Gallery: Krishna’s Rivendell Sam Hillborne

Krishna's Sam Hillborne

[Wow, this has been the month for Gallery submissions. After averaging just a few per month over the winter, this is the 9th submission for April and we’re only half way through the month (it must be spring). Keep ‘em coming! —ed.]

This entry is from our friend Krishna. He’s getting ready to depart on a springtime tour down the coast from Seattle to San Francisco. After researching and prepping for a couple of years, he decided upon a Rivendell Sam Hillborne for the trip. He recently took delivery of a 56cm Waterford-built Sam with a double top tube and custom paint touches. It’s a pretty bike that should serve him well on his trip. Once he’s back home the Riv will make a great transpo and utility bike for commuting and grocery hauling. We met up today so I could see the bike and take a few snap shots (shown here).

Krishna's Sam Hillborne
Krishna's Sam Hillborne
Krishna's Sam Hillborne
Krishna's Sam Hillborne
Krishna's Sam Hillborne

22 Responses to “Gallery: Krishna’s Rivendell Sam Hillborne”

  • alan g says:

    Love the bike, as I do all Hillbornes. Just don’t get the Riv obsession with double top tubes!!

  • Krishna C says:

    Wow! That is my bike??? Thank you so much for the beautiful pictures, your excellent company and helpful tips this morning. Drink coffee, talk bikes and trails and ride afterwards – life is good!

  • Andy says:

    Is there a particular reason for the second top tube?

  • Alan says:


    It’s one way to increase stiffness. Other ways are oversized tubing (which won’t work with Riv lugs) or heat-treated tubing (which usually increases expense).

  • TS Wu says:

    The purpose is to make the triangle smaller and thus stronger.

    When traveling in Tanzania recently I ran across tons of double-top tube bikes: all used for hauling huge loads.

  • Andy says:

    How does the double compare to the single in terms of ride quality? The latest BQ has an article that if I understood correctly stated that more flex in the top tube and less in the down tube created a more desirable ride quality from the testers.

    I do love that orange color of the SH frames though.

  • Jason Brune says:

    That is a sweet looking ride. I dig the details and classic look. Really wish I had one of those front racks too.

  • Matt DeBlass says:

    Sweet ride! As much as I love my Jamis (one of the Bikes of April) this is giving me serious lug-envy.

  • arevee says:

    I have an early 56 cm Taiwanese built Hillborne and love it in most ways. It’s my ‘go to’ bike that gets and gets used most frequently. It does seem a little flexible, especially when loaded, so the double TT is probably an improvement. That orange with contrasting cream (or white) head tube is also an improvement over the original green. Some of Riv’s choices for stock colors don’t match my taste.

  • Rick says:

    What is the box on the handle bars?

  • jeff stewart says:

    Beautiful bike and very nicely appointed. Your submission for April most definitely outshines the competition but I must cry foul for using Alan as your photographer. LOL!! ;)

  • John L. says:

    That is one sweet ride. Thanks for sharing.

  • Darin says:

    That is one beautiful bike! I’ve been thinking about getting a Hunqapillar as my next bike, and these photos of your hillborne make me want one even more.

  • John Romeo Alpha says:

    That is a gorgeous looking bike, and I too have a growing case of lug-envy! I also wonder about the double top tube, though. The front part of a bicycle frame forms a quadrilateral (not a triangle as mentioned above), and I wonder what the actual effects positive and negative are of adding this tube in. I would like to see an actual cost comparison of making this frame out of heat-treated tubes vs. adding in an additional top tube, if that would be a useful comparison.

  • Craig says:

    # Rick says:

    What is the box on the handle bars?
    Posted on April 17th, 2011 at 5:30 am

    That is the latching mechanism for an Ortlieb handlebar bag.

  • Alan says:


    The upgraded equivalent of the Hillborne in the Rivendell line-up is the A. Homer Hilsen. It runs approximately $600-700 more. I’m not saying the tubeset is anything other than a small percentage of the difference in price, but in a Rivendell that’s what it costs to move up into a bike with heat-treated tubes.

  • charles says:

    The difference between heat treated or non heat treating tubing if I remember correctly is about 30,000 psi but standard chrome moly is 90,000 psi……more than strong enough for a bicycle. On a brazed frame there is little difference in joint strength. The extra top tube would stiffen up the main triangle on a larger frame by essentially making it a smaller triangle. Its a different look and it sets it apart from other more generic frames. It also allows a pump under the top tube and a good hand hold when lifting the bike with the secondary tube. The ride quality of a heat treated tube set might be more lively and lighter due to its thinner dimensions but I am not a huge fan of ultra thin walled tubing. Its interesting that quite a few thicker walled smaller diameter tubed frames from 30+ years ago are still in use today in spite of minor rust in and outside the tubing. Now rust isn’t really an issue given proper care but I’d rather have a .07 wall thickness than a .04 wall thick tube allowing for a little corrosion without compromising the tubing too much.

  • patrick says:

    I’ve wanted to see the 56 with two top tubes for a while now.
    Looks great. That’s been my “next” bike since i heard they were making them at the waterford factory.
    I think the “triangle” spoken of previously is the smaller one created by the lower tube, smaller therefore stronger.
    Speaking of double top tubes, the A.N.T. Truss bike is so flippin’ gorgeous.
    thanks again for all the great eye candy

  • Pete says:

    One reason that Riv uses double top tubes is their “expanded” frame geometry. Since the top tube slopes up from it’s “normal” position on the seat tube, the head tube is taller than it would be on the same-size frame with a level top tube.
    As noted above, a bike front triangle is not really a triangle, and the longer the head tube, the less triangular it is, and the less structurally efficient.
    I also think it’s just ’cause Grant likes ‘em!

  • Adam Booth says:

    I followed the Hunqa progression, even started saving for one as being my next bike. Then they made the second down tube steeper sloping. Maybe it sounds childish but I’m not interested in one at all now…

  • Beauties: Rivendell Sam Hillborne | Culture Cycles says:

    […] This stunning Waterford-built Rivendell tourer featuring a double-top tube and outstanding paint details belongs to a guy named Krishna who’s planning a tour from Seattle to San Fransisco. More photos below and read about the build at EcoVelo. […]

  • Mel Hughes says:

    This bike is lovely! Over the past few months I have been searching for good images of the double top tubed Sam in the 56cm size. I had a difficult time trying to imagine how it would look with components and accessories that I had planned on using. Any questions I had about its appearance have certainly been answered by these photos. Even though I struggled with a decision over a similar Hillborne or going with the Hilsen, either bike would have been more than adequate for my needs.

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