Bike Forums

Bike Forums (https://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Classic & Vintage (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/)
-   -   Anybody know the history of Ross bikes? (https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/39115-anybody-know-history-ross-bikes.html)

kenneth wise 12-30-04 10:25 PM

thanks t-mar, where in the world did you learn so much about bicycles!! my god you probially know who the very first person to ride and build a bicycle was dont you? ha!! i sure do appreciate all your professional insite.

kenneth wise 12-31-04 03:52 PM

mr. t mar,
while in the process of restoring my "signature" Ross bike from the ground up i've encountered something that needed adressed and need your professional advice on it. seems like some clown has taken a dremel tool or something to the face of the front derailer from one end of it to the other, (major eyesore!) to me the face of it is ruined as a result and needs rechromed. problem is the thing has rivited style pins that hold it on the bracket (2) and to remove them would entail drilling out the heads of the rivit style pins, which i can do but where would i get the pins to replace the ones that id drill and/or the gizmo to re-flair the ends of the pin back when i put new pins back in it? i'm considering just sending it to somebody (campy repair shop?) and having it "professionally" done but dont know of any people who specialize in these style repairs. i'm a do it yourselfer but dont want to hose this up. any advice on who is the man for the job?
thanks for the help.
kenny

T-Mar 12-31-04 09:11 PM


Originally Posted by kenneth wise
mr. t mar,
while in the process of restoring my "signature" Ross bike from the ground up i've encountered something that needed adressed and need your professional advice on it. seems like some clown has taken a dremel tool or something to the face of the front derailer from one end of it to the other, (major eyesore!) to me the face of it is ruined as a result and needs rechromed. problem is the thing has rivited style pins that hold it on the bracket (2) and to remove them would entail drilling out the heads of the rivit style pins, which i can do but where would i get the pins to replace the ones that id drill and/or the gizmo to re-flair the ends of the pin back when i put new pins back in it? i'm considering just sending it to somebody (campy repair shop?) and having it "professionally" done but dont know of any people who specialize in these style repairs. i'm a do it yourselfer but dont want to hose this up. any advice on who is the man for the job?
thanks for the help.
kenny

Professional advice! Does this mean I'm going to get paid? Ha! Ha! Just kidding.

Fortunately, Campagnolo makes small parts available for most of their components. I know you could get the rivets for the older Nuovo and Super Record components through most good bicycle shops. I suspect the Triomphe front derailleur probably used the same rivet pins. Peening the rivets is relatively simple. All you need is a ballpeen hammer. A blow with the flat end of a hammer the causes the shank to swell and grip against the hole in the cage. It should also burr/mushroon the protruding edge. Then you strike around the burred outside edge of the rivet with the ball end of the hammer. This rounds the head of the rivet. The trick is to have a support of the appropriate thickness on the backside which allow the rivet shank to protrude equal distances on both sides when you are forming the first head. The steel used for the rivet pins is relatively soft, so it's not as difficult as you may think. If you need more info, try a web search on 'rivet peening'.

The other alternative is to use a roll pin (a.k.a. spring pin or split pin). This is a hollow steel pin that has a cut along the length, allowing the diameter to be varied a limited amount. The ends of the pins are bevelled allowing them to be driven into a slightly smaller hole. As they are driven in, the diameter compresses and the elasticity of the pin material causes a force fit. The pins come in various lengths and diameters and are selected based on the required length and the size of hole they are to fit. A good industrial supply house should stock them.

kenneth wise 01-04-05 06:19 PM

t-mar,
this must be my lucky day. today at work i went to the machine shop at my work (swisher sweets) and adressed the rivit problem with one of the top machinists there. he's gonna hook me up with some custom made polished stainless pins that have a cir clip groove cut in it to hold it in place. i'm sending the derailer to a local chrome shop tommorow. cant wait to finally finish this job!! sure do appreciate all the insite you gave it was all good. kenny ;)

