1983 Ross Force 1
Ross Indians Mountain Bike Team Bicycle

Serial # 0583593753, dropout stamped with 3R6-212. Registered with Crested Butte, CO Marshall's Office

The Ross Force One was Ross' first production mountain bike, though they had made several custom mountain bike frames before going into full production. Later they changed the name of the bike to be the Mt. Hood, which was the precursor to the naming of the Ross line of bikes after mountain peaks. The frame is Amlite high tensile steel and is a quite heavy lugged frame. The fork is also a custom crown built in the Allentown, Pennsylvania factory. The stem and handlebar were built as one unit and seems to be one of the things people remember about mountain bikes from this era. The chrome was totally typical and the big springy seat for bouncing around on too. This is how all the mountain bikes were back in the early 80's. It was not until mountain bike racing became popular that the narrow, frictionless seats like on road bikes came into popularity.

Ross Indians Mountain Bike Team
Photo courtesy mtbr.com member: Lazyracer
Above: 1983 Ross Indians Professional Mountain Bike Team after a spring training ride.
From left to right:: John McCormick, Steve McIntosh, Clark Roberts, Jim Harlow, Don Davis

The Ross Indians was the very first mountain bike team ever in existence and this bike in particular is said to have been ridden by one of the team members though I do not know which one. When I arrived to pick up the bike in the middle of the night, Dave told me that the guy he got the bike from told him that it was ridden by the Ross team. He said it like it was important and told me that the guy he got it from really made sure that he understood that fact. I didn't realize just how significant this was until later, but it makes the bike very special to me and unique as a piece of history. It makes me glad that I did my very best work in restoring the bike. The one condition of the bike sale was that I save the seat. I hope Dave isn't upset that I removed the duct tape layerings over basketball jersey padding that was rigged up when I got the bike.

The bike has been rebuilt from the ground up. I started with the frame. When I got it, it was ever so slightly out of alignment. Not quite race ready. I straightened the frame, cleaned out the insides of the tubes and coated them with a light rust protectant. All bearing surfaced were polished with steel wool and all ball bearings, including the pedals, have been renewed. Everything cleaned to perfection in solvent and with scrubbing as it came off the bike. I wanted to keep the bike mostly original, but since I didn't have both matching original wheels, I built up a set of Deore DX 7 speed hubs to some aluminum, double-walled rims in black. I used hollow axles with quick releases. Since I didn't have an original shifter, I used a Shimano 7 speed push-button type circa 1991. The front derailleur required some careful straightening as well to get it to work with all three chainwheels, but I was able to keep the original Suntour derailleur for the front. The front derailleur is backward fdrom most thumb shifters in that when the cable is pulled, the chain moves from a big ring to a smaller ring and when released, the chain is moved to a bigger ring. For the back I used a modern shimano 9-speed derailleur but used 7 speed Shimano Deore XT pulleys to match the durable 7 speed cassette. The seat was a real issue. It had a few sinkholes in the padding and the concoction over the foam was disgusting and likely had spiders living in it. It was ugly. So I sanded down the foam to take out the divots and re-shaped the seat slightly too to make it narrower for better pedaling. Then I covered it with a layer of fairly thick but also quite soft leather and tied it with latigo. In case you're wondering, the bike weighs in at almost exactly 32 lbs.

More modern 7-speed Deore DX circa 1990 and late 90's STX derailleur with Deore XT 7 speed pulleys.

Original Suntour AG front derailleur

Tourney AD cranks that came with the bike. KKT Lightning edals may or may not be original.

Original bottom bracket and lugged frame

Suntour front thumb shifter

Ross' first production bike with cantilever brakes

Ross crowned fork

Original straddle wheel cable hangers

Chrome. Ohhh ya

I still have some minor rust to buff off the chrome in a few places, but otherwise I am not touching the finish of the frame. The decals are not perfect and the paint looks somewhat sun-faded or flat. I think it looks like one of those industrial black Chinese bikes they use in China, or some world war two thing for eluding the enemy or something. It's got some scratches and rust here and there but this thing was built like a WWII destroyer. Not surprisingly, the company originally was galvanizing ships and working on world war two ships that came through the Brooklyn Navy Yards. It was after the war that they got into making bikes with their equipment, labor, and knowledge gained through working on ships. Ross stopped making bicycles in 1989, just before the real mountain biking boom of the 90's.
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