Showing posts with label Handsome Cycles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Handsome Cycles. Show all posts

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Handsome Devil

Complete Handsome Devil build. Credit: handsomecycles.com


The guys who started Handsome Cycles were inspired by Grant Petersen, who runs Rivendell and who worked for Bridgestone USA from the mid-80's to early '90s.  In particular, the Handsome guys were inspired by Petersen's 1993 Bridgestone XO-1, which they now offer a replica of called the Handsome XOXO.   

The mainstay of Handsome Cycles, though, is the Handsome Devil, which debuted in 2009 and which I wrote about here. Tom now owns a Devil.



Why did Tom choose a Handsome Devil over the Surly LHT and other bikes? He wrote about that here. Recommended reading.

Honorable Mention: Grant Petersen's Rivendell Atlantis, which I wrote about here. In his recent article "What bike should you buy?", Hiawatha Cyclery's Jim Thill wrote: "The Atlantis taught me a lot of what I now believe to be important characteristics of any bike that fits my needs and personality."


Monday, September 23, 2013

Handsome Devil All-Rounder


When searching for an all-rounder bike I discovered lots of options.  I wanted it to be fun to ride unloaded, come as a complete bike, fit big tires with fenders and have the potential to add racks and carry a load.   I first thought the Surly Long Haul Trucker or Novara Safari would fit the bill, but they were both more heavy duty than I needed.   The Specialized Tricross was nice and had a great price, but I found the ride and look to be meh.  I really liked the Novara Randonne but I can't get over the amount of seat post that shows on that sloping top tube.  Rivendell Bikes are nice but out of my budget.  I was looking for a bike with a different look as well.  The Handsome XOXO was on the short list but I was looking for something more on-road than off.  I read about the Handsome Devil right here on these pages and in Momentum Magazine. It seemed to check all of the boxes, but I would need to order it sight unseen.

When I saw that the Handsome Devil went on sale I pulled the trigger.   The next day I had a voicemail from Jesse asking me about my build.  We talked about how I would use the bike and picked a local bike shop to do the assembly.  A couple of weeks later I was rolling out of the bike shop with my Devil on 35c tires (Jesse thought I would like them better than the 32mm stock ones).   The shop employees were a little perplexed, "I suppose you could commute on it."   Heck yeah!

So fast forward 6 months and I've made some changes.  I ditched the bar-tape grips for shellacked cork.   All transportation bikes should have fenders, so I installed SKS Longboard fenders.   A Velo-Orange Pass Hunter Rack holds a Wald Basket.  I scored a Nitto R-14 rack on Ebay and my wife got me a Rivendell Large Saddleback for Father's Day.  I call the bike my "Riven-Devil."


The steel frame has a nice springiness about it and the powder coat looks great. The steering on the Devil is quick, but some weight in the basket quiets it down a bit.   The cyclocross geometry does not lend itself to weighting up the rear without a load up front.   You can set up a Devil for touring as long as you spread out the load.  The geometry prefers a front load; however, the frame lacks a threaded boss above the front dropout (but there's one mid-fork).  Handsome now has a version of the Devil with a Porteur Rack, but they drill out the tangs for the axle and (I presume) use a longer skewer.


The Devil is set up with 1x8 gearing with a 44T chainring.  It's perfect for my flat-to-rolling commute.  I'm not sure the drivetrain is ready for a loaded tour without replacing the double 150bcd crankset --the gearing would be too hight evening adding a second chainring.  A low-double or triple would probably be better for biking up hills with a full touring load.  With a nod to versatility, the Devil has semi-horizontal dropouts for internal hub builds.

I've enjoyed the Devil and I would recommend working with the Handsome Cycles folks on your search for your Bike For the Rest of Us.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Handsome Devil


If you were going to build your own BFROU, what would you use as your muse?

The guys at Handsome Cycles could not have made a more inspired choice when they modeled their frameset, coming out in April, after the Bridgestone XO-1.

If you’re not familiar with the Bridgestone XO-1, or the cult following that Bridgestone bikes had and still has, then you can catch up on bike history over on Sheldon Brown’s website: Bridgestone Bikes; What the hell is a BOB?

For our purposes, it’s enough to know that Bridgestone put out high quality bikes from 1984 to 1994 and that the XO-1, which came out in the early 90’s, was one of Bridgestone’s finest and most versatile bikes.

Now, back to Handsome Cycles... they are producing a steel frameset made from 4130 double-butted steel that has braze-ons for racks and fenders and can take wide tires. With the frameset, you can build the bike of your dreams... it could be a touring bike or could take advantage of the horizontal dropouts and go fixed. The projected price is $379 for the frame and fork.



Handsome Cycle’s website reads like a BFTROU rant:

Our affinity for classic lines is borne out of an appreciation for Bridgestone Bicycles, circa late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s. At the time, no other manufacturer presented such well thought out designs to the American market. For the past 15 years, while the machinations of the bicycle industry’s marketing juggernaut have largely led consumers down a wayward path of lightweight nonsense and unrealistic materials, we have remained ardent supporters of sensible design and versatility.




There’s already a lot of buzz about the Handsome Devil on bike blogs:

Cyclelicious

Cycloculture

Urban Velo


Can the Handsome Devil live up to its hype?