T-Mar 01-04-05 07:50 PM


Originally Posted by kenneth wise
t-mar,
this must be my lucky day. today at work i went to the machine shop at my work (swisher sweets) and adressed the rivit problem with one of the top machinists there. he's gonna hook me up with some custom made polished stainless pins that have a cir clip groove cut in it to hold it in place. i'm sending the derailer to a local chrome shop tommorow. cant wait to finally finish this job!! sure do appreciate all the insite you gave it was all good. kenny ;)

Great, that is an excellent solution. Unlike a rivet it will permit relatively easy removal of the cage if required. It is also more secure than a roll pin. If the machinist is willing to do it, see if he will machine a head on one end, so that a circlip is required on only one end. No reason, other than it looks a little more professional.

wilsall6 01-09-05 01:17 PM

hi in early 1990 i worked for a company that liquidated ross factory in allentown the ross name was sold to rand international on long island. owned by a allen goldmeyer.we sold the contents of the factory to bike parts distributors.i worked for fredrieck bikes on 3800 lorain av in cleaveland ohio. they have been in the bike biz for 110 years some one there could tell you what you want to know.with there old and used stock they should have any orig parts you would need.

stingray 01-10-05 06:56 PM

i own a beach commander it rides great and i like the ratio.

am rider 08-24-05 10:17 PM

I own a Ross mountain bike which i purchased new in 1982 or 83. Its a really heavy bike and i have tested its durability over the years and its held up well. its really the only bike i've ever had but it fits me so well i dont see any reason for buying another bike. its chrome-plated, has shimano gears and dia-compte brakes. the seat says "ross" and the tires say "ross bicycles". does anybody know if there is a serial number on the frame or its location?

jacksbike 08-28-05 08:16 PM

Quite the discussion on Ross bicycles. Having been in the industry for many years I do remember pictures of Sherwood Ross and his wife at the yearly NY International Bike Show in American Bicyclist Magazine. Ross was a great U.S. built line of bikes , somewhat rivaling Schwinn, up until the mid 1980's. They were manufactured in Allentown , PA, and had corporate HQ in Rockway Beach, NY. they sold everything from kids bikes to road bikes. Interestingly enough, they were one of the first bike companies to jump in and manufacture 2 to 5 models of mountain bikes when they were just coming into vogue in about 1983 or so. Unfortunately, and others have replied with the reasons why, they went downhill very rapidly and ended up importing their entire line of bikes from Taiwan. I believe that a number of former Ross employees left and set up a rival manufacturing company in PA under the BCA brand label in the late 1980's. Frames were imported from Taiwan and assembled as bikes here. Quality was pretty awful though. This is an interesting story about Ross, almost rivaling the collapse of the Schwinn family business in the 1990's.

andyross 08-30-05 02:21 PM

Hi, my name is Andrew Ross and I am the grandson of the founder of Ross Bicycles, Albert Ross. The company was statred in 1940 as the Ross Galvanizing Works. It was located in Brooklyn, New York near the Brooklyn Navy Yards. During WWII the company had extensive contracts with the U.S. Government to coat (galvanize) the bottom of ships. When the war ended, at the suggestion of my Dad, Sherwood (Jerry), and his brother in-law Sam Wilkens, the company switched to the manufacturing of wheeled goods including bicycles, tricycles, wheel chairs, lawn mowers and roller skates.

The company moved its manufacturing plant to Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York in the 1950's and by the late 50's solely manufacured bikes and trikes and was the 3rd largest domestic producer of bicycles after Scwinn and Huffy. The compnay moved again in the early 70's to a new facility in Allentown, PA. During the two oil crises of the 1970's (1973 & 1979) the company worked around the clock in three shifts and turned out over 1 million bicycles in each of those years.


Upon my granfather's retirement in 1969 the ownership of the company was turned over in equal shares to my Dad and his sister Teddy. In 1980 my Dad bought out his sister and remained the sole owner until the company went bankrupt in 1989. The company was unable to compete with imports from the Far East made with very cheap labor. The company tried to stay afloat by shifting it's bicycle manufacturing to leased factories in Taiwan and use the Allentown facility to fulfill government contracts that it had sucessfully bidded on. Due to my Dad's lavish lifestlye he was unable to "buckle the belt" sufficiently to save the company.

