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Rivendell seems to have changed

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Rivendell seems to have changed

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Old 07-23-18, 08:02 PM
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Hiro11
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Rivendell seems to have changed

The most retrogrouch of retrogrouch brands seems to have changed a bit. Taking a recent look at their frame offerings, I was somewhat surprised to see that they've gone all import and the prices are about half what they were:
https://www.rivbike.com/collections/framesets

Rivendell has offered a couple of imported, less expensive models in recent years but now that trend seems to have swept the entire line. Note that the most expensive production frame is now $1,400. Even the Atlantis is now import. Also, is that (gasp) TIG welding I spy on some of the least expensive frames?

I like made in USA stuff but I think this is a good idea. This pricing makes these bikes much more accessible for more people, the bikes become a reasonable option. Rivendell was never about luxury bikes. Grant professed the brand to be about practical, durable bikes. It was always hard to square that branding with the luxury good pricing. That problem is now largely solved. I know Riv dodged a bullet earlier this year, perhaps this is them getting their business plan back on track.

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Old 07-23-18, 09:37 PM
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I don't think Grant ever had anything against imported frames, he was in charge of the Bridgestone bicycles imported from Japan back in the 80s and early 90s.
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Old 07-23-18, 11:05 PM
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26.8mm seat posts and still no disk brake models.


I really doubt that Rivendell will be around in 5 years time.
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Old 07-24-18, 05:19 AM
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For a long time, the Atlantis was built in Japan, then some production shifted to the US, they were built by Waterford , I think, And some of them are built in Taiwan, the new Japan, as some people say. Bicycle manufacturing is sensitive to labor costs and exchange rates.


I never bought a Rivendell; my Bridgestones still are going strong, I have bought parts from them :and have gotten lots of ideas from the Rivendell Readers.


There are still a lot of us who like centerpull rim brakes. My recommendation to Rivendell would be to sell some of their models with brazed on studs for centerpulls..
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Old 07-24-18, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
26.8mm seat posts and still no disk brake models.


I really doubt that Rivendell will be around in 5 years time.
Lol. A company who specs it's bikes with bar-ends and it's #1 sellers are pine tar soap and baskets and you think it will be because they don't offer disc brake bikes. Lol.
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Old 07-24-18, 06:54 AM
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Keep in mind that Rivendell was almost out of business early in 2018 - five days away from defaulting to its creditors.

https://mailchi.mp/rivbike/if-you-re...e-read-this-un

Any decision they make nowadays is likely based exclusively on the need to keep the lights on. That's not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when discussing where they source their parts and whether to buy.


-Tim-
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Old 07-24-18, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post


Lol. A company who specs it's bikes with bar-ends
Many of us who tour appreciate bar end shifters. The Surly LHT is a very popular touring bike. It comes with bar ends. Wouldn't surprise me to learn that it's the most popular stock touring bike on the market. I have owned two. (First one was stolen.) When I bought my first touring bike (at the end 1998) I passed on the 1999 Cannondales and went with a '98 model because the '99s had brifters.
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Old 07-24-18, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Keep in mind that Rivendell was almost out of business early in 2018 - five days away from defaulting to its creditors.

https://mailchi.mp/rivbike/if-you-re...e-read-this-un

Any decision they make nowadays is likely based exclusively on the need to keep the lights on. That's not a bad thing, but something to keep in mind when discussing where they source their parts and whether to buy.


-Tim-
...exactly the point I was making in the original post.
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Old 07-25-18, 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
I really doubt that Rivendell will be around in 5 years time.
A lot depends on whether Grant Petersen decides to retire, and if someone wants to take the company over. Rivendell fills a small niche in thecyling world, but it is appreciated by some because it resisted the trend of the big companies that pushed performance and race oriented bike and equipment. GP is largely responsible for the revival of the 650B size tire, now popularized by mainstream companies as 27.5. He has had a lot of ideas about bikes, some caught on, some didn't. Linus Pauling once said the way to get a good idea is to have lots of ideas, even if most of them aren't that great.

Even if it closes up shop, the bikes will still be on the road thirty or forty years from now. This is a problem foar company that make a good product that doesn't need replacing every couple of years.
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Old 07-25-18, 11:24 AM
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Velo Orange and Compass do Rivendell better than Rivendell.
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Old 07-25-18, 11:36 AM
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They do have competitors, and the cost of having any place in SFO Bay area
has ballooned in cost..

