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The company was founded in 1940 by Albert Ross as Ross Galvanizing Works, located in Brooklyn, NY. It started making bicycle in 1946 and by the 1950s it was the third largest producer of bicyles after Schwinn and Huffy. In the 1970s it moved to Allentown, PA and produced over 1 million bicycles per year. http://mombatbicycles.com/MOMBAT/BikeHistoryPages/Ross.html 1)
Ross had models that directly competed with the Schwinn Sidewinder called the Ross Diamond Cruiser. Ross introduced their first production MTB, the Force 1, during the first Interbike Show in October 1982 the bikes name was later changed to the Mt. Hood due to a trademark conflict. In early 1982 Ross Signature (hand made bike department) was making custom Mountain bikes. Jim Redcay was the builder (Tom Kellogg was working on Road Bikes). http://mombatbicycles.com/MOMBAT/BikeHistoryPages/Ross.html
Even Buddy Can Ride a Ross Ross Bikes
1982 Diamond Cruiser
Easy to make fun of, but compared well against Schwinn's Sidewinder. The 10 speed Diamond Cruiser is listed for $169.95 in the 1982 price list
Charlie Kelly rode … this Ross at the 2018 Crested Butte-Aspen Klunker Tour. He deemed the bike to be unsuitable for use for anything beyond a landfill. He told me it was possibly the worst bike he’d ever ridden. Uncle Crusty's review of a 1982 Diamond Cruiser
Its main problem was weight. Its steel rims and tires weighed 12 pounds, the frame was 10 1/2 pounds, and 6 pounds for the components. The finished bike weighed well over 40 pounds (perhaps 48?) 2)
1982 Diamond Cruiser Uncle Crusty
1982 Force 1
The first Ross mt. bike came right after the Diamond Cruiser. 32 pounds. Debuted in October 1982. 3)
Raced by the first sponsored mt. bike team: The Ross Indians.
The bike pictured is probably a 1983.
1983 Force 1 mombat
1983 Redcay Mountain
Ross started a signature series of handmade frames made by Jim Redcay. Upgraded components from the Force 1 and weighed 31 pounds. By the late 80's, 40% of Ross' sales were mt. bikes, and thus possibly >200,000 mt. bikes. 4)
1983 Redcay Mountain mombat
1984 Mt. Hood
In 1984 Ross chromed all of their mt. bikes, as chrome is strong, stainless (for a few years,) and shiny.
Not sure why a Brooklyn, NY company would name their bike after a mountain in Oregon - as it would be 36 years until Mt. Hood would allow bicycles on its year round ski lifts: Timberline Bike Park. Likely they were copyright shy after a Force-1 trademark issue. Ross also produced a Mt. Whitney at this time with better components and a pound lighter.
The picture at the right is likely a 1983.
1983 Mt. Hood vanguard designs
1985 Mt. Washington
Ross stretched their brand down range a bit, just before discovering that Asia had the low-end business model locked up. The Mt. Washington was 35.4 pounds, with 1 piece cranks, and “heavy duty” steel rims. Ross moved production to Taiwan in 1986 and then declared bankruptcy in 1988. 5) If it wasn't for the later down-market shift, and lack of focus on producing only quality bikes, Ross would probably be very well regarded today.
1985 also saw the introduction of a Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens and a Mt. Whitney.
1985 Mt. Washington ebay
1986 Mt. Whitney
“Fake” fillet brazing applied on top of TIG welding. Full SunTour XC, complete with roller cams.
1986 Mt. Whitney mombat
1987 Bear Mt.
SunTour Alpha 3000 - a derailleur that only works with a single shifter, made only in 1987.
1987 Bear Mt. ebay
1988 Mt. Hood
Shimano Light Action SGS (1987-1992+).
Sporting a “special” stem.
1988 Mt. Hood bikeforums
1989 Mt. Olympus
1989 Mt. Olympus referencebicycle
1991 Mt. Katahdin
Full Shimano 70GS (1990-1992), a budget groupset.
1991 Mt. Katahdin ebay
. Ross made many, many tons of mt bikes:
- 1 million bikes per year in the 1970's: mombat
- 20 millions bikes in total: https://warbikes.com/aboutus/
- 40% of it sales were mt. bikes by the mid 1980's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_(bicycle_company)
- Thus it's likely they peaked at nearly 200k mt bikes per year, assuming their profit margins and sales fell off a cliff starting in 1986, when they closed their Allentown factory.
Thus, via guesswork:
- 1982: 10,000
- 1983: 30,000
- 1984: 80,000
- 1985: 200,000