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  1. #1
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    Rivendell Bike; Good for commuting?

    Ok, so the obvious answer to the post would be , yes. As mentioned on the riv website, their bikes are designed around fat tires, relaxed geometry, load carrying, all that stuff.

    But before I'll be spending over two grand on a Hillborne, I wanted to get insight on those who do commutes on their Rivendell bikes, how do they feel about locking them up outside. Is this a bike that's too nice to be riding hard in all weathers, leaving it outside at the mercy of potential thieves. Would it be better to go for a lower cost bike?

  2. #2
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    Yes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

  3. #3
    Seņor Member cali_axela's Avatar
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    It depends, mainly on a few big factors: how often and how long you plan to leave it locked up, and how long+rough your commute is. Can you park it in a safe place in your office, or will it be locked up on the street? Do the increased comfort and reliability of that bike trump the risk of having it stolen? Can you get along just as well with a much cheaper bike for commuting?

    Personally, I only have a ~5.5 mile (each way) commute, and do it on the crappiest generic steel-framed fixed gear bike I could find, so that I don't worry whatsoever about locking it up or beating it up. I'd never leave either of my "nice" bikes locked up out of my sight frequently, or for any extended amount of time. Makes me appreciate my nicer bikes more when I ride them on the weekends or evenings. But, if I had a longer commute, I'd probably invest in a nicer bike (and another lock or two). It all depends on your specific situation and needs.
    Last edited by cali_axela; 01-04-13 at 06:09 PM.

  4. #4
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Well It'll be good fo Grant Peterson, that much we can say.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  5. #5
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    I agree - it depends on where you can lock and store your bike. I use an Atlantis for a ~20 mile commute (each way) but I am parking in garage only accessible to badged employees/visitors/customers. There are some commuters that don't lock their bikes, even nice ones. If I had a shorter commute or a less secure place to park, I would have a different answer but I don't have to worry about my bike during the day.

  6. #6
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    If you're going to be relying on it and can't afford to replace it it's "too nice". If seeing it develop a little surface rust and get dinged up a bit is going to cause you pain get something cheaper.

    Are Rivendells suitable for commuting? Yep. Are there other cheaper and plainer bikes that are also suitable? Yep.

  7. #7
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    I live out in the suburbs and ride into downtown, a 35 mile roundtrip commute. For me, I'm looking for a replacement for my beater bike, though I want to ride it hard, I don't want it to be a crappy bike. Usually I ride to work and back and bring it in, which is not problem. My concerns revolve around the peace of mind, say when I'm studying in the library for a few hours, having the bike locked outside. Maybe having to go to a shabby neighborhood or even leaving it parked outside downtown. Riding in inclement weather and scratching the paint dosen't worry at all. So maybe I should go for a little less cheaper bike like an LHT, but this will be my only bike for awhile and I want the panache that comes with having a Rivendell bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member steve-in-kville's Avatar
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    I've often thought of taking a really trashy looking frame and building it up with decent components. Use it as a commuter and hopefully the "thugs" pass over it and try to snatch the $90 Walmart bike chained next to it.
    Best regards - steve
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  9. #9
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    You can always take a new frame (say, one of the Nashbar ones) and put a crappy paint job on top of it.

  10. #10
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Not sure what city you're in but 'downtown' and 'expensive bike' rarely go together.

  11. #11
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I'd like to own a Riv bike.

    I'd love to ride it to work too.

    Wouldn't be too fussy about locking it up on the street though. But if my work had secure parking (right now I park in a car park and there's some surveillance by Security Guards)... I might go for it.

    (that is... if I weren't such a tightwad! )

  12. #12
    Super Moderator tractorlegs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebedeley View Post
    I live out in the suburbs and ride into downtown, a 35 mile roundtrip commute. For me, I'm looking for a replacement for my beater bike, though I want to ride it hard, I don't want it to be a crappy bike. Usually I ride to work and back and bring it in, which is not problem. My concerns revolve around the peace of mind, say when I'm studying in the library for a few hours, having the bike locked outside. Maybe having to go to a shabby neighborhood or even leaving it parked outside downtown. Riding in inclement weather and scratching the paint dosen't worry at all. So maybe I should go for a little less cheaper bike like an LHT, but this will be my only bike for awhile and I want the panache that comes with having a Rivendell bike.
    Rivendell is a good bike indeed, but there are a lot more options and many of them are much less expensive. Trek, Giant, Cannondale and other manufacturers have great bikes for utilitarian/commuting use that are relatively inexpensive. My only bike right now is a Giant Escape that retails for $420 that I ride to death and do everything on . . . However, if you want the Rivendell go for it
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  13. #13
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    Yeah, I have a 1983 Trek 620 that I ride around a bit, but I'm spending so much money to build it as a Hillborne (moustache bars, Nitto racks, brooks) that it seems a bit silly for me to continue on.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebedeley View Post
    Yeah, I have a 1983 Trek 620 that I ride around a bit, but I'm spending so much money to build it as a Hillborne (moustache bars, Nitto racks, brooks) that it seems a bit silly for me to continue on.
    It'll still look less attractive to bike thieves than a Rivendell Sam Hillborne, though, I bet

    There is one guy who posts here on bikeforums and rides a Sam Hillborne to work. Let's see, I think his username was buck65.

    If I was in your place, I'd go with something like a Surly Cross-Check or LHT. 1/2 to 1/3 the price of a Rivendell, so if yours gets jacked, you can afford to get a second one compared to the cost of a Sam Hillborne.

