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Old 05-29-13, 06:49 AM   #326
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Excellent post, Matt. You pay more, you get more.

It sounds as if they want people, even those who won't buy their expensive stuff, to spread the word about how good he products are and how good the service is. And it works.
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Old 05-29-13, 07:22 AM   #327
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^^ Grant has upped his prices since you bought your two bikes, their now $1,225 for frame and fork, which isn't bad either. Their starting price for a almost complete bike $2,400 not including saddle and pedals, and goes up from there if you do any upgrades.

I've actually talked to Grant a few years ago via phone when I was considering an Atlantis, I too got the same impression that he was a very down to earth funky type of guy which is evident on his website too. I think he takes it a bit too far at times, but he is a nice guy. Anyway you have a couple of nice bikes that will last a lifetime and look classy doing it.
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Old 05-29-13, 07:40 AM   #328
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My wife and I were in Walnut Creek, CA and took the opportunity to stop by Rivendell. I'm happy to report these people are the real deal; true bicycle enthusiasts. I got the opportunity to meet Grant as well as a couple other members of the staff, and I can honestly say they practice what they preach. Shortly after we arrived, Grant rode up on his current commuter, a prototype in development, and wasn’t wearing a stich of lycra. He didn’t look at all like what I had pictured in my mind, nor did he behave like so many anti-Rivendell posters would like you to believe. We were there because my wife was interested in the Betty Foy. I was just interested in checking out Rivendell. We fully disclosed the fact we were just looking, but they still took the time to measure us both and encouraged us to go for a ride. I, on the A. Holmer Hilsen and she on the Betty Foy. We were both impressed by the quality of the product and the quality of the ride but did not have enough time to fully evaluate. We left without purchasing and did not feel any pressure to do so. Afterall, at that time I rode two different “vintage” road bikes; a Bianchi and Nishiki and was perfectly content.

A couple/three months later we went back to Rivendell. Lisa really wanted to give the Betty Foy model a good test run. Right up front I told Grant I wasn't interested in the Sam Hilborne, but that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and give it a try. They set me up and sent us on our way. Lisa and I didn't come back for about three hours. Walnut Creek is pretty bike friendly with tons of dirt and paved trails. To make a long story short, we came home with a Betty Foy and a Sam Hillborne. I had never felt so comfortable on a bicycle. I did not want to get off.

I disagree with posts comparing all Rivendell’s to custom frames. Both the Sam Hillborne and Betty Foy frames cost well below custom steel. For example, the frames cost $1,050 each, not $2,000 and included fork, headset, bottom bracket, and frame saver treatment with ample customer service and test rides to ensure the best possible fit. A custom frame/fork from my local builder would have cost me $2,500. That would have been worth every penny to have gotten the right fit, but for me anyway, I was able to find that on the Hillborne. And, I could still get all fussy about parts, customize my bicycle anyway I want, and make it uniquely mine, because I came home with only frames.

I’ve put more miles on my Sam Hillborne this year than any other bike, in a given year, for the last 20 years. I’m a commuter and averaged 3,000 miles per year. This year I rode 4,200 miles in 10 months! I’ve ridden my Bianchi once since purchasing the Sam Hillborne. I have not ridden the Nishiki and I have a Rivendelized 1994 Trek 950 MTB just hanging from the rafters collecting dust. Rivendell’s work. People think they are expensive, and they are, but nothing is more expensive than trying to make a bike fit that never will.

Matt
Posts like this just keep the fire lit under me to get my butt out to Walnut Creek and finally try these bikes for myself. To be honest, I'm hopeful that I have a similar experience and come home with at least plans to buy a Rivendell. Maybe next summer

I'll also add that even if I find the Rivendell bikes are not for me, I will continue to support Grant and RBW. I had some lengthy communications with Grant and he is about way more than bicycles and he's a very generous guy who really wants to make a positive contribution to the world. I really respect that.

