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Rivendell seems to have changed

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Rivendell seems to have changed

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Old 07-26-18, 12:35 PM
  #26  
Bill Gem
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
It's a strange brand. Rivendell seems to be more about Peterson's ideas and preferences than about the ideas and preferences of his customers. A few rare companies can make this work (see Apple's "the customers don't know what they want until we give it to them" approach) but generally not giving people what they want is a recipe for bankruptcy.

Still, by sticking to his guns I think Peterson has been somewhat vindicated. Lugged steel, lugs, retro paint work, room for wider tires, upright positions, less performance focus etc. All are very on trend right now and Rivendell is surely part of that story. Flat pedals and Crocs on road bikes, a return of cantilevers, a return of friction shifting, flat bars... these ideas are less popular but take these trends to the next level. Also, this isn't a fad for Rivendell: they've been making this type of bike for decades. Say what you want about Peterson but he is what he is and his bikes are what they are. You might disagree with his design preferences or choice of gear but they don't sell crap and they seem to honestly think carefully about their choices. Integrity might be a word to use, something I can appreciate regardless of what I think about his bikes.
Grant says their mission is to make bikes that wouldn’t be made if Rivendell weren’t making them. Judging by the landscape out there, I think he’s right. Extra long wheel base with long chain stays, upright riding position with swept back handlebars, no disc brakes, friction shifting, steel lugged frames, relaxed seating, all in a package using top quality components. Where else can you get that? If Rivendell wasn’t making those bikes, no one else would. I like their designs, so I would miss them.

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Old 07-26-18, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Curious about the Touring Store, went to the site to discover they are going out of business. Unfortunate.

In some respects Grant pioneered the whole idea (more like he reminded us) of road bikes being practical and all purpose. His concepts of wider tires, alternatives to F & R pannier touring, etc... are things that are much more common today. Trek, Specialized and others make all kinds or bikes now that kind of follow the Rivendell philosophy. REI as well is very much oriented towards this "style" and certainly Soma and Surly are decent alternatives. Grant was very instrumental in all this and I hope he can retire comfortably when he chooses and can find somebody of a similar mindset to keep the company in business.
Yes, but do Trek, Specialized, et al make any of them wit a 44”-46” wheel base?
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Old 07-26-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Gem View Post
No, they don’t. They do something different, which is fine.
You're so right. Velo Orange and Compass don't sell pine tar soap, hatchets, Bob Dylan records or any other manner of gew gaws and bric-a-brac. Like the idiots that they are, they focus on product development for (gasp!) bicyclists.
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Old 07-26-18, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Gem View Post
Extra long wheel base with long chain stays, upright riding position with swept back handlebars, no disc brakes, friction shifting, steel lugged frames, relaxed seating, all in a package using top quality components. Where else can you get that? If Rivendell wasn’t making those bikes, no one else would. I like their designs, so I would miss them.

Sure, who would want a bike that's fast and responsive, when you can get one that's sluggish and unresponsive?
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Old 07-26-18, 04:11 PM
  #30  
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You'd have to consider him an "old soul", so his business represents what he is.
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Old 07-26-18, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
Sure, who would want a bike that's fast and responsive, when you can get one that's sluggish and unresponsive?
Mmmm, at first blush, someone carrying a loaded bike down a rough road. Which happens to be a decent portion of what they're trying to sell.
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Old 07-26-18, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Gem View Post
Yes, but do Trek, Specialized, et al make any of them wit a 44”-46” wheel base?
I don't disagree with you, in that Rivendell bikes are fairly unique. Still, the Specialized AWOL, that company's most Rivendellesque bike, is pushing 44" in the larger sizes.

While Rivendell occupy a singular niche, to quote Jan Heine, "When Bridgestone USA closed in 1994, many mourned the loss of what they saw as the last bastion of sensible design in the quickly changing world of bicycles. They rejoiced when later that year, Bridgestone’s marketing manager Grant Petersen started Rivendell Bicycle Works. ... Everything that followed – the steel bikes from Surly, Soma, All City, etc.; the renewed popularity of handbuilt custom bicycles that since has swept the world; the comeback of classic components; even Compass Cycles – can trace its roots to the moment when Grant Petersen stood up and said: “I love steel and lugs. Why not?”"

