Tuesday, May 3, 2011

look what the cat dragged in.....

So I've been working on this post for over 2 months. Seriously, I started the 'project' in mid february.

You see, I have a ton of bike shit in my basement, and I'm looking to clear some of it out, including a frame I generally don't ride - until now.

I bought it somewhere around 2005 from Aries Sports in Newburyport (now a different bike shop, different owner, don't know the dude). I was told it was a frame built by THE Tom Kellogg for the 1984 Olympics. A few years ago, I emailed him and sent him a picture, and he basically just said yes, it was one of his, but I didn't follow up.

So I'm thinking, if this thing really is a Kellogg frame built for the Olympics, it's probably worth quite a bit to a collector.

So I emailed him again, asking for more details. and sent some pictures.

Here's where it gets.....um....interesting.

It turns out that, yes, it's a Kellogg frame. Sort of. It was built by Jeff Duser, Toms chief framebuilder. Maybe.

In reality it's a Ross. Yes, the Ross bicycles we all know from Sears and Kmart in our childhood.

Tom was hired by Ross in the early '80s to set up their 'Signature' line. It was to be a line of hand-built frames in a high production setting to keep costs down. Tom designed the bikes, and came out with a few different models - a couple of lower-end chinese imports (but still hand-made in china) and their top-of-the-line series, hand-made in the Ross factory in pennsylvania using high quality tubing (either Columbus SL or Ishiwata 022, not sure which mine is. Tom claims Ishwata, but this bike is SL )

I have a Circa 1984 Ross 508 Signature Triad.

Tom wrote: "The frame design was mine, the same exact design I developed for the first Ross Signature racing frames. Unlike the rest of the Ross bicycles made over the years, the Signature frames were real hand built frames, as good as any made at the time. I was very proud of what we did there. The guy who built that 508 was good enough that I hired him away from Ross and he is still working for me to this day, twenty six years later. You've got a little piece of history."

The only caveat to add is that Tom had left Ross in 1983 and Jim Redkay was running the shop by then. In all likelyhood, Jeff Duser _did_ make the frame, but the 508 Triads were built by a team consisting of Jeff, Juan Rodriguez, and Dave Rodriguez (hence the 'triad'). So truth be told, I don't know for sure if Jeff actually built my frame. I asked Tom for more detail, but I haven't heard back. He's probably tired of me annoying him (like you don't know that's possible).

So, even though this bike is in Toms words "as nice as anything else that was being built at the time", it probably isn't worth a whole helluvalot. I only bring up this point because I was considering selling it. It's worth more to me as a ridable bike than I would get for it at this point.

And man...it rides nice. My '91 Merlin is a first generation Kellogg design as well, and this thing rides _that_ nice. It's a shame to just leave it to collect dust, so I've made it my commuter - a fixed gear with some really nice old parts I had laying around not being used. I actually decided to abandon the Fuji experiment, and use some of the parts from that.

Circa '92 Campy Chorus crankset, brakes, and brake levers. (all in _excellent_ shape). I'm riding Eggbeaters because I need to walk a bit to my office after my commute, and I wear MTB shoes so I can walk on the linoleum.

It's hard to tell, but that's an authentic Campy Chorus seat post bolt.

Easton EC90 carbon bars, EC90 Stem, American Classic Trilock Headset (a fabulous idea, too bad it didn't catch on.)

San Marco Rolls Titano saddle.

I have a 39x14 on American Classic hubs laced to Matrix rims now. I normally ride a 42x16 on my fixed gear bikes, but I'm getting older and don't spin like I used to. My commute is pretty flat anyways.

I have a set of somewhat worn '92 Campy chorus hubs as well, but they need to be built into wheels. I think that will set the ensemble off nicely.

It's a great bike, and I'm glad I have it. A little piece of history, for sure...if you're into that sort of thing.


Anonymous said...

MY attention as short as is stopped Amercian Classic.....I have those wheels, rims, love their roll......
Your roll....

Greg Laycock said...

I have a mostly-original Signature Triad that was given to me by the original owner when she was (amazingly) unable to sell it two years ago. I believe it's a 1985 model. It has Columbus SL tubes, Shimano 600 group. It rides absolutely fantastic. I'm so blessed to have been given it. It seems almost know one knows anything about it though. Thanks so much for the information!