Rivendell Bicycle Works:
Rivendell Bicycle Works

Newest Rivedell News
and Intel - Click Here!

Last updated: May 5, 2011


This is nothing more than a continually evolving page to bring together various Rivendell items which have been dispersed to the web: Riv-Triv about newer models, product previews and some catalog and Reader scans, when requested by the folks on the RBW Owners Bunch list. I've wrangled things around so that the newest stuff is first - and clicking on Newest Rivendell "Spy" Photos and Intel should jump you down past this intro to the most recent entry.

In addition to the blog-like entries, there are a few other items of interest which have sections of their own -

RBW Owners Bunch List Info

RBW Clippings & Reader Scans & Some PDF's - PDF Versions of Rivendell Readers

- Rivendell Bicycle Model Pages -

Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
Rivendell Bleriot
Rivendell Quickbeam
Rivendell Bombadil
Rivendell Rambouillet
Rivendell Romulus and Redwood
Rivendell Atlantis


2009 Taiwan Series
"Four Models/Four Sizes"

A Maxway Promo Video



Sam Hillborne

Betty Foy /
Yves Gomez



SOMA San Marcos (Amos)


- Rivendell Bicycles in the Current Classics Gallery -

- Some Scanned Rivendell Reader ArticlesFound on this Page -

Rivendell Reader #32 Article: "Some Bridgestone Bikes" - Rivendel Reader #21 Article: "A Tale of Two Deores" - Rivendell Reader #28: "One Way to Assemble a Bike" - Rivendell Reader #25: "Lyotard Pedals" -

The Rivendell Bicycle Works Owners Bunch

Most of these images were originally shared via the Rivendell Bicycle Works mailing list, which had been maintained at As of 3/25/07, this list is no longer operational, following a decision by Rivendell not to participate in the list. In the wake of this decision, I've created an "RBW Owners' Bunch" list through Google Groups in order to continue the idea of the list - a focus on Rivendell products in a polite and respectful environment.

The link to this group is - The minmum recommended guidelines are here. I periodically post a "State of the List" update, which can be found here. Skimming through the "SOTL" updates will give you a good idea of the tone on the list,, as well as list-specific information.

If you are a Rivendell bicycle owner, enjoy their products, approach, or even just have a curiosity about things Rivendell, please feel free to join in. Google groups allows posting for members through either regular email or a web interface. The first step is to join the group, which you can do by using the links below:

List Info
Join the List
Google Groups Beta
RBW Owners Bunch
Visit this group
Google Groups Beta
Subscribe to RBW Owners Bunch
Visit this group


Newest RBW Updates, Spy Photos & Intel - Starts Here
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Note - This page was getting a bit cantankerous and pokey, so I've archived postings made before 2008. These can be found at
Return O' the Derby - Sweaters and Vest Preview - 2/11

Early versions of the Derby Tweed sweaters and vests which should be available through Rivendell by mid-year. Clicking on the image below will take you to the Rivendell PDF Archive page, which will let you download the full sized pdf published by Rivendell.

Rivendell PDF Archive Page


Stem Tools and Definitions - Some Links

An attempt to organize and aggregate the pdf's which have been issuing forth from Rivendell bicycle works this year.

Includes the "Design Your Frame" exercise led by Grant Petersen, as well as the various preproduction samples and insider news on frame models which have been published. There are still a few missing here and there, and I'll try to incorporate some of the earlier ones which have already been listed here. In the meatime - enjoy!


Stem Tools and Definitions - Some Links

Over on the RBW Group, we had a little chat about stems, extensions, reaches and how to get the bars where you think you want them. As we found out, it's important to distinguish between REACH and EXTENSION when discussing stems (shown on the Habanero chart, among other places.) Since I know I'll want to find these again, here were the resources which deal with this setup:

Habanero Cycles static chart for stem sizing:

A stem calculator (allows comparison for two sizes) on -

alex wetmore's online stem visualizing tool -

The trig which underlies these tools and calculations..

Thanks to Seth V. for sharing the alex w. online stem tool.


Epic Poem - "The Great Scot, A. Homer Hilsen"

Because the A. Homer Hilsen rocks. Because epic poetry rocks. Because I want to make sure that it stays posted, somewhere...

(well, other than here)


The Great Scot, A.Homer Hilsen
(Written two years ago for fun, found deep in a file when I was looking for something else, briefly updated and exposed.) It takes a while to read, but if you're bored...

On the high bluffs of Ben Nevis
On that highest mount in Scotland
Which o'erlooks grand fields of bluebells
Blazing in the verdant meadows
See the shining ribbon eastward
Aberdeen, the silver river!
Spy the sea beyond its south cliffs
Gaze at thick and constant clouds there
That 'cept for a week in August
When the winds blow hard and northward
Are opaque, as boiled egg whites.


continued, yonder...

