Are Rivendell Bikes Good Or Just Highly Priced For Nothing?

Rivendell Bicycle Works, a bike manufacturer based in Walnut Creek, makes retro-style bikes that are costlier than most. But are they worth their high price tag? Are Rivendell bikes good?

Though Rivendell bikes are costlier than most, they’ve reliable frames and parts, user-friendly geometries, and beautiful retro designs. These bikes are also customizable, pedal-powered, versatile, comfortable, and safer.

Since its founding in 1994, Rivendell Bicycle Works has been running the U.S bike manufacturing sector. Their bike framesets are now drawing interest from all over the world.

Like you, I wanted to know why these bikes are highly-priced and if they are worth it.

So, this post looks at the pros and cons of these bikes to help you determine if the cycles are worth the money.

Rivendell bicycles

In a hurry? Check out my most recommended Rivendell cycles below:

3 Best Rivendell Bikes

  1. Roadeo: Best Rivendell Road Bike
  2. Gus Boots-Willsen: Best Rivendell Mountain Bike
  3. Sam Hillborne: Best Rivendell County Bike

Are Rivendell Bikes Good? (The Good and the Bad!)

Let’s start with the things to like about Rivendell bicycles:

1. Rivendell Bicycles Are Customizable

Rivendell Bicycle Works allows you to preorder your bike frame and customize it according to your liking.

But what does a custom Rivendell bike frame mean?

Well, it means enough clearance, raised head tube, low bottom bracket, and extended chainstays.

It also means you can also ask for lighter tubing and a beautifully looking frame.

Simply put, there can never be a funnier and more comfortable bike to ride than a Rivendell custom bicycle.

2. Rivendell  Bikes Have a Beautiful Retro Look

Rivendell bicycles are gorgeous in every sense. So, if you are looking for a retro bike with a modern touch, you cannot go wrong with Rivendell bicycles.

Many would call them timeless bikes, as their designs are unlikely to go out of fashion in the next 30 years or more.

Rivendell bikes are all about details. They have the most stunning decals and feature an attractive company logo and head badges.

Plus, the frames and fork have a beautiful curve to appear neat and cute.

3. Rivendell  Cycles Have Reliable Frames

All Rivendell bicycle frames go through a set of laboratory tests that are internationally certified. As a result, they are reliable in performance.

The manufacturer employs industrial-grade steel frames in all bikes, and the frames are more robust and impact-resistant.

As a result, these bikes can sustain huge weights without snapping, cracking, or denting. Moreover, they are rust-resistant, which makes them lasting.

4. They Enjoy User-Friendly Geometry

You want a bike that’s easy to ride, and that’s what you get from Rivendell bicycles.

Their road bikes, for example, have a bent-forward, racing-style geometry that allows you to generate more pedaling power for riding the bike faster.

The geometry also reduces wind drag, and this is essential in riding fast on-road.

Other bikes have an upright geometry to allow you to ride casually and more comfortably.

Where are Rivendell frames made

5. The Bike Parts Are Reliable

The manufacturer has invested a lot in the bikes’ mechanical parts to ensure they work well and last you longer. For example, the brakes guarantee crisp stopping while the shifters resist friction and easy wear.

On the other hand, the handlebars are steel, thus solid and dent-resistant, and can handle the bumps better.

The manufacturer also employs quality quill stems that can handle stiffer terrains.

And even when the parts break, though it’s rare, they are generally easy to fix.

6. Rivendell  Bikes Are Pedal-Powered

There is no doubt that motorized bikes are easy to ride and move faster than pedal-powered.

But if you wish for the experience of riding a real bike and not a motorcycle, you have to get a pedal-powered bike.

There is no cheating as you entirely depend on your foot power to navigate the bike.

Rivendell bicycles are all pedal-powered, making them the best for exercising and commuting.

So, if you want a mechanical bike that is super-strong and reliable, get yourself a Rivendell bicycle.

7. Rivendell  Bicycles Are Versatile in Use

If you are looking for the most versatile bikes, Rivendell Bicycle Works has you covered.

Whether you want to run an errand, go on a tour, commute to work, or exercise on a two-wheel, you can do that with most Rivendell bicycles.

The bikes have the physical build and the general toughness to take on all kinds of terrains.

8. These Bikes Are Quite Comfortable

Rivendell cycles redefine comfort. Their frames, for starters, have shock and vibration-dampening properties to allow you to ride smoothly on challenging terrains.

