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Sam Hilborne or Cross Check?

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Sam Hilborne or Cross Check?

Old 07-17-12, 09:05 AM
  #51  
Hangtownmatt
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
The common thought is that you are paying more for the fancy lugs and paint...only. That is not true. The subtle differences in the geometry of Rivendell bikes make them a whole different animal. I haven't owned a CC but I did have an LHT which I upgraded with a Rivendell Hunqapillar frame. The Riv is much more responsive, comfortable and intuitive than the Surly. In the long run, that will mean a lot more than the pretty lugs. It meant enough that I also bought a Sam Hillborne and can't stay off it. Marc

Here's my story:

I recently bought myself a Sam Hillborne and wasn't even in the market! My son and daughter were in a swim meet at UC Berkley and my wife and I took a little side trip to Walnut Creek during some downtime. She was interested in their mixte; the Betty Foy. We didn't have a lot of time but the staff took the appropriate measurements and put her on the Betty and myself, just for kicks, on the A. Homer Hilsen. Wild horses couldn't drag me to a double top tubed Hillborne. Everything felt great. The service was terrific and there was absolutely zero pressure to buy. Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough time to fully test ride the bikes.

A little background on myself. I'm a C&V'r type. My three rides are a 1983 Nishiki Sport, a 1986 Bianchi Squadra and a 1996 Trek 950 MTB. All three have been upgraded and modified in the Rivendell fashion. In other words comfortable. The handlebars on each at seat level. I had absolutely no need for another bike. But, for the last couple years I was seriously test riding bikes whenever the opportunity presented itself. And with my kids being swimers we were on the road a lot and I had plenty of opportunities. I test rode a lot of bikes, including Surly's, but nothing fit better or rode better than what I already had.

Shortly after our first trip to Rivendell we had a weekend where both kids were out of town at the same time! We jumped on this opportunity and made an appointment with Rivendell for an extended test ride. I left it up to them whether they set me up with a Hilsen or a Hillborne, and told them right up front I wasn't in the market. We were there for the Betty Foy and I was just along for another test ride opportunity. When we arrived everything was set up and ready to go. Grant remeasured to be sure, but the previous measurements were right on.

To make a long story short, we went on a 4-hour test ride. At the end of it all we came home with a Betty Foy, a double top tubed green Sam Hillborne, and a couple smiles ear-to-ear. I think what people seem to miss is that the value of product is sometimes greater than the sum of its parts. Yes, there are less expensive alternatives, but I had never felt more comfortable and confident on a bike.

Matt
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Old 07-17-12, 01:41 PM
  #52  
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My Rivendell Bombadil has become my favorite bike for everything from utility rides to exploration, because the bike does everything I ask of it gracefully and reliably. It is simply a delight to ride. I'm making a perhaps unwarranted assumption that the Sam would handle similarly, but based on my experience I think you'd never regret buying a Sam.

Beauty is nice, but not why I bought the bike. I bought it for a variety of reasons: strong, easy to maintain, designed to be ridden. But I'll admit that it's nice when total strangers come up to me as I'm unlocking the bike and tell me how beautiful it is. The paint has proven to be tough. No chips from locking or hitting it accidentally with my foot as I get on.

The bike is plenty tough, too. I've had it up in the mountains, where it held up better than I did on rough, rocky and steep trails. If you look around the Riv Web site you'll see stories of others riding various Riv models in the usual nasty conditions.

Last edited by Lord Chaos; 07-17-12 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 07-17-12, 03:30 PM
  #53  
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Hi Lord: Thank you for the insight in their durability in nasty conditions.

I really want a very durable strong folding bicycle. I am all over town and
locking up the beater Schwinn (recently purchased) is a nag. I want a steel folder I can roll into the store and put my monkey lights. I am going to check out the links to the folder forum.

