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Old 01-22-19, 11:41 AM
  #105  
surlyprof
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Bay Area CA
Posts: 65

Bikes: 2011 Rivendell Sam Hillborne, 2016 Brompton M6R, 2017 Ritchey Timberwolf

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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Without trying to criticize too much, I am confused as to why a Rivendell is magical/coveted as a general brand.
If the specific geometry matches your frame and the bike style is what you want- then perfect! It makes total sense.

If the Surly and Soma bikes didnt fit you as well as the Riv, then it makes sense that the Riv is preferred. The 3 bikes have different geometry, correct?
Riv bikes are simply well made with quality moderately heavy tubing(1/.7/1 or 9/6/9 for example based on what i have seen thru years of their frames) and often times long stays.

If the Soma and Surly had geometry for a CX bike, even a relatively comparable Riv will feel obviously different. If the Soma and Surly had geometry for a road bike, even a relatively comparable Riv will feel obviously different.

This is all general commentary as you didnt specify which Soma, Surly, and Riv frames you got or what sizes. But its commentary based on seeing the geometry of 'comparable' frames and knowing they are different in fit. What fits you is the Riv and thats awesome.
I agree with your statement regarding getting a geometry that suits you. All the bikes I've bought have fit me well although geometries have been intended for different purposes (road, trail, commuting). When I responded to "But its me"s post, they had said they were lusting for "anything Rivendell". My belief after my bike owning/selling experiences is buy what you love and you'll both keep it longer and enjoy it more. If that's a Riv, get a Riv. If it's a Moots, get a Moots, etc. All of that comes with the often competing caveat that I also believe it is important to live within your means. But, if you can afford a Riv, even if it is a slight stretch, I recommend it based on my experience with Rivs. When I bought mine, it was not to buy "anything Riv", it was because certain Rivs suited what I was looking for from a bike at the time.

When I had originally considered a Rivendell, I was seeking to reduce down to N. The idea was to find an all around bike that I could ride in road rides as well as fire trails and maybe do some bikepacking on both. I also tend to prefer steel (although have always been curious about Ti). In a Riv at that time meant either a Roadeo, a Hilson or a Hillborne. The Atlantis and Hunqapillar seemed to drift too far from my road aspirations. I chose the Hillborne because it seemed to suit my purposes and was the least expensive of the 3. The closest attempt I had to creating a bargain Riv was a 56 Surly Cross Check with BG Rock N' Roads. Overall, with beefy tires and mustache bars, that was probably the closest I came to the Riv I eventually purchased. You are correct that the geometry was different. The Cross Check is a more compact package than the Rivendell Hillborne. I would have thought that would have made it feel more nimble but that wasn't my experience. The Surly tubing was beefy and I was confident that it could handle anything I threw at it. However, that beefiness seemed to come at a cost. The ride felt a little dead to me. I couldn't put my finger on the issue until I bought the Hillborne. The Hillborne just felt more lively and nimble. Initially, I was a little concerned that there seemed to be more flex in the fork than the Surly but that seemed to enhance the riding experience rather than detracting from it. I've found the Hillborne a real delight to ride. I also own two sets of wheels (one light, one strong) for it which has also helped when I shift from road riding to trail. I don't know if it is "magical", but I have enjoyed the feel of that bike more than any other bike I've ever owned and I feel like I've owned some pretty nice bikes given what I can afford (sub-$2000 range). Given my age (55), I also like that Rivs make it very easy to get the handlebars either even with or above the saddle which has been easier on an aging neck. The Surly required buying an uncut fork and using a pretty high stack of spacers which I didn't care for aesthetically.

As for the SOMA, it was a Groove. After the Surly, I went back to two bikes for more specific riding, the Groove for trails and a Bianchi Veloce for roads. In this case, the geometry varied from the Riv a great deal more (especially due to the 26" wheels). The Groove was SOMA's more laid back geometry MTB so I did try a range of configurations of bars and forks to obtain more of an all arounder but I still didn't love it. Eventually, I sold both and got the Hillborne and 2 wheelsets. That has kept me happy for 4+ years and I have no intention of ever selling it. Recently, I did purchase a Ritchey Timberwolf to do a little more aggressive trail riding than I was comfortable doing on the Hillborne. If I knew that was in my future, I may have bought a Riv Roadeo or Roadini or other dedicated road bike by a different manufacturer instead of the Hillborne. But, I still love the Hillborne so no regrets and no lingering bike lust. Additionally, all of this experimentation was living within my means which is why a Lynskey dual suspension MTB was never mentioned (OK... so maybe a little lingering bike lust!)

Given the rise in popularity of CX bikes and gravel grinder bikes, my previous experimentation probably would have been much more challenging these days. I've tried a Handsome Devil, Ritchey Outback and a carbon Specialized adventure bike and they were all a lot of fun. Had they existed, I may not have ended up on a Riv. Hard to say. I do know now that I prefer to have dedicated MTB and road bikes and that just N didn't work for me.

John
(who might also lust for a Butchers & Bicycles MK1e so I could abandon the car entirely)
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