Rivendell Hunqapillar Prototype Update - 3/28/10

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to visit the Rivendell Bicycle Works Headquarters & Lair. Had a great time test-riding bikes and hanging out. One of the brand-spankin' new things I got to handle and enjoy was the second color option on the recently announced Hunqapillar model from Rivendell. This was the same grey as before, but had orange decals and contrasting paint, along with lug-edge lining in cream. I really liked it and snapped some photos which are over in my flickr stream.

Hunqapillar Frameset Orange

Grant sent me a follow up emaill with a pdf that had a few more images, as well as some musings. The pdf can be downloaded here or via the RBW Group "Files" page. Because it's about 7 mb, I went ahead and converted it into a jpg as well. It's only screen resolution, but should be plenty big enough to enjoy on your monitor - click here or the image below.

Rivendell Hunqapillar Orange - click for full size

What's Going on on the Rivendell Owner's Bunch? - 12/09

"State of the List Report" #9 - Update on the Rivendell Owner's Bunch Group on google groups - over 1100 members and growing...



Hot Off The Digital Press - 2009 (2010?) Rivendell Bicycle Frame Catalog - 12/09

Not sure if this will show up in a printed form, but here are two pdf versions of the Rivendell 2009 Bicycle (Oriented) Catalog which has appeared. There are two versions, one which has each "page" on a separate pdf page, and the other, which presents the "spread" (two facing pages).

As with all the Rivendell ephemera, the writing is top-notch, the images timeless and the points well-taken. Enjoy!

2009 Rivendell Bicycle Catalog - single page version

2009 Rivendell Bicycle Catalog - in page spread format


"Holiday Pleadings" Email from RBW - updated with specific links

A Rivendell Email was sent out on 11/27/09. If you didn't get it, you can read it here. In addition to a number of gift suggestions, it also has updates on some changes in the Sam Hillborne, new size offerings in the Betty Foy / Yves Gomez, a Quickbeam replacement called the "Simpleone" and some news about the Atlantis.

Check it out!

"So This Box Arrives With a Bike In It...NOW what do I do?"

Reprinted pdf version of Rivendell Reader #28 - "One Way To Assemble A Bike". Provides an excellent guide to anyone faced with the whole gidditouttadabox issue. Also a good reference for anyone who wonders why a bike shop charges for this service. This article is in pdf format (~3 mb) rather than scanned as an image, so it will download to your computer and require the Adobe Reader (doesn't everyone have that now...?) to, um, read it.

Click here to download

Big tip o' the mouse to RivList member SethV, who provided the file, and of course to GP at Rivendell, who wrote the thing to begin with.

A Manual For Your Baggins - Baggins Hobo Bag Accompanying Material

Confirming once again that I never seem to throw anything away, this piece of paper turned up when I was going through a file looking for something else. It came with my Baggins Hobo Bag, and described the materials, mounting options and other design considerations with the bag.

I don't use my Hobo bag too frequently now, which is really a shame, as it's a robust and simple design which gives many options. I'm also lucky enough to have one of the early ones which has the rounded tree branch as the stabilizing bar, rather than the dowels of later models.

Baggins Hobo Bag Diagram

Rivendell Reader Scan - RR#21 "A Tale of Two Deores"

Since cranks are kind of on my brain today, I rooted around and dug up this article for a list member. It comes from Rivendell Reader #21 - Fall of 2000 - and compares the Deore cranks of old with the "current" Deore cranks from that period.

The "new" versions were using trickled down XT/XTR "hollow" technology for the arms, but still used the proven and simple square taper bottom bracket. The ISIS spline was just picking up some momentum, and this is well before the outboard bearing designs would replace those as the de facto choice.

Rivendell Reader 21 pg 29
Rivendell Reader 21 pg 30

Larger Image
- Hi-rez Image


Rivendell Reader Scan - RR#32 "Some Bridgestone Bikes"

Scans from Rivendell Reader #32, from Spring of 2004. This article was titled "Some Bridgestone Bikes", written by Grant about some of the models that stood out, contributed to the reputation of Bridgestone during his tenure or he just liked a lot. Interesting reading.

Clicking on the image will provide a larger image. A higher resolution version is also available.


Rivendell Reader #32 - Page 10
Rivendell Reader #32 - Page 11
Rivendell Reader #32 - Page 12
Rivendell Reader #32 - Page 13
Rivendell Reader #32 - Page 14
Bleriot Group now "The BOG" - 01/09

As of January, 2009, the Bleriot Group on will be The_BOG (Bleriot Owners' Group) at this new address:

The BOG on Yahoo Groups

According to The BOG intro page:

"This group is for discussion between owners (and prospective owners) of the Rivendell Bleriot. We see the Bleriot Country Bike as a "do it all" utility bike of the highest order that will truly tap into what 650b is all about! It's lugged steel, 650b, an affordable price point, and a design that is nearly perfect!

