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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Tuesday, November 12, 2019

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The Ross family wants to bring back its bike brand. The brand's owner says it never went away

Steve Frothingham wrote this fascinating story for Bicycle Retailer & Industry News:

MIAMI (BRAIN) — Two members of the Ross family, whose last name was emblazoned on millions of bikes in the last century, want to bring the brand back to the market. One big problem? The family gave up the trademark in a bankruptcy court more than 30 years ago.

Randy and Shaun Ross, grandson and great-grandson of company founder Albert Ross, respectively, have formed Ross Bicycles LLC, designed a product line, raised nearly a million dollars, and are promoting a line of bikes on RossBicycles.com and RossBikes.com.

The Rosses are trying to wrest the trademark registration from its current registrar, Century Sports, a company owned by the Goldmeier family. The Goldmeiers owned Rand International when Rand bought Ross out of bankruptcy in 1988. The Rosses contend the Goldmeiers have lost their right to the trademark through disuse. But the Goldmeiers say they're still using it, and are suing the Rosses and their new company, which apparently has yet to sell a bike, for trademark infringement.

Ross once had sales and brand recognition comparable to Schwinn and Huffy, and was a key supplier to what was once a new retail channel: independent bicycle dealers. Ross also was a pioneer in bringing mountain bikes to the masses and establishing a pro mountain bike race circuit in the early 1980s.

The connection between the two New York families, the Rosses and the Goldmeiers, dates back decades. When Rand bought Ross Bicycles and its trademarks, the new owners declined to find a job for Randy Ross, a flashy salesman who took credit for Ross's prescient charge into mountain bikes, but whose "personal style" didn't fit the new owners' plans according to reports at the time.

Randy and Shaun Ross have declined to talk to BRAIN for this article because of pending litigation. They say they will be happy to talk when their new brand is fully launched.

Since the bankruptcy, Randy has been involved with several entrepreneurial ventures. In 2003, he pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to a company, outside the bike industry, that prosecutors said was operating a Ponzi scheme. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison.

Randy and Shaun Ross's company has re-branded in recent weeks. Since at least early 2019 they had been promoting a line of Ross-branded bikes on their sites and social media, including in paid social media advertising. Until late October the websites featured illustrations of bikes with Ross labels on the downtubes. Now, the sites and the bike illustrations on them have been rebranded as “W.A.R.,” which stands for “We Are Ross.” Related social media accounts that previously showed Ross-brand bikes have had that content deleted and now show W.A.R. bikes.

The new branding refers to the Ross family's heritage as a military supplier.

"Presently, Randy Ross and his son Shaun Ross, the 4th generation of the Ross Bicycles family, along with their investors and bicycle industry veteran staff, are embarking on a path to resurrect the once storied and vibrant brand Ross, by declaring W.A.R. as the new Ross Bicycles brand," an "About Us" page on the site reads.

"Ross was built on innovation, risk, creating trends and being the first to move into areas where others were hesitant. The Ross family will continue this philosophy as we re-launch and re-introduce our bicycles to the world, while donating a percentage of all sales to wounded veterans everywhere."

You can read the entire story here. I promise you, you won't be bored.

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