Friday, April 1, 2016

rivendell appaloosa: a bike behind its time

Yesterday, on a particularly sunny day, I felt a return of some of the energy I'd lost over the winter while the Crohn's was acting up. So I decided to tempt fate with a cross-town bike ride.
Among my stops was a short visit to Rivelo, to check out the new Joe Appaloosa bikes that had recently arrived.

There they were, lined up along one wall and looking remarkably similar in design and build to one of the many "citified" mountain bikes I've built up and ridden over the years.
Larger sizes get a double top tube (it's a Grant thing, some folks like it and some folks think it's weird overkill) and 700c wheels; smaller sizes get 26" (erd 559!) wheels and a single top tube.

Upon closer inspection, this bike has a lot going for it, including a beautifully brazed lugged steel frame, a sensible selection of parts for the build and a comfortable sitting position that almost anyone who likes their bikes with upright bars will enjoy.

The retail on a complete bike is $2,600.

Before you freak out, remember that's for a complete bike, with decent components hung on a hand-brazed steel frameset that would cost that much alone from some builders (and more from others). This is a bike for folks who've ridden awhile, who know that this setup will fit their approach to riding and who would prefer to spend a little more to get a bike that will last a very long time. This frameset will last long enough that you'll be replacing parts many times and the frame will still be going strong even after a good decade or two of daily rides.

Sexy, sexy fork crown.

I love fork crowns. This is one of the most beautiful I've seen in a long time.
If you want this fork crown, you gotta get this bike. It looks and feels like the way bikes used to be when more of us knew how to set up our own bikes and converted mountain bikes to something very similar to this. It's sort of a bike behind its time. But so good that it's ahead of its time, and may swing the pendulum back to what makes sense. rather than what sells more racing bikes.

Nice graphics, as always, from the folks at RBW.
I sort of don't get the "Joe" thing, it could've been just "Appaloosa" and would've been perfectly lovely. But it's all good.

For those who still fret at the price of this bike, there's another bike that's similarly set up, using a more affordable build and a selection of cheaper-but-still-nice parts. The Clem Smith, Jr. is a very nice-looking and complete bike for $1,900. It's sort of like getting a Surly Long-Haul Trucker complete build, but with more comfortable handlebars and more sensible 1" quill stem. And oh, yeah, that's still a pretty lovely fork crown right there.

I actually am a real fan of this bike. If I needed a bike and had the money I would probably get the Clem. I might even beg, borrow and swap for the money to get this bike if I was bikeless. Smart, attractive, sensible, and for what GOOD bikes cost today, actually sort of a bargain.

(Brooks saddle shown NOT included at this price. Be real.)
Thing is,  I already have two bikes that are pretty damned awesome, set up similarly but not exactly alike; with perfectly good working parts and a comfortable position. So I'm set. As Rivelo owner John Bennett said, "Two bikes is really all most people need."

I concur.

Happy riding!

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