Gallery: Beth’s 1999 Rivendell LongLow Custom

1999 Rivendell LongLow custom, frame/fork handbuilt by Joe Starck. This frameset replaced a Centurion Super LeMans that had been totalled in a 1997 accident. The settlement paid for the new frame and the parts to build it up. Frame arrived in 1999 and has been ridden thousands of miles since. It is my “go-to” upright commuter. With chipped/touched-up paint, slightly dented top tube and downtube, it’s clear that this was never intended to be a showroom bike. I bought it when I knew less about bikes and chose to eschew the standard cantis in favor of long-reach calipers, because I thought they’d be easier to adjust on the fly. They work great but if I were to order this frame today I would’ve probably stuck with the cantis. It was also designed from the start to be an upright-bar bike, but Rivendell wisely advised me to go with a custom short top-tube so that my short torso wouldn’t keep me from trying drops on it. I rode it for about two years with drops and while the bike fine, I never liked the feel as much. When I got another bike that took the drops better, back this went to uprights.

Notable parts:

  • Wheels: Phil hubs (mismatched generations! Front hub must be sent to Phil for new bearings each time), CR-18 rims, Schwalbe Marathon tires
  • Components: a mix of SunTour rear derailleur, [Rivendell] Simplex front derailleur and Shimano “beehive” thumb shifters
  • Suntour XC-Pro brake levers, Shimano RX-100 road calipers (long reach, the only thing available in 1999 that would work with this frame)
  • Nitto Tech stem, NorthRoad handlebars, assorted vintagey odds-n-ends
  • Brooks B-17 saddle (almost as old as the frameset)
  • Shimano cranks, old SR platform pedals w/ALE toeclips (I switch to flat pedals in the summer. I like toeclips and toeclip covers during the rainy season)

Pictures include a manual cyclometer, a bell I found at a bike non-profit, and a saddlebag made by Acorn Bags out cloth repurposed from a canvas golf bag cover. This has been a perfect daily bike for me and when it turns ten next year I MAY just throw it a little party. —Beth

[This is such a lovely bike! Visit Beth’s blog here. —ed.]

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