Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ross and Rachel???

No....It's Ross and Evelyn!!
The Ross was an interesting project for me to take on.
The base bike was given to me by an old friend who got it from his brother's estate. He was sick of going through the stuff and asked if I wanted an old bike. This was over a year ago and I have had it sitting in the garage since.
It was your classic early 80's bike that they made a gazillion of and was nothing special. Knowing that Evelyn would be moving off campus for next year and would need some transportation besides her feet I decided to flip this into a decent ride for her instead of just buying generic bike for her.

Let's start
It was semi-rough to start.
God, big foam covering the bars. Did anybody really enjoy that look? And, frozen stem shifters.

The paint was in OK condition. There were a few crinkle areas around the lugs, but nothing rusty showing through. If this was going to be a show bike restoration then I would have thought about sanding it out and a total repaint...but worth it???? On this bike, no way. It had cool red pinstripe around the lugs.The head badge was once again nothing special and a little chipped up.

 The decals were a bit flakey on one side, all acceptable for the future life of this bike which was to be a campus bomb-around bike for Evelyn. Functional, but not so cool to be a thief target. The frame cleaned and shined up with a coat of turtle wax!
First was strip everything for cleaning. Especially those handlebars and the dried out cracked cables and housing. The rear cassette was rough and I could not get it to spin smoothly so I just bagged it into a parts bin. I had a set of rims with rear cassette from a previous rebuild that could not get finished so I parted it and the front rim to this bike. They were Araya rims. Tru and very serviceable. I bought some tires from that site that Ryan turned me on to, "Junky Rusty Bikes". They were a nice fit and a good price for a cool look with red pin stripe side walls
Those drops had to go. They were the randonee style, narrow with the slight up turn. I had a bar that came off an old Trek parts bike. I used the bar, Brake levers, and the shimano thumb shifters. I had the brake all cleaned with new pads and cabled up and they did not work??? The levers were crusty dirty and stiff!! Oh yeah....take them apart and clean and lube! Could not find any red cable housing at any LBS (they all offered to order!) so I found it online. made for a nice looking cockpit.
Along with the red wall tires at Junky Rusty Bikes, I found these red grips to finish my red trim package.
One of the things you just don't see on modern bikes anymore are these cool dia-compe cable holders. The little screws on these were rusted so I searched through more than a couple of hardware stores for replacements. I wanted to keep them on the bike.
I was just cruising along until my first problem. The front brake adjuster was frozen up and the textured turn knob was stripped smooth. Liquid wrench to the rescue!!!
My friend!
It made it all work very slick so I left it with the smoothed off turn knob because it worked so well.
The drive train needed some change. The chain ring was a double from that era, geared at a 52-36. That is not gonna get it for Colorado riding! I found a nice used mountain triple on e-bay for $22. Gearing is 48-36-24. Perfect! Came with the right length cranks and flat pedals. Once again I stole the front deraileaur off my Trek parts bike to fit the new triple. I invested in a new chain because the old was creaky and with out really know how much wear and use was on it, just changed it! Kept the old rear deraileaur, it cleaned up fine.

Low cost Planet bike rear rack, with a wire basket and stretchy goods holder from Rivendale. Ryan, I thought about a real basket,basket like you said, but could not find one for the back rack. Plus this bike will be outdoors a lot on campus and I thought the wire was more practical. Zip tied it all onto the rack.
Still an nice clean look
All in all a fun project and since it was for my little girl to ride, very enjoyable and satisfying to see it come together. I spent about a $120 on this after tires, cables, grips, chainrings, rack and basket. But, the basic bike came to me free, so, I did not mind the extra cost. I know this Ross was a lo-end, dime-a-dozen bike when it came out but I think it will service Evelyn well for a campus commuter. Plus she will be on a one of a kind bike instead of a cookie cutter!

Thanks again to Ryan from Ryan's Rebuilds blog and Hugh from Hugh's bicycle blog for the inspiration and ideas and help in working on bikes. And my buddy Howard for the original bike to start with!

Hope everybody is enjoying the summer riding season!!


  1. Looks like a fun project that turned out great! Evelyn looks to be one happy young lady with it. I like your mods with the shifters and the gearing. You can make ME one next!

  2. Those dime a dozen bikes are the salt of the earth of our kind of riding, Jim. I really like what you did with the rear rack and basket. It is also good of you to mention Ryan and Hugh in your post. Those guys deserve all the credit they can get. Hugh, in my opinion, is a kind of Michelangelo of our hobby. Ryan and I became friends through a mutual love of old steel, a crew you seem to be happy with, yer ownself. Oh, also: every bike I ever own will have red cables: they're that cool.


  3. Glad I could be of any help at all but really it appears you had a great vision for this project, fixed what could be fixed and replaced what was a hassle and Evelyn got a really sweet unique vintage ride out of the deal. This is the best kind of rebuild from potential landfill fodder to functional piece of art. Love the red highlights - really makes the bike pop. Chapeau!