Grant's ideas have been instrumental and have informed many of the designers producing "adventure" bikes. The tire clearance, fenders, racks, relatively low gearing and geometry of my Specialized AWOL all owe a big debt to Grant Petersen's ideas (although he would probably be able to write a compelling and well-crafted article against its disc brakes). While you're right, in that Rivendell bikes are fairly unique and no one else is making bikes just like them, I am appreciative of the fact that Grant's ideas have spread and have pollinated other minds.
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Old 07-26-18, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Gem View Post


Yes, but do Trek, Specialized, et al make any of them wit a 44”-46” wheel base?
Trek and Specialized, REI as well all make tourers with 42cm, and that's reasonable enough. As well, here's a lot of folks that make bikes that function similar to a Rivendell road/sport touring bike.

My point is (and it's arguable of course) there's seemingly been more companies understanding what Grant always knew, that bikes can be functional. Just seems like there's more stuff available then I remember from 25 years ago. As example I was looking at a Trek Domane disc. Carbon, 18 lbs, has F & R mini-shocks, takes up to a 35mm tire, fender eyelets. Seems a pretty functional all round road and gravel bike, just not cheap if you get Di2, but then a Rivendell ain't cheap either and IMO a Trek seems more bang for the buck. But I never bought into the Rivendell "less tech is better" concept and love my Di2 system.
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Old 07-26-18, 06:03 PM
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I kind of see a parallel to Jones bikes in that both are different from the mainstream. Except Rivendell is "different" just because that is how bikes used to have been made. You basically buy it to be different, not to have a better bike. It is like restoring an old bike minus the work to restore.
Jones bikes on the other hand are different for the sake of being better and throw old convention over board. Jones embraces new technology and standards (29+ tires, disc brake only, modern hub spacing) where appropriate. Rivendell seems to ignore new technology... but not because the old is better, just because.

More knowledgeable people may disagree... but it seems the market has spoken.
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Old 07-26-18, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I kind of see a parallel to Jones bikes in that both are different from the mainstream. Except Rivendell is "different" just because that is how bikes used to have been made. You basically buy it to be different, not to have a better bike. It is like restoring an old bike minus the work to restore.
Jones bikes on the other hand are different for the sake of being better and throw old convention over board. Jones embraces new technology and standards (29+ tires, disc brake only, modern hub spacing) where appropriate. Rivendell seems to ignore new technology... but not because the old is better, just because.

More knowledgeable people may disagree... but it seems the market has spoken.
Both have roughly the same upright seating position, and Jeff Jones has similar ideas about gearing. The analogy holds up, for me at least.
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Old 07-26-18, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
Both have roughly the same upright seating position, and Jeff Jones has similar ideas about gearing. The analogy holds up, for me at least.
Gearing obviously is up to the owner after buying the frame (both companies seem to focus on selling mainly frames). I assume either could get pretty high or low gearing (and most bikes could).
The geometry of the Jones bikes is very different (and modern if you believe in it being better). The Space Frame and trussfork look nothing like the "old grandpa" bikes Rivendell seems to sell. Jones bikes also seem to be very off-road capable and offer all modern technologies (large TA hub spacing, disc brake only, 29+ tire compatibility etc.)

Both jones and rivendell seem to sell what they believe is better, disregarding what the rest of the industry does. But I think Jones has a much better case to justify being different. (Full disclosure, I'm a recent Loop bar convert and believer, so I'm biased)
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Old 07-26-18, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
Gearing obviously is up to the owner after buying the frame (both companies seem to focus on selling mainly frames). I assume either could get pretty high or low gearing (and most bikes could).
The geometry of the Jones bikes is very different (and modern if you believe in it being better). The Space Frame and trussfork look nothing like the "old grandpa" bikes Rivendell seems to sell. Jones bikes also seem to be very off-road capable and offer all modern technologies (large TA hub spacing, disc brake only, 29+ tire compatibility etc.)