    Grant Petersen himself even recommends the Surly LHT if you want a Riv-esque bike, but on a budget.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    I used to commute on a Cross-Check, now I use a Riv All-Rounder. Once set up the way I like them, the rides are close to the same.

    It was full of sand and mud so I spent a couple hours on January 1 scrubbing and polishing.


  16. #16
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    I ride a Riv on a 30 mile round trip. Second rainiest year on record, rode it every day. I take on the local mtn bike trails with the kids. I carry pannier on the rear rack all the time. I weigh 200#. I jump curbs. It's tough.
    I don't lock it up, I take it inside at work. I take it inside at the store. I don't lock it up. If it was stolen, I would be very sad and it's easy for me to avoid by bringing the bike with me.

  17. #17
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    From what I know about them, their frames are among the best possible choice for commuting. The only drawback to them is the cost, which is three times that of a mid-level hybrid but does basically the same thing, only slightly better. And has old-fashioned construction.

  18. #18
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebedeley View Post
    maybe I should go for a little less cheaper bike like an LHT
    That's exactly what I was going to recommend.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  19. #19
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    Buy and permanently leave three Kryptonite U-locks on the parking bike rack at work (so you don't have to carry them on the bike). Get one long, one medium, one mini evolution.
    When you get to work use them like this:
    Lock the frame to the rack with two of them. Lock the Brooks saddle to the frame (run U-lock through saddle rails and then around seat stays).
    Use locking skewers for your wheels, or run one of the U-locks through the wheel when locking frame to bike rack.
    Experiment with the combinations.
    You don't have to carry them on the bike. They will live at the parking bike rack and be there for you when you arrive at work.

    You only live once. If most of your riding is commuting, might as well enjoy it on the bike you want to ride.

    Or, buy the Hillborne for rides where you don't have to leave it alone, and then buy a used, cheaper beater Rivendell for commuting.

    I commute on my Rivendell Bleriot, but I can take it inside.
    Last edited by lungimsam; 01-05-13 at 08:43 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebedeley View Post
    So maybe I should go for a little less cheaper bike like an LHT,
    The LHT will get stolen also. Just get a quality stealth beater and call it a day. Do some searches on the Classic and Vintage forum. There are plenty of good deals out there that wont hurt so much if stolen.

    I commute on a Sam Hillborne, but I have an enclosed bike locker behind a security gate. If I didn't have such a setup I wouldn't be on a Rivendell. As a matter of fact, prior to purchasing the Hillborne last March I always rode vintage beaters. Worrying sucks. Getting valuable stuff stolen sucks even more.

  21. #21
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    I would guess that a Rivendell would be slightly less attractive to a thief than a Surly, being a less well-known name. But the cost of replacement is much higher. I personally wouldn't ride a new-looking $3000 bike anywhere that I had to leave it unlocked but unguarded. But that is a choice you need to make for yourself - if the style and construction is worth the added hassle and expense and heartbreak in the event of a theft, compared to the theft of a $1100 Surly or $800 Trek.

    But a fairly understated blue lugged frame locket to something solid with two Kryptonite U-locks is probably a better choice than a more flashy 'modern' bike.


    Remember the 'being chased by a bear' strategy of locking your bike: The old joke is "If you are in the woods with your friend and you are being chased by a bear, you don't have to outrun the bear- you just have to outrun your friend."

    THe bike locking corollary to that is "Your bike doesn't have to be impossible to steal, just less attractive to thieves than the one next to it."

  22. #22
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    If I had a Riv, I'd commute with it on nice days and use a dedicated rain/snow/ice bike the rest of the time. IMO, if I'm paying over $1000 for a frame, I'd want it to stay nice.

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If you make enough money at work to replace it easily , when it is stolen, fine..

  24. #24
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I use my Hillborne all the time all over the place, that's what it was made for. I use my Hunqapillar for touring/29er use in the summer and commuting with big studded tires in the winter. I have been riding for 40 years all over the country, lived and worked in 8 different metro areas, commuted in each and have never had a bike stolen. Not that I don't think it will happen, but some common sense locking it in a highly visible place with a good lock will deter nearly everybody. A good point about Rivendell bikes is that not many people have them in any particular area. Most people think they are "really old" bikes and I don't think common snatch and grab thieves are attracted to them compared to other brands. I don't think you can find a better commuter and if it is stolen, well, it is covered by your homeowner/rental insurance. I leave either of mine anywhere and sleep perfectly well.

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  25. #25
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    I ride a crappy bike right now for commuting and I hate it. I hate the bike and probably would give it to someone to steal if I had a better bike. I'm not sure what world people live in that they figure they'll enjoy the fruits of their labor some other time.

    If you want something and can afford it and choose not to get it simply because someone might steal it - you're already allowing yourself to be victimized. Figure out a way that you can have what you want and keep it secure. If you're going to get a Rivendell - then put in the effort (as some suggested) to make sure you can lock it and do the things that are necessary to keep it.

    Or you can do what people suggest and buy the worst riding, most painful bike you could possibly find and ride it to keep the boogie man away.

    Also, don't buy a nice house, because nice houses draw the unwanted attention of thieves. Instead, live in a cardboard box - nobody wants a cardboard box - so you're sure to be safer there.

    (strawman, but still valid).

    I seriously hate the saying, but you only do live once, why would you live in a way that you didn't want to remember?
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