The Money”, and if you find a factory sealed Stunt Cycle and you could be a little richer than you were a day ago. The very first editions rare mainly because Ideal produced two versions of the Stunt Cycle once the product was proven to be a commercial success.
Initially, the stunt cycles were manufactured with chrome parts which included the engine block, handlebars, exhausts pipes and forks. Very few first run production cycles were made with a chrome motocross front end. Another rare feature can be the color of the motorcycle frame highlights which would be colored black around the engine and below the chrome exhaust. In addition, the cycle featured plug in black tailpipes and the rear tire was made with a slightly wider spec than the later versions. Another distinguishing detail resides on the action figure. The very first Evel Knievel action figure had gray hair streaks and sported darker chocolate brown hair. Collectors have noticed that not all helmets fits on all EK figures and reason is because the shape of his head had changed since the the first production run. The initial run helmet was a ram style and changed on later versions.
In the later half of 1973 the company reduced cost by removing chrome from the front forks and striped away the black frame details mentioned above.
The original Box measures 8 1/4″ wide x 16 1/4″ tall x 5 5/16″ deep. The rear of the box features an outlined image of Kinevel. Later versions did not have this illustration.
The very first issued sets also contained a white energizer which later were shipped with various solid colors and sold separately as well. White Energizers are very rare.
Second Issue Stunt Cycle
To cut cost, Ideal issued the 2nd generation stunt cycle. The changes that were made reduced the amount of chrome on the bike. Discontinued were the chrome forks and black detailing behind the engine and body details. Originally the black painting under the chrome were said to hide gaps between the pipes and body during manufacturing. The second issue kept the same details of the detachable exhausts extenders, crossbar, energizer and cane and Evel figure.
Third issue stunt Cycle
The third variation was very similar to its predecessor. The only recognizable exception is that it no longer shipped with the crossbar on the handlebars and the “Kings” cane was also discontinued at this time. Note: Canes are a nice find if you stumble across one loose.
Fourth Issue Stunt Cycle
This issue had even more changes and to keep the pricing affordable while servicing consumer demand, Ideal once again added the cross bar back and changed the chrome engine and pipes to a solid black painted version. This cycle came with stickers for the seat to add color.
Fifth Issue Stunt Cycle
Once again Ideal changed up the design to reduce costs. This time they ditched the cross bar again and produced different seat colors in black, orange and blue. In later versions of the 5th issue you will find some bikes with white seats with accompanying stickers that would be placed on the seat. Perhaps left overs from the 4th edition production run.The other notable change to this cycle was the removal of the clear plastic trick bar which was replaced with a sold infused white handle. The final production run of this this bike was duplicated in the GT Stunt Cycle set Which was the last of the original Evel Knievel designs. Although the fifth edition is less collectable there was one feature that has been found on some of these 1975 issue bikes. Due to a short factory supply, Ideal issued some with white rimmed wheels to fill orders while waiting for the original wheels to come in stock. This was also known as the White Wheeled stunt Cycle which is rare and improves the value greatly.