Since production of the Bleriot frame has been discontinued, it is entirely appropriate to extend the range of discussion on this forum to include other inexpensive production 650B bikes of Rivendell design (such as Betty Foy and Sam Hillborne) as well as comparable bikes from other manufacturers."

Carter on His Rivendell - 01/09

One of those little "in the know" things for Riv-fanatics. President Jimmy Carter is a proud Rivendell owner. And he looks dang good in this photo which turned up on

Click to see it larger

While he might need to reset that fender line on the rear wheel, it's clear that bike gets to see a bit o' trail, now and again.


Correlation Between Mac's and Rivendells - 01/13/09

Silly little survey slapped together in response to an iBob (and now ported over to the RBW Owners' Bunch) thread - "How many Rivendell owners are also Mac computer owners?"

Rivendell & a Mac?

From a thread over on the iBob list...
Is there a correlation between owning a Rivendell bicycle and using a Mac computer?
Yep! I own a Mac and a Rivendell!
My priorities are askew - Multiple Macs, one Rivendell
Bikes Be Better! One Mac, Multiple Riv's.
An intervention may be necessary - Multiples of each.
Riv. No Mac.
Mac. No Riv.
No Mac. No Riv.
P-far and an abacus.


If the above form doesn't work, you can play along here:

And view the results here:


Addison "Reno Rambler" Riv References - 01/05/09

Addison W. posted a few Rivendell References he had in the archives over here:

It's mostly pdf's, but worth a glance and a read - especially the article from what must be '96 or so that pops up on the first page. I always enjoy a good ride in a time machine.

And, if you don't already do so, it's worth checking out the Reno Rambler blog -


Rivendell Catalog Wayback Machine - Catalog #5: Nitto 185 - 12/31/08


This was a requst from a RBW List member for info about the Nitto Model #185 Handlebar. This was the main "go-to" bar before the Dream Bar (Nitto 176)

Nitto Model 185 Handlebar schematic - click for large version

For those of you playing along at home, the scan is from the Rivendell Catalog #5, from the Winter Spring of 1999. I have three readable versions of this page scanned. Clicking the thumbnail above will get you the screen resolution version, while the two links below would hold up for printing purposes.

Full size scan at 150 dpi - Full size scan at 300 dpi


Sam Hilborne and Betty Foy Geometry - 12/08


Betty Foy on a Testride

Note: Grant made this post to the RBW Owners Bunch list, following a general question about the geometry of the new frame series. You can find it in the list archives, but I wanted to keep these points easy to find. The quickie photo of Betty above is from my too-short test ride while on an RBWHQ&L visit today - doesn't do it justice at all, but I'll be posting a comment over on my blog pretty soon...

Begin post:

The top tubes "read" long, but the length is sucked up by shallow seat tube angles and high bars. In fact, they "ride" normal, maybe even on the short side of normal. Some things to think about:

MOST riders shove the saddle all the way back on the rails. Half of those wish they could shove it back more. The limiters are the seat tube angle, the seat post's setback, and the saddle rails. It is rare to see a saddle shoved all the way forward; common for the rider to want it back more. Half a degree--seems like a good way to go. On my own custom, it's 71-degrees. I'd do that for our non-customs if it wouldn't raise eyebrows, but...well, here we are!

One degree over 55cm equals one centimeter. So, for a 56cm frame, it just gives you the possibility (doesn't force it) of an ant's whisker more than 1cm rearward. The "cost" of this is that you can't move the saddle as far forward, but as long you're not poking the saddle toward the bars and wishing it would go more, the added cm in back is only a benefit. Does that make sense? It doesn't force you back; it allows it if you want it, with no drawback UNLESS you're a triathlete.

I have some suspicions as to why shallower STAs are not more common. One is that riders are accustomed to 72s, 73s, and 74s. Long live diversity of opinion and all that, but I have to do my best on the bikes I design for our customers, and I think it's great idea. Minority opinion, whatever--I'm not saying I'm smarter or others are dumber, just that it makes sense to me.

Bikes with supershort chainstays won't go shallow, cause the wheel will hit the seat tube. That's an argument against short chainstays, not shallow seat tubes.