Both jones and rivendell seem to sell what they believe is better, disregarding what the rest of the industry does. But I think Jones has a much better case to justify being different. (Full disclosure, I'm a recent Loop bar convert and believer, so I'm biased)
If you listen to Jeff Jones being interviewed or watch his videos, he is very vocal about the way in which modern road bikes are designed for sprint finishes and how his bikes are not intended for road gearing. He is offering a complete now as well (they have been available before, though), that is a 1x10 mountain style drivetrain. Grant has always stressed the desirability of lower gears, and in that, I think they're in agreement.

Rivendell bikes have never been as capable as Jones bikes on singletrack, but Grant has always called his bikes country bikes and they are certainly not intended solely for pavement, a large number of the models at least. Look at the photos of smooth singletrack riding near their headquaters; they're in hilly Californian country terrain. Grant was also one of the first to spec a production bike with flat backswept bars, the Bridgestone X0-1, and while the geometry is obviously different, Nitto Albatross and North Road bars on Rivendell bikes have roughly the same effect on rider posture as Jones bars on Jones bikes.

I have Jones bars as well, I love them and I like Jeff Jones' philosophy, but in many respects, it's the same as Grant Petersen's. They may have different solutions, but they see a common problem, one that I wholeheartedly agree with both of them about. The bike industry has been dominated by racing which has led to bikes which are unsuitable for many riders.
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Old 07-26-18, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
I kind of see a parallel to Jones bikes in that both are different from the mainstream. Except Rivendell is "different" just because that is how bikes used to have been made. You basically buy it to be different, not to have a better bike. It is like restoring an old bike minus the work to restore.
Maybe, this seems a bit dismissive. Other people may genuinely think that long chainstays, lugs, upright positions etc are a "better bike". There are legitimate reasons to prefer such things. I get your point that some people buy a Rivendell to strike a particular pose: vaguely hippyish, nostalgic, a bit whimsical etc.

Jones bikes on the other hand are different for the sake of being better and throw old convention over board. Jones embraces new technology and standards (29+ tires, disc brake only, modern hub spacing) where appropriate. Rivendell seems to ignore new technology... but not because the old is better, just because.
This is a good point. Peterson outright rejects things that are pretty clearly "better" for most riders: indexing, STI, clipless pedals, padded bike shorts etc. Peterson's habit of positioning his opinions as fact gets a little tiring as well.
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Old 07-26-18, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
disc brakes are only better than my cantilever brakes in deep snow. The average person never rides in the snow. I imagine my cantis get ridden in way worse weather and way more often than most discs.
Where I live it doesn't snow much, but we have long steep hills. Hills that are several miles long with sharp switchbacks, or ones with extended pitches over 15 percent grade. Disc brakes are an advantage, but that's another thread. And riding those 15 percent pitches with discs is just another reason to appreciate them more. I'm talking about hydraulics, not cable actuated.
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Old 07-27-18, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
Maybe, this seems a bit dismissive. Other people may genuinely think that long chainstays, lugs, upright positions etc are a "better bike". There are legitimate reasons to prefer such things. I get your point that some people buy a Rivendell to strike a particular pose: vaguely hippyish, nostalgic, a bit whimsical etc.

This is a good point. Peterson outright rejects things that are pretty clearly "better" for most riders: indexing, STI, clipless pedals, padded bike shorts etc. Peterson's habit of positioning his opinions as fact gets a little tiring as well.
Most riders?

Regardless, his is a small, niche company that isn’t attempting to meet the needs of most riders.
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Old 07-27-18, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Gem View Post


Most riders?

Regardless, his is a small, niche company that isn’t attempting to meet the needs of most riders.
Yes, I'd say that the majority of riders think indexing, STI, clipless pedals etc are all "better" solution than the alternatives for their needs. This doesn't seem like a controversial position to take. I never said that Rivendell is trying to sell to the masses. I'm not debating the relative merit of Rivendell's offerings or Peterson's ideas. My point (again) is that Peterson often positions his opinions on the above choices as fact, that gets tiresome no matter who is doing it.
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Old 07-27-18, 08:35 AM
  #42  
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I dunno.
I am a year round commuter, long distance tourer and basic all around bike guy and I don't always think those things are better solutions (even though I use a mix of them for various applications). I would say most people don't even know different and are attracted to new tech for a bike they ride a handful of weekends in the summer and are completely dependent on the lbs for guidance and servicing. Most wouldn't know how to adjust indexed shifters or disc brakes and have bikes so expensive they dare not try anyway. While clipless is great for longer rides they require two shoes for local commuting etc unless you want to walk around in cleats which some places don't even allow in the door... Not everything new is better all the time.