The name ROSS was purchased out of Bankruptcy Court by Rand Cycle, Farmingdale, NY. My dad worked for Rand for 5 years as a consultant as part of the name deal. Rand never sunk enough money into marketing the ROSS name and although they still own it, they are not actively pursuing ROSS sales. However, they do have about 300 ROSS, Mt. Washington mountain bikes, both mens and ladies in a warehouse in New York. I purchased a few of them last year and the're dynamite low end units. Anyone interested in purchasing any or all of this inventory can contact Rand at 800-883-7677, ask for Alan Goldmeir. I can be contacted at 888-575-4433. Just as a closing note, my Dad who was for many years the President of the Bicycle Manufacturers of America (BMA) is alive and well at 85 living in South Florida and is working part-time as the pre-eminent expert witness in bicycle product liability litigation.

BobHufford 08-30-05 03:43 PM


Originally Posted by T-Mar
If you or anybody else wants to start a Vintage-Ross website, I have lots of 1980s ads, specs and road tests that I can share, provided you can get the copyright clearance.

T-Mar, You should contact Rand (or whoever) and see if they are OK with the website (I did this with Schwinn, talked back and forth for awhile with their lawyers and then they went bankrupt and sold again). At that point I gave up and just published the SLDB site. Now Schwinn is approaching me for permission to link to my site from theirs. I wouldn't worry to much about copyright of old catalogs, etc. This is about the only way for these companies to retrieve their history anyway. Just go for it and about the most they would do is tell you to cease and desist.

Bob Hufford
Keeper of the Schwinn Lightweight Data Book
Springfield, MO
bhufford3@mchsi.com

andyross 08-30-05 07:14 PM

Just to set the record straight, chainbike's grandfather Samuel Wilkens was the vice president of Chain Bike Corp, he basically functioned as the Sales Manager of the company. He passed away 4 years ago, I was present at the funeral. He never was associated with Ross Bicycles Inc which the company was renamed after my Dad bought out the Wilkens family. There remains considerable bad blood between the two families who when working together were constantly squabbling about money. My Dad deeply resented the fact that his father left the company in equal parts to each of his children which gave the Wilkens family equal control over the company. My Dad (Sherwood) was the engineering genius and day to head of the company at all times. It was he who was lauded by his peers over the years and was driving force along with Eddie Schwinn in the American made bicycle scene.

Joe McKishen 08-31-05 01:06 PM

Ross bicycles was the brand name of Chain Bike Corp. and used a round stick on alloy headbadge in the earlier years, and went to a larger rectanglular 'R' logo decal in the later years, sometime after 1980. The Ross name was eventually sold to Rand Bicycles which imports cheap department store type bikes. The demise of Ross was explained to me as that company had a contract to make ammo boxes of some sort, the majority of the plant in Allentown, PA was converted to produce these, and bicycle production was diminished and they began importing Asian bikes badged as Ross. A large quanity if not all of the ammo boxes were rejected by the government, I was told it due to poor paint finish, and this had led to the failure of the company. This was told to me by a long time dealer as well as a former Ross sales rep. Ross continued to import bicycles until the sale to Rand. I am not sure if Rand acquired Ross though a normal sale, or through bankrupcy proceedings.

