Houdaille EX Custom Powercam

What a weird bike. My dad and I bought this bike from a guy and his son up in Mchenry, Il. They seem to stumble on bike for resale and usually give us a courtesy call when they are listing a new bike on Craigslist. This particular bike wasnt listed because they had just picked up and we just happen to see it while there buying a Schwinn World.

They quickly showed up the unique feature on the bike, a cam that is actually integrated with the with the bottom bracket cup.

I had no idea what kind of bike it was or where it came from and neither did they. I thought it may have been a German or Belgian bike with a name like that but it turns out that Houdaille was an American company.

To my understanding this is the only bicycle Houdaille Industries made. What makes this such a rare bike is not only the manufacturer but the Powercam crank, which is conjured in competition with Shimano’s Biopace technology.

The bikes Powercam crank is definitely different. From what I read it was designed to help the rider at their weakest extension while cranking, improve cadence, and build muscle. After riding locally on the Houdaille, and getting use to the strange relief motion you experience when your leg is furthest forward while cranking, I can agree that it has the ability to build muscle quickly while ‘kind of’ making it easier on the rider. You can definitely build and maintain speed very easy with this bike without exerting as much energy as a conventional crank. I think the primary reason this technology did not take off is because of how different the riding experience is. Its definitely not a bike I would take our leisurely. It is meant to for performance applications like competition and racing.

  1. Eric said:

    I have one, I love it.

    • Ronnie Griffin said:

      Would you like to sell it ?

  2. Ronnie said:

    Does anyone know where I can find one of these bikes?

    • Bruce Yep said:

      Back in the 80s, I was very heavy into techo bikes and actually got a mini franchise for the Powercam gear. I still have a racing version built up on aluminum Alan racing frame with a triple crank that is sweet. I also have the road machine, a trainer that uses a 8 pound flywheel but is smooth as silk. The bicycle pictured is actually their semipro version because the professional model was only available as a frame/fork and crankset. MSRP was around $195 in 88.

      • JIm Price said:

        Can you read the numbers on the timing belt. I need to replace mine after 30 years, but the numbers are not readable anymore.It is still my favorite trainer.

    • randy rogers said:

      I have one. I bought it through work at Viking pump in iowa. The concentric cam is really different to ride.

    • Ronnie i bought one. How much would you be interested in paying for one if it needed a little work? I don’t understand just how it works but i have a friend who’s rode cross country. I thought about talking to him about it( he’s building 2 bikes now for friends) but if you’re interested in it i might part with it.
      Heres my email- iamaruffneck@yahoo.com
      I live in Abilene Texas.

  3. Ronnie Griffin said:

    I would love to buy one of these if anyone knows where I can find one. Thanks

    • Mick Caro said:

      I just found one in a basement that I’m thinking about fixing up. How much are you buying one for?

  4. I bought one today! In Abilene Texas.
    I’ll be rebuilding it soon. I think I’ll sell my Dawes mid 1960’s galaxy and keep the Houdaillie.
    Charlie Brown

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