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Rivendell Bicycle Works

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Rivendell Bicycle Works

Old 07-19-11, 10:14 PM
  #1  
jpaschall
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Rivendell Bicycle Works

I live in Tennessee, and well preserved, good quality vintage steel comes along all too infrequently and at a premium. This has lead me to search out "new-vintage" bikes that will serve my needs and retain the look I'm after. I've seen the Rivendell's in the past, but, upon further inspection, I've fallen head over heels for the Sam Hillborne:



I'm interested in commuting, grocery getting, country rides, light touring, etc, and this bike has got all of the accoutrements that will allow me to do such things: rack braze-on's, fits huge tires with fenders, comfy geometry. The problem, as I'm sure you suspect, is the price. $1050 for a frame set just seems too high, and I really could only afford to build this bike up probably 5-7 years down the road.

My question is this, are there alternatives out there in comparable steel bikes with the features that I seek? If so, what are they? Am I just going to have to wait it out to find a local deal, or delay my gratification?
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Old 07-19-11, 10:26 PM
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Old 07-19-11, 10:38 PM
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spend $400 tops and use the rest of the money to feed your family.

Plenty of stuff. Just about any reputable company made a nice steel bike with all the appropriate things for what you want to do.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:39 PM
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You might like some of the Surly models, like a cross check. They are not as pretty as a Riv but would probably meet your needs just the same.

I'm betting you're going to get a lot of polarized responses to your question. A Rivendell is unique for a few reasons, some that you have mentioned like clearance for huge tires. Yes, there is a possibility of finding an inexpensive vintage bike that can meet all of your needs but that has it's own price tag; Patience, DIY skill and a little bit of luck. There are always the lucky finds, but they take a different kind of work.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:40 PM
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Rivendell does make beautiful bikes - unfortunately, like most beautiful things, they are quite spendy.

As an alternative, what you might want to consider is getting a old rigid mountain bike and convert it: Add slicks, fenders, racks, change the H-bars, seat, etc... It won't be the lightest or prettiest, but it will do the job nicely. I built my commuter in this same fashion from an old off-brand mountain bike I bought in 1992. The only proviso is to avoid big box store bikes (Next, Motiv, etc...).

In the meantime, start saving your pennies for the Sammy...
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Old 07-19-11, 10:42 PM
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Most of those things, with the exception of the double top tube, are available in, perhaps, a vintage mountain bike. You can get a pretty good deal on a vintage mountain bike right now. I bought an old Ross MTB for $10 at a Salvation Army several years ago and have maybe $30 into it over the years. I still ride it when I visit my family.
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Old 07-19-11, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by RunningPirate View Post
Rivendell does make beautiful bikes - unfortunately, like most beautiful things, they are quite spendy.

As an alternative, what you might want to consider is getting a old rigid mountain bike and convert it: Add slicks, fenders, racks, change the H-bars, seat, etc... It won't be the lightest or prettiest, but it will do the job nicely. I built my commuter in this same fashion from an old off-brand mountain bike I bought in 1992. The only proviso is to avoid big box store bikes (Next, Motiv, etc...).

In the meantime, start saving your pennies for the Sammy...
+1, That's sound advice.
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Old 07-19-11, 11:11 PM
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Grant Peterson is God and Rivendell offerings are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

No, Grant Peterson is an idiot and Rivendell stuff is overpriced butt-wipe.

[/thread]
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Old 07-19-11, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Grant Peterson is God and Rivendell offerings are the greatest thing since sliced bread.

No, Grant Peterson is an idiot and Rivendell stuff is overpriced butt-wipe.

[/thread]
I just noticed that your signature is in Comic Sans.

This is a far more grievous transgression than not only deifying or damning Grant Peterson, but even the dreaded Drew falls before the evil that is Comic Sans. For shame.
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Old 07-19-11, 11:24 PM
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As far as old mountain bikes and Grant Peterson:

The 1986 Bridgestone MB-3 has more or less touring geometry, and will take 2.35" Schwalbe Big Apples with room left for fenders. Mmm.
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Old 07-20-11, 03:52 AM
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Ok, so you live in a vintage bike scarce area. There is ebay, and for much less than the Hillborne frame alone, you can dig up late 80's, into the early 90's, when rigid MTB's were still at the top of the line, a pretty good bike for little dough.