Moreover, their handlebars are readily adjustable to suit your height and relieve you from hand and back strain.

Most of these bikes also have a longer wheelbase for ultimate stability and cushy tires for a smoother ride.

9. Rivendell  Bikes Are Also Safer

The fact that the frames are steel means that they don’t bend, dent, or give in to fatigue quickly. As a result, they’re safe.

The frames are also tested according to the best international standards, like I mentioned, thus safe.

Rivendell Bicycle Works, the manufacturer, eliminates shoddy artisans to ensure the bikes are ultimately safe. The manufacturer also claims not to be using carbon because it’s not safe.

Are Rivendell bikes good

10. Rivendell  Bicycles Offer You Multiple Choices

Rivendell Bicycle Works caters to the interest of different cyclists. Their bikes come in multiple sizes, and you only need to pick a size that matches you.

Since there is the option of customizing the frame according to your body size, you are guaranteed a bike that fits you.

As if that’s not enough, the manufacturer offers you multiple frame color choices on all their bikes. You also get to pick your preferred handlebar, stem, and even brakes.

The Bad – What I Don’t Like About Rivendell Bicycles

In as much as Rivendell cycles have some great qualities, there are a few concerns worth noting, and they include:

a) Rivendell Bikes Are Costlier

It’s not a secret; Rivendell bikes are costlier than most. Their cheapest framesets cost about $1,650, and the amount could rise to about $2,000 or more if you order a complete bike.

Their custom bikes are even much costlier, and so are the tandem options. For example, while a tandem frameset costs you $2,000, a custom frameset costs you up to $4,000.

b) Rivendell Bicycles Are Heavier

The other concern is the bikes’ weight. Rivendell doesn’t believe in using lighter materials like carbon. That goes against their philosophy.

So, their bikes are all-steel to promise strength, safety, and long-term use.

The only concern is that steel is heavier, and that makes Rivendell bicycles heavier than most.

So, if you are looking for a lightweight bike, Rivendell isn’t the best brand for you.

c)  No Suspension Systems or Disc Brakes

Sadly, Rivendell doesn’t employ suspension systems and disc brakes on their bikes.

The lack of the two concerns everyone who fancies riding a mountain bike with suspensions and powerful disc brakes.

The manufacturer claims to make up for that with their vibration-dampening frames and powerful rim brakes.

If you don’t mind doing rim brakes and are comfortable with no suspensions, this shouldn’t be a concern. The decision is purely subjective here.

Rivendell bicycles

So, Are Rivendell Bikes Good? The Verdict

I can only fault Rivendell for two things. One, their bikes are heavier, which is sad for everyone who wants a lightweight two-wheel.

The lack of disc brakes and suspension on their MTBs also worries me since I’m into mountain bikes. But other than that, the price doesn’t concern much if you factor in what you get.

Seriously, how many bikes do you know that are customizable, timeless in design, super comfortable, safer, and lastly built?

Your guess is as good as mine! So, Rivendell bikes are worth every dollar you pay.

Rivendell Bikes Review: 3 Best Rivendell Bicycles

1. Roadeo – Best Rivendell Road Bike

Unlike most Rivendell cycles, the Roadeo is lighter. As a result, the road bike is pretty fast on-road.

This road bike is made to order. The frame and its fork cost $2,800, but it cost you up to $4,000-$5,400 to get the whole thing.

The Roadeo is best for road racing, touring, road commuting, and casual riding around town.

It has a longer wheelbase than most bikes to allow you to ride securely at high speed. In addition, its steel fork and frame boost your safety as they are resistant to dents and bends.

The road bike fits tires that are up to 36mm and generally requires brakes with a medium reach.

Best Features

  • Lighter steel frame
  • Longer wheelbase
  • Steel fork
  • It fits tires that are up to 36mm
  • Compatible with medium-reach brakes

2. Gus Boots-Willsen – Best Rivendell Mountain Bike

The Gus Boots-Willsen is just the ultimate trail bike. This mountain bike is all about comfort, stability, and safety.

It comes in four frame sizes – small (51cm), medium (54cm), large (57cm), and extra-large (60cm) – to suit a variety of users.

Moreover, it comes in RBW Blue and metallic green color choices that are stylish and timeless.

This trail bike is also available in 29-inch and 27.5-5 wheel sizes.

Though it might be weighing a little more than most trail bikes, it promises the most cushioned ride on trails.

The hill bike enjoys a longer wheelbase that offers you unmatched stability and a high handlebar that encourages better posture, control, and climbing power.

