My Rivendell Rambouillet

In late November 2003 I purchased a new Rivendell Rambouillet frame from Harris Cyclery in West Newton, MA.

I had been looking for a fast but versatile bike: fast enough to give me no excuse if I am dropped by the Litespeed crowd at CRW's fast Saturday morning ride; versatile enough to fit fenders and carry me comfortably through longer brevets and lightly-loaded self-contained tours such as my 2001 tour of the Alps . It also had to be big, since I am 197cm tall and fairly lanky.

The 68cm Rambouillet fits the bill perfectly. It is light, responsive, and comfortable. It inspires confidence on fast descents and feels zippy out of the saddle on steep climbs. I have never before ridden a bicycle that combines speed and comfort so well. It is a real joy.

I displayed the frame as art in my living room for some time, then built it up in the basement over a few cold weekends in January and February 2004.

Here are some photos from before, during, and after the build-up:

You can see all the photos if you wish.

I picked components for this bike with an eye to light weight, elegance, and simplicity.

I built both wheels using Mavic Open Pro silver 32-hole rims and DT Competition 2.0/1.8/2.0mm swaged spokes. The front wheel has a Schmidt SON28 dynamo hub hooked up to a Lumotec Oval Plus 3W halogen headlamp. (Rear illumination is provided by a Planet Bike BRT-7 blinky attached to the left seatstay.) The rear wheel is laced on a Shimano Dura-Ace FH-7700 freehub with a 12-27 9-speed cassette. The rear wheel may be lighter than it should be for touring use: I will probably build a 36-spoke wheel for that purpose.

The crank is a beautiful TA Zephyr with 177.5mm crank arms, auto-extractors, and 50-36 chainrings, mounted on a Shimano UN-73 bottom bracket. The other drive train components---chain, downtube shifters, front derailleur, and short-cage rear derailleur---are all Dura-Ace 7700-series. Shimano BL-R600 brake levers control Tektro 521AG long-reach dual-pivot brakes. The stem is a 120mm 3TTT Record 84 that clamps 44cm 3TTT Prima handlebars wrapped in Cinelli black cork tape. The saddle is a lovely black Brooks B17 on a 250mm silver Thomson seatpost. I installed Shimano M520 SPD pedals and Performance Strada stainless steel water bottle cages. The fenders are black SKS P35s (the narrow kind), which I think look rather classy. The first pair of tires are Continental Ultra 2000 700C x 25, but I'll probably replace them with something a bit wider for brevets and touring.

I also mounted a Cateye AT-100 computer. I bought it primarily because it was one of only two models I could find that had a backlight (nice during night rides), but now I find myself addicted to the altimeter function.