Most commercially available bottom bracket shells won't easily accommodate both a big drop and a shallow seat tube angle. The "rear angle of the chainstay and seat tube sockets is too steep for it. Our shells are our design, and although they aren't freaky, they are designed with shallowish seat tube angles in mind. (This may 'splain why other lugged builders stick with steep, although it may be a preference, too. They may believe the myth that short femurs should go with steep seat tube angles. That is "flat-earth", but it is still the common belief, simply because it's been repeated and printed so often. In any case, tiggers can do anything they want, easily, and they don't seem to take advantage...)

I am pretty sure RR41 will make things clear. Think of the Da Vinci drawing of the naked guy with long curly hair extending his arms. Think of how that applies to arm reach and bar height. It's key, key, key...

Anyway, it's only half a degree--and probably should be a whole one. All it does is expand your rearward options by removing a centimeter of your forward options (less on a 48 or 52; a bit more on a 60). It's not a bad deal.

Bill M. is entirely correct----the halfa degree just gives you that much more real estate in the area you want it.

We have the 56 in now. By Jan 2 - 4 we'll have another 56, plus two each of the 48s, 52s, and 60's. They're coming in painted colors that won't be final, so we'll repaint some of them, and that'll take a week--but by Jan 12 we should have all sizes available for testing-- and if any of you are local, I sure hope you come by and try them.

We'll set them up with average stems, normal bars, and you're free to take them for an hour,'ll be fun!


direct link to original post


First Glimpse: The Sam Hilborne and Betty Foy Headbadges - 11/08

Espied on the RBW website. Still no delivery estimate other than "2009..."

Sam and Betty
But, don't they make a nice couple?...


SOTL #7 - November 2008

"State of the List" Report for the RBW-Owners-Bunch list over at Google Groups. Posted here.


The Rivendell Redwood "Draft" Version of the Never-Printed Flyer - 11/08

The Rivendell Redwood Draft Flyer

After scanning the color Romulus flyer and putting out the word that I was looking for more ephemera, I received an email from John at Rivendell, who had in his files a draft version of the never-published Rivendell Redwood flyer. He was kind enough to mail it to me so I could get some scans.

So, for the first time anywhere... The Rivendell Redwood Coffee-Tinged Draft Flyer!


Bleriot Serial Number Registry Page - 10/08

Tom L. has started a Bleriot Registry page which can be found at

The idea was to create a central location for serial numbers, to assist in recovering stolen bikes and to get a sense of how many were produced. This was announced on the Bleriot Owners Group on Yahoo. (You have to be a member to read the postings.) Bleriot page


650B's visit Black Mountain Cycles - 9/08

It's always nice to get reports of Riv-sightings in the wild. This one comes from Mike out at Black Mountain Cycles in Pt. Reyes Station. From his tale, it would appear that a pair of 650B-shod Rivendellians descended upon him, and were reasonably impressed that he (a) knew what they were talking about and (b) had a 650B/584 bicycle which he'd ridden into work that day.

Saluki Sighting in West Marin

For the full writeup, go to his blog entry. Oh, and if you are out in West Marin, make sure you drop by his shop and say "Hey-Howdy!"


Just Some Notes - 9/08

I have a nascent project to create a timeline of Rivendell Bicycle Models. Thought I'd stick the model names here for now, and then deal with the year attibution later. If there's one you can think of that isn't here, give a holler.

Rivendell Road (semi-custom/build tuned to order by GP)
Rivendell Road Standard
Rivendell Mountain/Expedition
Rivendell Longlow
Rivendell All Rounder
Rivendell Cyclocross (not the Legolas)
Heron Road
Heron Touring
Rivendell Atlantis
Rivendell Rambouillet
Rivendell Romulus/Redwood
Rivendell Custom (true custom)
Rivendell Quickbeam
Rivendell Saluki
Rivendell Glorius/Wilbury
Rivendell Legolas
Rivendell Bleriot
Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
Rivendell Bombadil

Grant Petersen: Rivendell Bicycle Works article by Gary Boulanger

Grant and John in the dry hillsDon't quite know how I missed this one, but there was a nice Grant Peterson interview article which appeared on, written by Gary Boulanger. It seems to have been written in 2007.

Grant Petersen: Rivendell Bicycle Works
By Gary Boulanger


Atlantis and Romulus/Redwood pages now up - 08/08

There will be more additions (I have a few more things to scan and add to each page), but the Atlantis and Romulus/Redwood pages are up:

Atlantis -

Rom/Red -

I've also reworked the files into separate directories, so that you can get to the individual models by just adding "/rbw/modelname" to And even though the AHH uses "hilsen", you can still use "ahomerhilsen" and get to the same place.

If you have old links to the original model pages which ended in ".html", those will simply redirect to the new pages, so yo don't need to worry about changing your links or bookmarks.

So, we now have:

which have pulled together flyers, tidbits and scans, as well as aggregate all the Gallery listings for those models.


