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Bicycle Corporation of America

The Bicycle Corporation of America was founded in 1980 by William Ehrlich of Allentown, PA. Previously, Ehrlich was an executive at Ross Bicycles and was instrumental in moving Ross' manufacturing from New York to Allentown 1). BCA made BMX, road & mountain bikes from 1981 until at least 1993. In 2014, Kent International resurrected the expired brand under a new BCA branding. BCA supplied store branded bikes to Sears, JC Penny, Montgomery Ward, and Hess Department stores, plus Raleigh Bicycles US. In 1992 BCA was assembling 60,000 bikes per year from Bethlehem, PA with about 50 employees, just before they vanished from stores. 2) It's likely that BCA started selling MTBs by 1983, if not 1982 3), as Ross, their close cousin and neighbor, had two MTB models by 1982.

Willie Ehrlich passed away on December 26, 2021 and his son Bob posted a moving and remarkable epitaph on Facebook:

His life read like a novel:

  • Lost his parents in the Nazi death camps
  • Survived Auschwitz
  • Survived a Death March
  • Finished WWII fighting with the Free French
  • Played professional soccer in France
  • Survived incarceration by the Hungarian secret police
  • Escaped Communist Hungary with his pregnant wife
  • Immigrated to the United States
  • Set up his own company
  • Coached professional soccer
  • Retired to Florida

4/23/1928 - 12/26/2021
Rest In Peace, Pop and thank you for everything Bob Ehrlich, 12/27/2021 facebook


1983 BCA Ad
1983 BCA Ad bikeforums

1983 Rocky 12

Shimano RS-12 v2 (1983-84), 6 speed rear, lugged frame, bi-plane fork, bullmoose bars, Chang Star copies of MAFAC brakes (1946-85), Allentown stickers

1983 Rocky 12
1983 Rocky 12 ebay

1984 Rocky 15

Shimano RS-12 v2 (1983-84), 5 speed rear, bi-plane fork, bullmoose bars, Allentown sticker

1984 Rocky 15
1984 Rocky 15 thecabe

1985 Classic

Shimano RD-AL11 (1984-86), bi-plane fork, lugged frame, Allentown sticker. Classic??

1985 Classic
1985 Classic facebook

1986 Rocky 15

Shimano RS-12 v1 (1981-83), 6 speed rear, lugged frame, unicrown fork, Chang Star copies of DiaCompe brakes (80's), Bethlehem sticker. The derailleur is much older than the bike - and is older than any BCA derailleur used previously. However, the forks and brakes are newer - plus the Bethlehem sticker places this later in the timeline.

1986 Rocky 15
1986 Rocky 15 reddit

1988 Glacier 300

Shimano Tourney SIS (1988), TIG welded, unicrown fork.

1988 Glacier 300
1988 Glacier 300 mtbr

1990 Rocky

Shimano Tourney TY-20GS (1989-1991), TIG welded frame, unicrown fork, Bethlehem sticker

1990 Rocky
1990 Rocky offerup

1991 Rocky

Shimano Deore DX (1990-93), linear pull brakes (1998+)
The brakes are anachronistic, but given the mix of SunTour, Shimano and SRAM, all components are doubtful. Thus, the date is just a wild guess.

1991 Rocky
1991 Rocky pedalroom

1992 Rocky

Shimano Altus C10 rear (1992), Shimano 200GS front, 21s, True Temper tubing with toothpaste welds, Bethlehem sticker

1992 Rocky
1992 Rocky facebook

Ross was producing over 1M bikes per year from Allentown in the 1980's.
In an early 1993 interview, Ehrlich promised a doubling of production in 1993, something he apparently was famous for predicting each year. See: The Morning Call.
Some MTB model names were trademarked in 1982. See: uspto.
bca/start.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/17 17:26 by mtbtimeline