Rivendell Bicycle Works: Romulus (and Redwood):


Rivendell RomulusThe Rivendell Romulus and Redwood Page

Following the introduction of the Rambouillet, the Romulus and Redwood appeared briefly in the Rivendell lineup.

The first catalog in which they are mentioned was the Spring 2003 "General Calogue (sic) But No Bikes". They are described as such:

"The Romulus and Redwood are complete road bikes based on the same frame design ideals as the Rambouillet, and only minor differences that allow a lower price without structural or real compromises. The result is a bike that at around $1,400 complete, is an untouchable value. The drivetrain is mostly Shimano 105, but with a Sugino triple with much more usable gearing (48 x 36 x 26) than the Shimano comes with (52 x 42 x 30). If you want a super comfortable, versatile, and stunning-to-look at road bike for the cost of a generic, get it. The Romulus is light blue and comes in odd sizes 55 thru 63. The Redwood is light green andcomes in 65 and 68cm only (for tall guys)."

The model is not mentioned in the Spring/Summer '04 Catalog, which lists "Standard Models" as Atlantis, Rambouillet and Quickbeam, with mention made of the Saluki, Glorius and Wilbury as "arriving this summer".

There was also a reappearence of the Romulus with a twist - the "Canti-Rom". It seems that Rivendell had discussed making a cantilever brake version of the Romulus with Toyo in Japan. After the discussion, Toyo contacted Rivendell with an estimated delivery date, which caught them a bit by surprise. Rivendell agreed to take the bicycles and they were offered for sale (in a Reader? - I'll poke around for the citation) and snapped up reasonably quickly. There are examples of the Canti-Rom in the Galleries.

Other folks have shared their recollections regarding the Romulus, and some forwarded email communicatioins:

- Posted to the RBW List by Aaron Thomas:
Regarding the dropout issue, this is from an old Canti-Rom file I saved: "Dropout joinery. The Romulus uses the British method, same as on Mercian and Hetchins frames. It's also called "domed and slotted" for the treatment of the ends of the stays and fork blades. It is just as strong, not the least bit ugly, but less fancy and not as expensive."

- Doug Shaker recalled to the RBW List:
- The style of joining the dropouts to the frame was different between the two bikes. I don't know the names of the two styles, but they're different.
- I think the drive-side chainstay on the Rambouillet used splined tubing. I don't recall how I came across this information.
- Rambouillet has an extra set of water bottle bosses under the down tube

- And there was a follow-up by Grant to the List (the original thread was discussion the brake clearances of the different models, and so has references to that aspect of the designs):
Doug has it right, or easily right enough. I will add this (doesn't not subtract anything):
1. Originally, there was the RIVENDELL ROAD. Short reach, not custom.
2. The the RIVENDELL LONG LOW...similar to road, but slightly shallower head tube and made for longer reach brakes. Reach went from high forties (in the ROAD) to mid-50s in the LONG LOW. Some LONG LOWS were made for cantilever brakes, with same reach dimensions as those for sidepulls.
3. RAMBOUILLET is our medium-reach (mid 50s) frame made in Japan. As Doug said, it is prettydarnroughly equivalent in all practical aspects, to the LONG LOW.
4. The ROMULUS was a just-as-well-made but cheaper-to-buy version of the RAMBOUILLET. Cheaper because it came in as a whole bike. Cheaper because it was painted all one color (no cream details). The lugs were simpler, but they cost us as much, and are the same quality. The ROM got cut only because the Dollar was taking too big a beating, and continuing it would've meant raising the price about $400 per bike. Maybe we shoulda, maybe we shouldn'ta, but a $400 price increase with no significant change in spec is hard to swallow, so we dropped the bike.

Comparing Rambouillet with A. Homer HIlsen: Biggest diff, and I'd say the only one worth even breathing about, is the brake reach/clearance/ tire capacity/fenderability. The Rambouillet maxed out the potential inherent in Shimano's "long reach" (which isn't all that long) sidepull. It allows you to fender a 28 easily, fender a 32 barely, and fit a 37 with no fender at all. Those are tremendous features.

And so-- in my assessment--the Rambouillet/Romulus were the most versatile fantabulous road bikes possible to make with those brakes, which at the time were the only sidepulls available. It isn't JUST a matter of using those brakes. It is all about maximizing the potential in the brakes by putting the bridges in the right place and making the fork blades the right length. Many bikes that use the same brakes don't do that.

The whole world changed when the Silver brakes arrived. It is also available in a fine but slightly downgraded version (only in the brake pads!) as the TEKTRO R556. In any case, it was made to our specs, it was made on our behalf, and it included all the things we wanted in a Dreamy Sidepull for Puffy Tires 'n Fenders. This brake allowed us to multimaximize the clearances and make life heavenly with puffy tires and fenders.

The AHH has 64mm of reach, which doesn't even require bottom-slotting the brake pads. (It does allow easier 700c-t-650b conversions, though.) The 64 reach lets you mount a fender and a 38mm tire. So now that we had this brake, we designed the A. Homer HIlsen. The actual geometrical numbers on the Ram/Rom and Hilsen vary more than the actual rides do. Since the AHH is our "Country bike," and was designed to slot between the Ram and the Atlantis, we designed a slightly shallower head tube and increased the chainstay length a 2cm or so. The actual ride difference is similar, and the most noticeable difference will be in the tires themselves, not a degree here or less than an inch in the chainstay. Those READ more significantly than they FEEL, but that's always the case. The overriding influences on bike FEEL are your position and the tire pressure. Geometry isn't nothing, because it affects position and resposnsiveness, but a good way to ruin a bike is to give it super short chainstays in the name of "responsiveness," only to have it handle funny and be limited to no fenders and tiny tires.

But the short story is: What Doug Said! G

Romulus and Redwood bicycles in the Galleries:

- #660 - Neil Doshi's Rivendell Romulus
- #602 - Esteban Del Rio's Rivendell Romulus
- #600 - JimD's Rivendell Romulus
- #406 - Andrew Karre's Rivendell Romulus (canti)
- #388 - Eric Daume's Rivendell Romulus
- #318 - Ralph Rognstad's Rivendell Romulus
- #284 - Franklyn Wu's Rivendell Romulus
- #194 - Brett Gilbert's Rivendell Romulus

- #167 - Bill Burns' Rivendell Romulus
- #131 - Frank Fulton's Rivendell Romulus
- #114 - Jeremy Miller's Rivendell Romulus
- #87 - Joe Broach's Rivendell Canti-Rom
- #55 - Gordon Stam's Romulus
- #38 - Bill Connell's Redwood


- The Romulus Color Flyer - The Redwood "Draft" Flyer Scan -
- Romulus/Redwood Announcement in the Fall/Winter Flyer - RBW Owner's Bunch Mailing List



The Rivendell Romulus Color Flyer - 2003 (?)


I received this as a direct mail piece. It has a full color glossy cover with black and white internal pages.

Click here or on the image above to see all of the flyer pages.

There are also higher resolution scans which can be accessed from each individual page.


Announcement of the Romuls and Redwood in the Fall-Winter Flyer

This is the announcement of the Romulus and Redwood models in the Fall-Winter Flyer of 2003(?).

Click on the pages to get a decent onscreen image.

Fall-Winter Flyer Fall-Winter Flyer

Hi-rez scan pg. 1 - Hi-rez scan pg. 2


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

The Rivendell Draft Redwood 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!


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- Rivendell Bicycle Model Pages -

Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
Rivendell Bleriot
Rivendell Quickbeam
Rivendell Bombadil
Rivendell Romulus and Redwood
Romulus (& 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

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

Last updated: September 22, 2009


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