Showing posts with label Rivendell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rivendell. Show all posts

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Handsome Devil

Complete Handsome Devil build. Credit:

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, August 13, 2012

Rivendell Betty Foy

A complete Betty Foy. Credit: Rivendell Bicycle Works.
Rivendell sells its Betty Foy mixte frameset for $1,050.  A frameset includes the frame, fork, headset, and bottom bracket.   A complete bike, without saddle or pedals, is estimated to cost $2,200, depending on parts.

While we're on the subject of mixtes, it seemed like a good idea to include the Betty Foy.  As with other Rivendell frames, the Betty Foy is high quality steel, with investment lugs.  The frameset is currently available in three sizes: 50, 55, and 60 cm.

Here is what Rivendell, i.e., Grant Petersen, has to say about the Betty Foy:
Clearance is key to the Foy.  It has enough to fit tires up to 40 mm wide, so it's good on rough roads.  It has clearance to take fenders easily, even with 40 mm tires, so it's the ideal foul weather commuter.  What you can do on a bike, you can do on your Betty Foy.

The name "Betty Foy" comes from a character in the Wordsworth poem "Idiot Boy" (go ahead, read it!).  This is a nice touch, given that there is something poetic about mixtes.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bags for Bikes

We’re going to talk about bags on this post. There are literally hundreds of types of bags for carrying loads on your bicycle at price points from $20 all the way to $200 plus. A decent bag should be constructed with sturdy materials and strong stitching to last through more than one commuting season. The design of the bag is important to make sure it will stay put and provide access to its contents while keeping them out of the weather. The size or type of the bag will depend if you’re using it for camping, commuting, holding your wallet and keys, or just keeping a few tools at hand. I’ve asked Freewheel for some input as we take a look at some decent all-purpose bags that will work well for commuting but might come in handy on a light tour.

Bags that hang on your handlebars:

These are bags that can work on several handlebar types (like mustache bars) and hold smaller items (less than 5 liters, usually). They strap to your handlebars instead of to a rack.
Freewheels’ Pick: The VO Bag
Baguette Bag, which also works as a saddlebag. It cost $34. However, it holds everything I need to take with me when I'm not hauling anything: tools, spare tubes, wallet, keys, cell. There's even room leftover for small purchases. (Apparently you can also take all that out and carry a baguette around, but I haven't tried that).

Tom’s Pick: My choice is the very similar Rivendell Brand V Bar Bag is a simple tube bag with velcro straps. The V is for Vegan since it contains no leather. The form factor is exactly the same as VO’s Baguette bag.


Other choices:
Acorn has three choices of sturdy made-in-the-USA bags for handlebars A simple nylon bag like this one from REI will work fine for smaller items.
Bags for a front rack or decaleurs: For the drop-bar crowd the popular choices are the boxy bar bags, which mount best on decaleurs, which are bag mounts that are typically attached to a small front rack. Bikes that can handle a front load can holder larger porteur bags. Folders and touring bikes work well with low-mounted front panniers.
Tom’s Pick: The Pelican Porteur Bag from Swift Industries. You can custom order this colorful bag or even order it along with a rack.

Freewheel’s Pick: Ortleib panniers (see more under panniers below).
Other choices: Boxy bar bags constructed of canvas like those at VO and Rivendell.

Nylon quick-release bags like the Banjo Brothers and Rixen & Kaul bags. Alan from EcoVelo recommended the Rixen and Kaul bags to me for my folding bike.
A small bag maker from Philadelphia, PA, Laplander Bags, has started making a very rich-looking porteur bag on the high end of the price range.
Bags for your saddle: These bags are great for keeping on your bike with essential tools, etc. This is one type of bag you can find at your local bike store. You can get larger saddle bags (5-11 liter) but beware they may rub the backs of your legs when you pedal, if that kind of thing annoys you.
Freewheel’s Pick: His trusty VO Baguette Bag, which doubles as a saddle bag complete with a loop for your blinkie.
Tom’s Pick: Minnehaha’s medium saddle bag, made of black canvas. It looks good, holds 8 liters or so, and the prices is right. Banjo Brothers Barrel Bag is a good choice for a smaller bag.

Other Choices:
There are hordes of cyclists out there who will use nothing but traditional touring bags from Carradice and Gilles Berthoud, so you probably can’t go wrong there. You can get less expensive Asian-made copies of these bags by Zimbale and Minnehaha. Origin8 makes traditionally styled bags out of nylon instead of canvas. If you’d like something handmade then take a look at the Towpath Duffle from Laplander. If wool tweed is more your style there plenty of choices over at Rivendell.

Rear Panniers:
Panniers are really the superior way to carry loads down low on your rear rack. They also leave the top of the rack free for carrying children, pizza, firewood or the like.
Tom’s Pick: Dutch Double Saddle Bags like Clarijs, CleverChimp and Basil

  These are large boxy bags (40L total capacity) that straddle your rear rack and made of waterproof tarp-type material. They generally live on your bag and sometimes have cutouts to slide a lock through for good measure. The boxy shape means that you'll have heel-strike issues unless you have long chainstays, so these are not great for typical road bikes. 
Photo: Rob
Freewheel's Pick: Ortlieb. I've been using these for years to haul all kinds of stuff in all types of weather. I've carried laptops through downpours with no worries. They truly are waterproof, and virtually indestructible. They've survived my worst crashes and wipeouts. They are very easy to latch and unlatch to your racks. With four of these (2 front, 2 back), you're in good shape for bike camping and touring.

Photo: REI
Other choices:
Bushwacker, Jadd and Arkel all make heavy-duty nylon panniers in various colors and sizes.

