Factory Shimano star out of North New Jersey, Dave Dechert. Here “Dollar Dave”, is shown on his Thruster on the cover of Total BMX magazine. Total BMX was based in Pennsylvania and featured East Coast coverage.
Eventually I will do a Puch website once I find one. Till then I will include this reference to Puch as Thruster made this model. This is from former Factory Shimano racer, Dave Dechert.
“Great Site! I was NJ’s 1st AA Pro, NJ’s 1st Pro to Win a National. I raced the 1st race ever in NJ, May7,1976 in Millville, NJ. Eventually went on to race the the top Pro’s in 1982.
The East Coast Shimano Pro Team was put together by the late Charlie Litsky (*ed note- Factory Mongoose ’78) in 1979. The Team included Charlie, myself, Wayne McFarqhuar,and Kathy Schachel. (*ed note- Kathy’s brother John raced for Columbia)
We ran the Puch Prototypes that were built by Thruster. (We were Co-Sponsored by Thruster.) We ran them before the Puch emblem was inscribed and went into production. ( I have attached a Pic of my Puch, I recently acquired. )
I ran Puch Thruster 1979-1981, I have also attached my cover shot from Total BMX November 1981, riding a Thruster Vanishing Point. In 1982 I ran a Mongoose in the early part of the year because of the Contingency Award Program. Tom Daniels then Thruster Owner had a offer me a Nice Deal to Ride the Tri-Power.
Again, Great Site. The Northeast was/is a Major Force in BMX Racing.”
“Dollar” Dave Dechert
Brad Dalbec, a former Factory rider posted a link to his gallery of Thruster stuff. From it I grabbed these 1983 team photos. Pictures were taken at the 1983 Murray World Cup. You can visit the entire collection here Brad Dalbec’s Thruster Images
Note the Thruster “T” on the head badges. So we know they debuted by this time. We’d have to get some shots taken during 82 to see if they go back that far or if they debuted in ’83.
Not sure were all the riders. Most I already have on the Team Roster thread and knew what state they hailed from. Most from New Jersey, my old stomping grounds.
One of my favorite covers of all time. I learned how to do a one footer immediately after getting this issue. Following the picture of Tim, is of me doing my best Timmy Judge impression just months after this issue appeared. Off a jump made from a pallet and firewood.
This Press Release was in the January 1984 issue of BMX Plus!
“Lee Van Ormer, owner and team manager of Thruster, recently announced that he has signed Jim Comeau to his factory team. The Massachusetts based Comeau, who was featured as a hot up and comer on our November issue, recently took third in the 16 Expert class at the NBL Grand National and ended up National Number 4 16 Expert NBL.”
These advertisements really tells you nothing. No word on riders, no word on the bike models, no pictures of the bikes, team or new products. But I’m sharing it just because its Thruster.
This is a work in progress. Information may be changed or added to.
1st Generation – I have seen no proof Speed Unlimited Rocket car 1978
2nd Generation – “Speed” 1979 (even late 78 perhaps)-81 (perhaps early 82)
3rd Generation – “T” 82 till end of Thruster
Rear Brake Bridge
1st Generation – Round tubing 1981 and earlier
2nd Generation – Flat bridge with “T” stamped into it. 1982 and later
No early Thruster had a serial number from the Factory. In fact it is possible that NO Thruster came with a Factory serial number. Bikes have surfaced with them but it is unclear at this point that they were stamped by the factory or the owner.
More research on this is needed, but clearly no older Thruster had them from the factory. It therefore is also unclear if you can determine the year or anything from the serial number as it may not even be factory.
How to determine the model
Use the model guide here for top tube length and some model details