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Thoughts on Rivendell Simple One

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Thoughts on Rivendell Simple One

Old 02-17-23, 03:02 PM
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Thoughts on Rivendell Simple One

Hi Everyone,
I have a new to me Riv Simple One and I'm not too happy with it. Despite 35 mm tires I'm finding the ride somewhat harsh and unforgiving. Reminds me of a Surly LHT without a load.

I'm curious to hear about others experiences and thoughts about this bike, the ride, etc. Not sure yet if its a keeper.

Thanks,
Alan
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Old 02-17-23, 06:26 PM
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I don't have one, but my first thought is "what tires are you using, and at what pressure?"
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Old 02-17-23, 08:45 PM
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There are so many factors at play that I couldn't say the bike is bad without addressing some stuff first.

As JohnDThompson said what tires and pressure? That would be the first thing that could ruin a ride. Supple tires at lower pressures will make a nicer ride.
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Old 02-17-23, 09:21 PM
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Go ride a mid 1990's vintage Cannondale road bike. The Rivendell will feel like its got full suspension.
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Old 02-17-23, 09:37 PM
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Once you're in the 35mm tire range, tires are way more of a factor than than the frame in terms of comfort.

For comfort and smoothness get fatter and lighter tires.
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Old 02-18-23, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion
Once you're in the 35mm tire range, tires are way more of a factor than than the frame in terms of comfort.

For comfort and smoothness get fatter and lighter tires.
Agree, that tires make a huge difference. Right now I have Panaracer Gravel King slicks, 35 mm, running at 30-35. Its about as low as I want to go on NYC roads. Moving up to RH 38's may make some improvement, I suppose. They're expensive...and won't change the basic frame construction.

Any feedback from actual owners/riders?

Thanks,
Alan
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Old 02-18-23, 08:04 AM
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All I will say is Rivendell, if it is known for anything, it is known for offering comfortable bikes. I say offering because they design them and then have them made for them, either by Waterford Bikes in Wisconsin or a well-respected maker in Taiwan, I believe. They are very, very well built and the owner, Grant Petersen, is known for typically leaning towards all-day-ride comfort over speed, etc.

Here's a link to geometry of the bike(s): https://bikeinsights.com/bikes/5fce5...e&version=2010
And some info from Grant's "Blug": https://rivbike.tumblr.com/post/5164...mpleone-frames
And finally, this entry which confirms the Taiwan pedigree. Don't let that lead you to believe "cheap", they made some great hand-built frame sets.

And if you decide to sell, you might seek out fans of Rivendell. Given the small number of them made there is undoubtedly a good market for them. Even now.
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Old 02-18-23, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by adl50ok
Agree, that tires make a huge difference. Right now I have Panaracer Gravel King slicks, 35 mm, running at 30-35. Its about as low as I want to go on NYC roads. Moving up to RH 38's may make some improvement, I suppose. They're expensive...and won't change the basic frame construction.

Any feedback from actual owners/riders?

Thanks,
Alan
That should be a very comfortable setup.
Maybe get suspension like a mtn bike if you want more comfort.
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Old 02-18-23, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by adl50ok
Any feedback from actual owners/riders?

Thanks,
Alan
I'd say the odds of that happening here are pretty slim

My last remaining roadie is a Bridgestone - which I rode this morning - so naturally I'm Grant Petersen curious and keep up a little with Rivendell. And being that my preferred regular riding mode is one-gear I've always been mildly interested in Quickbeam and Simple One, and I am more than a little interested in the possibility of an upcoming Roaduno.

If the search that brought you here did not take you there already you should immediately head for the RBW Owners Bunch Google group. I fell into it while looking around for more info about the Roaduno and there was way more discussion of Rivendell singlespeeds - including yours - there than anywhere else the google machine took me.

Good luck in your search and please post some pics of that SimpleOne here...
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Old 02-24-23, 08:01 AM
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We'll start by noting that I LIKE Grant. I LIKE Rivendell. We'll also note that I have owned TWO of their bikes, a 2000 Joe Starck-built Road Custom and a first batch Quickbeam (there were actually two of those, matching ones for my wife and I). They are all gone now.

My beef with them is that they are overbuilt and stiff-feeling. Though I loved the quality of both of them, construction-wise, they always felt stiff to me. With the Rivendell custom, I attribute that to the combination of oversized tubing and thicker than perhaps ideal tubing. It was very strong feeling, and it was an awesome descender on steel hill and even mountains, but it always felt slow to me, and it just felt stiff. When I picked up an '82 Mercian Colorado with older stage race geometry, I realized it was just as capable on descents, just as solid and predictable a handler, but clearly faster AND more comfortable. The Riv cured me any interest in OS tubing, and frankly every steel road bike I own now is either 531 or Tange No. 2 in normal sized tubes.

To be more fixed and single-speed specific, the Quickbeam was ridden on all road surfaces and even some single-track. As much as I wanted to like it, I concluded that for singletrack I was happier with a c.1990 Trek 950 converted to single speed. For multi-surface road rides I vastly preferred my custom Mercian Vincitore road fixed-gear built with standard diameter 531, which I could ride faster and which had the right amount of flex - or as Jan Heine would phrase it, "it planed." I had ordered the Mercian after tiring of waiting for Grant to put the QB into actual production, and while it lacks the generous tire clearance, it still proved quite capable of handling fire and dirt roads on 28 mm Paselas. A couple of years back I built up a '73 Raleigh Competition, which has the most generous tire clearance of the '70s Raleigh/Carlton 531 bikes. Running 35 mm tires and set up with a Surly Dingle fixed cog on one side of the rear hub and a White Industries Dos Eno freewheel on the other, with 42/44T chainwheels, it does everything the QB was supposed to do while being lighter, friskier and more comfortable.

My weight has fluctuated between 155 and 180 pounds over the last 20-odd years, so I don't think I really NEED thicker-walled OS tubing. I just have a much better time riding lugged steel bikes with standard diameter tubing, or the slightly different old metric guage 531. I think Grant bought into the tough durable mindset and went for a sturdier, if stiffer ride. I went back to what Richard Ballentine wrote about in the early 70s, when he detailed a method to check a potential bike purchase for flex with a quick shove on the BB spindle while holding the bars and the saddle. A good bike in his eyes had some springiness to it, which is anathema for the all-power-must-be-transmitted-to-the-rearh-wheel-through-stiffness crowd.
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Old 02-24-23, 12:08 PM
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Frames only account for some of the sensation we identify as "ride quality". The components, especially those at contact points, and the wheels and tubes/tires also account for much of the results.

It is always nice to get feedback from actual owners of the various bikes we talk about and in this instance, the comments from rustystrings61 is helpful. But it seems the bikes he owned were from long ago. I wonder if he's had the opportunity to ride any of the newer models.

Anecdotal evidence I've heard from a small number of Rivendell owners indicated they were very happy with the ride quality of the bikes they owned. All would describe them as "comfortable", whatever that meant to them.
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