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"General" bikes

Old 03-22-17, 08:17 AM
  #1  
corrado33
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"General" bikes

A bike came into the coop yesterday. Unfortunately it was at the end of the day so I didn't catch any pictures of it.

It was a "General" branded bike, with the name of (I think) "Mountain _________" something. It was two words, and I only remember the first.

Anyway, it seemed like an ok frame, somewhat lackluster bike. The tubing sticker said 4130 steel. (Which is odd because IIRC the marketing term 4130 wasn't really used that often until recently? Correct me if I'm wrong?) I don't recall the frame being lugged because I noted the welds were imperfect. It had a threaded headset and what looked like chromed steel wheels (Didn't look at them closely or for more than 2 seconds). It had flat bars with those old foam grips like below, but much more beat up obviously.



I believe it had a square taper bottom bracket, but again, I probably only looked at the bike for all of 10 seconds. (And that was a day ago.)

EDIT: It also had one of those triangle stems, like this one.



I tried valiantly to search for "General" bikes, but obviously google thinks I'm searching for something else. I found two relevant results, one from a bike blog saying they bought one from a thrift store and it was ok, and one from this site with only 1 or 2 decent responses.


Any info on the brand? Bike? Etc? Our best guess is it was a chinese schwinn knockoff from the 70s-80s. (Seems odd they'd use 4130 and not hi-ten steel though.)

Last edited by corrado33; 03-22-17 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 03-22-17, 09:11 AM
  #2  
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From what I've gathered, they were just a smaller fairly generic brand that did sell predominantly through bike shops.

Bull moose bars like those were found on a lot of early MTBs of various levels.

Chances are it's just a simple generic entry level ATB from the early-mid 80s. I've had some lower end road bikes from the mid to late 80s come through with 4130 frame labels, so it's not too recent.
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Old 03-22-17, 09:33 AM
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4130 came a popular tubing reference as the mountain bike thing caught on. As mountain bikes started to use non traditional tube dimensions there needed to be a marketing hook for the better grades of mountain bike frames and as 4130 "aircraft" tubing was being used for these better frames that moniker took hold. Until then road bikes tended to use bike brand chosen tubing names for their low to mid grade models. Upper grade models tended to use the tubing brand names (531, Columbus, Tange #2 and Ishiwata as examples). As Mountain bikes took over the market, and hence the shifting views of average consumers, mountain bike references more and more became the indicator of quality (or not having quality).


The Generals that I sold and serviced were a third level brand sold through regional distributers with little or no support from the distributors (like advertising, protected markets, widely available warranty coverage). It was the brand a small shop could get and was priced slightly better for the same key components then the first level Treks and Raleighs. It didn't matter that the shop down the block might also sell Generals, they were open to buy to any LBS. Generally (bad pun on purpose) the frames and non key components were of a lesser grade then the first level brands used.


BTW that 4130 decal was likely placed on the only tube which actually was 4130 material. That was a common marketing trick on the entry level bikes. Place the "good stuff" tube decal on the tube which really was and not say anything about all the rest of the tubes... Andy.
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Old 03-22-17, 09:39 AM
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I had a General BMX bike in what was probably the late 80's or maybe early 90's. It was a brand sold at actual bike shops that represented a step up from the department store bikes, but as Andrew says above, was a lower level brand for a shop.
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Old 03-22-17, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
BTW that 4130 decal was likely placed on the only tube which actually was 4130 material. That was a common marketing trick on the entry level bikes. Place the "good stuff" tube decal on the tube which really was and not say anything about all the rest of the tubes... Andy.
That's funny, gotta love marketing
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Old 03-22-17, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by higgins617 View Post
That's funny, gotta love marketing

There's nothing funny about marketing. It's only about human behavior and making the sale. When people say otherwise that claim is also marketing. Andy
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Old 03-22-17, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
4130 came a popular tubing reference as the mountain bike thing caught on. As mountain bikes started to use non traditional tube dimensions there needed to be a marketing hook for the better grades of mountain bike frames and as 4130 "aircraft" tubing was being used for these better frames that moniker took hold. Until then road bikes tended to use bike brand chosen tubing names for their low to mid grade models. Upper grade models tended to use the tubing brand names (531, Columbus, Tange #2 and Ishiwata as examples). As Mountain bikes took over the market, and hence the shifting views of average consumers, mountain bike references more and more became the indicator of quality (or not having quality).


The Generals that I sold and serviced were a third level brand sold through regional distributers with little or no support from the distributors (like advertising, protected markets, widely available warranty coverage). It was the brand a small shop could get and was priced slightly better for the same key components then the first level Treks and Raleighs. It didn't matter that the shop down the block might also sell Generals, they were open to buy to any LBS. Generally (bad pun on purpose) the frames and non key components were of a lesser grade then the first level brands used.


BTW that 4130 decal was likely placed on the only tube which actually was 4130 material. That was a common marketing trick on the entry level bikes. Place the "good stuff" tube decal on the tube which really was and not say anything about all the rest of the tubes... Andy.
Andy,
Thanks for the info. I'll have to take pictures of it when we get it up and running. It was an odd "grey on grey" paint job with grey decals, so it was actually very difficult to discern the brand name quickly. Good info about the tubing/decals as well. I had only really been familiar with road tubing so I haven't often seen 4130 until now!
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Old 03-22-17, 11:32 AM
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My 84 schwinn world sport has 4130 tubing, it's been around for a while.
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Old 03-22-17, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
...The tubing sticker said 4130 steel. (Which is odd because IIRC the marketing term 4130 wasn't really used that often until recently? Correct me if I'm wrong?

Originally Posted by GordoTrek View Post
My 84 schwinn world sport has 4130 tubing, it's been around for a while.
My '72 Schwinn World Voyageur has a 4130 decal (and tubing), it's been around for a while... longer.
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Old 03-24-17, 10:03 AM
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I just stumbled across a reference to General in a 1991 pricing guide. They were located in Bethlehem PA and also distributed BCA, so there appears to be be some corporate tie to Kent and Bicycle Corporation of America. It looks like the brand goes back to the mid-1980s and in 1991 everything was entry level, with nothing over $319 US.

Regarding 4130, using the numerical alloy designation for chromium-molybdenum on decals goes back to at least the early 1970s and possibly further.
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Old 03-24-17, 03:37 PM
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That's "General Bike, SIR!", Private. Now gimme ten.
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