Posts Tagged ‘Rivendell Bicycle Works’

Over the hump with Sam Hillborne

January 29, 2021

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.

‘Pedal & Grunt’

November 26, 2019

Sun’s gonna shine in my back door some day.

My recent gastroinfestation kept me off the bike for a solid week, though Herself and I managed a casual jog around the neighborhood on Sunday.

Yesterday, as I checked the 10-day forecast, I was wondering whether I should’ve been riding a bike. My window of opportunity for a reasonably comfortable pre-holiday spin was rapidly spiraling down to peephole size.

I should have gone straight for the Cannondale Topstone 105, because that’s where the money is. But having just been laid low by one bug I didn’t want to risk another. 11-speed. Hydraulic brakes. Thru-axles. Tubeless-ready rims and tires, tighter than Dick’s hatband, tough on the invalid’s hands. I could feel both arthritic thumbs turning downward.

The Voodoo Wazoo’s pedal-assist unit (not pictured) fits atop the saddle.

So I took the Voodoo Wazoo down from its hook and rolled out for a gentle hour on the foothills trails.

This is not a Kool Kidz bike. Quick-releases. 7-speed. Cantilever brakes. And Mavic Open Pros wearing a pair of chunky Continental CrossRides.

In the event of a flat I could pry the offender off the rim with a stern glance. A brake goes wonky? Unhook it. And there’s only one derailleur to get the hiccups, a 105 rear that’s probably older than most of the product managers spec’ing bikes these days.

Some people enjoy navigating the intricacies of 11-speed, hydraulic brakes, thru-axles, and tubeless-ready rims and tires, and that’s fine. Some of them like a bit of electrical assist, or black-box drivetrains, and that’s OK, too.

But some of us still like to “pedal and grunt,” and Grant Petersen makes a compelling case for sweat and simplicity over at the Rivendell Blahg:

Bike makers have motor-envy. They all want to make motor vehicles. ALL. They drive the innovation in that direction, and say it’s for the good of all, because it’ll get cars off the road and help old people exercise. … Everything is going auto, like the only way to sell stuff is to make it that way. In 10 years people are going to take photos and make movies with eyeblinks. That will be sold as progress, because all animals are wired to want the easy way. That makes sense in a survival situation (cross the river where it’s slow and shallow), but when technology makes everything SUPER easy, there’s something good about holding back a bit.

Now, I won’t lie to you. There was a moment yesterday when I would have traded a healthy organ for a 20-inch granny. But it didn’t feel like I had one to offer, so I just got up out of the saddle.

Pedal and grunt.


Interbike 2018: Just nod if you can hear me

September 16, 2018

Another of the reasons I kinda-sorta wish I was at Interbike is this: Rivendell’s Grant Petersen is bringing a new not-a-mountain-bike bike to the show on Tuesday.

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

He mentioned it in his Blahg a while back (scroll down a bit) and I forgot to check back for the deets.

This morning the old 20-watt bulb flickers to life so off I go and hey presto! There it is (scroll down a bit some more). Before you do, take a moment to appreciate the permalink.

So why would I want to go all the way to Reno to clap my peepers upon the Rivendell Gus Boots-Willsen? Because, sez Grant: “We won’t submit it to magazines for review. Their standard isn’t ours.”

I think he’s mostly talking about the racing mags here, but you never know until you ask, and I haven’t asked. Yet.

But the Gus sounds like it’s right up my alley. Trail. Whatever. Again, Grant:

The Gus Boots-Willsen is NOT a mountain bike. It’s a HILL bike, which is just a mountain bike stripped of the technology necessary for survival during super aggressive riding. … Boots is for fun, travel, exploring, so it doesn’t need the spring, hinges, and hydraulics.

If you’re at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, swing by the Rivendell booth (2467) and say to Gus and Grant for me.

• Next: This is not how I am.

Miles to go

August 15, 2016
Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

Holy bike-ped bridge, Batman! This one crosses I-25 near Paseo del Norte.

The last month has been mildly productive, cycling-wise. I’m actually logging something like mileage.

(Cue the sound of frantic knocking on wood.)

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

The North Diversion Channel Trail as seen from the saddle of a Rivendell Sam Hillborne.

Despite the liberal application of SPF-30 sunscreen I’ve developed one of the ugliest farmer tans in Christendom. And I’m thinking about adding another bike to the fleet just because I can.

More riding means less news-reading, although some bits are unescapable, as is the notion of having my next bike built by General Dynamics Land Systems. I’ll need a few more miles under the bibs to pedal an Abrams touring bike, though.

