I just built up this Soma Doublecross for my son.
I just built up this Soma Doublecross for my son.
Great looking Soma, Gerv!
In case you haven't seen the spec sheet on your bike here it is: http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1985...Page_1%29.html If you hit the next tab the next page will show the Le Tour Luxe specs.
I was introduced to Rivendell Bicycle Works and Grant Petersen's writings almost two years ago and was very intrigued. I bought my first adult bicycle, a Trek Multitrack, in 1995 and rode it for twelve years and then gave it to my dad and bought a 2007 Trek 7.2 FX. I was riding the FX when I discovered RBW and because I wanted to test some of Grant's ideas, I gave the 7.2 to my dad and got my old Multitrack back from him. I rode it for a bit and discovered it was too small so I started watching Craigslist for a replacement and about 3 months later I scored the same year and model Multitrack in a larger size.
I've spent the last year or so upgrading different components on that bike and reading about frame geometry and comparing that to the ride characteristics of my bike. I quickly discovered that my bike had too much trail so I bought a new fork with 1cm more rake and dropped the trail from 74 to 66mm. This was a vast improvement. I also decided I wanted to try longer chainstays, a lower bottom bracket and even lower trail so I started searching for appropriate frames and finally found the Handsome Devil.
Handsome Cycles was started in Minneapolis by a couple of guys who work in a bike shop where there is a great deal of reverence for Bridgestone bicycles. With Grant's blessing they recreated the XO-1 and then designed the Devil as a 700c version of the XO-1.
The Devil has 73 degree seat and head tube angles, a 45mm rake fork (trail of 60), chainstays of 43.6 + cm, and 70mm of bottom bracket drop. The Devil's trail is right where Grant has stated he likes it, the bottom bracket is higher by Rivendell standards but lower than what I was riding and the chainstays came out to 44.5 cm with the forward facing dropouts. All of my bikes have had 73 degree seat tube angles so the more shallow angles are still an area to be explored for me. Otherwise, this bike is a solid middle-ground between what I was riding and a Hunqapillar. In fact, it has the same basic geometry as the Legolas and the 1994 Bridgestone RB-T.
I've only ridden it a couple of miles but my initial impressions are very positive. I don't feel a huge difference from the additional chainstay length but the bike feels much more stable and smooth and surprisingly, the front end feels more stable with 60mm of trail than it did with 66mm of trail. The overall stability I attribute to the lower bottom bracket (an maybe the longer chainstays) and the more stable feeling front-end I'm guessing is a result of 60mm of trail being in the so-called "neutral steering" range. I know I never would have take my hands off the handlebars of my Trek but I was completely comfortable riding this bike with no hands. My Multitrack felt a little squirrely when making really tight turns (like doing a 180 in the width of a residenctial 2-lane street and I didn't like doing it at all with the 40mm Duremes on. This bike, even with the Duremes, just whips right thru that tight turnaround without any feeling of instability.
The plan now is to eventually make my way out to RBW headquarters so I can actually test ride a Hunqapillar. If the ride quality improvement from the Devil to the Hunqapillar is equal to the improvement from the Trek to the Devil, I'll set my sights on eventually getting the Hunq.
Future plans include gradually lowering the handlebars as I get back into bike riding shape, installing my 32mm Vittoria Randonneur Hyper tires and possibly converting to drop handlebars.
55cm Handsome Devil
Deore 48/36/26 crankset
11-28 9-speed cassette
Velocity Dyad rims
Schwalbe 40mm Dureme tires
As weighed on LBS digital scale: 26.7 lbs. I calculate that replacing the Duremes with my 32mm Vittoria's, the weight will drop to 25.5 lbs.
Lot of nice details in your build too.... but one question: are those Pasela Tourguards? If yes, do you like them?
When (if) I get another bike, though, I'll seriously consider a Rivendell. Yes, it's an obscene amount of money for a bike, but an LHT costs $1300 now (I paid $900 in 2008), and when you compare the cost of a Rivendell to other things, like cars, vacations, nice kitchen appliances, or a single semester of graduate school, it doesn't look that bad. Plus, it's a really nice bike, even nicer and more durable than a Surly, and it will probably last for decades if you take care of it. I can think of worse ways to part with $3600...
Handsome bike! I was considering one of their frames a few years ago, but they discontinued it. It was more of a road frame made with Reynolds 631, but stopped production almost as soon as they started for some reason. I also like their XOXO model, and that would be a top choice if I wanted a bike with 26" wheels.
I like this thread. I really believed in Bridgestones and sold a lot of them when I worked in a shop. I own three (an RB-1, XO-2, and a CB-1). But I have mixed feelings about Rivendells. The bikes look good and they're interesting. They're also priced in line roughly with equivalent bikes from custom builders but (and this is a big but) they're not built by Rivendell and there are no options. I like the Heron a lot as a touring bike, for example, but you can pick up a Bruce Gordon Rock and Roll tour for less (a lot less). For about the same price, you can pick up a co-motion americano or a wateford adventure cycle and actually have a choice in colors and other options. If I were going to pay that kind of money for a bike, I'd like to buy it from the builder and have some options.
Rivendell sells more than just bikes; it is also a philosophy about bikes. If you buy it (and there are some attractive aspects of GP's philosophy), then by all means get the bike. If you don't, there are attractive alternatives like refurbishing an old bike, buying a reasonably priced steel from some Soma or Surly, or buying a custom bike.
I also use the Pasela TG tires on the Schwinn because they came in 27" size and with tan sidewalls to give it that vintage look. I'm using the 1 1/4 size on the rear and 1 1/8th on the front. So far I love them. They seem to be wearing like iron after about 1,500 miles and no flats or cuts, and they ride nice though they are not racing tires - they are light to medium load bearing touring tire, their not heavy or sluggish like other touring tires just not as fast as a smooth tread lighter race tire would be, and the tread pattern is directional so you do have to mount them in the correct direction. I've ridden them off road, obviously not rough stuff but they handle dirt and gravel well enough. I did however put a Panaracer Flat Away liner in the rear tire because I wanted to make sure I didn't get any flats on the rear while touring because I didn't want the hassle of removing the panniers, and the fender just to get the darn wheel off then put all that crap back on. The front tire I didn't bother putting a liner in that since fronts typically get less flats and I'm not currently using front panniers. In word, I love these tires.
I think the VO's Campeur makes a pretty nice Rivendell-on-a-Budget. It has lots of tire clearance, it's easy to get the handlebars high, and it's all steel. Personally, I prefer a good bike in the 1000-2000 price range to one that's 3-4k. If a bike is too expensive I think it'd be hard for me not to worry about it, which would make it less fun for me. I'm just not at that income level where I could shrug off a 3k loss, but I could grit my teeth through losing my Campeur if it got wrecked or stolen.
bragi, you raise good points. The Surly bikes are really heavy. That's fine for some applications and riders, but it's a deal breaker for me.
I know a couple of people who own Rivendell bikes who didn't really expect to love them as much as they do. I guess there is something to them.
If I were looking for a new bike, I think this would be it.
Although this Mercier I picked up (at least pieces of it) a few years ago is probably closer to a poor man's Rivendell. It's now my current fascination. I ride home from work and then take off on this one for a real ride.
My Kuwahara Cascade must be the poor man's version of an LHT... albeit lugged.
Loving the bikes in this thread, especially that Campeur :thumb: