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Sam Hilborne or Cross Check?

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Sam Hilborne or Cross Check?

Old 06-26-11, 12:08 PM
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jhan
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Sam Hilborne or Cross Check?

I am looking to buy a nice steel bike to use primarily as a commuter with a light rear rack. My commute is 15 miles each way on pretty smooth roads and bike paths. I currently use my Cannandale Caad 9 and a backback, but want to something with a less aggressive position, softer ride, and panniers. (I have a mountain bike for trails, and an old beater bike for locking up in the city, and don't plan on any touring, so the next bike will be a dedicated commuter and winter bike).

I had my sights set on the Surly Cross Check which had many rave reviews and was about to pull the trigger, but then came across some info on the Rivendale Sam Hilborne. I can get the CC for about 1000, and the Sam Hilborne for 2000. I like the idea of a bike that is a little different from everyone else's but not sure whether the Sam Hilborne is worth another grand.

Any Sam Hilborne or CC owners care to give me their thoughts?

Also, both bikes come with bar end shifters with the cables looping out the middle of the handlebars. I like a nice clean look and would rather the cables be totally wrapped along the handlebars, but I heard that this effects the performance of the shifting. Any thoughts on hiding the cables or switching to downtube shifters.

thanks
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Old 06-26-11, 12:22 PM
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Sam Hillborne full builds are around $2500-$3000, unless you were going to build it from your own parts.

If you know exactly what you want, go with the Riv, but if not I'd go with the crosscheck for now, and eventually sell it and buy a Riv once you know exactly what you want in geometry, especially with your caad 9 history; you might not even like a heavy bike like these.

edit: I have my bar end shifters routed parallel to my brake housing, and I haven't had any problems.

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Old 06-26-11, 12:36 PM
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RBW is nicer, Lugs are their Framebuild style focus. they get US builders,
or Japan. to make them.

Surly is TIG, and , well Pragmatic, Taiwan's legions of TIG welders
take pride in their work too.
either way, The tubes get joined .
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Old 06-26-11, 12:50 PM
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I'd also look at the Salsa Casseroll or Civia Bryant.

I'm a happy Cross Check owner, but if I had a $2k budget....can't say it would be my first choice.
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Old 06-26-11, 03:04 PM
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The Sam is either Taiwan or US, depending on size. Cost is a bit lower for the Taiwan frames, different color too. The frames are extra fancy (compared to regular bikes), and you pay a lot more for those extra details and geometry tweaks that regular bikes lack. Definitely with a more comfy touring oriented geometry, but not as super-stout as a frame for dedicated, heavily loaded touring. I don't own one, but test rode it at RBW HQ--ended up with an A. Homer Hilsen (flatter top tube, more details, even fancier paint, even more crazy price).

I can tell you it's not worth it if all you want is utility. It is worth it if you have particular aesthetic preferences, and the small other differences mean a lot to you.

I don't like down-tube shifters; it's awkward to reach down so far on a more upright bike. You can get the bar-ends mounted on thumb shifters for a cleaner look, or if you don't mind the extra cost and lack of lower gearing, you can use a brifter setup.
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Old 06-26-11, 03:49 PM
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I think that unless you know for sure that you would absolutely love the unique things about a Rivendell bike, that you should get something else. I think they're beautiful and wouldn't mind having one, but for the price I would rather buy something else. Can't go wrong with Crosscheck. At the more expensive level I would consider the Civia Bryant, Kona ***** Inc, any of the great Spot Bikes, Specialized Tricross, Soma Doublecross, or Trek Portland. Many have brifters which would help clean up the cable routing. The disc brake and IGH bikes will be better equipped for winter than the Hillborne and the derailleur and cantilever bikes will be lighter and faster than the Hillborne.
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Old 06-26-11, 04:55 PM
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I just replaced my Surly LHT with a Hunqapillar and I am glad I did. The LHT is a great bike,but the Riv is just better at everything. If you can afford the coin,buy the Riv. The story of mine is on my blog under the Hunqapillar label starting with this:

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

Marc
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Old 06-26-11, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jhan View Post
Also, both bikes come with bar end shifters with the cables looping out the middle of the handlebars. I like a nice clean look and would rather the cables be totally wrapped along the handlebars, but I heard that this effects the performance of the shifting. Any thoughts on hiding the cables or switching to downtube shifters.

thanks
I route bar end cable housing up to the underside of the tops just like the brake housing. Works fine.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:41 AM
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If you are looking for a lugged steel bike with more "road-y" geometry and a slightly better price point don't forget the Soma Stanyan.
(I have a Sam, and love it, but if you're not sure about the Riv geometry the Soma is a nice frame with more standard proportions)
Otherwise, it might be worth noting the Surlys are powder coated, where the Hillborne is painted - beautifully but very delicately, in my experience.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:51 AM
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Oh yeah, don't forget that the $1050 Sams are from Taiwan and, I think, are for caliper brakes only - no canti posts (you can confirm this with Riv - it seems to change a lot!) and have double top-tubes in sizes 56cm and up. The USA frames are $1500, also have double top tubes in size 56cm and up, but have canti brakes.

So it seems that there's not that much that's equal between the Sam and CC....
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Old 06-27-11, 11:29 AM
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Both are very good bikes. The riv will give you a bike that is well built with lots of detail on a lot of little things.
You won't see many as you are ridding it around.

The CC is a do-all ok-good bike, while doing nothing outstanding. You can configure a CC to do most anything.

If you take $$$ out of it. Get the one you like best.


My guess would be the Riv.

Good Luck
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Old 06-27-11, 11:42 AM
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QBP has a whole warehouse full of house brand stuff they get made for them on Formosa.
'Problem solvers" Surly, Civia, and Salsa are their brand names ,
of bikes they have made for them
look at any of the online resellers catalog pictures , QBP will have their initials in the corner .
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Old 06-27-11, 10:09 PM
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The Salsa Vaya, about $1600 for the "complete" build, also looks nice if you're OK with disc brakes, don't mind the mountain-style straight fork, and are sure you won't ever want to make it a single speed (as it has vertical dropouts). The more I think about snow & ice next winter, the more I think about building disc wheels and moving my Cross Check parts to a Vaya frame.

IMO Surly ought to add disc brake tabs to Cross Check next year -- it shouldn't add much weight or expense and would make the CC even more versatile. Of course as fietsbob mentions, Surly reports to the same corporate bosses as Salsa...
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Old 06-27-11, 10:42 PM
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Cross Checks are solid, well-built commuters. Rivendells are higher end. If you can appreciate and afford it, get the Rivendell.
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Old 06-27-11, 10:45 PM
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The Cross Check has a fairly short head tube, which might give it a different ride feel than you want. I personally wouldn't pay the extra money for the Sam, but I might consider a Long Haul Trucker.
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Old 06-28-11, 08:39 PM
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Thanks for all the posts. I called RBW and they said that a complete build for the Sam Hillborne was north of 2700. I must have read an old post that said that i could get it at 2000. That makes the price differential quite considerable. For a primary commuter bike, 2700 is a bit much particularly since i want to use it as my winter commuter too. There is something nice about the pricepoint of the cc being low enough that I don't care about beating it up or worrying about it.

Any ride reports on the Sam Hillbornes?
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Old 06-29-11, 07:56 AM
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Hillborne Reviews:
http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/06/27/l...sam-hillborne/
and search here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!fo...w-owners-bunch

I agree that the Riv is a bike I'd "worry" about as a commuter, a Surly not-so-much. That's why I have a Sam as my "weekend" bike and a LHT as my commute/utility bike...
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Old 06-29-11, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jhan View Post
Thanks for all the posts. I called RBW and they said that a complete build for the Sam Hillborne was north of 2700. I must have read an old post that said that i could get it at 2000. That makes the price differential quite considerable. For a primary commuter bike, 2700 is a bit much particularly since i want to use it as my winter commuter too. There is something nice about the pricepoint of the cc being low enough that I don't care about beating it up or worrying about it.

Any ride reports on the Sam Hillbornes?
On the cost issue,I bought an LHT and later last year realized I could afford a Riv. I ordered the frame, raided the parts from the LHT, sold the LHT frame, and got the bike for 2150. Riv won, Surly won,my LBS won, the frame buyer won,andI got the bike I wanted.

Marc
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Old 07-15-12, 03:48 PM
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Hope this thread is still relevant... I've been fascinated with Bridgestone - now Rivendell - bikes for 20 years, and recently, finally had the opportunity to test ride several Sam Hillbornes. A very nice bike to ride. I like to ride fast, and over as much varied terrain as possible short of mountain trails, but I don't care to look like I race. I have an older GT hybrid, and I've determined that I prefer more a road geometry bike that has some trail capability, as opposed to the MB style frame.

But like some of the other members, the final build price for a Sam Hillborne as I like is about $500 US more than I originally thought. Like the OP, the only other bike that seems to come close is the Surly Cross Check. I've tried a Norco and Kona Cycle Cross - nice, but the low handle position is lower than I prefer. Whether it's entirely true or not, I've bought into Grant Peterson's "country bike" approach with the handle at or even slightly higher than the saddle or the "expanded geometry" setup.

I haven't had a chance to test ride a Surly Cross Check nor am I likely to anytime soon. Can anybody comment on how it compares to the Sam Hillborne in terms of ride feel? I noticed that one member said the headtube on the Surly is fairly short.

I am aware that if I spend the money and time into customizing the Cross Check (moustache handle, bar end shifters, fenders, Brooks saddle, better rims, etc.) I might not be too far from the cost of a Sam Hillborne when all is said and done.
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Old 07-15-12, 09:11 PM
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This is a great post because I have actually considered and thought for some time about "investing" in a Rivendell. One does get the impression if you don't jump on the bandwagon--you could miss out big--um---like Microsoft stock circa 1970.

Here are my thoughts:

I love the Rivendell. Call me stupid but it took a while for me to realize the price quotes on their website are for frame/fork only.



I would get the cross check. Beating an old horse but Craigslist--for that matter the CC frame is relatively cheap on ebay.

Check this one: http://miami.craigslist.org/brw/bik/3081297951.html

Love the color scheme sadly--I am not much of a component guru but this ad has been up for a while. Maybe others are thinking like me why pay $725 for his Surly CC when a new one $795. I think the seller should lower his price. I would pay $500 just because I love the color.

Soooo, my vote is for a CC. Yes, Grant and his marketing are great and the bikes are stunning but so are Waterford's, Mercier's. I think purchasing a Rivendell is buying into a genre, a theme, a want for days of yesteryear. Sure there are probably owners using their Rivs for daily commuting--but the pictures I see are beautiful albeit stunning bikes with not a speck of mud. Even the worker bicycles on their website are clean, neat, pretty aesthetically lovely. I could be wrong but I don't get the impression the bikes are used for rough, mean streets.

I tend to ride bikes hard, hard peddling, cornering, ---the $2700 Rivendell ---ehhh--I just don't see myself commuting "comfortably" on it daily. I am battling speeding cars, I don't want to be distracted by vanity and oh ish did I scratch my custom paint or oh damn my custom lugs are smudged.

On Rivendell's website look at Miesha Kerl's custom painted Betty Foy bike. Im not fond of the color but really the artistry is gorgeous. Is this bike being used?

Click the link to see the custom hearts on Ms. Kerl's Betty:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7924646...7629861213795/



Right now, for me Rivendells are eye candy (a simile) like pretty strippers. Nice to admire but I am not taking one home.

Perhaps when I am older, move to a country town with long winding remote roads, with grassy fields filled with purple flowers for endless horizons, picnic basket filled with brie and wine --aah yes--the Rivendell.

Right now: commuting around potholed, dusty, dirty, angry, aggressive ass South Florida---umm no.

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Old 07-15-12, 09:16 PM
  #21  
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Want the joints, TIG [Less], or Investment cast Lugs? [more]

lots of other brands use Tig.. being labor intensive ..
Asia is where they hire the workers, to each have a cubicle there..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-15-12 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 07-15-12, 09:22 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Want the joints, TIG [Less], or Investment cast Lugs? [more]
I like the lugged look - I admit it, I'm vain...
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Old 07-15-12, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by BadBoy10 View Post
I tend to ride bikes hard, hard peddling, cornering, ---the $2700 Rivendell ---ehhh--I just don't see myself commuting "comfortably" on it daily. I am battling speeding cars, I don't want to be distracted by vanity and oh ish did I scratch my custom paint or oh poo are custom lugs smudged.
Ah... this aspect did occur to me. Rivendell bikes are just so... pretty - I guess that's the word for it! Well, I have a Brompton folding bike that I kept nice and clean and then at some point after some extended use I figured, "what the heck". After only a few months of use the logo is rubbing off, some of the paint is scuffed, the Brook saddle has a gouge in it, and it's been dropped on its side more times than I can count. I would *like* to think I'll use the bike on a utilitarian basis - ah, I suspect I would never want to lock it up outside!

If I go with the Surly CC, what do you figure is a good "used" price? I saw one on Kijiji that is fully decked out for commuting (minus pedals) for $1600. Seems a bit on the high side given that I can get a new one for about $1300 before tax (without upgrades, fenders, etc.).

And any ideas if I can install a higher stem to raise the front to be comparable or higher than the saddle?
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Old 07-15-12, 09:35 PM
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Click the link in my first post: $725 again--I have no idea if the components are "stellar."

I think the CC is much cheaper than $1300 on ebay.
$1300 for a used CC is too much I think--at this price point you could purchase a used LHT (Long Haul Trucker).
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Old 07-15-12, 09:39 PM
  #25  
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Now, I have debated on a Brompton or a Tern or just a $169 Citizen folder.

How far have you commuted on the Brompton? The people at NYCE wheels indicate with a $1800 electric package distance is no problem.

Is the Brompton your romp to the corner store toy or do you commute daily 15 + miles one way on the folder? Every bike store owner I have discussed commuting with has turned up their nose in disdain and said the parts simply are not meant for long term abuse.

I would love one if it could hold its own simply because it is such a pain locking up and the anxiety of never knowing if the damn bike has been stolen. Some people will steal the hair out of your nose. It is feast or famine here. Pawn shops are booming.

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