If your bike is a 1985, it was probably one of the last ones to come from the Allentown plant. I currently own a 1980 Gran Tour, which I bought new. It's also quite heavy, but at the time it was much lighter than say a Schwinn Varsity. They used a straight guage lugged steel frame, steel wheels, with Shimano running gear. If they had used a lighter tubing for the frame, it would have been a great improvement. The frame weighs over 11 lbs, plus the steel wheels, which makes for a lot of extra weight. A set of alloy rims would help, but it will still never be as light as it's European counterparts.
Ross made their entire bike, the rims were made in house, as was the frame and fork. Only bolt on components were not Ross built.
Somewhere around here I have a copy of an '85 catalog, this was the latest I have seen that still said Chain Bike Corp, Allentown, PA.
The company did originate in NY, but moved to PA with the building of the new plant in the 1970's. There was a few earlier Asian built road bikes, but they were nothing special. I would venture to guess that Alentown production ran from somewhere in the early to mid 1970's to about 1985or 86?
The name Ross was the name of the family which owned chain bike, the last family member in charge, I was told, was Randy Ross, I am sure if someone knows his whereabouts, a more definite history could be had.
The eariest Ross I had seen was from the late 50's of so, sort of a middleweight cruiser, they made everything from kids bikes all the way up to high end road bikes by Kellog in the later years. It's a shame that they didn't survive, it was one of the last American bike companies. The bike boom died out in the 1980's, and cheap imports were abounding, so I am sure the bike business had already begun to suffer at that point. During the 1970's, so many bikes were being sold, there was sufficient market share to support the many competitors, but as business slowed, only the most profitable survived.

Joe McKishen 09-06-05 02:20 AM

Andy, you said earlier that your dad had bought out his sister in 1980, and after he bought the company it was renamed Ross Bicycles Inc.. Would you happen to know when the headbadges on the bikes changed? Was 1980 the last year for the round Ross/Chain Bike Company badge?
Do you also happen to know when the last bikes were produced at Allentown?
Did you work for the company back then?

I grew up in an area where the local shop sold a ton of Ross bikes, they were the most common bike to see back then around here. That shop is still in business but hasn't sold Ross since somewhere around the time that Rand purchased the name.
I bought a Ross Gran Tour in late 1980 that I believe was built in September of that year, it still uses the older headbadge. I don't remember what the next years models used. I have seen the rectangular "R" logo in later years, but was curious when that began.
I also have seen a few older road bikes with a 'Ross, Rockaway Beach, NY" with 'Made in Taiwan' on the headbadge. They were lower end, steel wheeled, lugged frame bikes equipped with what was probably early to mid 70's components.
Did Ross import their early road bikes?
Did production cease atRockaway Beach once Allentown opened?
Since the headbadge said Rockaway Beach, NY, I am assuming that it was pre-Allentown production.
Also, When was the first Allentown Road bike?

I would be interested in seeing a web site or timeline for both the Ross Company history as well as maybe even a timeline for some of the different models.

andyross 09-08-05 09:07 AM

I worked for the company in the mid 60's in Rockaway Beach, for specific questions you can e-mail my dad at sherwoodross@earthlink.net, I'm sure he will answer whatever he can. No bikes were produced at Rockaway Beach after the company transferred its production to Allentown.

mike 09-08-05 09:37 AM

Holy Cow, Any Ross! What fabulous detail you give for Ross bikes. I, like many collectors, have often wondered about the history and demise of Ross.

Thanks for posting!

jacksbike 09-17-05 09:24 PM

Thank you Andy for the corrected and updated history of Ross bicycles. I do remember meeting Fred Wilkins at the International Cycle Show in New York City. Also met Randy Ross in about 1979 when I drove to Rockaway Beach to apply for a road sales job for Ross. Thing I remember most about the entire interview was the huge diamond encrusted ring that he wore on his finger. Very interesting history of Ross bicycles. They sure were pumping out the product during the bike boom of the 1970's.

MattP. 09-19-05 04:02 PM

I have a Ross Beach Commander and have been trying forever to find out what year it is. The SN isn't stamped on the rear dropout, but instead on the underside of the BB shell. The SN is I058910709. If anyone knows what year this might be, that'd be awesome. I don't care about value, I just want to know the year :)

frameteam2003 09-19-05 06:03 PM

In the history of Centerpoint Cycles ,Jamie Swan talks of working for Ross:
http://www.centerportcycles.com/page.../history1.html