Now, there is nothing the matter with the Hillborne. Me, I often lust after its big brother Hilsen.

But that aint happening anytime soon, so to scratch that itch, here is my homebrew Hillborne I'm working on. I'm not much for weekend garage sale scrounging, I got this for about $240 (that includes shipping) delivered to my door, a pretty much stock, lightly used 1988 Bianchi Grizzly. I've swapped handlebars and saddle, got a few other things to do, but that is all personal stuff, it was fully ready to go out of the box. W/some smoother tires and some fenders, which I may do, it almost could get a little faux 650b look going:



So, nothing the matter with the Riv option, but there are other paths out there esp. if money is tight and w/google, etc, you can gain information pretty quickly. FWIW, although it is becoming less common, you can find stuff like this for *lots* less than I paid if you are willing to do some legwork.
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Old 07-20-11, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
Here we go!

I have ridden a Trek560 since I bought it in 1986. It's a great bike, wouldn't part with it. When I decided to buy a touring bike I got a Surly LHT, it's a great bike. When I got the money,I replaced the frame with a Hunqapillar

https://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com...ering-for.html

The Rivendell is a cut or 12 above the Surly in performance and comfort. It's worth every penny. Now that I've ridden one,I really, really, really want an A.Homer Hilson...really really badly. Grant Peterson is not god but he is not an idiot and his bikes are a great value. They're really pretty also. You can find my experience on my blog under the"Hunqapillar" label.

Marc

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Old 07-20-11, 06:21 AM
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I for one would like to see a Grant P vs Jan H cage match!
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Old 07-20-11, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
I for one would like to see a Grant P vs Jan H cage match!
or a collaboration.
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Old 07-20-11, 06:58 AM
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I'm not a Rivendell guy, but if it's really something you want and something that's important to you - go for it. I don't know your particulars, meaning income, life style - etc. If it's something you can afford to do without sacrificing more than you're willing to, go for it. Life is a balancing act, and you need to weigh the cash and other things it can bring against the Rivendell. I can tell you that from a strictly utilitarian sense, there are cheaper options that can do what you want. I can also say that if you;re in love with it, and can afford it, it might be worth it for you.

As other said, the right rigid MTB will do that and do it cheaply - well under $300 in all likelihood. Classic touring bikes are another option; I'm particularly fond of the later models with modern spacing. Your options are more limited because of where you are, but there is ebay - if you search constantly for a quality touring bike, you'll get one - complete for well under the price of that frame. If it's me, I'm hunting a more sports tour'ish tourer - Miyata 6 series, Lotus Odysseys (depending on year, some are more full tourer than others), etc. The Surly Cross Check suggestion was a good one. Hell, a Raleigh Supercourse would do what you're talking about.

I have spent over $1,000 for a new frame and I can say that for me, it was worth every penny and I don't regret that purchase at all. At the same time, I went in understanding the balance - it would never have the resale/investment potential of my other bikes. It was by far my most costly build and it's a lot more bike than I need.

Robatsu - I LOVE what you did there! It reminds me of the old Bridgestone MB-1s with drops (there's a GP bike I'd go after in a second).

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Old 07-20-11, 07:04 AM
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I just purchase a mint condition 1987 Cannondale ST600 on Craigslist, my first stop on the discount anything trail. The funniest part was, the serial no. indicated that the bike was built on my birthday in '87. I drove 120 miles to find it, in Brooklyn, NY. When going on Craigslist, start with bikes with photos, helps save driving to view junk.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:22 AM
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It's a nice bike, but if it meant not riding for "5-7 years down the road" as you said, I think I would take the others advice and buy an old MTB bike and set up as a commuter. Then open a savings account just for your dream bike. I have done that with motorcycles before. I find if I save it it at home it's too easy to "re-appropriate" to another cause LOL.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:23 AM
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I see vintage stuff pop up on the Tri-Cities Craigslist from time to time. I'm sure there are some around Knoxville that haven't been hacked apart by hipsters yet. Don't know where in Tennessee you are, but patience will eventually yield a decent find from a local craigslist.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:35 AM
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As someone who owns a Rivendell (A.Homer Hilsen) and a 1986 Schwinn High Sierra Mountain bike set up for non-mountain use, I would say either would be a good choice. It is simply a matter of what you can afford right now. I love my Schwinn w/ Schwalbe 26x2.0 tires, front & rear racks, fenders etc. It does a better job at hauling heavy stuff (kids, groceries etc.) than the Rivendell. The Rivendell is a better bike for longer, faster riding. It is also nice to have bikes that do different things well, so when you save enough money to get that dream bike, keep the mountain bike as well.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
...well preserved, good quality vintage steel comes along all too infrequently and at a premium.
News for you: Rivendells come at a much higher premium than vintage steel.

Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
This has lead me to search out "new-vintage" bikes that will serve my needs and retain the look I'm after...I'm interested in commuting, grocery getting, country rides, light touring, etc, and this bike has got all of the accoutrements that will allow me to do such things: rack braze-on's, fits huge tires with fenders, comfy geometry.
"The Look" you covet comes during the building-up phase. To achieve the look, you'll need a Nitto stem, albatross bars, bar end shifters, cork grips, Brooks B-17, fenders, a mountain crank, and platform pedals. As far as finding a frame with braze ons which fits big tires and has comfy geometry, there are an abundance of solid MTB offerings that meet all of those needs, and cost quite a bit less than a Sammy Hillborne. Premium be damned, if the cost of a Sam is a concern I don't know why you'd consider waiting 4 years to get an errand bike when you could powdercoat a quality lugged 90's MTB frame, buy all the "lookish" "accoutrements" and a custom wheelset, and have a solid, enjoyable bike for less than 1/2 the cost of a Sam frame...

Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
My question is this, are there alternatives out there in comparable steel bikes with the features that I seek? If so, what are they? Am I just going to have to wait it out to find a local deal, or delay my gratification?
Nope. Better start saving up.
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Old 07-20-11, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
My question is this, are there alternatives out there in comparable steel bikes with the features that I seek? If so, what are they?
On a more helpful note, I'd look for a Bridgestone MB frame (several models to look for), or an early-model Trek 970/950/930, or (the grail of MTB's) a pre-unicrown fork Stumpjumper. There's no way (to my knowledge) any of those will be seriously deficient to a Sam.

And if I had all the cash in the world I might spend $1000 on a Sam frame...but until then i'll be happy with a MTB. That's just me. No hate for people with all the cash in the world.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
I for one would like to see a Grant P vs Jan H cage match!
Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
or a collaboration.
While a collaboration would be nice, a cage match would be much more entertaining. With that said...

I've seen a number of Rivs at bike shows and they are one of the most scrumptious bikes out there, short of a custom frame. I was actually considering a Betty Foy for my wife, but ended up with a Linus Mixte 8 instead, once logic and my Scots heritage took over the emotion of the decision. There is nothing wrong with a Riv, but I'm of the mind that I might as well have a frame custom built if I'm going to spend that kind of money. Until then I'll continue on rebuilding bikes I pick up on CL or eBay.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:04 AM
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check out the Kilo OS. It has a similar look, and with an internally-geared hub, it should meet your needs.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../kilott_os.htm



if you want to buy the frame and fork only and build it up yourself, that can be found here: https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ls&ProdID=1773

i have seen this bike in person and was impressed with the build quality and thoughtfulness of the design in terms of having plenty of mounts for racks, fenders, and spacing for wide tires.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:40 AM
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Thanks for all of the input everyone. I've never really considered older MTB, mainly because I know so little about MTB's in general; everything about them seems so foreign to me, but that wouldn't take long to remedy. I was always under the impression that the older MTB's were incredibly heavy; have I been mislead? Just from what I've dug up so far, these do seem like a decent option for now.

I always have my eyes out for the older touring Treks. I find them occasionally, but rarely in my size. They also compose a good option for me, if I ever find one. The Cross Check is another bike that I've looked into in the past, and the price tag for a complete is within my grasp.

Again, thanks for the responses. I suppose I'll just have to put my big boy pants on and be patient to find what's right and within the right price range for right now.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jpaschall View Post
I'm interested in commuting, grocery getting, country rides, light touring, etc, and this bike has got all of the accoutrements that will allow me to do such things: rack braze-on's, fits huge tires with fenders, comfy geometry.
Answer = 1990's Trek Multitrack. Anywhere from $75-175 if you can scare one up.

Bolt on what you wish, and swap the flat bars for whatever suits you best (I suggest North Roads). Problem solved.

-Kurt
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