Last edited by corwin1968; 05-29-13 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 05-29-13, 09:12 AM   #329
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You can find used complete Rivendells for less than $1500. In 2011 I bought a 700cc All-Rounder that had been built up as a commuter but had almost no miles on it. It was handmade in December 1998. It had a couple of paint chips on the right chainstay but that was it.
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Old 05-29-13, 10:56 AM   #330
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You can find used complete Rivendells for less than $1500. In 2011 I bought a 700cc All-Rounder that had been built up as a commuter but had almost no miles on it. It was handmade in December 1998. It had a couple of paint chips on the right chainstay but that was it.
Hmmm ... your initials are GP. You found a great deal on a used Rivendell. Your name wouldn't be Grant Peterson, would it?
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Old 05-29-13, 12:20 PM   #331
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Hmmm ... your initials are GP. You found a great deal on a used Rivendell. Your name wouldn't be Grant Peterson, would it?
Ha! No, my initials stand for something else. Although...I was in Oakland a few months ago and thought about visiting RBW but decided to go to a conference instead. I've regretted it since.
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Old 05-29-13, 12:47 PM   #332
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Hmmm ... your initials are GP. You found a great deal on a used Rivendell. Your name wouldn't be Grant Peterson, would it?
I thought the same thing when I saw G.P. but then I saw the post count. Grant doesn't strike me as the type of guy who spends much time on internet forums.
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Old 05-29-13, 01:58 PM   #333
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He doesn't post much but he and some of the other RBW people monitor another site.
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Old 05-29-13, 09:09 PM   #334
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The Soma San Marcos is the real deal -- Rivendell designed with all of the features their frames are known for, at a reasonable price ($950). If you are dead set on a Riv bike, the San Marcos is the least expensive option unless you can find a used one for less.
Yep.. that would be my thought. Very beautiful frame.
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Old 05-30-13, 10:03 AM   #335
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I guess I'll play the gadfly and remind everyone that, advocacy & goodwill aside, this thread is essentially about less expensive alternatives or equivalents to Rivendell bikes, not a cheering section for them.

Just as an example, the Japanese commuter I'm restoring will cost- in its totality, with extensive frame modifications, custom paint, and even a very nice bit of kit (including a Synergy/105 650b wheelset)- all of about a grand.

... Maybe $1100. (I have yet to pick up the cables & housing... )

That's pretty reasonable for a complete bike and still less than just a Hillborne frameset with similar features.

Btw, has anyone mentioned Rawlands or (now defunct) Kogswell yet?
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Old 05-30-13, 10:47 AM   #336
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I guess I'll play the gadfly and remind everyone that, advocacy & goodwill aside, this thread is essentially about less expensive alternatives or equivalents to Rivendell bikes, not a cheering section for them.
Yes, but keep in mind, this thread by its very nature is a cheering section for Rivendell because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Matt
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Old 05-30-13, 11:50 AM   #337
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Less Than $1000

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.. less expensive alternatives or equivalents to Rivendell bike...
Just as an example, the Japanese commuter I'm restoring will cost- in its totality, with extensive frame modifications, custom paint, and even a very nice bit of kit (including a Synergy/105 650b wheelset)- all of about a grand.

... Maybe $1100. (I have yet to pick up the cables & housing... )

That's pretty reasonable for a complete bike and still less than just a Hillborne frameset with similar features.
1988 Fuji Saratoga. Under $1000, even with having to replace the wheelset after cracking an original 40H rear hub flange. Rides well even unloaded. PG
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Old 05-30-13, 02:18 PM   #338
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I think a lot of what constitutes a "poor man's Rivendell" is what Rivendell bicycles mean to a particular person. For me, Rivendell is all about the ride. The specific technical aspects of the frameset combined with suggested components to yield a bicycle that rides a certain way (ie very comfortable). I don't care about lugs, fancy paint, having a leather saddle, or even where the frameset is built. If it's cro-moly, versatile, comfortable and very fun to ride then it's a Riv substitute for me. I think to some people a Riv substitute is simply a skinny tubed cro-moly bike with lugs and that's just as valid. It's all in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 05-30-13, 10:32 PM   #339
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Yes, but keep in mind, this thread by its very nature is a cheering section for Rivendell because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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I think a lot of what constitutes a "poor man's Rivendell" is what Rivendell bicycles mean to a particular person... It's all in the eye of the beholder.
Well, sure... Without an empirical qualifier, favoring an a priori term allows you to render any subsequent terms as purely subjective arguments; it's a basic 'Debate 101' move.

