TandemHearts

“…as Light as a Feather…”

November 5th, 2006

  • Tandemhearts' photo

In August I decided it was time I built up a light double-century event bike. This urge to keep doing these crazy rides has not gone away. In fact it’s growing as I have decided to try an entire Brevet Series – including Paris-Brest-Paris in August. The shortest of these rides is 120 miles, while PBP is 720 miles. The short rides are single day rides, but PBP is a 4 day event.

It took me a long time to decide that I wanted to spend the money this way. Mostly I wanted to make sure that this wasn’t a passing whim. When I asked Thom if he thought I was as committed to riding as he was to playing the piano and I got the d’uh of course look. I knew it was time.

So what did I get?

A Legolas from Rivendell and it sure is gorgeous!

This bike is everything I wanted. It weighs just about 20 pounds, with pedals and a Brooks saddle, and is at least five pounds lighter than Fluffy. Mark at Rivendell was awesome to work with. He seemed to totally understand that I wanted a beautiful but light and comfortable bike. He even spent hours hand filing the spider between the front chain rings to get the shifting to be really smooth.

I don’t think this kind of build up is typical for Rivendell, but they were never snarky about it. A lot of folks seem to have the belief that Rivendell is about slow, comfort bikes. That’s not true. They want you to have the right bike for the riding you do. This was a big project for me because when you get a custom build, you have to decide on every single component of the bike. For this bike, I was trying to get the lightest bike I could, while not giving up comfort (Brooks saddle) or reliability (fully spoked wheels). That combination still left a lot of options. Then there was the option of color. I decided that was just too much to think about so I got the standard red and I accessorized with black. The paint job is outstanding with lots of little details that I discovered after I got it home.

I decided to get a compact double. It’s a 46 – 33 in the front with a 9 speed 11 – 34 rear. The smallest gear is about 9% taller than my smallest on Fluffy. Since I ordered the bike I have done almost no riding in that gear. I missed it on the last bit of Diablo, but I can still do the 17% without standing.

The bike has a Phil Wood Bottom Bracket and a Ritchey headset in black. It has Campy Record Carbon Brake Levers, Paul Neo Retro brakes on the front and Paul Touring on the back.

The wheels were built up by Rich at Rivendell. The goal was something stiff like my Mavics, but without the tendency to toss me around in a cross wind and lighter. They are Mavic Open Pros with DT hubs and double butted spokes. I haven’t ridden in a wind yet, but the feel of the new bike is very similar to Fluffy.

I’m as merry as a schoolchild!

A few photos capture some of the small details that make this bike so special.

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