I think Grant gets it that for a certain class of people what is needed is not a CF go fast tech advanced bike but rather a simple, dependable, reliable, understandable machine. I get that too as I regularly rebuild bikes and enjoy something I can completely strip and assemble/service myself. From an aesthetic perspective I also like the classic look.

One can suggest Riv owners are posers but from what I see on the weekend scene that also extends to a lot of new road bike owners as well - most of whom do not look remotely fit enough to need the advanced technology they are riding.
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Old 07-27-18, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
You're so right. Velo Orange and Compass don't sell pine tar soap, hatchets, Bob Dylan records or any other manner of gew gaws and bric-a-brac. Like the idiots that they are, they focus on product development for (gasp!) bicyclists.
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Old 07-27-18, 08:44 AM
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Grant may have kept the flame of utility/everyman cycling alive, but Riv’s custom offerings never really held a candle to outfits like Waterford.

And the non-custom stuff was increasingly Tektro, MKS, Merry Sales, etc., though at a steep markup. Selling those things isn’t selling what no one else is...it’s quite literally selling what EVERYONE else is, only for more. Last set of cantilevers I bought, I could have purchased from Rivendell, but I bought elsewhere at market value.
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Old 07-27-18, 10:41 AM
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One of the best things about Rivendell is the Rivendell reader. About twelve years ago there were articles about 650B tires, and instructions on how to convert older steel framed bikes to 650B. A lot of BF members and others on the i-bob, and 650B forums have converted their old bikes. Unfortunately for Rivendell it meant the possible loss of potential sales.


Many of the products Rivendell introduced to the US, such as some Nitto bars, and long reach sidepulls, were picked up by other retailers who then undercut Rivendell.


It is too bad Petersen didn't pick up on the trend to low trail rando bikes. A low trail version of the SOMA San Marcos, which was designed by GP, would possibly have been a best seller.
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Old 07-27-18, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
Taking him to school!
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Old 07-27-18, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Yep. When I was looking for replacement racks after someone stole my custom Robert Beckman racks and the bike they were attached to I found their Nitto Big racks on line. Had some questions and shot them an email. The responded promptly. One of my questions was about weight. They weighed both racks for me and let me know.

While he doesn't make his own stuff, Wayne (and Co.) at thetouringstore.com is the same way. When I was having some trouble getting the Ortlieb panniers I bought from him to play nice with my new racks I emailed him. he suggested that I sent him some photos and then call him, which I did. We talked for some 20 min. and he gave me some helpful advice. Then when I had a warranty issue with one of the panniers he sent me a replacement before I sent the defective one back because I was going to be starting a tour in a week.
Yeah, Wayne is another good retailer. I have spoken to him on the phone a few times, as well as email. He i a good source of information, and a good honest businessman. Love doing business with him. So sorry to see he is closing shop. I wonder if I should try to take over for him...hmmm...

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Old 07-27-18, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
So sorry to see he is closing shop.
Oh no! Just looked at his site after reading your post. I heard mention of a closing but I thought it was a temporary closure for a holiday/vacation, which I think he has done in the past. Terrible loss but wish him well.
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Old 07-27-18, 01:18 PM
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Phamilton, I am sure onyerleft is as shocked as I am that you were able to go to Velo Orange's site and maintain an empty shopping cart - not even any sweet $22 soap!
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Old 07-27-18, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SilverStretch View Post
Phamilton, I am sure onyerleft is as shocked as I am that you were able to go to Velo Orange's site and maintain an empty shopping cart - not even any sweet $22 soap!
So long as I have a Buddha quote in my sig, I feel like I should be as "empty" as possible. Suffer not for the illusion of beauty and utility their goods promise. But their stuff is pretty and bike-related, and I like things like that.
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