Grant Peterson Interview on Cycloculture - 8/19/08

Forbes B-B over at just posted an interview he did with Grant Peterson. Always interesting to read what GP is thinking about, and if you haven't been following Forbes' stuff, he's had a succession interviews with interesting folks as of late - you can see the GP Interview here.

Grant Crossing the Creek

Specific Link:


Maxway Promotional Video

Maxway produces a wide variety frames for many bicycle companies centered in the US. This video seems to be a promotional piece aimed at potential new customers. Didn't notice anyone brazing lugs when I watched it (and I think the music alone may keep it off my "most-played" list...), but these are the folks who more than likely will be building the four new models for 2009.

Click to watch the video

Click to watch the video (opens in a separate window)

More Grist for the Rumour Mill - 4 New Taiwan Made Rivendells for 2009 - 5/08

The announcement that the Bleriot was going away provoked a number of responses, and Grant emailed me a couple of updates regarding the newer models - both of these appear in the RBW List at Google groups, and I'd encourage you to follow through all of the discussion which followed. But, I have found myself quoting the original posts so many times, I thought it would make sense to put them somewhere easy to find:

GP Notes on the Bleriot, new & current models and a Quickbeam run

Bleriot etc:
I got tired of too many dealers de-dignifying it as a loss leader, and so I'm just pulling the plug on the whole Bleriot program. That means that after about late June, no dealer who doesn't have them will be able to get them. We'll then be obligated to buy up QBP's stock, which will give us enough 'riots for a few months, maybe even through winter. They will not go on sale; still $750.

The QBP partnership was pleasant, I have only the best things to say about QBP, but it was about a dozen and a half dealers that sealed the Bleriot's fate.

We could, I suppose, continue to get them ourselves. But the original deal was created with the help of QBP's trading company, and it wouldn't be fair for us to tie up its time with business that no longer involves QBP. So rather than put them in the position of "handing off" the Bleriot deal to a competitor trading company--after they'd worked so hard on the details--I'm just going to kill the fine bike and start fresh with another trading company and a few more bikes, which--if all goes well which it hardly ever does--will be ready in about January, March, May, and July of 2009.

The concepts are: Cheap Quickbeam, cheap A. Homer/Saluki, cheap Atlantis, and cheap Mixte. The plan is four sizes each: 48-52-56-60, all with 6-deg upsloping top tubes (like Bombadil), so each size will fit a wider rage of leglengths/riders.

I say "cheap," but the quality will be the same as the Bleriot. Made in Taiwan. Our lugs, crowns, bb shells, tube pick, 'ame & 'phics, all that. Probably they'll be one-color (no cream head tube), and m-m-may retail for $700 or a hair less (not $699.99!).

Our minimums per bike are 150. So, four sizes is about 37 each, which will give us good depth and stock for a while.

Meanwhile, we are getting in a last run of real Quickbeams---70 of them late this summer, in Silver with blue graphics.

Toyo's production is low and slow on the normal bikes, so we're supplementing it with Wford A. Homers and then some Atlantis frames. Toyo sort of expects to catch up in about 9 months, but I'm not optimistic, and that's why we're relying on Wford to fix the slack.

Curt's on his own now, and we're training a new builder (new to us). I know this guy, have for 25 years, he's done repairs for us for 3 years, he does NOT have his own brand and says he wants nothing to do with it, and I actually believe him. First he'll build 30 protovelos for us--or however many it takes for him to get his groove and get really comfortable with the particulars of our bikes.

I'm tired of frustrations, but overall things are really good. We have a new (second) full-time shipper; Miesha's back and here with her baby (Freddy) and doing well. The site is getting better. We'll soon have instructional youtube videos for various things we get asked about all the time (twine, shellac, mounting racks, and then just fundamentals like fixing flats).

GP on upcoming rivbike fits, sloping top tubes, trail, flex, rolling resistance

New RIV bike geos and fits:
The 48 will fit like a horizontal top tube (htt) of a 51 or to to 56 or so. The 52, like a 53 to 60; the 56, like a 57 to 63 or so, and the 60, like a 62 to about-how-we-say-a 66. The explanation is simple, and it is: The top tube slopes UP from the seat lug, NOT down from the head tube. So front-end height is easily had. If you're on the small end of a new bike size, you'll probably sink the stem in deep---an odd thing for most Rivvies (I think that's a Beth Hamon term, not sure), but with the SU (sloping UP) top tubes (TT), it makes sense. Saddle height is never a problem, not with today's 500mm seat posts.

So...the new sizes will fit a gigantic range of riders, all with four sizes.

