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Ross Gran Tour or something else?

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Ross Gran Tour or something else?

Old 06-02-20, 10:29 AM
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Dion912
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Ross Gran Tour or something else?

Folks,

I have a minor mystery brewing. I've owned this Ross since about 1984 when I bought it at a bike shop in my home town of Sandusky, Oh. The shop owner claimed the original owner had raced it the previous couple of years. Now, this was my first 'real' bike so I would have believed anything, but who knows. maybe the PO did.

I've owned it ever since, and with the exception of new rims which I added to the original hubs in the early 90's (my first attempt at wheel building), I believe this bike to be stock even down to the worn swade saddle. Over the years I slowly graduated to other bikes finally ending up in my high tech custom build CF frame that is my daily ride, while the Ross had been relegated to trainer duty but not ridden for at least 20 years or longer. However, as wisdom follows age, I'm now interested in going back to a steel bike. Unfortunately, this Ross really never fit me as it is a 56cm frame and I am more like a 52-53.

So, in my search for a new 'old' bicycle, I've really started to get more interested in this Ross that has been sitting here for the past 35 years. It even has me doing some searching for a Ross Signature frame, but this bike has become part of a mystery to me and I'm hoping others can at least help me form an opinion. So here is what I know.
  • The decal on the top tube is worn away and I can't tell nor remember what it ever said.
  • It has double butted Ishiwata 024 tubing
  • Altus gearset, Suntour downtube shifters
  • Diacompe side pull brakes
  • Maillard hubs
  • Integrated water bottle bosses and cable guides
  • The serial number starts with a 1282 which tells me it was made in Dec 1982. So would it be a 83 model year?
  • I'm thinking its a Gran Tour, but none of the 1982 pics of the Gran Tour look like my bike nor are the color options correct so that has me thinking 83. I haven't been able to locate an 83 catalog yet.
So, can anyone confirm or deny my assumptions.....and let me know if you have any interesting 52-53 steel framesets. Despite the dirt, this bike is actually in really good shape and still shifts like butter. My next bike after this one was a 1987 Bianchi with SIS that I raced in college, and the arms race started at that point.

Dion

Yes, that trainer is 35 years old also.





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Old 06-02-20, 12:07 PM
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My experience is limited to late 70s models, but Gran Tours, Professional Gran Tours, etc, that I've had were always hi-ten framed bikes. Never seen a Gran Tour made from Ishiwata tubing.
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Old 06-02-20, 12:39 PM
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If you search "Ross Ishiwata 024," it looks like this tubeset was used on a few different models with names like Enhancer, Utopian, Paragon... I'm not sure which is a match, but it's at least a couple of leads.
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Old 06-02-20, 12:45 PM
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Date codes definitely to be found on hubshells and inside of these brake lever/handles toward the right side, just under the top edge.

Ishiwata 024 would be perhaps their thickest butted tubes, appropriate for larger frame sizes and is a high-quality CrMo tubing.

Slightly odd seeing Shimano derailers worked by Suntour levers. Shimano offered their refined UniShift retrofriction levers during many of the same years as Suntour offered these ratchet levers.
Ross jumped the shark aspirationally with some of their model names, but put together decent bikes.
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Old 06-02-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
If you search "Ross Ishiwata 024," it looks like this tubeset was used on a few different models with names like Enhancer, Utopian, Paragon... I'm not sure which is a match, but it's at least a couple of leads.
I have a Signature 294S, which was one of their better production race bikes. Itís a 54cm frame and is 024 tubing. I donít know why they didnít use 022, but I have no complaints about the ride.
I do think the OPís bike looks like a sport touring model.
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Old 06-02-20, 05:06 PM
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My leading candidatte would be a 1983 Ross Utopian. While it had the the 024 frame in common with other models, its colour was Peacock Blue and it was spec'd with Shimano Altus LT, paired with Dia-Compe 500 brakes and a Maillard hubs.
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Old 06-02-20, 05:10 PM
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That is a good looking bike. Ishiwata tubing is a good sign. I cannot verify the model, however, I worked in a dealership in the early 80's when Ross made some good bikes including a Tom Kellogg bike. We got one. It was a well made bike, painted a tan or sand color which was unusual during a time of metallic paints. The Altus derailleurs are not top of the line, however, they are light, reliable and shift great. Indexing is not needed. It is the same with the brakes and crank.