I’m not going anywhere — just spinning my wheels, as per usual, doing laps around Albuquerque. But if the weather holds it would be nice to do a bike overnight to Santa Fe, along the Turquoise Trail.

All I need to do is wire a rear-facing GoPro to a dynamo hub and then wi-fi the video to a bar-mounted iPhone. They say you’ll never see the one that gets you, but it sure would be nice to have some exciting footage for the funeral.


Wreck on the highway

July 2, 2016
Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

Say hi to Sam Hillborne.

The first day of what appears to be a very long Tour de France is in the bag. Thanks to everyone who joined us at Live Update Guy. And chapeau to Mark Cavendish, who avoided a last-kilometer pileup — one of several on the day — to win the stage and take his first yellow jersey.

Too, a special “ow, wow, yow, zow” goes out to everyone who hit the deck on Stage 1. The body count would seem to include — well, just about everyone except for Cav’, me and Charles Pelkey (office furniture and road furniture rarely become entangled).

Alberto Contador in particular looked like he’d been attacked by a deranged chef with an assault cheese grater. One wonders whether he’ll have to be strapped onto his bike, El Cid-style, in order to start Sunday’s stage.

I wasn’t strapped to a damn thing when I rolled out for my own ride, aboard a brand-spankin’-new Rivendell Sam Hillborne (see pic above). No clipless pedals on that bad boy, not even toeclips and straps — just flats. So I rode in street shoes, baggies, an emblem-free Pearl Izumi jersey and a Rivendell cap unencumbered by helmet, just to make the Safety Nazis crazy. Took ‘er out on the highway, too.

I wish I could change this sad story that I am now telling you. But there is no way I can change it. For somebody’s ride is now through.

José, can you see?

April 15, 2016
José Appaloosa enjoying the view from the upper end of Tramway.

José Appaloosa enjoying the view from the upper end of Tramway.

Busy, busy, busy: And just think, I’m not even at Aqua Rat in Monterey, where all the action is.

For instance, scope out Richard Masoner’s shots of the 2017 Masi Speciale Randonneur, one of them with down-tube shifters. Verrry nice, except for those death-dealing disc brakes, which even St. Eddy and the UCI have deemed a tool of Satan.

Me, I’ve been fooling around with a Rivendell Joe Appaloosa, and a very nice machine it is, too. No down-tube shifters, but thumbshifters, and a handlebar so upright and swept back that you can see yourself coming from miles away.

None of them devilish discs, neither. Tektro V-brakes, thank you very much. In point of fact, the José is so retro I had to buy myself a hipsterish red-plaid shirt to ride around in (the baggy shorts I already own). When aboard the USS José Appaloosa the uniform of the day is very much not the skintight Lycra.

Riding a bike with nice grippy V-brakes reminded me of how much I still dislike the Shimano cantilevers on my Soma Double Cross, and in a fit of pique I pulled them off, planning to replace them with the Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis on a Steelman Eurocross that I haven’t been riding much.

I forget how old these Spookys are ... probably nearly as old as the bike they now adorn.

I forget how old these Spookys are … probably nearly as old as the bike they now adorn.

Alas, it turned out that the Paul’s are in need of maintenance … a missing O-ring here, a scored brake pivot there, and some really old pads — and thus I found myself staring at two brakeless bikes to no particular purpose.

Then, eureka! I remembered having an old set of barely used Spooky cantis with Kool-Stop pads squirreled away in a box somewhere in the garage. And soon, hey presto! They were on the Steelman, because black and red are the key components of the Mad Dog livery. And off I went for another installment of Ride Your Own Damn Bike Day.



A Bozo and his bus

March 9, 2016
Come closer, folks; don't crowd the wheels. ...

Come closer, folks; don’t crowd the wheels. …

I can’t hear the name “Clem” without thinking of The Firesign Theatre classic, “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus.”

This is not to disrespect the Clem Smith Jr. from Rivendell Bicycle Works. The Firesigns’ Clem didn’t have much Bozo in him, and neither does this one.

In “Bozos,” Clem wasn’t clowning around when he took on a Disneyesque Audio-Animatronics President Nixon at the Future Fair. Half computer hacker, half Zen master giving koan instruction, Clem — a.k.a. Worker — demonstrated conclusively that reality has more than a little plasticity to it.

And Rivendell’s Clem is likewise on a mission — to get you out of your car, and your Lycra, too, and at a reasonable price.

I don’t have a ton of miles on it yet. Shucks, I haven’t even ridden it to Hideo Nutt’s Bolt-a-Drome yet. But it sure is a pleasant distraction from Il Douche and his prime-time infomercials.