(At which point you undermine the basic premise of comparison, but pray let's not go there again, as I already did that several pages back.)
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Old 05-31-13, 10:20 AM   #340
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Yes, but keep in mind, this thread by its very nature is a cheering section for Rivendell because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Matt
Imitation? What? Lugged steel bikes were around LONG before good old Grant came along! Even the double top tube design was around long before Grant did one. Grant simply imitated others before him, not the other way around.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:25 PM   #341
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I'd bet there's a big difference in weight. I've had two Surly Cross Checks, and they are quite heavy. They're a decent value, since they cost a lot less than other frames, but I can't say they are a duplicate of a Rivendell in any way when comparing weights.
It doesn't make sense to me to focus on frame weight when talking about Rivendell frames vs. Surly frames. Even the Riv site directly states that: "
Frame weight is 1/4 as important as bike weight, and bike weight is 1/10 as important as body weight. If you want to go fast, ride harder and more often. We're not suggesting you should want to go fast unless you're racing, but if you do, that's how you'll achieve it. You can buy a Lightspeed, but it won't make you light or give you speed."

Besides, how much of a weight difference can there really be between a CC and a Riv frame? I doubt it's much more than the equivalent of a full water bottle.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:26 PM   #342
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Yep.. that would be my thought. Very beautiful frame.
Their Hillbornes were pretty nicely priced too and still very beautiful. Unfortunately, I don't like the new double-top tube style. I understand the argument for how it reinforces the frame, but I feel like a steel lugged bike already is strong enough without the need for an additional and unsightly tube.
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Old 05-31-13, 09:36 PM   #343
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My wife and I were in Walnut Creek, CA and took the opportunity to stop by Rivendell. I'm happy to report these people are the real deal; true bicycle enthusiasts. I got the opportunity to meet Grant as well as a couple other members of the staff, and I can honestly say they practice what they preach. Shortly after we arrived, Grant rode up on his current commuter, a prototype in development, and wasnít wearing a stich of lycra. He didnít look at all like what I had pictured in my mind, nor did he behave like so many anti-Rivendell posters would like you to believe. We were there because my wife was interested in the Betty Foy. I was just interested in checking out Rivendell. We fully disclosed the fact we were just looking, but they still took the time to measure us both and encouraged us to go for a ride. I, on the A. Holmer Hilsen and she on the Betty Foy. We were both impressed by the quality of the product and the quality of the ride but did not have enough time to fully evaluate. We left without purchasing and did not feel any pressure to do so. Afterall, at that time I rode two different ďvintageĒ road bikes; a Bianchi and Nishiki and was perfectly content.

A couple/three months later we went back to Rivendell. Lisa really wanted to give the Betty Foy model a good test run. Right up front I told Grant I wasn't interested in the Sam Hilborne, but that I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity and give it a try. They set me up and sent us on our way. Lisa and I didn't come back for about three hours. Walnut Creek is pretty bike friendly with tons of dirt and paved trails. To make a long story short, we came home with a Betty Foy and a Sam Hillborne. I had never felt so comfortable on a bicycle. I did not want to get off.

I disagree with posts comparing all Rivendellís to custom frames. Both the Sam Hillborne and Betty Foy frames cost well below custom steel. For example, the frames cost $1,050 each, not $2,000 and included fork, headset, bottom bracket, and frame saver treatment with ample customer service and test rides to ensure the best possible fit. A custom frame/fork from my local builder would have cost me $2,500. That would have been worth every penny to have gotten the right fit, but for me anyway, I was able to find that on the Hillborne. And, I could still get all fussy about parts, customize my bicycle anyway I want, and make it uniquely mine, because I came home with only frames.

Iíve put more miles on my Sam Hillborne this year than any other bike, in a given year, for the last 20 years. Iím a commuter and averaged 3,000 miles per year. This year I rode 4,200 miles in 10 months! Iíve ridden my Bianchi once since purchasing the Sam Hillborne. I have not ridden the Nishiki and I have a Rivendelized 1994 Trek 950 MTB just hanging from the rafters collecting dust. Rivendellís work. People think they are expensive, and they are, but nothing is more expensive than trying to make a bike fit that never will.

