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.