Hi O: Yes--doesn't everyone gain interest in products from advertising? Word of mouth, advertising, visualizations---sure--of course I do. Which leads to why my thoughts of the Rivendell of one of beauty. I did not mean to offend anyone and am certainly not saying my thoughts are accurate--I am stating the Rivendell bicycles are beautiful and I would not feel comfortable beating it up/riding it hard. Honestly, advertising/website is why I am very interested in the Tern foldable.

Thanks to the person with the comment about Surly--I have heard great things but every now and again--someone says eh--overpriced. My neighbor and I were discussing the Long Haul Trucker--neither of us has ridden it but word of mouth: heard great things.

Obviously, I wish I had the option to test ride but I have visited four bike shops recently--none have heard of Riv, Tern or Brompton.


TODAY: I test rode a Dahon Sp7??? $649 (silver)--that was fun! Every bike store has a Dahon. It was funnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. (but I want steel).


Please post a pic of your Riv Bombadil! Is it your daily?
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Old 07-17-12, 04:59 PM
  #54  
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Here's the Bombadil:



Photo taken by my friend John McCullough on one of the first rides. The bike now has a set of Jandd Commuter panniers on it instead of the rack trunk. Daily? It would be, if I were commuting every day. I'm retired, so often walk for shorter errands. For utility bicycling, this is the one. For mountain riding, I have a full-suspension bike.

So far as I know, Riv only sells direct.

And I just discovered that this thread was started over a year ago, which leads me to wonder what the OP ended up buying.
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Old 07-17-12, 09:54 PM
  #55  
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Bike is lovely! Love lines--unique.
The Bombadil is like $3000 ---yikes
but the a-tross bars are those a-tross those are beautiful--I love yellow and brown.
Guess the Riv can rough it where were you?
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Old 07-17-12, 10:29 PM
  #56  
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BadBoy10: the Riv can most certainly rough it. Rivendell put up some videos of their Hunqapillar rolling through dirt, mud, and water on their youtube channel as demonstrations. In fact, they're what made me want to test ride the Hunqapillar, and I normally prefer something more "roadie" than "mountain bike-y". The beautiful bikes get down n' dirty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VR4KaDeAuI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAj7XzNd0Lw
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Old 07-17-12, 10:53 PM
  #57  
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Hi Fat_bike_nut:

Oh! LOL! Thanks for the links.

The pictures I refer to regarding aesthetics have been websites, blogs. How did you like the Hunq? I simply don't know enough about the mechanical aspect of a bike--I do think the Rivs are visually just gorgeous and again, personally, I don't see myself wanting to dirty up my $3000 bike. I would definitely purchase if I wanted one but I can honestly say--it would not be a daily commuter. I guess this is what I have been trying to say--not that the bike can't handle down and dirty--but I couldn't --sorry I just couldn't.

Riv is discontinuing this maroon/cherry red/burgandy/grey color --gosh that bike---I salivate it everytime I see it-This is the bike--I love this bike--it speaks to me.


It is very elegant/regal: Obviously, I am alone in saying--this bike is not utilitarian to me--it is art. I would put the brown Brooks saddle with the brown tires Riv sells and the a-tross handlebars with the brown grips---love this bike

Sappy, I know.
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Old 07-17-12, 10:58 PM
  #58  
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Fat_bike_nut:

SOLD!

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Old 07-17-12, 11:23 PM
  #59  
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You know, I originally wanted the grey/red Hunqapillar too, but after speaking with Rivendell, it seemed like the Sam was much more what I was looking for, and after test riding it, I'd have to agree. Plus it's a bit more affordable!
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Old 07-18-12, 03:36 AM
  #60  
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dear OP,
i'm late into this post - i've commuted with a cross check - for a couple years it was my winter commuter/dirt road bike - plus did a couple supported tours with it. my son still commutes with it. overtime i decided the fit wasn't optimal for me - top tube was too long, head tube too short. i like the feel of a steel bike - the cross check had for me just the right balance of flexibility and stiffness. suggest you consider a soma smoothie es for your commuter - mine has a better riding position for commuting than the cross check did - plus a nice feel. if you are seriously considering the investment in a riv bike - check out a gunnar sport
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Old 07-18-12, 07:02 AM
  #61  
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Badboy, the picture was taken about two-thirds of the way up a fire road in Pacific Palisades, west of Los Angeles. The road climbs 1500 feet in a little over a mile.

I'm thinking about changing to Albatross bars on this bike. Right now it has Nitto's version of "bullmoose" mountain bike bars, which pull me a little farther forward than I think I want to be.

This is one of the first Bombadils they made, and they asked me for my choice of color. I asked for "a nice, sunny yellow" and that's what I got.
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Old 07-18-12, 07:19 AM
  #62  
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Here's the Hunq and Hillborne I have, the Hunq is in the original grey and orange, I guess they charge extra for that paint job now.
Its hard to believe but they are both more comfortable than they are pretty!


Marc
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Old 07-18-12, 08:37 AM
  #63  
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Lord:

She is (the bike) ..happy. Hard to blue on your bike I am sure. Oh, I thought the bars were a-tross. Yes, that is Grant's whole mantra from interviews I have read: a-tross and 38 tires=superior comfort.

I want the Nitto a-tross bars too but I am not a component guru so I am confused if they fit on any bike. In the video link the rider is riding dirty with a-tross bars looks like he is muddin.
Looks like fun!

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Old 08-13-12, 01:57 PM
  #64  
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Just wanted to thank everyone.... I picked up a Rivendell Sam Hillborne courtesy of the Country Bike Shop in Ohio. A big shout out to Dick Denning - a great businessman and one of high integrity. Excellent advice and service!

The bike... well, the bike is an understated classic and a beauty to behold... and so nice to ride. Well thought out, straightforward components thoughtfully put together. I had only ridden the bike for less than an hour when I already got compliments. Will post a photo later on...
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Old 08-13-12, 07:22 PM
  #65  
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Ozanation, I seem to be one step behind you. I purchased two Bromptons in May for my wife and I but unfortunately they have not arrived yet. Suppose to be five weeks and has turned into 13 weeks so far. In the mean time I have been researching Rivendell bikes because I to seem to connect with Grant Peterson's philosophy, though I know it is not for everyone. The bike I am looking at is the A. Homer Hilsen with 650b wheels and Albatross bars. I foresee a trip to Walnut Creek in the not so far distant future.

Looking forward to seeing your new bike, did you get 650b's or 700's?
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Old 08-13-12, 08:40 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Just wanted to thank everyone.... I picked up a Rivendell Sam Hillborne courtesy of the Country Bike Shop in Ohio. A big shout out to Dick Denning - a great businessman and one of high integrity. Excellent advice and service!
Congratulations!

I went to that store once with my rivendell-owning friend (he has *two* double top tube Hillbornes); it's a very nice shop.
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Old 08-13-12, 08:40 PM
  #67  
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Hello all, I'm the original poster. How does my story end ... Salsa vaya.

I came across some good threads on this forum which gave some positive reviews of the salsa vaya compared to the cross check. However, it took a long time for one of my local bike stores to get one in stock to test ride. Finally, I test rode one and thought it was more comfortable than the cross check.

It is a steel frame, disc brakes, and brifters. I put on a tubus rack and fenders. Also a brooks b17 saddle and speedplay frog peddles I'm still waiting to put some more commuting rides in before giving a complete ride report but my initial impressions are as follows. A rack and panniers is much more comfortable than a backpack. What have I been doing all these years. the bike is heavy and noticeably slower than my commute on my caad 8. My uphill commute on the caad8 takes my 1 hour 5 minutes. On the salsa it is 1hr 15 minutes.