This looks like a keeper if you are looking for a vintage bike. The price is right, it has a story or two and it needs little or nothing to ride.

You may want to measure the wheelbase, and the bottom bracket to rear axle dimensions to narrow down the model. Touring oriented bikes will have a longer wheelbase of 40 or more inches, racing or sportier bikes less. Judging by the space between the rear tire and the seat tube this looks like a longer wheelbase. And looking at the rear brake bridge, it looks like it can fit fenders. These are both good things in my opinion.

One benefit of riding a Ross is that if some bike snob scoffs at your bike, you know they don't know the range of bikes and only know brand names usually ending in a "o" . or "i".

It is a shame about Ross, when they moved to Pennsylvania, they did some good stuff. Same with Ishiwata. I think there were just too many bicycle tube manufacturers and they didn't have the brand identity that they deserved. Also Fuji and Miyata made their own tubes. Trek made some bikes with Ishiwata.
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Old 06-02-20, 07:34 PM
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Thanks for the replies folks. I took her out for a ride tonight and was shocked at how well it rode. It shifts like itís new, the ride is smooth, and honestly I felt really comfortable. And thatís the magical part. Technically, this bike is too big for me. Its a 56cm with a 55cm top tube. My carbon bike is a 53/54 and feels longer. The Ross is way more comfortable and more stable around corners, even with these old wheels. Now the Ross weighs twice as much, but boy the ride was nice!

Couple of more points about the bike. It doesnít have any numbers stamped under the bottom bracket, only on the drop outs starting with 1282xxxxxx. The sticker that I cant read is about 3Ē long. Based on the size of the script, it canít be more than one short word, adding to the mystery.





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Old 06-02-20, 07:48 PM
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Chain Bike Corp. the other CBC in the bike business. Thanks for the pictures. Glad to hear that you like it.
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Old 06-02-20, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
My leading candidatte would be a 1983 Ross Utopian. While it had the the 024 frame in common with other models, its colour was Peacock Blue and it was spec'd with Shimano Altus LT, paired with Dia-Compe 500 brakes and a Maillard hubs.
I think T-Mar wins. Mine looks very similar to this Utopian and I can see the similarities in the decals: Thinning the herd :( Which bike to keep - Ross or Fuji

However, itís still not the same. My seat stays are different, my drop outs are different and many of the Utopians Iíve found were also specked with SHimano Golden Arrow components. Maybe I got an end of year bastard bike....
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Old 06-03-20, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Dion912 View Post
I think T-Mar wins. Mine looks very similar to this Utopian and I can see the similarities in the decals: Thinning the herd :( Which bike to keep - Ross or Fuji

However, itís still not the same. My seat stays are different, my drop outs are different and many of the Utopians Iíve found were also specked with SHimano Golden Arrow components. Maybe I got an end of year bastard bike....
Your bicycle is NOT a bastard. The other poster is incorrect about his Utopian being a 1983 model. Ross ran a full page advertisement for the 1983 Utopian in Bicycling magazine. As I stated in my previous post, the colour, tubeset and major components match your bicycle. Even the stay caps look the same and while you can't tell if they are the exact same dropouts, they are stamped, requiring a claw mount on the Altus LT rear derailleur, unlike the other Utopian you are referencing.
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Old 06-03-20, 06:43 AM
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Thanks T-mar. I appreciate everyone's help and advice.
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Old 06-03-20, 10:13 AM
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pic of a Ross Utopian found on a goggle search. notice the lettering on the top tube decal, and how it matches what's left of the one on the op's bike.

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