An Interview with Rivendell's Grant Petersen

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by fbagatelleblack, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. fbagatelleblack

    fbagatelleblack New Member

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  2. gemship

    gemship New Member

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    great article, for the past year bicycling has been a constant rediscovery although I've been riding since I was 5 and I am now 34. I thought a 16# carbon racer would be me and spent a fortune on it. While I think its great I still feel I would be better suited on something like a Atlantis that could be toured on. This guy is right on in everything he says.
     
  3. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Interesting read. Although the guy is a bit of a taleban in his views... I mean, fighting clipless pedals, non quill stems and padded shorts may be going a bit far, don't you think?
     
  4. gemship

    gemship New Member

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    Yeah he does seem to be imposing his idea of how riding should be but it's his interview. I mean we live in a modern world and here's this guy building a relatively classic bike frame modern compoenents hanging off it. His creativity has to come from some extreme view point I think. In sense I think he makes a lot of good points, I mean the aspects of a modern roadbike are very much related to roadracing and a majority of cyclist go that route rather ignorantly. If there setup or riding technique is the slightest bit off or they don't stretch after a ride they get discouraged. He must feel vindacated in his position to provide a bike that even when your on it your not necessarily restricted to the modern archetype of a roadie.

    Personally I like the simplicity of his bikes and the idea of a bike one could live off of literally whilst traveling the world. I actually did my own little century ride yesterday to a bike shop about 50 miles from home that deals Rivendell and Surly bikes and walked away thinking the Rivendell is beautiful but the Surly long haul trucker is lugless steel same quality at 1/3 the cost.


    by the way I'm glad somebody other than myself commented on this article, starting to wonder if I'm nuts to be the only one to find Rivendells as great bikes. Who knows maybe if every one would just put on their beer goggles :p
     
  5. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    I take your point about the cycling market following road racing, even if it is not necessary or relevant to many of us. There he is correct, although I believe that has more to do with the overall cycling culture in a specific area/country.

    For example, as an Italian, we have a long history of being involved and very passionate about road racing, and with the exception of certain areas of northern Italy, that is what we conceive of as cycling. So here it is all about racing bicycles. Not about touring or 'sensible' bikes for getting around town. Northern Europe is different, one might argue almost the opposite. I suspect the US is also more in line with an 'Italian approach' - most Americans I know equate cycling with the Tour and road racing. Relatively few consider a bicycle as a useful means of transportation.

    I also find Rivendells very nice, but all he is doing is creating (quite successfully, I might add) a retro-feeling for a regular (fine, well made and finished) steel frame, and, as you stated, charging you an arm and a leg for it. Chapeau that he has been able to create a valuable market niche.

    I also am not completely in agreement with your point re: reliability. Although he pushes ' simple ' bikes, I do not believe that the average 10 speed drivetrain today is unreliable or that, with a few simple tweaks and spares, you could not ride a Shimano 105 or Campagnolo Veloce around the world. It seems to me that the whole bar-end shifters look has simply become part of the tourer badge or approval...

    Just my two cents...
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's an interesting read, but maybe not for flattering or good reasons. He is a bit taleban in that he doesn't seem to have objectively thought out some of his ideas and seems to harbor more than just a few stereotypical biases. The idea that the Chinese or Taiwanese cannot make a quality lugged frame is stupid on its face. Such a statement implies people of those countries cannot learn and perfect such skills. His ideas about what is durable and what isn't seem to rely, again, on personal bias. Despite what he claims, there are more than just a couple CF frames about that are more than 10 years old. All those CF fork failures? Where are they? In the early days of CF forks his claims might have been somewhat true, but it's not the case now. And as you pointed out, Pete, the idea that a modern gruppo can't be pedaled 'round the world is idiotic.

    As much as he grouses about marketing and the bike market following racers and technofantastic trends, he pushes his market just as hard and ignores the wants and needs of a lot of cyclists just as he accuses the rest of the market of doing. His cycle fit ideas: who says they're universally good? Only Petersen and people like him or people that like what he does say they're the beez kneez. He seems to only appreciate or respect bikes and bike stuff that conform to his narrow view.
     