I know the SUTT's don't have that Stradivarius look, but the goal of these new bikes is to make solid, fantastic, versatile, comfortable, lugged steel bicycles affordable to more people; to make it easier to buy (for instance) an Atlantis-style bike (touring) even if you can't justify a $3,000 real one because you aren't a full-time wealthy vagabond. Our bikes have a certain look, and these will too. But the function and the sense of the SUTT seems appropriate for the new bikes, and I think it's good to apply a different Aesthetic Yardstick to a $700 frame than to one that costs twice or more of that.

The Bleriot has "that Rivendell look," true, but we could never afford to buy enough of them by ourselves (without QBP's help) to be able to stock sizes deep enough to ensure good supply, and that matters.

The SUTT is only 6-degrees, or about four more degrees than our current bikes. It is the same as the BOMBADIL, which you can see on our site. So: I'm a fan of these bikes even before they're here. Of course, on one hand I have to be. But on the other hand, we're the force behind them---they aren't being forced on us, and now we gotta defend them. Not at all. I'm really excited about them.

These days, to me, a nicely detailed bike that forces on you a low bar and skinny tires. I look at bar height-ability and tire-ability...and lugs, somewhere along the line.

I'm GETTING tired of this topic, and have only this to say, for now: You can get used to anything and learn to love it. The power of suggestion is strong, especially in Matters of Subtle Differences and Subjectivity. All that said, Trail is a stabilizing force, which means to some extent is can make a bike safer to ride, less easily jostled-to-crash than a bike with too little of it.

I'm not one to quake at the thought of going against the conventional wisdom when I think it's off, but in this case I don't think it's off. If it were off, then the tens of millions of happy bikes and riders in the last half century and before wouldn't have been so happy and content. I understand that THAT logic can't be applied as successfully to all matters in and out of bike design, but I think it can apply to trail. There may be certain circumstances that benefit from a little more or a little less (with the extremes of riding out there, it would have to be that way), but for day-in/day-out riding, trail figures in the high fifties to low sixties work great.

Here's an odd fact that is troubling me some: The current 52 Bombadil, the one so many people have ridden (including Chico Gino, who reported on it in his blog), rides great by All Accounts. I have never ridden a bike that rode an iota better, more pleasantly, easy flowing, easy to control, slippery and grippy in all the right places. I have ridden it on several S240s with weights ranging from 27 to 55 pounds, and no problem, it feels like a bike. Unloaded, it feels like a road bike (too much like one, for my taste). The troubling part is: 68mm of trail. It is troubling because "trailists" will see that figure (or figure it out from other numbers) and doubt the bike they'll never even ride. Trail theory says it should suc* going uphills slow, yet it doesn't. So right now and over the next week or so I have to decide between sticking with something that I know works, or "designing to theory." If I do that, I'll dig into my bank of experience or whatever it is and make a conservative shot, but if I do that, I'll feel like I'm caving in. A slight loss of self-respect, but fewer future headaches?

A certain amount is fine, too much is not, and it's not a significant source of "energy/speed loss." If you believe that a bike can't be too rigid, then you'll naturally like rigid bikes better, and equate them with goodness and speed. If you believe a little flex feels good and doesn't slow you down, might even help the way a flexy dance floor or gym floor helps the jumps, then you'll enjoy the slight, nearly but not quite imperceptable flex in a moderate frame. Too much flex is a problem when it causes "ghost shifting," which is real shifting caused by the fame flexing enough to move the rear hub away from the upper pulley, resulting in the chain being de-railed to the next hardest cog. If you're too much guy for a particular frame, you may find this happening on steep climbs; but check your shift lever tightness first, and make sure there's no excess friction in the system. Other opinions abound, and seek 'em out!

Rolling resistance varies tremendously with the surface and tire pressure. The prevailing opinion, which I go along with, says that rougher roads need softer tires that roll over and absorb the bumps, rather than hitting them and bouncing skyward. One example of "conventional tire wisdom" that I doubt-to-don't-believe, is the idea that a supple sidewall makes a whopping difference. Sidewall suppleness is most obvious when there's no air in the tire, and even MORE MOST obvious when the tire isn't even on a rim. Once you mount and inflate two tires, one with a supple sidewall (SS) and one with a firmer sidewall (FS), then the differences are insignificant. If both tires inflate to 75psi feel different, then they will behave differently, too. To make the FS feel like the SS, you may have to reduce its psi by 5, and there are no drawbacks to doing that.

But here again, it's kind of a case of magnifying amoebas, since (1) compared to wind resistsance, rolling resistance is insignificant, and matters only in races won or lost by wheel-widths; and (2) for anybody who doesn't race at that supremely high level, it is a mistake (I'd say) to even give it a second thought. You want a comfortable, reliable bike; a certain amount of fitness; a friend to ride with, and a safe place to ride. If the weather's good and the scenery is decent, that's all you need. That's not to say you shouldn't enjoy discussions about bicycle theoretics, but in the end, don't forget to re-size their all.