The biggest factor is that the salsa comes with 42mm tires. I can do anything with them, rough streets, dirt paths, jump curbs, I feel like it is my "end of days" bike. However, they are not particularly fast. A more complete ride report in a few weeks.
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Old 08-13-12, 10:16 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by jhan View Post
The biggest factor is that the salsa comes with 42mm tires. I can do anything with them, rough streets, dirt paths, jump curbs, I feel like it is my "end of days" bike. However, they are not particularly fast. A more complete ride report in a few weeks.
Hey... great to hear. I also checked out what Salsa has to offer, but no one close by had one for me to try, and the Country Bike Shop is only a couple hours away.

I can't say quite yet how my Sam H. will compare: it has 700 X 35 tires. The only other full size bike I have is an old GT hybrid and those tires are 26X2.25, so, anything is faster than those! From what I've read however it looks like the Sam can take up to 40 mm (effective) wide tires so I might try those one day, particularly if I keep riding through the winter.
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Old 08-13-12, 10:28 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
Ozanation, I seem to be one step behind you. I purchased two Bromptons in May for my wife and I but unfortunately they have not arrived yet. Suppose to be five weeks and has turned into 13 weeks so far. In the mean time I have been researching Rivendell bikes because I to seem to connect with Grant Peterson's philosophy, though I know it is not for everyone. The bike I am looking at is the A. Homer Hilsen with 650b wheels and Albatross bars. I foresee a trip to Walnut Creek in the not so far distant future.

Looking forward to seeing your new bike, did you get 650b's or 700's?
Hey blakcloud... funny that you seem to be following a parallel path... although maybe that's not unexpected. I think if you're willing to pursue a Brompton, then you're the type of person that is probably looking for something "different from the ordinary". I've had a couple of people snort derisively at my Brompton, while others are simply astounded at how portable it is. I'm biased - I think the snorters, frankly, just don't get it!

Similar situation with the Rivendell. When I mentioned to a colleague who also enjoys biking that I was considering a $3000 steel bike, he was dumbfounded: "For that price, you could get a carbon fibre bike!" ... implying that a carbon fibre bike represents the epitomy of what a bike should be!

I personally really like Grant Peterson's philosophy. I tried several cross checks, flat bar road bikes, Trek's Dual Sport, etc. just to make sure that I wasn't spending money on something that I didn't want. But I can tell you with all honesty, when I sat on the Sam Hillborne, it reminded me of being a 13 year old again on my first "real bike". Sure, it was a cheap $99 special that my Dad got from Canadian Tire and which I spent a whole day every spring adjusting the damn, cheap brakes, but it just felt "right". The expanded geometry is so nice to ride, and having the handles higher than the seat - counter to most of today's bike configurations - is just so much more comfortable. This isn't to say that I wouldn't get other, more purpose specific bikes in the future, but for now, the bike is very, very sweet!

You still haven't gotten your Bromptons yet? Wow... that's a long, long wait. If you recall, I didn't bother to order one: I just called up every Brompton dealer in Canada and asked what they had in stock. I figured the shipping cost would be worth the much reduced waiting time. Best of luck!

As for my Sam, I got 700 X 35 tires. Nice. I feel I can go relatively fast but they seem reasonable on grass and light trails. I'll know better this weekend hopefully when I get more of a chance to break in the bike.

... and if you're wondering what to get next, I'm thinking of a used Surly Pugsley with fat balloon tires to see how well they might ride in winter over snow for the commute and on trails with wet, snowy conditions. Now if you were contemplating the same, that would be scary...
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Old 08-14-12, 04:56 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Similar situation with the Rivendell. When I mentioned to a colleague who also enjoys biking that I was considering a $3000 steel bike, he was dumbfounded: "For that price, you could get a carbon fibre bike!" ... implying that a carbon fibre bike represents the epitomy of what a bike should be!
The funny thing was it was actually a carbon fibre bike that cemented my desire for a Rivendell. I test rode a Specialized Roubaix with Ultegra and I loved the bike. It was light, comfortable, responsive and it had a nice long head tube where you can get the bars level with the seat. There was actually nothing wrong with the bike except it didn't have the panache that lets say a Brompton has or Rivendell has. Your opening comment of "different from ordinary" was spot on though I never realized it until you said it.