Bridgestone Cult now subscribes to VBQ, magazine,
published by Compass Cycles Owner. in Seattle..




...

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Old 07-25-18, 12:47 PM
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Iíve wanted to like Rivendell for a long time. But many of their components are clearly Tektro or MKS or something else identifiable, but at twice the price because it says ďRivendellĒ on it.
For quite some time now, many of their frames were supplied by Merry Sales (aka Soma), at a considerable premium over Soma offerings.
Letís just say I donít understand how theyíve stayed afloat this long.
Can I get a Waterford for the price of a Rivendell? Can I get a custom Gunnar for less? I know I can get a Soma for a LOT less, and Tektro stuff from my LBS or online.
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Old 07-25-18, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Let’s just say I don’t understand how they’ve stayed afloat this long.
Cult of personality is certainly part of it.

I'm not saying they don't or did not have beautiful bikes but to a certain extent many have bought into the founder's philosophy and support it though his products. I'm also not saying that belief in his philosophy is not sincere.

Buying a Rivendell for many is more than just buying a bike. It is a statement of belief in Grant Peterson and what he purports to stand for.


-Tim-

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Old 07-25-18, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
26.8mm seat posts and still no disk brake models.


I really doubt that Rivendell will be around in 5 years time.
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.
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Old 07-25-18, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by onyerleft View Post
Velo Orange and Compass do Rivendell better than Rivendell.
No, they donít. They do something different, which is fine.
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Old 07-26-18, 01:51 AM
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Rivendell has changed. It's kind of a shame, in that I quite like Grant Petersen's philosophy and I agree with about 50% of what he says. One of things I like is the philosophy of buying things to last, treating them well and repairing them, rather than discarding them. I think the company is coming up against the reality of the modern market, though, where good intentions and sound ideas alone don't keep the lights on.

The reason I say it's a shame is that Grant is obviously struggling to find a balance between what his guiding philosophy tells him to sell and what he needs to sell to keep his company afloat. It's never pleasant to see a man have to compromise and water down his beliefs, even if it is in service of keeping people employed. Still, Grant has never been deceptive, and wherever Rivendell goes, I think he will be honest about it, and won't try to hide.

He's also Americana rather than French-influenced. Look at how he spells it "derailer" rather than "derailleur," after a conversation with Sheldon Brown. You can also examine his forks and their trail, even on custom Rando bikes he refuses to give clients low trail geometry.
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Old 07-26-18, 05:44 AM
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I love my Nitto Big racks that I bought from Rivendell. Hope they last a lifetime.
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Old 07-26-18, 08:37 AM
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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, 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.

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Old 07-26-18, 08:58 AM
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Stopped by his shop in Walnut Creek the other day just to check it out. Grant was busy with everyday business, but took time to come out and small talk. Had my Waterford with me and he mentioned the XT I was running was one of his favorites. Seems some of his workers took the day off and went riding. I could see him retiring and doing the same.
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Old 07-26-18, 10:10 AM
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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, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post


Letís just say I donít understand how theyíve stayed afloat this long.
One reason is they are very knowledgeable, and freely share that knowledge. They have absolutely exceptional customer service, something some of their competitors do not have. They have helped me a lot over the years, spending unexpected time on the phone with me when a quick email would have been fine, but the phone conversation gave me more information that emails would have, quickly answering questions and followup questions, and them sharing advice that many companies would not have shared, some nonstandard ways of doing something, that worked perfectly, and cost me nothing.

Selling a product is one thing, selling an exceptional product is better, and providing stellar customer service is even better.
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Old 07-26-18, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
Let’s just say I don’t understand how they’ve stayed afloat this long.
They've got a fanbase happy to send them interest-free loans when they need it, and Grant Petersen achieves this at basically zero marketing budget.
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Old 07-26-18, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
They have absolutely exceptional customer service, something some of their competitors do not have.
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.
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Old 07-26-18, 11:27 AM
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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.
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Old 07-26-18, 11:29 AM
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a little over 20 years .. all the regional British bike shops that made their own lugged steel frames ,
in batches, in the back,
to sell in the front of the store, as ready to ride bicycles, have gone..

and are now selling bikes from the big TW OEM, factory bikes .. many brands, you are familiar with ,

because they could not compete on costs.. and the quality is still good..




...
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