And to enable you to run over obstacles, Gus Boots-Willsen comes with big knobby tires.

Overall, its steel frame is rust-resistant, safe, and lasting.

Rivendell mountain bike

Best Features

  • Quality steel frame
  • Longer wheelbase
  • Raised handlebars
  • Huge knobby tires
  • Four sizes
  • Stylish colors

3. Sam Hillborne – Best Rivendell County Bike

Lastly, if you are looking for an all-weather bike for the country landscape, you cannot go wrong with the Sam Hillborne.

Whether it’s on gravel, dirt trails, fire trails, or paved surfaces, you can go through them all with the Sam Hillborne.

Essentially, that’s owing to its CRMO tubing frame. It is super strong and offers you the option of using upright handlebars or drop bar.

As for the brakes, you have the option of going for v-brakes or cantilevers. You also have an array of choices when it comes to tire sizes and stems.

If you order the frame and its fork, they come with the seat post, headset, and bottom bracket, all valued at $120.

Due to its robust build, this bike has a 185-pound rider’s capacity but can take up to 40 pounds of cargo.

In general, this country bike is best for road touring, commuting, camping biking adventures, and all-around outdoor adventures.

Best Features

  • Versatile bike
  • CRMO tubing frame
  • 185lbs rider’s weight capacity
  • Wide range of tire choices
  • Handlebar and stem choices


1. How Much Does A Rivendell Bike Cost?

Most Rivendell bicycle frames cost $1,650 and $2,000, but you may have to spend up to $4,000-$5400 to have a complete bike.

Note, however, that you get to spend more on the Rivendell tandem and custom bikes.

2. Where Are Rivendell Frames Made?

Rivendell custom frames are made in the United States by Grant Petersen.

3. Are Rivendell Bikes Worth It?

Rivendell bikes are strong, durable, safe, comfortable, and have a stylish vintage look. Though the bikes are heavier, they are customizable to suit your size and preference.

Plus, they enjoy user-friendly geometry. As a result, Rivendell bicycles are worth what you pay for.

4. Where Are Rivendell Bikes Made?

Rivendell bicycles are manufactured majorly in the United States by Grant Petersen. However, a few other bikes are manufactured in Taiwan and Japan.

Also Read:

Are Rivendell Bikes Good? Concluding Thoughts:

A good bike should be strongly built, safe to ride, extra comfortable, versatile in application, and reliable. That, without a doubt, describes Rivendell bicycles.

Rivendell bikes are also customizable depending on your cycling preference and come in multiple sizes and colors. So, even though these bikes are heavy, they justify their above-than-average price tags.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brands can be compared with Rivendell bikes?

When it comes to bikes that share the same high quality, attention to detail and innovative design philosophy as Rivendell bikes, there’s a handful to consider. You’ve got companies like ANT and Vanilla, producing beautifully designed frames that cater to a variety of cycling enthusiasts. Then you have Co-Motion and Kogswell that are notable for their unique and ergonomic designs. Spectrum, along with the creations of esteemed frame builder Peter Weigle, also contribute to this league of exceptional craftsmanship. Each of these brands bring their unique touch to bike building, offering a rich variety of options for cyclists out there.

Where are Rivendell bikes produced?

Rivendell Bicycle Works, headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, USA, stands as a testament to the fusion of American innovation with international manufacturing precision. Its bicycle frames have a reputation of being meticulously designed under the watchful eyes of its founder, Grant Petersen. Rivendell sources its manufacturing from different countries to ensure the finest quality: United States, Japan, and Taiwan. Their custom frames stand as a symbol of America’s artisan prowess, manufactured proudly in the USA.

What could serve as a Rivendell substitute?

If you find yourself desiring to explore options beyond Rivendell, Nobilette and Waterford are two strong contenders I would suggest. My experience with both has been remarkable, and given the fact that these two have been or are still producing frames for Rivendell speaks volumes about their quality. So if you’re feeling adventurous or just plain curious, give Nobilette or Waterford a shot.

Who is the person behind Rivendell bicycles?

Grant Petersen is the driving force behind Rivendell Bicycles. I remember last Thursday, when MG and I were fortunate enough to join an intimate gathering of bike lovers and get the opportunity to hear his story firsthand. His passion for cycling and commitment to his craft were inspiring to us all. His visionary approach to bicycle building is what puts Rivendell Bicycles on the map in Walnut Creek, California.