Matt
I definitely had a similar experience when I visited Rivendell. They were ridiculously good with their customers and incredibly kind and warm-hearted. They even gave me a free visor Their philosophy on sizing and seat post height is also something I owe them a beer for. I used to ride 54cms but now I find myself owning a 58 and a 59cm bike and couldn't be happier. However, comparing a good Rivendell bike that fits to bikes that don't isn't a fair argument. Although it's great that Riv is willing to size a person free of charge (they did it for me!) it certainly doesn't mean you couldn't have found a poor man's Rivendell that would have fit just as well. I'm glad you bought two of them though! Just because I don't personally think that it's necessary or even desirable to own a Rivendell doesn't mean I don't want their business to succeed. The better Riv does the better the Rivish frame builders do (Surly, Soma, Salsa, etc). The all-rounder bike is something that I want to see become more common place.
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Old 06-01-13, 02:19 PM   #344
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The all-rounder bike is something that I want to see become more common place.
This. I have half a mind sometimes of trying to become a "country bike" dealer myself, but given what shops here stock (and successfully make a living selling), I suspect I'd go thoroughly broke in the process.
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Old 06-02-13, 06:21 PM   #345
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The only niche open to Grant is at the upper end. He could spec out a "poor man's" Riv. It would have to be made in China or Taiwan. but he couldn't make money for long at it. Others would copy it if it caught on and would sell it cheaper could.

Any way here's mine. It is from an 87 Panasonic Mountain Cat. I had many of the parts on it already. I changed the stem, handlebars, fenders, seat and tires. I plan to add a rack, front basket, and a kickstand next.

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Old 06-02-13, 09:26 PM   #346
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The only niche open to Grant is at the upper end. He could spec out a "poor man's" Riv. It would have to be made in China or Taiwan. but he couldn't make money for long at it. Others would copy it if it caught on and would sell it cheaper could.

Any way here's mine. It is from an 87 Panasonic Mountain Cat. I had many of the parts on it already. I changed the stem, handlebars, fenders, seat and tires. I plan to add a rack, front basket, and a kickstand next.

For awhile his "poor" man Riv, the Atlantis, was made in Taiwan.
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Old 06-02-13, 09:49 PM   #347
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I put my Kuwaharas on the scale this past week and was surprised to see they weighed in closely at 32 (Cascade) and 33 pounds (Shasta). I thought the extra racks on the Cascade would have made it heavier but guess the Ishiwata quad butted frame is a little lighter as are the tyres (Marathon Racers vs Marathons) which equalled things out.

Just built new wheels with custom hubs and CR18 rims and tweaked the drivetrain a little with some new chainrings; if I did not get the hubs and everything at cost and build my own wheels this would have cost a fair bit more as it is a set of wheels that is worth $550.00. Cartridge bearing hubs that have a virtually indefinite service life are worth it.

What is it worth ? Ater 40,000 km and five years of trouble free riding... it is priceless (to me).



On frames... ours start at $1600.00 and some complete (touring and rando) bicycles sell for upwards of $3000.00 depending on component choices.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:00 PM   #348
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Any way here's mine. It is from an 87 Panasonic Mountain Cat. I had many of the parts on it already. I changed the stem, handlebars, fenders, seat and tires. I plan to add a rack, front basket, and a kickstand next.
Nice to see these old mountain bikes revived... they are very practical. Great commuters. You can buy them at bargain prices and there are so many ways to repurpose and customize them. I like this one.
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Old 07-15-13, 09:21 PM   #349
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Nice to see these old mountain bikes revived... they are very practical. Great commuters. You can buy them at bargain prices and there are so many ways to repurpose and customize them. I like this one.
Some of the old ('80's, I guess I mean) MTB frames have nice long chainstays, which mean they can carry a fairly heavy load on a rear rack (case of wine, say, and/or probably a serious touring load) without the handling getting all squirrely. I have an '87 Trek 850 "Antelope" set up as a commuter: rear rack, front basket, and -- best of all!! -- the Nitto "albatross" bar (I can't remember the model name/number now). Beats my previous ride, a '99 Bianchi Volpe (not that that was a super classy ride; this was before a big upgrade of that model...).

-Sean
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Old 07-15-13, 09:57 PM   #350
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This is *my* poor man's Rivendell. It is a 1983 SR Semi Pro, Tange #2 tubes. Sweet ride, very comfy with 27x1-1/4 tires. Got it for $130 off some local classifieds. The frame was made in Japan (the guy at Yellow Jersey says in Osaka) before the Yen got strong. Some day, I may upgrade it to brifters, etc.

My only complaint is that the bike has water bottle bosses on the downtube only. If it had them on the seat-tube as well, I'd have no complaint.

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