Adventures in Middle Earth, or building a Rivendell

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  • It all started with a casual, throw away comment on the eBay/Craigslist finds post saying something like 'Rivendell in Brighton: link'. Nobody seemed to notice and I'd been salivating over their bikes not that long before, so just had to have a look.

    A lovely, orange Sam Hillborne, in my size, and I was going to be nearer to Brighton than I have been for months (years? who knows in these times) only days later for a ride, with the car, so I could even pick it up. It was, or so I tell myself, meant to be. A couple of hours or half hoping someone else would buy it and stop me from adding to an already crowded shed, and I'd clicked the 'But It Now' button and the deed was done.

    With that, on to the build. My gravel itch has well and truly been scratched, so no need there, and I'm not after anything super skinny or lightweight for road riding, but a classic steel randonneur type bike is definitely on the cards. This is my thinking:

    Partly inspired by this lovely build on the Radavist, I'm going with Campag Athena shifters and derailleurs.

    Then from there - I can't really bring myself to pay for a Chater Lea or Rene Herse crankset, but something like that. Ideally a SunXCD clover leaf super compact double - I'd like to go for 42/26, but they seem hard to come by.

    Rear cassette - Campag themselves only seem to do silly 12-29 cassettes, but I will definitely need something wider. Fortunately it seems possible to get a 12-30 (possibly 32) on an Athena short cage derailler, which should be fine with the double up front.

    Brakes - I am going to splash out and go for centre mount, centre pull Paul Racers. It would almost be rude not to on this bike.

    Lots of other details to finesse, but basically - silver and classic looking - Nitto, Honjo, etc... Although I am going a bit rogue with some Ritchey Venturemax Classic bars, as I really like the shallow biobend drops.

    One question I can't decide on - black saddle and bar tape to match the shifter hoods, or brown saddle and brown tape, possibly try and get alternative hoods for the shifters? I'm swaying towards the the brown, but mainly because I'm all about that tan tyre wall look.

  • Is this the one from the velo vitality gent?

    Excited to see this build!

  • It is indeed!

    Couldn't resist. It's such a beautiful bike.

  • Yesssss!!!!

    I was lusting for it myself (sadly was not the brake boss model), as were friends, only one I’ve ever seen for public sale!

    Such a good buy and glad It’s gone to a good home!

  • Unsure which order these will come out in so:

    1. With mudguards against brick wall - original eBay listing image

    2. Against wooden fence - with wheels, saddle and stem. Basically just me trying out reach, saddle height and what 700c x 42 look like on it. Absolutely not what I'm going for in terms of wheelset.

    3. View of new Velo Orange quill stem with 31.8 clamp.


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  • Yeah not the brake post one, but still, had to take the punt and with those centre mount Paul's I'm getting the aesthetic and most of the braking power at least.

    Definitely going to go all out. Even managed to get hold of some Campandgoslow tape to put on it.

  • Cool frameset, looking forward to the build!

  • stories like this can't be real! following

  • On board for this build.

  • No pressure now!

    Scooped up a silver Campag Athena groupset on here. Looking forward to wrapping my head around a new maker. I've been a SRAM man for years, but that black plastic just isn't going to cut it for this.

  • Agree on the silver Campag, and I vote for brown. Maybe a nice Gilles Berthoud saddle if you're feeling fancy.

  • Nice. I’ve been lusting after a Riv for a while now.

  • Cool frame, following with interest.

  • I have considered this and am still weighing it up. Brooks vs Berthoud.

    I suspect I'll end up going brown Berthoud, but wouldn't mind hearing from anyone that's had both.

  • Berthoud is A LOT firmer than a Brooks in my experience. The Aspin also feels a bit narrower than the Brooks I had before.
    The build quality on the Gilles is second to none as far as I'm aware.

  • Brooks to see if you like a leather saddle at all, then when it's dead go for a Berthoud

  • I am very happy with my Aspin. Like it more than my Brooks Swift. Only briefly rode a B17, but it was too wide and flat for my taste.

    Great thread!

  • OK thanks all. Had a few Brooks before and loved them, both B and C17s. Looks like it might be time to go Aspin for this though.

  • Have you looked at Selle Anatomica ? I got a newfangled plastic one a while back and I think its very comfortable (Much better than B17s I've ridden in the past) also I think it would suit the aesthetic of this build.

  • Oh I've not actually looked at them. I'll give them a look, thanks.

    BLB are out of the Paul Racers in polished silver, which was not a major problem, but a bit of a shame, and then I saw this https://instagram.com/stories/rivbike/26­43358682000500672 and realised the flatter silver ones still look sweet.

    BB, cassette and pedals on order. Also trying out some of the Forester Cycles cable cherries from Wizard Works, in orange, natch.

    It's all coming together!

  • Picked up the wheels for this yesterday. Big shout out to Clever Mike for putting them together for me.

    Just need to set them up tubeless and get the tyres seated. Should start looking more like a bike after that.

  • Pics here


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  • Why did you go for a SON 28 over the delux?

  • I remember reading somewhere the SON 28 delivered better charge at lower speeds, particularly if you wanted to run lights and charge a device. I have a feeling it also came down to which was available in the polished silver.

    Bit late to change it, but curious to know if that's not the case.

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Adventures in Middle Earth, or building a Rivendell

Posted by Avatar for PeteJChurchill @PeteJChurchill

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