Introduced in 1887. Discontinued in 1907. Wheel No. 1 is common in red and blue, but quite rare in green and brown.

This attractive back design had a very long run. Even after the back was discontinued, it was replaced by an almost identical Wheel No. 2. The latter design features a fully symmetrical four winged wheel in the center of the card as opposed to the three wings found on Wheel No. 1. This design is one of several featuring the three winged wheel, the logo of the League of American Wheelmen. For more information about the L.A.W., please visit the League back page.

At some point during its run, Wheel No. 1 was redrawn to accommodate the need for new printing plates, as were many back designs. Many subtle changes can be found from one press run to the next with several long running Bicycle decks. In the case of Wheel No. 1, the shading of the stylized lanterns in the corners were changed more substantially, even as the rest of the card was essentially identical to the previous version. See a comparison of the two versions, below.

A red US8d Wheel No. 1 ace of spades sold on eBay for $31 on October 12, 2016. A red US8c Wheel No. 1 joker sold on eBay for $35 on February 15, 2017. An EX blue US8b deck sold on eBay for $82 on May 17, 2017.

  79. Western Plaid                                    81. Wheel No. 2  

Detail showing the difference in the lantern detail in the two versions of Wheel No. 1.
The earliest release is shown on the left.