Swift Industries makes very nice panniers at a reasonable price. The folks at Path Less Pedaled used these bags every day for a year if you need a recommendation.

What if you could have only one bag? So this is one of those silly bonus categories, but I had to throw it in. If you have one bag it has to do lots of things pretty well.
Freewheel’s Pick: Ortleib Panniers. They’re tough and keep your gear dry.
Tom’s Pick: Sackville SlickerSack. OK, OK, so this is an odd bag. It’s flat like a suitcase, but rounded enough not to catch a headwind. It can hold a laptop inside or a pizza or sleeping bag on top. It fits on porteur rack or Nitto Platrack. It also looks great and will probably last a long time.

Other types of Bags: We missed a couple types of bike bags like rack-top bags, basket bags, frame bags and bento bags. And there are plenty of bags that you can wear as well. If you have a favorite bag, please add it in the comments!

Photos: Provided by Manufacturer unless noted otherwise

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Case For Owning Multiple Bikes

Ah, the search for "The One."

1892 wedding picture. Courtesy Pikes Peak library.

The One who will make your heart flutter, your insides tingle.  The One who will have you walking around in a dreamy daze. 

The One you will travel the world with, over smooth roads and rough terrain. The One who will be with you when you take in amazingly beautiful vistas. The One who will be with you during your most mundane moments, such as grocery-shopping, hardware store runs, and commuting to work. 

The One, for better and for worse.

Have you found The One?

I thought I had 10 years ago.  She was an Italian-made steel road bike, versatile enough to be my commuter, my century ride, my light tourer, my grocery-hauling do-it-all multipurpose bike (you knew this was about bikes, right?). 

The One.

But time and experience will change a man.

I still believe that steel road bikes make the best all-rounders.  But what if you want to do some fully-loaded touring or bike camping?  Then maybe the Surly Long-Haul Trucker is The One, or if you love vintage bikes maybe a 1980's Miyata 1000.

The 1983 Miyati 1000.  Credit:

What if you want to take in some dirt?  Then you may want wider tire clearance to allow for fatter tires, if not knobbies.  Of course, this point is arguable.  In a 1993 article in Bicycling magazine, Chris Kostman wrote: "I routinely dust every mountain biker I encounter on the trail. And I ride a road bike."  Of course, he is a cocky S-O-B: "More bluntly, a road bike is equal to or better than a mountain bike if ridden with skill like I have."

Grant Petersen pursued the dream of The One during his tenure with Bridgestone.  The result was the XO-1, which he touted as "the most versatile, the most exciting bike we've ever made; and under the legs of a strong, skilled rider, it can do almost anything."

An ad for the XO-1.  Credit:

The XO-1 became the Atlantis when Petersen started Rivendell, but the XO-1 has plenty of other progeny as well, including recent entrants such as the Rawland Sogn and perhaps Surly's soon-to-be released Troll.

The Troll (note to Surly -- please rename). Credit: Surly Blog.

Surly says "the idea behind this sucker is a commuter, tractor, off-roader, tourer, dethmachine."  By the way, Surly is quite serious about the "tractor" part - they're coming out with a trailer for 2011 that they claim can haul 300 pounds of cargo. 

There's nothing wrong with pursuing The One.  But I've found a special joy in owning a bunch of bikes and riding them all frequently.  I currently have five very different bikes: the aforementioned road bike, an XO-2, a mountain bike, a fixie, and a 60-year-old English 3-speed.  I find that I am riding more than ever. 

The 1994 Bridgestone catalog included an article titled "How To Ride A Bike Forever," which recommended owning multiple bikes:

Make your bicycles so different that your experience on one is unlike the other -- a mountain bike and a road bike, a multispeed and a single speed, or a clunker, or a recumbent.  For some people, even different handlebars are enough of a change.  It's worth a try.

How To Ride A Bike Forever - click for big if you want to read the whole thing. Credit:

So there you have it.  It's okay to be with multiple bikes.  And don't worry: they never get jealous.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rivendell Atlantis

Rivendell makes high-end lugged steel bikes designed for the rest of us. The Atlantis, for example, has a wide tire clearance (35mm or wider) and can be used for loaded touring, trail riding, and commuting. Rivendell claims “you can do anything on an Atlantis.” The Atlantis frame, fork, and headset go for about $2,000, but the total cost depends on how you get it set up.

Rivendell is the brainchild of Grant Petersen, who previously was with Bridgestone Bicycles until its demise in the mid-90s. The Atlantis is the lineal descendent of the much-acclaimed Bridgestone XO-1.

You can get an Atlantis set up with mustache bars, the way the XO-1 was, or with drop bars. Basically, Rivendell will work with you to build the bike you want.

Check out Kevin's Atlantis at Chasing Mailboxes.

If you own an Atlantis or other Rivendell product, leave a comment and let us know what your experience has been like.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sheldon Brown and Grant Petersen

Long before there was a blog called "Bikes For The Rest Of Us," there were advocates for the types of bicycles that we promote here. I think the two most prominent were the late, great Sheldon Brown and the iconoclast Grant Petersen.

You want to hear an informative discussion about bikes for the rest of us? Listen to this conversation between Sheldon and Grant at the 2005 Interbike show.

Here's a brief excerpt:

Grant: "I think the worst thing that's happening in bicycles these days and it's been happening for years is using racing and competition bicycles to sell bicycles to people who are not going to do that.

I mean, it wouldn't happen in cars. You don't see people driving around in cars that people race on the dragstrip or in NASCAR cars but that's the kind of bike that people get on and ride. It's not a practical bike for everyday living...."