Not So Different Afterall

Two Strangers

At first glance these bikes seem very different. The Rivendell on the left is lugged and painted, with a mixte frame and 650B wheels. The Civia on the right is tig-welded and powder-coated, with a sloping top tube and 700C. The Riv’s racks are polished silver from Nitto, and it has a sprung Brooks saddle, wicker basket, and Albatross bars. The Civia’s racks are industrial black from Tubus and Pass & Stow, and it has a Selle An-Atomica saddle, drop bars, and brifters. Even their drivetrains are different, the Riv’s being a traditional chain and derailleur, the Civia’s being a belt drive with internal gear hub.

It’s only when looking deeper that it becomes apparent how similar they are. They both have nice handling frames made of steel. They both have kickstands (ah, kickstands). Their robust tires and wheels are good for riding on both pavement and dirt. They’re both capable of carrying a significant load while also covering a distance with ease. They’re practical, reliable, comfortable, and efficient bicycles that both make marvelous car replacements. As it turns out, when it comes to the things that really matter, they’re not so different afterall.

6 Responses to “Not So Different Afterall”

  • joe says:

    Let’s not forget expensive.

  • Alan says:


    Well yeah, there’s that too. :-) Seriously though, they serve to replace cars which makes them a great long-term investment.

  • JP Atkinson says:

    These bikes aren’t expensive, considering how much everything else costs in today’s world. Think of how much the average new car costs in the US, today. I mean, really, if I spend less than one month’s rent or mortgage on a well-built, reliable bicycle I can ride to work every day for years, that is starting to sound like a bargain to me!

  • Ira Kinro says:

    My grandfather was a chemist. His home shop reflected that with its adhesives, solvents, sealants, etc. His brother was a physicist. His home shop reflected that with its nuts, bolts, wrenches, etc. They worked on very similar projects and achieved very similar results, but their tools were superficially very different.

    The differences between the Betty and the Bryant are similar to the differences between the home shops. The important point is to have tools that are enjoyable, comfortable, and practical for you.

  • Alan says:


    Well said. According to AAA, on average it now costs over $9K to own and operate a mid-sized sedan in the US:

    Makes a $1K-$2K bicycle that replaces a car appear to be a great deal.

  • Don says:

    You could also say they are two experienced companies providing alternatives to the prevalent thinking in the bike industry by putting transportation and other real-world concerns to the fore. And both companies leverage the web and social networking to spread the word.

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