Gallery: Andy’s Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen

AHH First Build
AHH First Build

[Andy sent us this write-up about his AHH. —ed.]

This build was originally going to be a simple 700c x 32 18-speed drop bar travel bike with S and S couplings. The idea started taking shape in October, 2010, intended for a 320+ mile tour along the UK Cycle Route 1 from Inverness to Edinburgh, scheduled for late June, 2011.

AHH Gravel Ready
AHH Gravel Ready

By the time the bike was complete and on its way across the ocean it had morphed into this, an eclectic blend of past and present technologies. The ride is smooth, quick, responsive, nimble, predictable, and most of all fun!

Now back from Scotland, the AHH is my all-rounder of choice at our weekend home near the southeastern coast of Rhode Island.

AHH in the field - at rest on the Formartine and Buchan Way near Dyce, Scotland
AHH in the field – at rest on the Formartine and Buchan Way near Dyce, Scotland (fenders removed for airline transport)

I learned tons during this build, but nothing more important than how great it feels to be liberated from the comfort compromising, doubled over, forward leaning, head-first, race-influenced cycling posture of the road bike masses. Whether I ride 6, 16, or 60 miles, the AHH is well balanced and confidence inspiring… and at the end of the day my back, shoulders, and neck thank me.


  • Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen (58cm)
  • S and S BTC coupling (Retrofit by Bilenky Cycle Works, Philadelphia)
  • Velocity Dyad 650B 32h rims (Wheels laced by owner/operator)
  • Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 16t (rear)
  • Chris King Classic Hub (front)
  • DT Swiss Competition Spokes
  • Sugino XD2 Crankset, 170mm, 42t
  • Velo Orange Bottom Bracket, 116mm
  • Wipperman Connex 908 chain
  • Paul Comp Racer Centerpull Brakes
  • Soma New Xpress Panaracer Pasela Tourguard650B x 38mm (35 actual)
  • Shimano Ultegra Headset
  • Nitto Lugged Stem, 100mm
  • Nitto Albatross Handlebar, 55cm
  • SRAM Avid Speed Dial Brake Levers
  • Nitto Slotted Brake Cable Hangers
  • Rivendell Meisha’s Portuguese Cork Grips
  • Speedplay Frog Pedals
  • Brooks B67 Saddle, honey
  • Velo Orange Setback Seatpost
  • Velo Orange Hammered Alloy Fenders
  • Carradice Pendle Saddlebag
  • Carradice Bagman Sport Bag Support
  • Brooks D-Shaped Tool Bag
  • Greenfield Kickstand
  • Soma Brass Bell
  • Kleen Kanteen Water Bottles
  • Cateye Strada Cycle Computer
AHH ridden hard - break time by an old stone wall near Stonehaven, Scotland
AHH ridden hard – break time by an old stone wall near Stonehaven, Scotland

7 Responses to “Gallery: Andy’s Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen”

  • Mel Hughes says:

    that is one beautiful bike! There are so many possibilites with this frame. It is really great to see how it evolves with other owners here. Thanks for sharing. You have given me a lot of ideas for possible future changes.

  • Micheal Blue says:

    Beautiful bike and nice components. Must have been expensive with the Speedhub.

  • Nick says:

    Andy, I’ve been thinking my new bike (next year) has to be a Riv and has to have an IGH but I didn’t want a chain tensioner. I haven’t been sure how to resolve the conflict. How is the chain tensioner, OK?

  • matija says:

    there’s one thing that always leaves me puzzled: why so many brooks’ saddles have their nose tilted so high up? to me it looks, well, painfull?

  • Kurtiss Hammond says:


    I have been using a forward components brand eccentric bottom bracket that fits a standard bb shell. I like it a lot on my kona ute with an alfine 8, even with the long chainstays, the chain stays taut. Forward Components is a canadian company and I do not work for them, just simply a happy customer.

  • Andy Church says:

    Thanks for the comments and questions. I certainly can’t take credit for such a beautifully crafted frame, but I do take some pride in having chosen it, and I am solely responsible for the unique (some might call it oddball) build.

    I’d like to point out that I laced the wheels, my first set ever, and they are holding true possibly better than I would have imagined.

    The Rohloff is expensive money-wise, but what you can’t see on a price list is how much it will cost you in lost sleep if you are building up anything other than a Rohloff ready frame. Putting this on an S and S equipped travel bike is all the more challenging. Anyone interested should note the removable Origin 8 dual cable stop clamps. I drilled them out so they now serve as simple housing guides. Also note on non-drive chainstay I have 2 Origin 8 Gripper II plastic clamps. Cables just pop in, pop out… no sweat!

    I really didn’t want to use the tensioner for the same reasons others would not want to, but I must say once I got over my objections, I haven’t looked back. I spoke with Stephen Bilenky (whose shop did the S and S retrofit) about the possibility of modifying the frame with adjustable dropouts or an eccentric bottom bracket, but keeping in mind that someday I might want to build this frame with conventional front and rear derailleurs, and since I already owned Rohloff’s tensioner and reaction arm, I decided to lighten up a little, loosen my grip, so to speak, and just use Rohloff’s own solution as intended.

    I rode through lots (and lots!) of rain on the sandy pathways of coastal Scotland; the tensioner was no more trouble than anything else. The entire bike got very dirty, and it all worked flawlessly, 100% of the time.

    As for the seat position, I understand that it looks painful, and in fact it would be if installed on a drop bar road bike on which the rider leans forward head first. But this is an upright all-rounder, and the seat is adjusted for a rider pedaling with his head well above his arse. The only adjustments I made since the initial build was to tilt the seat back even more in order to improve my weight distribution and comfort. (I’m 6’0″, 185 lbs.)

    This is exactly why you see so many Brooks saddles tilted back like this.

    Hope these comments shed some light and help with your own builds, now or in the future.

    Always open to discussion. Have a great weekend!

    Rowayton, CT

  • Andy Church says:

    PS. One more note about the saddle – I may need to tighten the leather some since it has stretched during riding. If so it would follow that the seat would then be tilted forward again to some degree.

    I’ll look into ti and advise in about 10 days.



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