Monday, August 18, 2008

Bikes, Bikes, Bikes

I have a few bikes. I believe I have six complete bikes at present, including two frames. I guess if you count the two frames as one complete bike, then I have for every day of the week. Maybe that was my goal. My current list includes:
  • Diamondback hardtail mountain bike, aluminum frame, beater and bakfiets (look it up!).
  • Schwinn Le Tour, 63cm lugged steel frame, 80's vintage
  • Schwinn Tempo, 62 cm lugged steel frame, 80's vintage
  • Schwinn ?, model and vintage unknown, 62cm lugged steel frame fixie conversion
  • Rivendell Quickbeam, 62 cm lugged steel frame, 2 years old, fixed gear setup
  • Soma Double Cross 62 cm cyclocross frame, steel (what else?) setup with parts from an 'old' road bike as a light tourer

I wanted to start this blog to document (and share) the details of my latest bike build. Actually, this is my first complete bike build. I've been a longtime fan of Rivendell bicycles (, and I've experienced serious pangs of bike lust perusing Grant Petersen's latest offerings. About two years ago, I finally took the plunge and purchased an orange Quickbeam. This is not a subtle bike. Bright orange, with the Rivendell signature Speedblend Pasela tires, shellacked and twined bar tape, Nitto stem, bars, seatpost, rack, and brass bell, it gets plenty of attention everywhere I take it. I especially like the comments regarding my Speedblends...e.g. "I'm just so mesmerized by those tires, can't stop staring at them"...and "Wow, that's a nice looking old bike!" or "Damn, that thing is bright!" I get even more incredulous looks when I tell them it's only two years old.

I've been seriously thinking about getting another Rivendell to add to my stable. For those not familiar with Rivendell, they build custom and semi-custom lugged steel frames. Rivendell offers several models of 'stock' frames, including their Atlantis model, a touring bike, and the A. Homer Hilsen, a 'country' bike. You can get more information by checking out their website.

Rivendell also has several models they aren't building at present. One is their road bike, the Rambouillet, and the Quickbeam. I managed to get in on the last run of Quickbeams before Riv decided to temporarily suspend building that particular frame. I have to say, my QB is the best fitting bike of all the bikes I ride...and yes, they all do get ridden regularly. I was planning on buying another Rivendell and had been looking seriously at either the Atlantis or the Homer Hilsen. Problem is, the Hilsen frame only came in odd sizes (61 cm or 63 cm), and the Atlantis came in either a 61cm or 64 cm. The geometries just weren't quite the same as my Quickbeam, and the Rambouillet was currently out of production. I had bid on a 64 cm fully loaded Atlantis on eBay several months ago, only to get beat by a last second bid. Just wasn't meant to be, I guess.

However, bike karma smiled upon me at last. While I was keeping my ear to the ground, watching the bike blogs, iBOB and RBW mailing lists, eBay, craigslist, and so on, I happened upon a lightly used 62 cm Rambouillet frame for sale...perfect for a fall/winter bike build. After some correspondence with the owner a deal was struck, and the frame was mine!

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