  7. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    This article is being "discussed" over on Bikeforums as well, and in looking at the article, and the responses there, I have a few comments.

    First, for my reference point. I like many aspects of the GP/Rivendell view of cycling. My primary rider is a 1986 Schwinn Voyageur with a Technomic stem, Brooks B17 saddle (actually, it is a prototype with a cutout) and 27 x 1 & 1/4 tires. My lugged steel beauty. Where I differ, is it is modern Shimano 105 10 speed compact double with integrated shifters.

    Anyway, what I see in both GP's interview, and some of the responses to it, is that there is some almost instinctive defensiveness on both sides. Without going back in history, I don't know (or care) who started it, but I can say that I do see it.

    GP does mention that the bike companies are marketing as if everybody is a racer. This may or may not be true. But, he also at a few points makes statements and uses terms referring to non-racing cyclists that enjoy going fast that are negative. There is no need to do this, and it seems to be defensive, as do his comments about being attacked.

    Likewise, he at other times says that if people want to ride racing bikes, then that is fine, but there should be bikes for the rest of the people. His view is that there should be a choice (even though he advocates anti-racer wannabe sometimes). The implication here is that there should be a variety and that even people that aren't racers should have racing bikes available if they want to ride fast. However, I see comments in the other forum that GP wants everyone to ride only Rivendell type bikes. A defensive and untrue view (based on my interpretation).

    So, I think this combination of defensieness from both sides continues to feed on itself and makes both sides see the other as elitist. Reminds me of the recent Democratic primaries when both the Obama and Clinton sides here in my area accused the other candidate of being elitist...

    So, after all of that, what would I like to leave everyone with... just that I like the influence of Grant Peterson on the cycling world to keep some of the old ways around, but it should be done without inhibiting the technology that makes sense for all, and even the bleeding edge for those that want it.

    There was a guy in the Los Angeles area that said it best once...

    "Can't we all just get along?"
     
  8. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    Fair enough dgregory - I honestly have no problem with those who like to ride a specific type of bike. Quite frankly, I must be something of a bicycle taleban myself: my three bikes are:

    1. De Rosa Planet - alu/CF frame, all Campagnolo Chorus 2003 with a few Record 2008 carbon bits.
    2. Kona Jake the Snake commuter - Shimano 105 on a nice cyclocross frame used as a commuter.
    3. De Rosa Professional (around 1993 or 1994). Columbus slx steel. Campagnolo C-Record 8 speed. Downtube shifters. And I would never consider mounting ergopowers on that bike... :D

    Ride what you like, get along with all other riders. But I frankly see no reason to pooh-pooh ergos and/or racing geometries. That's all.

    And I do occasionally shave my legs. And wear (always) padded shirts. And think that wearing a plaid shirt to ride is a bit goofy... :rolleyes:

    Then again, everyone is free to ride any way they prefer! As long as they ride! :D:cool:
     
  9. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    I agree on the plaid shirt... even though I have never shaved my legs. :)

    I do wear bibs, and lycra cycling jerseys (or will again when I shrink back into one of mine) and also ride clipless when I have enough miles in a season to feel stable...

    I think you and I are definitely somewhere in the middle ground. Probably way different parts of the middle ground as far as speed and ability, but still, I think that's where most of the world tends to be.

    I do recall one thread on Bikeforums where someone asked about what brand they should look for to find a good Italian built touring bike. Someone mentioned that there may be such a thing, but it would probably be hard to find. Maybe a custom built or small run job, since the Italians mostly build racing bikes, and always have. ;)

    If you ever get to Pennsylvania and pass an old fat guy on vintage steel with a modern drivetrain, it just might be me. I'll warn you if I ever head to Italy.
     
  10. Powerful Pete

    Powerful Pete New Member

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    No worries, I talk much faster than I ride, my friend. But sooner or later I will end up in the US again and look you up... maybe we can both go for a ride in slightly too tight lycra jerseys...:D
     
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