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The General Bicycle Company was started by Harry Myers in 1983 as an offshoot (and wholly owned subsidiary) of the General Moped Company of East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Despite their “lame”1) name, General is noted today as a classic maker of BMX bikes. They sold quite a few road, mountain and cruiser bikes, all imported from Taiwan from a variety of manufacturers.
General sold its first mountain bike in 1984, the Mountain Shadow, which was followed by many more Shadow models up to 1989. The quality of the frames were low end, while the components were usually the lowest end of brand names. Meaning, they could be worse (see Columbia for an example lower than a department store bike.)
A bike company that makes a bicycle that falls between the mass merchant quality and the bike shop quality. Harry Myers' goal for General, in BMX Plus!, 1986,
The following General claim is a bit interesting:
Did you know that General Bicycles was the first to put quick release on mountain bikes. Mainly as an additional anti-theft feature for urban security when tethered to a pole.
We introduced the innovation in 1980 as an OEM manufacturer. No other mass producers of bicycles had it yet. Harry Myers, facebook
To be sure, Ritchey had quick releases on his MTBs since at least 1978 but apparently Univega, Specialized and mass makers only used them on seat posts. However, General didn't sell any MTBs in 1980 - except as an “OEM”. To whom?
A European General Bikes is active today, which specializes in private label city bikes and is unrelated. See https://generalbikes.eu/.
- Harry Myers Interview from BMX Plus! magazine, 1986:
Jimmy Cirillo and Harry Myers, 1982 BMX race organizers. BMX NJ
1984 Mountain Shadow
Rebadged SunTour Seven (RD-1900) derailleur (1978-79). SunTour Seven front derailleur (FD-1400) (1978-81). 1983 date codes. Not sold until 1984. Ugly welds.
1984 Mountain Shadow facebook
1986 Street Shadow
RD-M531 (1986-7), fat tire capable - are the “street” tires original?
1986 Street Shadow facebook
1987 Street Shadow
Shimano RD-L541 GS, Light Action (1987-89)
1987 Street Shadow propertyroom
1989 Pro Shadow
700c hybrid version. Also available with 26“ fat tires (small frame only?). RD-552-GS (1989).
1989 Pro Shadow instagram