Monday, December 5, 2011

Ross Adventurer Finished with Many Up-Grades

Hello and Welcome. Below is the Ross Adventurer as I found it.
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Above: Judging by the lack of wear to the original equipment, my best guess would be that this bike was ridden a few times and then parked. The pristine condition of the frame and paint made this bike a "near perfect" candidate for an American to Euro bottom bracket conversion. Although I would have preferred a better quality American ten-speed. However this bike did give me the opportunity to make several improvements because it IS such a low-level bike.
Above: This is about as cheap of a steel bicycle stem as you will find anywhere. It is a rolled steel, chrome plated stem. Typical original equipment on a cheap department store retro cruiser bicycle. The drop bars were also cheap and heavy steel chrome plated, also department store quality. The handlebars had foam covers instead of handlebar tape. Very popular in the 1980`s. (when I was riding motorcycles) I pretty much missed the whole foam handlebar wrap era. (lucky me) The original Shimano shift levers were plastic. And finally the brake levers were such cheaply made generics that the manufacturer did not bother putting their name on them. (probably a wise choice) So basically the original stem and everything attached to it was garbage. (even by "Department-Store Bike" standards)
Above: Here we have the reconditioned SR stem installed with Ross engraved lighter weight drop handlebars. (bars off a Ross Carrera) The Brake-levers are vintage "Schwinn Approved" with the quick release feature. The tape is white Avenir basic cork tape (nicely padded) The slightly over-sized stem-mount alloy shifters are vintage Shimano of a much higher level. I also replaced the front head-mount reflector bracket with a cable-guide bracket for the center-pull caliper brake.
Above: A Ross "plastic mount" (no rails) saddle. I have only seen these on other Ross bikes of the same era and also once on a TONKA Bicycle. Do I really need to say anything more, like what a POS I think this saddle is.
Above: The Origin 8 Aero Saddle is the cheapest white saddle I could find. And in my opinion, it is still a huge improvement. Because of what this bike is, I have to watch every penny. No matter how many changes and improvements I make, it is still a Ross Adventurer. And I`m only going to get so much for it when it is sold.
Above: I took the rear brake cable-guide off the upcoming Schwinn Varsity project bike. Apparently the Schwinn Varsity also received a brake caliper up-grade at some point along it`s journey. I`m hoping I have another rear brake-cable guide stashed-away somewhere. As you can see the caliper arms are just barely long enough for the shoes to clear the tire. I may still trim-off about 1/8th inch of rubber from the top corners edges of the X Caliper brake shoes.
Above: As it turned-out, the Ross Carrera came with the exact same Shimano derailleurs that are on the Ross Adventurer. Both front and rear derailleurs received a good cleaning, lube and adjustment.(Clean-Streak and Tri-Flo)
Above: The finished project. The Ross Adventurer now sports a reconditioned set of "Continental Style" pedals. And a new Schwinn chain as well. The paint touched-up "the wee bit that there was" has been completed at this point.
Above: The left side of the bike. I do have a better Alloy Kick Stand for the bike. Here it is shown with the original kick-stand. I regret the weather has not cooperated and I have not been able to take any pics out of doors.
Above: One last shot of the three piece crankset with the front derailleur all cleaned-up and mounted and with the new Schwinn chain in place. I only regret that I could not find a matching set of lighter wheels laying around the shop. But due to the value (or lack of value)of this bike, it was just not worth purchasing even a cheap new aluminum wheel-set. Had it been a "keeper" or a "build to order bike" then maybe I could have made the wheel change.

We have had our first taste of winter for this season. For those of you who live in warmer climates. When the rain turns to snow, the snow sticks to the trees. To see an entire forest painted white with snow in the morning light is a beautiful thing to behold. It did however knock-out the power which also knocked out the well and the boiler. Fortunately the power was not out as long as expected. And we got through it just fine.
Above: All I know about this bike, is that it once belonged to the Schwinn family. I just thought you might enjoy seeing it. Till next time, Please RIDE SAFE and remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh


  1. The finished Ross looks Suh-weet! The white accents really set the bike off and with all of your improvements its probably the nicest Ross Adventurer ever assembled, someone will be lucky to get it. Hope your shop is staying toasty with winter having set in.


  2. We haven't had snow down here yet, but we did get some wintry mix this morning. And I think that bike is cool. Do you know how the Schwinns came to possess it?

  3. I spotted a Sears bike comparable to this one, rear stays crimped not welded and one piece cranks. It looked barely ridden. they were asking $65.The next week I saw it sitting out in the rain. What is something like this worth? And how sturdy are the rear stays? I dont flip bikes, just tinker with my own. I was tempted to get it but concerned about the quality of construction. I weigh aprox 200lbs and carry another 15-20lbs of gear when I commute and explore on weekends.

  4. Very nice up-grades to the Ross. It is a few pounds lighter for sure. Please let us know the selling price of the bike, the age of the buyer, and the intended use for the bike.

