Over the hump with Sam Hillborne

The Rivendell Sam Hillborne with its 45/35/24T triple, 11-32 cassette, and long-reach, dual-pivot brakes.

In the market for a new bike? Rivendell Bicycle Works sends word that ordering for the next batch of Sam Hillbornes goes live on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

And speaking as an owner of one, you could do a lot worse (hint: generic alloy “gravel bike” with plastic fork, eleventy-seven Klik-Speedz, hydro discs, etc.).

Sam on the jam to the Tram, just past the intersection of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road.

Rivendell bills the Sam as suitable for all roads, paved, dirt, or gravel, “and the kinds of fire trails a Conestoga wagon could negotiate, but not the kind that would require a jackass.”

“If you’re skilled and have good judgment and fattish knobby tires, you can ride the Sam where you shouldn’t. Stick with what it’s designed for: all the above, and road touring, road shopping, and road commuting.”

And if you’re feeling froggy, you best jump. Quoth the Rivendealios: “The way our production schedule is shaping up, we won’t have Sams again [until] at least late 2022. We have lots of bike orders placed but Sams didn’t make it in there, so consider this a maybe last chance at our V-brake’d country roadish bike.”

Sam has gotten posts for cantis/V-brakes since I got mine, which uses long-reach road calipers. They stop me just fine, even when I’m riding it where I shouldn’t.

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18 Responses to “Over the hump with Sam Hillborne”

  1. Jay Says:

    I also like Turbo saddles!

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    A beauty, every part of it, unless you put a Brooks saddle on it since the pic was taken. I had long reach Shimano road calipers (57mm if memory still works) on the Soma ES, and they worked fine.

  3. SAO' Says:

    // FOR ALL ROADS— paved, dirt, or gravel; and the kinds of fire trails a Conestoga wagon could negotiate, but not the kind that would require a jackass. //

    Gotta love the time and thought that went into all of their descriptions. Even if you’re not in the market, it’s always a joy just to browse this site.

  4. katholoch Says:

    The Rivendell crew ride in the same area that I ride (Diablo Foothills, Mt. Diablo). I was out there a few weeks ago on my hardtail mountain bike when I hear a couple guys rolling down the same hill I came down. I recognized Grant Peterson’s voice (I’ve actually spoken with him before) and of course the bikes were unmistakable. As they rolled by with covered faces I yelled out, “Is that Grant?” He stopped to chat and asked how I recognized him. Honestly, between the voice and bikes it wasn’t hard. His companion said that I should be a detective and I told them my husband is in agreement:-) At any rate, they ride those bikes on the same terrain I take a hardtail mountain bike. Ride what you got!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That crowd walks the walk (or rides the ride, depending). You ever check out Grant’s Blahg? He’s forever posting pics of Rivendellers tackling outrageous ups and downs.

      • katholoch Says:

        Oh, yeah. I follow them on the ‘gram. They do walk the walk. I’m not sure how they make it up some of the steeps on those bikes. I was actually a little lost and asked them directions. They were heading out of the hills on a singletrack! I would have followed them but I was heading into the hills and not ready to bag it. I see quite a few Rivendells in the area. I’m not sure if it is their crew or their followers. The trails are so hardpacked right now from all the hikers that they probably an okay ride. I have two old books from 1990 by Grant–Roads to Ride. Local Bay Area roads with elevations, etc. Back in the pre-, pre-GPS days. I told Grant I needed to stop in and get him to autograph them!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Grant is not shy about posting pics of his mates pushing bikes up those giant rises. I used to love trying to ride stuff like that, putting my nose on the stem and trying to find gears that weren’t there before I hit the stall point and fell over like Artie Johnson on “Laugh-In.”

  5. khal spencer Says:

    I bet there is even a frame peg for that Zefal! Quite the handsome bike.

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    My Joe Appaloosa is similar cept’n for my double top tube. A heavy old horse but what a smooth ride. The only modern world spec I chose was index shifting for the rear. I can’t hear worth shit anymore out of my right ear so the indexing keeps me from being “that guy “ who’s in between gears going down the trail. Almost had them build with drop bars but I’m real glad I went upright and swept back. My neck and shoulders never complain.

  7. Shawn Says:

    Wow that is a neat bike. The Appaloosa that is. I know somebody that would really find one way cool. I’ve heard rumor that Cheech has one too. Apparently it’s painted up in a really striking east LA Chicano motif and resides in the Riverside art museum.

    Hey, I had to add my kudos to Cheech and the art museum. There may indeed be an Appaloosa in art there although it may not be a Rivendell. But you never know and it’s a good chance to visit the downtown of a community that in the 60’s was out in the country. I’ve got a good reason to visit the museum. My Dad is buried just down the road (freeway in Californian) from the museum in the Riverside National Cemetery.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I remember something about either my parents or my mom living in Riverside before I came along to complicate their lives, but the details elude me. For sure the old man was stationed at Edwards AFB, and he could’ve been at March AFB too, before or afterward.

      I had a long-distance girlfriend in Riverside, briefly, in 1980. We met in Bibleburg shortly before I moved to Tucson, and she beat feet for Riverside shortly thereafter. Went out to visit once and it was a’ight. I wanted to live in California back then, but near the ocean, and tried for jobs in San Diego, LA, Ventura, Monterey, San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. Never happened.

      The Ventura paper finally offered me a gig after rejecting me once, but by then I was at The New Mexican in Santa Fe and disinclined to leave a boss who’d pulled me off the dole with about two unemployment checks remaining. I didn’t mind sleeping in my truck while on the road but wasn’t into doing it full time.

  8. JD Says:

    Hitch-hiking on this thread, so apologies; here’s an excellent article on cycling deaths: https://www.outsideonline.com/2420196/what-we-learned-tracking-cycling-deaths-year.

  9. khal spencer Says:

    45-35-24 seems like an odd (literally!) chainring combo. But I have not done the gear chart.

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