Arctic_North 09-19-05 10:02 PM

Hello,
I've got a 1981 Ross Gran Tour (10 speed) in very good condition and looking to unload it. It's a large frame (roughly 60 cm) and sky blue in color. I even still have the original owner's manual. If you're interested, please let me know and I'll send you a picture. I'm located in the Colorado Springs area. Any takers?
Arctic_North

mcyak 02-21-06 10:17 AM

Tom Kellog initially began building the Siganture Bikes in Ross's Allentown Pa. Factory in 1978. His association with Ross lasted till august of 1983 when he left to form Merlin Bike works. Jim Redcay took ofer building the signature series followed by Bill Williamson and Jeff Duser (who had been with Ross sence the late 70s)
The bIkes were offered as either road or track bikes. Built with Ishawata 022 tubing on 73 degree frame angles (slightly more for the track bikes)
The Signatures came with Shimano equipt. but could be special ordered with Campy.
Additionally, in late 1983 Ross also began offering a cheaper entry level racer called the Paragon.
Built with Ishawata 024 tubing the bike was equipped with suntour V series derailleurs SR cranks, normandy hubs and dia-comp sidepulls.
I'm in the process of restoring both at this time.

DrHansNoodleman 02-21-06 11:56 AM


Originally Posted by Jay H
I think it was like $400 at the time.

Jay


More like $119. I must have sold of hundred of those back in the day.

DrHansNoodleman 02-21-06 12:04 PM

I had a lot of dealings with Ross back in the day. I still own and ride a pre-production version of the Mt. Whitney, which was a heck of a nice mountain bike - definitely a "serious bike" for its time.

I distinctly remember a Signature trials bike of all things - it may have been a one-off as the only place I saw it was at the Bicycle Show (back when it was in at the NY Coliseum, pre-Vegas).

I was doing some volunteer mechanic-ing downtown several months ago when a guy showed up with a Ross Signature road bike, well used. He had no idea what it was, and had paid $150 from someone on Craig's list.

fatchance 02-21-06 01:42 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is a great thread. Hi all, first post here :)

I have a Ross Signature 294S that I bought slightly used in 1985, pretty much all original except for the handlebar wrap and saddle. I think it's the 1984 model, but not certain. Nice bike with nearly full Campy Triomphe gruppo (Suntour freewheel). I know Ross offered at least one model above the 294S around that time. At some point I possessed the full 1985(?) Ross catalog, but sadly got rid of it. I did keep the 294S section, though - I scanned it in and will try attaching it here.

In 1985-1986 I worked at a small shop in Michigan building Ross bikes, mostly mountain bikes. Pretty great job for a bike-crazy teenager :) . I wanted one of the Ross mountain bikes badly but was really happy just to get the 294S on a payment plan through the shop as it was all I could afford. I put so many miles on that bike in the 80s! Now I have a LeMond Zurich that sees much more action, but I still take out the Ross once in a while.

I'll have to take some pictures of the 294S and put them up somewhere. I also have a couple of old Ross mountian bike racing posters from the mid-80s. IIRC there was an MTB race that Ross sponsored in the east - can't recall the name of it, though I'm sure someone here will know (edit - it was the New England Fat Tire 3-Day Stage Race). As someone mentioned there was a Ross-sponsored MTB team, I think they are pictured racing in one of the posters (I haven't looked at the posters in a long time!). I'll try to get pictures of those up too.

roccobike 02-21-06 08:11 PM

I'll make my small contribution to this thread. I recently purchased a Ross Signature 290S at a garage sale. It is in incredibly good condition. The tires, seat and cables are all original, including the odd toe clip style pedals that never had the cages installed ( the original reflectors are still in place) The bike weighs in at 28lbs. It has full Shimano 12 speed groupo with Araya rims. The shifting is very smooth. The only drawback for me is the size of the bike, 48 cm, very small. I'm guessing, from information I received on BF, this is a 1985 bike. I'm short enough that I can lift the handle bars and seat and ride it. The frame is responsive and the ride is very nice. The brakes leave something to be desired. I'm considering changing the pads to Koolstops to improve braking. I've posted some pictures below. These are the same pictures I've posted elsewhere on BF.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:17 AM.


Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.