New builder is not anybodyanybody knows, I am sure. Builders come with various degrees of fame and reputation, but no builder imbues a frame with magical love that flows from his fingertips. It's a romantic notion, and I'd be the first to acknowledge that the range of skills, especially in custom builders, varies far more than the prices they charge. In a custom Riv builder, I am looking for a guy who loves bicycles and is at home with metal and tools, and has personal metal- making standards that are higher than my own, and won't take short cuts. I also look for, and have found somebody with decades (more than three) of experience building some of his own frames (including a custom for me way back) and repairing hundreds of the finest frames in the world. I know it is impossible to stop the speculation, so speculate away, but in the end, it will be a RIvendell frame, not a _______ _________ frame, because it is our design, our lugs, our concept, our choice of everything. Frames from him are still months&months away, and when they finally start to flow, they will flow glacial-like!

Best, Grant


Links to original posts on the RBW list:

GP Notes on the Bleriot, new & current models and a Quickbeam run

GP on upcoming rivbike fits, sloping top tubes, trail, flex, rolling resistance


Rivendell Bleriot to cease production - 5/9/08

Hot off the mojo wire - rumours of the cessation of Bleriot production have been confirmed:

From John @ Rivbike -

"Some news from here. Nothing etched in stone. Details forthcoming. The Bleriot, made in conjuction with QBP, is going away at the end of June.

It's been a great frame, at a great price. QBP was great to work with, and there are no bad feelings on either side.

If everything goes according to plan, we will have new frames, also made in Taiwan, also attractively priced, available next Spring to our own retail customers and to our dealers. It will be a Riv-only thing. We will still sell Japanese and American frames. This will just be an additional tier. The quality will be commensurate with the price. Better, in fact. They will be good, strong, attractive bikes.

Expect a Mixte, a Hilsen-like, and an Atlantis-type. That's all we know for now. Pricing, geometry, colors, details, and sizes to be determined. Have a good weekend, everyone."

Sad to see such a fine model come to an end, but... holy-moley! Three new models at a lower price point! Can't wait for more info there...


Rivendell Garage Sale and Semi-Unofficial Ride Announced

There's been a post on the RBW site announcing a Garage Sale which will "take place at 8:30 and not a minute earlier" on Saturday, July 19th at the RBWHQ&L. This is good for me, as I am committed for the entire day elsewhere, and really shouldn't be spending extra money for the goodies I'd expect to find there.

I'm more bummed about missing the 10:30 am ride which was also announced. as I don't get over that way too frequently, and the topography is pretty wonderful - Mt Diablo roads and trails are well worth it. I certainly enjoyed myself at last year's Rivendell Weekend.


So, you should go and share photos and stories - mark your calendar Saturday, July 19th!


Friday Night at the Movies - 5/23/08

Rivendell's first posted video. In which Mark at RBW carefully layers on the base coat of shellac on a near-finished Glorius. Enjoy!

Jack Brown's on


The fine folks over at have an excellent tech article on the Hampsten Cycles Strada Bianca Ti Travelissimo, which is the personal ride of Andy Hampsten (profiled in a recent Rivendell Reader as well - if you aren't familiar with Andy's exploits, see if you can find a Bob Roll essay called "The Day the Big Men Cried", or Andy has a description under a similar title, "The Day the Strong Men Cried". Epic stuff. )

From the article is this paragraph:

"The cleanly welded titanium frame and carbon Wound Up fork are designed around the larger 28-33mm tires that he prefers for their ability to handle smooth pavement or cobbles with near-equal aplomb as well as their awesome cornering traits."

And the tires? Jack Browns, baby! Yeah!

But wait! There's more!

Over on the front page of the Hamsten Cycles site, there's a stunningly appointed, fully fendered classic-looking bike which is clearly wearing a plaid Nigel Smythe Country Bag. That'd be a Tournesol Randonneuse, if you are keeping score.

Rivendell Rambouillet Model Page Added - 5/19


Rivendell Rambouillet Page - click here
Finally put together a page aggregating the Rivendell Rambouillet info that I have. There's a bit more to be added at this point, but you can view the color Rambouillet flyer pictured above, and get direct links to all the Rambouillets in the Current Classics Gallery.

There are also model-specific pages for the A Homer Hilsen, Bombadil, Bleriot and Quickbeam.

