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.