I already have two great commuter bikes, though one is a back up bike more than a commuter. I have built up two Masi Speciale Commuters, one as a single speed, the other as a multi-speed. The single speed bike is my bike of choice. The second one is used more to pull my Burly Travoy. This is the bike I have decided to turn into a poor man's Riv. I put a Pletscher double kickstand on it and I will be buying the Rivendell inspired Nitto Albatross bar with bar end shifters today, when the store opens. A Brooks and a porteur rack will come next and if I decide I like that Gentleman's riding position then it will be time to start test riding a Rivendell.

Back to the original post, I don't think the Masi Special Commuters got the praise it deserves. Steel bike with long head tubes, horzintal dropouts with derailleur hanger plenty of braze ons for fenders and racks and the most important thing for me and why I didn't buy a Cross Check was the Masi had a low bottom bracket compared to the CC. Plus it has the long chain stays so you don't end up hitting your panniers with your feet while pedaling. This bike as great value, hence buying two for myself. My winter bike was a Specialized Centrum single speed which I hated as the bottom bracket is about 12" off the ground. It is too hard to get off and on, so I gave it to son number one. The new winter bike looks like a 2013 Kona Dr.Good. Puglsey is overkill in Toronto. Ice and slush are our biggest problem not snow, at least downtown where I work
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Old 08-14-12, 07:16 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post

Similar situation with the Rivendell. When I mentioned to a colleague who also enjoys biking that I was considering a $3000 steel bike, he was dumbfounded: "For that price, you could get a carbon fibre bike!" ... implying that a carbon fibre bike represents the epitomy of what a bike should be!
Good story, I had a similar incident while riding in a charity ride. Somebody from the local club rode next to me and (of course) asked "how old" my Hillborne was. When I told him 6 weeks, his jaw dropped, he stared at me and asked, "why would anybody want to buy a bike like that?" I said "it's all about comfort." He just rode away with his mouth hanging open, shaking his head. Crabon based life forms, whatcha gonna do?

Marc
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Old 08-14-12, 09:47 AM
  #72  
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I feel like if I'm going to get one CF bike I need to get 5 to hang the other 4 on the support car following me for spares.
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Old 09-09-12, 08:45 PM
  #73  
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Promised pictures - green Sam Hillborne

I finally got around to getting the photos off of my camera: here's the "pretty" bike!

A funny story is that shortly after I got the bike, the freehub turned out to be defective, so I brought it to my LBS to replace. Apparently the bike got a LOT of rave inquiries while it was sitting in the shop! It was too nice to put in the back, so they had it in the showroom with their new bikes to prevent any scuffs and people kept asking about it. Almost all the employees rang the bell - it has a big, brass, very loud, "made in Japan" bell! Even when I picked up the bike, the tech just kept saying what a nice bike it was.

Although I had to go to a LBS, a big thanks again to Dick Denning at the Country Bike Shop in Ohio for his support and quick send off of a replacement free hub. His after support and thoughtfulness are outstanding!

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Old 09-09-12, 10:03 PM
  #74  
hopperja
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I have commuted thousands of miles over the past few years on my CrossCheck. It is an excellent, reliable commuter bike.

That being said, I've never ridden a Riv bike, but with all the reading I've done, I agree with Grant's cycling philosophy. I'd probably really like his bikes too.

My newest bike is a Tern Link P9. It fits me better than any bike I've ever ridden. I've commuted once or twice on it, and did my first ever century on it. If I had only one bike (other than something for trail riding), at this moment it would be my Link P9. It's worthy of commuting, errand running, travel, and light touring.
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Old 09-10-12, 06:05 AM
  #75  
Pedaleur
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If you're going to spend that kind of money, go IF or Waterford. You get exactly what you want.

But like others said, if you don't know exactly what you want, get the CC for now.
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