A Scanner Lightly - 5/17

Since I'm battered by bronchitis and enjoying the start of antibiotics, scanning stuff seems to be the greatest challenge I can meet today. This is an article I had saved from the March, 1995 edition of California Bicyclist magazine. It was about a year into the Rivendell adventure. I particularly enjoyed rereading the second to last paragraph, which said, in part about Grant,

"If he can infuse the things he sells with the aura of revelation, if he can transform friction shifters into signifiers of the purified vision of bicycling, if he can reform the decadent and and recruit the unenlightened, he and Rivendell may prevail."

Reading Rivendell Article - click for hi rez
Click on the Image to see the hi-rez version

Bombadil Prototype Testing- 4/08

Bombadil Uber-Secret Spy Photos

In a secret testing facility somewhere in Northern California America. Not by me. Doggonit!

UPDATE 5/08 - Gino's BombaBlog Report can be enjoyed here



Another Bombadil Prototype - from the ToyoBlog - 2/18/08

From the Toyo Blog

Looks like the fine folks over at Toyo have delivered another prototype of the Bombadil 650B/584 mountainbike. This one features a twin top tube, reminescent of the early days of Klunkerz on the mountain. GP has mentioned that he wants to make this bike "bombproof" and has been rethinking additional bracing, such as a curved forward tube. (Toyoblog translation supplied by Google).



There is also a newly updated Bombadil page which aggregates information on this bicycle



2/3/08 - Thanks For Everything, Sheldon


Sheldon Brown
1944 - 2008

Sheldon Brown - 1944 - 2008

Rivendell just posted the interview they did with him in RR25 a few years ago. All across the net, memorials are blooming and recollections shared. We owe him a debt of gratitude and should feel lucky to have enjoyed his precense.



Lyotard "Berthet" Mod. 23 Article - 1/31/08

Russ Fitzgerald wrote about the Lyotard "Berthet" Model 23 pedal back in 2002 (Rivendell Reader #25). This article got some attention recently in an iBob thread, so I'm reprinting it here for reference. Scans are hi-rez - click on the page image below.

Lyotard Berthet Model 23 Pedal  Lyotard Berthet Model 23 Pedal

If the hi-rez images are too big, I've got some scanned at 72 dpi - page 26 - page 27

Please note - Entries earlier than 2008 have been archived here





Other Photos from the RBWHQ&L* Secret Files-

Steve on the Snowy Curve
Tetsu from Toyo on Mt. Diable Singletrack
Winter Trails - 2006
Snow On The Mountain - 2006

Tetsu from Toyo on Singletrack - 2007


*RBWHQ&L = Rivendell Bicycle Words Headquarters and Lair (pronounced in your best Dr. Evil accent...)


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List of RBW PDF's and other References on this Server

Rivendell Rambouillet Color Flyer Scans

Rivendell Bombadil Tentative Geometry Spec Sheet

Rivendell Saluki Flyer

Rivendell Quickbeam Geometry Spec Sheet

Rivendell Bags Capacity Chart (Includes NSS & Berthoud, capacity in CU, CI and Peanuts)

Other References

Panaracer Tire Co spec sheet on Col de la Vie Tires - in Japanese

1993 Cycle Fitments Catalog

Mavic Open Pro Rim Tech Specs

Trail Map - Tamarancho - Fairfax, CA

Trail Map - China Camp State Park - San Rafael, CA

Trail Map - Annadel State Park - Santa Rosa, CA

Trail/Campground Map - Mt Diablo State Park - Walnut Creek, CA

Sorry for the mish-mash here - I realized I'd been squirrelling away pdf's which I'd linked in list-posts, but hadn't ever created a hard link within this site.


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Rivendell Reader - Subscribe Now!

The Rivendell Reader is a magazine put out by Grant and the folks at Rivendell Bicycle Works.

Though it is published sparodically at no fixed interval, it contains excellent writing, interviews and stuff you want to keep around.

It gets sent to you in addition to the member rebate benefits, when you join RBW.

Subscribe here

- Bicycle Model Pages -

Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
Rivendell Bleriot
Rivendell Quickbeam
Rivendell Bombadil
Rivendell Rambouillet
Rivendell Romulus and Redwood
Rivendell Atlantis



Company Info:
Rivendell Bicycle Works
P.O. Box 5289 Walnut Creek, CA 94596
T 800.345.3918/ 925.933.7304
F 877.269.5847


If you are looking for information about Bridgestone bicycles, I have a reproduced page on serial number conventions here. The best source for further information would be Sheldon Brown's Bridgestone Bicycle Pages.


Please note - this is absolutely not meant to be a comprehensive representaton of Rivendell Bicycle Works, their products or their policies.
Please visit their website, or contact them directly regarding these products.

Last updated: May 5, 2011


Bicycle Photo Galleries :

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Single Speed Bicycle Gallery
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Please note: ©Jim Edgar 1999 - 2009 unless otherwise noted
No reuse of any kind allowed without specific permission.

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