Wednesday, March 02, 2011

What's in the stand: Rambouillet Redo.

Last week a Rivendell Rambouillet came in for some rather large changes to be made.  Despite being a gorgeous bike that fit him as well as he liked, he was very unhappy with it.

I've always liked these bikes.  I like the lugs, I like the color, I like the threaded headset, I like the crowned fork.  I wish I could find one of these for a retro themed modern build.  With 28's and fenders this thing just speaks to me.

The Problems

This bike had originally been built wheels that used Dura Ace hubs.  Dura Ace hubs of this generation had an aluminum freehub body with much taller than normal spines on it.  This meant that you could only use Dura Ace or select Ultegra cassettes on it.  Needless to say that hugely limited what gearing and drive train choices the bike could be set up with.

When we received it, the bike had a large for road 12-27 cassette, with a 28-38-48 triple up front.  For most people this would have been totally acceptable for casual road riding.  For our customer and his nearly cycling worn out knees, it was just too high of a gear range.  Shortly after being built this bike was hung in the garage and fell in to resentful disuse.

The bike was also set up with Paul Thumbies on the bar.  I am not a fan of this use of Thumbies.  They mount very close to the stem on the very inner portion of the handlebar.  I can really see no improvement over a bar end shifter set up with these shifter.  Our customer was equally displeased with this set up.

The Solutions

The largest problem with the current set up stemmed from the rear hub.  This was the limiting factor in what we could do with gearing.  Not being happy with the performance of the Dura Ace hub, and wanting to make resale easy, we built a new wheel to match the existing front wheel.  This time we used our standard White Industries H3 road hub laced to the matching DT Swiss 465 rim.  The wheel turned out great and matches the build really well.

This allowed us to make the necessary drive train changes to keep our customer's knees happy.  A 11-34t XT cassette and long cage derailleur will keep him spinning happy for a long time.  I love the fact that this is the only section of derailleur housing on the whole bike!

The shifters were the other thing to be changed.  We installed Rivendell's Silver down tube shifters.  These are use similar mechanisms to the old Suntour bar end shifters. These have a really nice feel to them if you like friction shifters.  They compliment the uber classical build of this bike really well.

Overall this should solve everything he was unhappy with.  The bike should be able to run in it's existing form for many years of trouble free service.  Another great bike out the door to a much happier customer!

Happy Wednesday all, hope it's a good one for you.


blackmountaincycles said...

Nice! That D/A hub thing is afflicting me as well. My 12-27 is worn out and the only cassette I have in my personal stash that fits the D/A hub is an 11-23. It is making me stronger, but I'm feeling the need for a White hub and better cassette compatibility.

Ben said...

I have a 12-27 here that this guy wants to get rid of if you're interested. But yeah, exactly the same thing. The hub swap will set this guy for life.

Guitar Ted said...

Beautiful bike to be sure, Ben. I really see why you love the White Industries hubs too. Nice stuff.

Now, just admit that you really like any road bike with fenders, whether it's a Rivendell, or no. ;>) (Gotta admit that is pretty sweet with fenders myself though. I just don't ride pavement)

Ben said...

I will gladly admit that I like the idea of road bikes that can accept fenders. I don't think they should be used all the time, but it is an aesthetic I enjoy. Particularly older or classically designed bikes. This bike just looks good with fenders. I don't think it would look nearly as good without them.

Joe said...

Nice Rambo!!

Ari said...

Big fan of your blog and I regret not having met you in Minneapolis during the Frostbike week. Nice job on the Rivendell!

Andrew said...

Have to be wary of Shimano "innovations". The DA group went so far one time to gain exclusivity by changing the pitch of the chain. They went to 10mm pitch instead of the 1/2"standard which meant the buyer was locked into DA chain, cogs, chainrings and rear derailleurs. Just a little of that kind of replacement cost would set up some serious buyer's remorse. Group pricing on a built bike or a build kit is always WAY less than single piece replacement cost.

I have a 2002 orange Rambouillet I outfitted from RIvendell and I was coldly realistic and clear about my use and riding history when listing its specification. I received it the night before I went to Yorktown, VA to meet my group to ride across the country. No break-in time for the bike or the Brooks saddle and yet it was heaven. I was the most well-fit bike/rider in the group and changed nothing during the ride or since except tires, cassettes, chainrings and chain.

That will be an awesome find for the rider who happens to fit it and be able to see past the plastic-go-faster bike rag mentality.