Build a bicycle, boys! The Rivendell SimpleOne.

The title seemed right after seeing the British band Elbow deliver a soaring show here in Washington where they played most of their recent album, “Build a Rocket, Boys!

The title of the album is the refrain in the song “Lippy Kids,” about the potential of youth. It’s worth a listen. Their show, uplifting and communal, was the perfect tonic after a few quiet weeks recovering from Paris-Brest-Paris.

I’ve worked through the lingering fatigue and physical issues left over from PBP not by riding, but by digging through the toolbox and getting a couple framesets turned into bikes — our kind of rockets, if you will.

First up is my new 58cm Rivendell SimpleOne, a singlespeed. It is Riv’s newest addition to their lineup of lugged, steel bikes, replacing the Quickbeam.

The SimpleOne at the Einstein Monument in Washington

See a full set of photos at my Flickr page, here.

This bike is made for racks and fenders, and was a lot of fun to build up.

I decked it out in a lot of parts from Velo Orange, including metal fenders, seatpost, saddle, rear bag support, hubs, one of the two rims, and a bell.

It also has Rivendell’s own Sugino double chainring crankset and a nifty front bag they sell called the Sackville TrunkSack that looks just great.

SimpleOne. The name says it all.

The setup initially included the big Ostrich boxy front bag formerly sold by VO — you can see the decaleur receiver still mounted — but I found it too big for tooling around town. I’ll save it for a touring rig.

Sackville TrunkSack, leftover decaleur, Nitto stem, bars and rack.

There was something satisfying about wrenching at home on the weekends after all the travel this year. I like tinkering with bikes almost as much as riding them!

Next up: MG’s Velo Orange Mixte. Stay tuned.

9 thoughts on “Build a bicycle, boys! The Rivendell SimpleOne.

  1. Lovely “singlespeed”. We have just seen it and have started thinking about building a set for ourselves. We tried to do the PBP audax and PBP rando on our new Speedster but didnt have luck.

    BTW: which size wheel do you use on your Speedster. We use 700C and 28 mm tyres. This was not enough on the audax where we destroyed our gatorskins (both). Now we try Pasella Tourgard. I can see there isn’t much room on our 2011 version of the Speedster.

    1. On our tandem we use Pasela Tourguard 700×32. It it the largest size we can fit with fenders. I’ve considered using 650B wheels as a way to run larger tires, such as 38mm, but the Pasela works well for us.

  2. Looks fabuloso! Is that a flip-flop hub? Is it single-speed one side and fixed the other, or are you running both single but different cog sizes? Also … not being one of the cool people who knows these things, I’ve never understood what the top-tube wrap is supposed to be for — is it to protect it from the handlebars flipping around and hitting it? If so,why do fixies need protection from that but road bikes not (I know the brake will stop it on one side, but not necessarily the other)?

    1. Hi Nick,

      it’s a fixed-fixed hub with a 16 tooth freewheel on one side and 18 tooth on the other. Technically I should be using a freewheel hub but I wanted to use these hubs and it is generally OK to do it this way.

      The top tube sleeve — yes, ostensibly to keep the bars from hitting the top tube, but mostly its for style and protects the paint from the brake cable when you lean against the bike say at your favorite hipster coffee I’ve heard, anyway.

  3. Nice! and green too.

    I have one of the original runs of the QB, also green, nbit more kelly and less teal. I recently decided to break down and rig up a front bag, and after searching all the options, settled on the very same bag as you, however, I must have dithered 5 minutes too long as they are now out of stock, dang!

    There is one hill on my commute where I have to shift tot he little ring. At the bottom and top of this hill I strategically placed sticks in the ditch for shfitng without getting my fingers greasy. I’ve never put a cog on the flop side. Thinking of renaming the bike the Stickshift.

    Dr C

  4. OBTW:

    I went with cheapo plastic fenders (shame!) not so much to save $$$ but because of the problem that the ‘clever’ rear dropouts cause when changing a flat (or removing the rear wheel for whatever reason).

    The ones I use have a plastic friction bushing that bolts onto the drop out, the fender stays pop in and out with a little nudge. I guess if we lived in Marin County we wouldn’t have these fender issues.

    Dr C

    1. Way ahead of you there PJ. I left the rear stays long enough that if I loosen the stay clip bolts, I can pull the fender tail back enough to pull the wheel out. You can see the rear fender line is not perfect, but that’s from installing it first to let the wheel out, then nudgeing it inwards towards the wheel. This is not the fastest way to manage the wheel removal, but it works with metal fenders. If I was pulling the wheel regularly I would have, as well, gone with SKS fenders and the safety clips, it’s easy to pull the stays from those and then reattach without loosening bolts.

      1. And yet another followup. I realized the chain was too short. I added two links and now it sits farther back, allowing me to pull back the fender and fixing the fender line. There’s always these little tweaks on new bikes.

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