Rivendell Bicycle Works
Overview2040 N. Main St. #19 Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Custom bicycle builder specializing in lugged, steel frames and classic designs. Rivendell builds touring and all-purpose bicycles.
t: view phone(925) 933-7304
f: view fax(877) 269-5847
Rivendell speaks to cyclists who find poetry in a well-designed steel bike with artful lugs. Lugs are sleeves of steel around joints. Their Betty Foy women’s model even has the opening of William Wordsworth’s poem, “Betty Foy,” printed beneath the seat tube’s red cutout heart lug. This makes sense from a company, whose name is a place of peace and beauty in The Lord of the Rings. Rivendell boasts the lugs designed for the Betty Foy, nowhere near their most expensive bike, are “the best quality lugs available in the world today.” With its old-fashion values, the company sells to cyclists more interested in the joyful rhythms of riding than keeping heart rate or other performance statistics. One of their “Tips for Happy Riding” is, “Never keep track of your pedaling cadence.”
Rivendell frames are designed for comfort and stability with a low bottom bracket, long chainstays, and a high head tube. All models have clearance to fit bigger tires, fenders, and racks. Rivendell firmly believes that lighter is not better. They say a good-fitting bike should feel as comfortable as sitting in a chair. The company believes most riders are on bikes too small for them, causing them to lean forward, straining hands, arms, neck and back. To get the right fit, Rivendell instructs buyers how to measure their PBH or pubic bone height on their website. They expect one of their bicycles to be the last one a customer ever has to buy
The company doesn’t care about being popular. They sell mustache-shaped handle bars, and don’t like cleats, wheels with too few spokes, and especially not jerseys in high-tech fabrics. Wool is the way to go. They also don’t stock any super light components to build up their bikes, because that’s not their market. Their Roadeo model made to Rivendell’s specs by Waterford Precision Bicycles in Wisconsin isn’t super light but can be used for racing. Rivendell calls their A. Homer Hilsen model a country bike. It’s made for mountain trails and group rides. Several Rivendell models are perfect for carrying gear for what the company calls s24o or sub-twenty-four-overnight. That’s an easy to arrange, one-night camping get-away by bike. Their website even sells sleeping bags. Rivendell’s custom bikes take 12-16 months to build.
Grant Petersen, founded Rivendell in 1994 in California, initially as a “direct-to-you business.” Petersen writes an online monthly newsletter, and although he “frets” about profitability, the company regularly donates money to charities.
Hours of work
Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Standard Frames: Yes
Custom Frames: Yes
Retrofitting old bikes: No
Year Established: 1994
Products Made In: US, Japan and Taiwan
Availability: Direct and select bicycle dealers
Types of Bicycles: Road, touring, commuter, classic style
Construction Methods: Lugged
Frame Materials: Steel
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