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Cycle Monkey

Internal Gearing Specialists, Bicycle Distribution & Service Center

Classic Commuter: Rohloff Rivendell

This classically-styled commuter belongs to a local Bay Area customer who was looking for the convenience and reliability of modern components like dynamo lighting and internal gearing for his vintage-inspired Rivendell Sam Hillborne frame. 

The project began with the desire for a Schmidt SON28 dynamo hub and Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub. As a daily commuter, reliability, lack of maintenance, and ease of use were absolute requirements for every component of this build. Dynamo lighting from Schmidt fit the bill with its self-generating, no-charge-required illumination, and Rohloff’s SPEEDHUB was the clear choice for a wide-range drivetrain that would perform reliably day after day in any weather conditions.  

Built as a high-end commuter, the build was completed with top quality components in polished silver and brown leather to complement the nostalgic design of the lugged steel frame.

Rivendell is a Bay Area company located in Walnut Creek, just down the road from Cycle Monkey. Their calling card is lugged steel frames, and they offer a variety of platforms for daily commuting, road riding, trail riding, and touring. Rivendell is a small company, and they pride themselves on taking a different approach to frame materials and construction than most contemporary builders:

All of our bikes have lugged steel frames. We believe it's the best and most beautiful way to make bicycle frames, and trends won't sway us. We don't sell bikes for racing, and rather than apologize for that, we'd like to point out that since we are unburdened by racing values, we're free to design better-than-racing bikes. Bikes that fit better, ride better, and are more comfortable. Bikes that let you carry a load, whether that load is a tent and camping gear, a computer and files, or groceries. Our bikes are safe, comfortable, practical, and beautiful. Racing bikes might be lighter, but they are less comfortable, less useful, and for the most part, harder to like the looks of - Rivendell Bicycles 

Rivendell's aesthetic and design choices might fall outside the norm, but their commitment to this unique approach is unwavering, and their execution of classic steel frames is second-to-none.

Rivendell presents the Sam Hillborne an all-rounder road bike packed with style and value. Clearance for 40mm tires provides the flexibility to comfortably take on dirt road adventures, while rack and fender mounts provide easy set up for commuting and errands. Add the Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 and self-powered lights, and the Sam Hillborne is quickly transformed into the ultimate commuter.

Cycle Monkey's Wheel House assembled a pair of eye-catching wheels with polished-silver hubs, Pacenti PL23 rims, and double butted Sapim Race spokes with brass nipples. The highlight, of course, is the Schmidt SON28 dynamo hub. Providing self-powered lighting of both the front and rear lights that help riders stand out in traffic and light the road ahead, dynamo lights are a no-brainer for commuters like this customer.

The Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub is an excellent option for any commuter because of its durable, hardened steel internal gear wheels, wide gear range, and sealed shifting system, which protects shifting components from everyday wear and tear. The SPEEDHUB provides long-term dependability in all riding conditions, making it the perfect drivetrain choice for a bike that is relied on for daily transport. 

Rivendell does not design frames with Rohloff-specific or disc brake compatibility, so this build required an aftermarket SPEEDHUB setup that will work with virtually any standard frame.  

The torque arm connected to the left chainstay fixes the hub axle to the frame and prevents it from spinning while the rider is pedaling. Chain tension comes courtesy of Phil Wood's Philcentric thread-in eccentric bottom bracket, which also allows for a small range of tension adjustment. In the end, this setup functions the same as bikes designed specifically around the SPEEDHUB.

Cycle Monkey completed the classic commuter build with high-end components from Chris King, Nitto, Paul Components, Gilles Berthoud, and Brooks, all of which contributed to the desired aesthetic. 

This build demonstrates the possibilities when you take a beloved frame designed for traditional drivetrain components and build it up around a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14. Cycle Monkey relished the opportunity to put together a build kit that inspired this customer ride his Rivendell and brought more enjoyment to his daily commute.

If you have a stock frame and want to run a Rohloff SPEEDHUB or make you frame belt drive compatible, just give us a call.  We'd be thrilled to talk it through and help you get the process rolling.

Build Details: 

• Frame: Rivendell Sam Hillborne
• Fork: Rivendell Sam Hillborne</span></div>
• Headset: Chris King Threaded
• Stem: Nitto Technomic
• Handlebar: Nitto Albatross
• Shifter: Gilles Berthoud for Rohloff SPEEDHUB
• Grips: Brooks
• Seat post: Nitto Dynamic
• Saddle: Brooks B67
• Front Hub: Schmidt SON28
• Rear hub: Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14
• Spokes: Sapim Race
• Nipples: Sapim Brass
• Rims: Pacenti PL23
• Tires: Surly Knard 700 x 41c
• Cranks: Middleburn RS8
• Pedals: MKS Sylvan
• Bottom Bracket: Phil Woods Philcentric
• Chain ring: Middleburn RS7
• Rear Sprocket: Shimano 39T single speed ring
• Chain: Wippermann 8sX
• Brakes &amp; Levers: Paul Racerspan
• Torque Arm: Rohloff
• Front Light: Schmidt Edelux II
• Rear Light: Schmidt SON Taillight
• Fenders: SKS Longboard
• Rear Rack:Tubus Logo Evo