Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rivendell RB-1?

I was a big fan of Bridgestone during their heyday of the '90s. The no-nonsense bikes and advertising style pushed all my buttons at the time. As proof, three - count 'em, three - new Bridgestones arrived in the official Dan O garage in '91. A considerable chunk of dough for the MB-Zip, RB-1 and MB-3. To buy three bikes from one manufacturer in a year says something, no? It also was the dual-income, no kids era for me. Like Bridgestone, those days are long gone now.

Back in the day, I also poured over (and saved) every Bridgestone catalog and BOB Gazette. I still wear my BOB and RONA t-shirts, that I saved for years - then wondered what I'm saving 'em for? I recently put 'em in the rotation and the general public has no idea what they mean. The occasional Bike Geek does however.

The man running the show for Bridgestone USA was of course, Grant Petersen. Being a bike nut myself, Grant would be on my "admired" list for what they've accomplished in the industry and for what they stand for - even if I don't agree or totally dig what they make. Grant later started Rivendell and even though I was a Rivendell Reader subscriber for years, the Rivendell line of bikes were just not quite my thing. I thought the bikes were cool in their own way and admired Grant's passion for what he believes a bike should be. Still, nothing I'd ride myself. Well, the Rambouillet frame in blue had me thinking for a bit, but not enough to order one. I'd also run it with all "modern" components - but that's another story.

I sometimes wondered why Rivendell didn't produce their own version of the RB-1. Something with simple lugs, lighter and quicker then what they usually offer. You'd think for a small company like Rivendell, they'd sell a few for sure. Especially by tapping into the Bridgestone cult crowd.

Well, that appears to have happened. Bike pictured above is the Rivendell Roadeo, a prototype of their latest road bike. To me, it looks like a Rivendell RB-1. A road bike with room for fatter tires and fenders, steel construction and and some ties to history as well. Where will it be made? By the Waterford folks in Wisconsin, so you know the quality is up there. Pretty cool project.

Projected price for this rolling piece of old school art? $2000 for frame and fork. That's up there, but need to factor in who's building it and who designed it. I'm sure it'll ride extra sweet. I could see this built up with something like new Campy Chorus. New school carbon parts mixed with old school steel frame. Then again, maybe I'm weird.

In any case, since my days of dual-income and no kids has long expired, the chance of spending that kind of dough on a bike is pretty slim. Still, I can dream. The Roadeo has caught my attention for sure. I hope Rivendell sells a bunch of 'em.


  1. About once a week I check out the Rivendell site. I like how Grant has stood his ground over the years. I also like the Roadeo and it looks to be a classic sweet ride.

    You are spot on with your post. I think he has some cool bikes, but I don't know if I would end up buying one to ride. But what great frame sets. I think more people would be into them if they could see them with a different set-up. Check out ecovelo and look at the post on 27 AUG of the Long Haul Trucker & 18 AUG IF Club Racer. It just shows you that you can build them to fit your riding style.

  2. I checked out the ecovelo site as you mentioned - nice site. The IF Club Racer pictured is cool, though a little retro styled for me. I really like that IF frame and fork though.

    I visit the Steelman site occasionally and really like his stuff. This bike off his Gallery is flat out awesome in book:

    Try a Copy 'N' Paste - hope the link works.

    I've seen the Rivendell frames for real at Elliott Bay Cycles in Seattle. They're really nice. It's always cool to check out a frame and fork before it's built up.

    I'm not a full retro guy at all though - the new carbon bikes ride incredibly well. My carbon Ibis rides great. Light, stiff where it needs to be, and super comfortable over bumps.

    Still, if a large check landed on the doorstep, with "Buy a Bike" on it - I'd go for a high end steel frame and fork, enough room for fattish tires, then add Dura Ace or Campy Chorus. Hell, since I'm dreaming - make it Camp Super Record.

  3. Great post. Another group that I've recently been following is R&E Cycles here in Seattle. I was in there the other day and they had an all-steel custom bike built up that weighed 14 pounds! I don't know how stiff or durable it is, but who says the price of the sweet steel ride is weight? Not me.

    It would be a fun project to have them weld up a RB-1 replica and do a Bridgestone build on it. Coolness.

  4. Yeah - the modern steel frames are pretty light. Combine one with high end parts and its pretty even with a carbon framed bike. Anything that weighs 15 - 18 pounds is super light for normal sized folk.

    I haven't been to R&E Cycles in years, but see their frames being ridden around Seattle. I sometimes hit Elliot Bay Cycles at lunch to check out the Davidson frames - nice stuff. Mostly steel and some titanium.

    I've thought about the "RB-1 Replica" myself. That would be fun project. Then again, I already have the original. I'm glad I hung on to it.