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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 06-06-10, 10:25 PM   #1
Kurious Oranj
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VO Rando vs. Sam Hillborne vs. something else

I have been thinking of building a long-distance bike for some time now and I have pretty much gathered most things I need except a frame. It is not like I really need another bike as I have a couple bikes that could do the job but as you know, one can never have too many bikes plus this will be a good first bike building project.

I had my eyes on the VO Rando frame but I wanted to look at other options in the less than $1500 range, preferentially less than $1000. I found out that older versions of the Sam Hillbone frame can be had for $1000 and there may be an additional $100 discount for Adventure Cycling Association members.

Does anyone have any thoughts on or experience with these two frames? Please feel free to suggest other solid frames in this price range that may be suitable for long distance riding.

thanks!
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Old 06-06-10, 10:36 PM   #2
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I was looking at info on those two today as well. Also was looking at the SOMA Stanyan. Seems like it would make a really nice rig and new frames run around $600.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:45 PM   #3
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I looked at the Stanyan as well. Seems like a really nice frame. I will add that one to the list.
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Old 06-06-10, 10:54 PM   #4
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I chose the VO Rando frame. Steve Rex at Rex Cycle is building it up for me this week, the final fitting is this friday. I will share my thoughts and pictures next weekend.

I did inspect the frame last friday, beautifully done. I am doing a Shimano 105 STI setup, with a triple and 12-27, VO rack up front, VO fenders

Jesse
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Old 06-06-10, 11:02 PM   #5
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Jesse,

By all means post some pics and a report. I am in no hurry purchasing a frame and I would like to hear from someone who has a first hand experience with the Rando frame before I make up my mind. It seems like a great frame for the price. I have already bought some VO stuff for the build including fenders and bags. It looks like good quality stuff.
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Old 06-06-10, 11:19 PM   #6
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I chose the VO Rando frame also, for what that's worth; I'm a new rider. It is being built by a new Chicago area dealer, Joie de Velo, in Lake Bluff. I almost bought a Surly LHT during the REI sale, but the 56 was just a bit too tall for me and I didn't want to go to a 54 with the 26" wheels. I thought about the Stanyan, but figured it might be a bit too race oriented. I considered the Hillborne also, but didn't want 650b and didn't think I would fit a 700 size. My wife then found Joie de Velo and I loved their brand variety. When we visited, they even had a built up VO Rando in stock. I liked the look, the finish, and decided to order one. It's a Shimano 105 STI triple, 11-28, Honjo hammered fenders; still thinking about VO racks and bags.
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Old 06-07-10, 08:54 AM   #7
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I'm very curious to hear how the VO rides! I haven't seen any reviews yet.
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Old 06-07-10, 10:35 AM   #8
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Were I shopping for a new rando bike, the VO would be high on my list, right behind the Boulder Allroad (http://www.renehersebicycles.com/). If I had the bucks, a Herse, Weigle, Lyon or Terraferma custom would be at the top, but $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. (Although, Jeff Lyon can build you a custom rando frameset for under $1500, I think. www.lyonsport.com)

None of the Riv bikes are even on my radar. I prefer light, lively frames, and Grant tends to spec 'em more, ahem, "robust" than I like. Add to that the lack of fender braze ons and high-trail geometry, and they're just non-starters for me.

SP
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Old 06-07-10, 01:40 PM   #9
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Given sufficient time to manufacture it, ordering a Mercian might be another option to consider. With current prices and currency conversion rates, an Audax Special 631 build to your measurements is about $850 with about $115 for US delivery. For various price increases, you could also select 725, 853, or 853 Pro Team tubing.
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Old 06-07-10, 08:01 PM   #10
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I have a Sam Hillborne and have seen a VO Rando being built up. In my view, the difference in price pretty much corresponds to the difference in quality. In addition, the Hillborne allows for considerably wider tires, and has more braze-ons. I can't speak for ride quality, as I've only ridden the Hillborne (which is fantastic and super comfortable).

In general though, it is not just about price comparisons. Rivendell bicycles have a very specific geometry which people either love or not so much. The Mercian suggested above is a great bike, but a totally different kind of bike. It's a matter of what sort of ride you are looking for.
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Old 06-07-10, 09:15 PM   #11
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Thanks for the good comments and suggestions. Both the Boulder Bicycle and the Mercian look like good options. The VO frame is still high up on the list but I am interested in knowing if anyone has personal experience or knows someone who has personal experience with the Boulder Bicycles.
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Old 06-07-10, 10:17 PM   #12
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I'm kinda looking for the same thing. I think I've more or less decided on a Pacer, myself. Not nearly as pretty as the two you mention, but an excellent value.

That said, if I had the scratch I'd buy the Riv. Beautiful.
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Old 06-11-10, 02:55 PM   #13
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I'm about to put my 60cm Riv Rambouillet (blue & white, made by Toyo) frame up for sale, which is a perfect rando frame. If you're around 6' tall and are interested, PM me.

Pete
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Old 06-11-10, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurious Oranj View Post
I am interested in knowing if anyone has personal experience or knows someone who has personal experience with the Boulder Bicycles.
There was a review of Boulder Bicycles about a year to 18 months ago in Bicycle Quarterly; they sell back issues. As I recall, they really liked it. It's a frame built by Waterford, I think, but spec'd and built up by Boulder Bicycles. Speaking of which, a different take on a frame would be a Gunnar, also built by Waterford -- I think some folks have posted here that they do long rides on the "Sport" model.

http://gunnarbikes.com/site/bikes/sport/

Edit: the Boulder Bicycle review was spring 2009:

http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/contents.html

Last edited by BengeBoy; 06-12-10 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mudboy View Post
I'm about to put my 60cm Riv Rambouillet (blue & white, made by Toyo) frame up for sale, which is a perfect rando frame. If you're around 6' tall and are interested, PM me.

Pete
Too big for me - too bad.

I will try to track down this copy of Bicycle Quarterly - I just recently became a subscriber and I wish they opened up e-versions of older issues for current subscribers. It is a very neat magazine. Will also check the Gunnar.
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