Vintage Ross Bicycles
Vintage Schwinn Bicycles are highly collectible bicycles, first produced in 1950.
Ross was a line of bicycles built in Pennsylvania (USA) between 1950 and 1989. The range included children’s bicycles and adult’s bicycles for both sexes and they were the first company to sell a range of mountain bikes. The company was originally formed in 1940 to galvanise the bottoms of war-ships, under the name Ross Galvanising Works, owned by Sherwood Ross. When WW2 ended Ross began the production of a variety of wheeled goods including lawnmowers, wheelchairs, rollerskates, tricycles and bicycles.
Within a decade they had begun to specialize in bicycles, and soon came to rival Schwinn. The company went bankrupt in 1989, due to fierce competition from the far east. The name ROSS was purchased by Rand Cycle from the bankruptcy courts, but has not been capitalized upon as yet. The son of Sherwood Ross (Randy Ross) introduced a combined stationary and road bicycle, the Stepper bike, in 2007 which is available at numerous outlets.
Notable Examples of Vintage Ross Bicycles
Notable Ross models are Women’s Eurosport, Classic Shark Cruiser, Super Gran Tour Professional (men’s), Polo, Coast King, and the limited edition Bicentennial, produced in 1976. Spare parts for repair are readily sourced by recommendation from enthusiasts (see below). Specialist repair by a professional is advised as these bicycles are highly desirable as collectables if repairs can be carried out without compromising the major characteristics of the make.
Advice on finding specialist repair companies can be found on www.bikeforums.net. The Ross range was very broad, the bicycles are sturdily built. Ross bicycles have a reputation for being of high quality. Therefore, although representatives from across the range have been carefully kept and are available in full working order, expect to frequently pay prices considerably higher than for a new bicycle of another manufacturer.
Guide For Collectors of Vintage Ross Bicycles
Reconditioned Ross bicycles are widely available worldwide, but these have predominantly been serviced with a view to use, rather than as collectables. If a collector is able to visit and inspect the item to ensure that it has not been reconditioned, some bargains can be found on Ebay, mainly because while the wide usage of the site ensures a sale, the high listing fees are an incentive to price the item lower than would otherwise be the case.
There are suppliers who have customized the basic Ross frame to make hybrids which have no value as collectibles. It is important to be certain that the original features of the Ross bicycle have not been removed or tampered with. In particular, signature Ross bicycle frames are notably heavy. A Ross bicycle which has not been repaired with lighter alloy parts from other bicycles weighs around 30 – 35lb and has a characteristic shiny trim, which shows that the rims are double-plated. randyrrross.com, the website operated by the son of Sherwood Ross, offers further information.
Notable Sales of Vintage Ross Bicycles
On Ebay in December 2011 a Shark Cruiser in mint condition sold for $799, and a Super Gran Tour for $800.
One rare find was a 1979 Cruiser which was found among abandoned stock in a closure sale in a bicycle shop in Pensacola in 2009. Never ridden and in perfect condition, it sold for $1280. Bicycles which have been stolen are sometimes found at police auctions, for prices as low as $80, for bicycles which will resell for hundreds of dollars. The PoliceAuctions.com database carries details of municipal sales of untraced stolen bicycles.
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