    I would also like to know the brand and model of digital camera that you are using. I am thinking about buying one, but do not want to spend more than $100. There are multitudes to choose from. Not all perform well in low lighting conditions. Your's seems to do a good job in the garage.

    I notice Sony cameras have Carl Zeiss lenses, which is a definite plus in their favor, yet their electronics are not judged to be top-grade. I am currently considering Kodak, Nikon, and Sony models. I will primarily shoot outdoors, but also want close zoom capability indoors.

  5. A Little background on the Drasine you have pictured at the end courtesy of wikipedia it holds the distinction as "the first reliable claim for a practically used bicycle" no wonder they called them boneshakers!

  6. Can that saddle and bar tape get any whiter!?

  7. Hey Matteo,
    You neglected to mention the Jag-Wire cable housings :) I think it just looks "extra bright" because of the Halogen light-stand in the shop.

  8. Thanks Ryan,
    I think finding the first bicycle is a lot like trying to find the first rock & roll song. Will we ever know for sure? I`m doubtful. However it does say "the first practical bike" I believe.
    P.S. Recently I have learned the first rock & roll song to "hit the charts" was "Crazy Man Crazy" by "Bill Haley and His Comets" as they were originally known. A sincere Thanks for sending along the info. Cheers

  9. Hey FujiPulsar88,
    First Thank You. I will probably hold onto the Ross for a while. At least until I can give it a proper test-ride. I want to be sure the crank conversion is going to hold-up. I`ll try to remember the info you request, but I may need a reminder. I have seen the 85 Ross Adventurer stock advertised for 60 to 90 dollars. So I`m thinking 120.00 to 150.00 But I`ll have to "do the math first"
    My camera is a Fuji Fine-Pix S-1500. I don`t know squat about cameras, So I just set it on full auto. It was a gift but.. (Google Shopping Search 160.00 to 250.00)
    I asked for a Fuji because I used Fuji throw-away under-water cameras for snorkeling. They were about 10 bucks at the time and worked great! So I figured, If Fuji can do that for 10 bucks? I bet they can build one hell of a camera for a couple hundred :) And so far it has been great. It came with non-rechargeable batteries. But I have been using re-chargeable`s from the start with no problems. I hope this limited info helps.

  10. Hey John,
    They are "asking" 60 to 90 dollars US for the ones I have seen. If I may suggest. You may want to consider an older Chicago Schwinn. (Made in the USA) While they are a bit heavy, (so is the Ross) they are often described as Bullet-Proof. The older Continentals with the chrome fork really clean-up nicely. And with a crank conversion it could be awesome. I hope you find this helpful.

  11. Hey Steve,
    Really cold and dreary here this week. But it is winter. Yeah like that
    I would imagine the Schwinn family purchased it at an auction or from a collector. I`m sure In their "hay-day" money was not an issue. I read somewhere that by the time the Schwinn company name was sold, that the third generation of the family was running the company. It is a shame they did not stay current. But they did not go "light enough" or "modern enough", quick enough. And enough said about that

  12. Hey Ryan,
    Thanks, I think it came-out pretty nice. I am reluctant to sell it right away. I want to be confident the crank conversion will hold up. After I put some miles on it and check it, I`m sure I`ll fell better about selling it. I have learned (since this build) that Ross did eventually build some of these with three piece cranks. But I doubt they had the stem, handlebars and brakes etc. etc. that this one has.
    About the weather and the shop. Right now I am in what I like to call "winter denial". Avoiding the cold, hoping it will warm up again. I am almost ready to accept the fact that the cold is here to stay. And it is time to get back to work! Maybe tomorrow :) Thanks for your continued support. Cheers

  13. Is your last photo from the Bicycle Museum of America in New Bremen? That is a great place, isn't it? My favorite bike is the 70th anniversary Paramount with the Waterford frame.

    Anyway, I wonder if the reason the Ross was in such great condition might be the crappy saddle? Back in the 70's, when I started riding long distances, I used to suffer on a chinsy saddle like that.

  14. Hey Bill,
    I must admit, while I do take 99.9% of the pics you see on my blog. This is not one of them. Someone sent me this pic with a very brief description and I saved the pic. I should have saved the description as well.
    About the 70th anniversary Paramount. I like everything about that bike, except maybe the fork. I have literally dreamed about running across a Paramount one day while bike hunting. There are basically three Schwinn bikes I would love to own. A Paramount of coarse, a Phantom and an original Orange Crate. And let me add a fourth, a heavily customized Continental.
    I agree, many of the entry level saddles of the 70`s were a nightmare! And the bad part is we put up with it! I don`t think swapping out saddles was as common then. It was just not something the casual rider thought about.
    Thanks for bring that up, I laughed when I read it.
    Cheers, Hugh

  15. Oh yeah, those cables blend in so well I didn't even notice they are white too. I love seeing old bikes get new life. Good work.


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