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Atlantis vs. Rambouillet vs. Romulus(9 posts)

Atlantis vs. Rambouillet vs. RomulusBecky
May 15, 2003 8:37 AM
MB1's post about his new bike piqued my curiousity in Rivendell bicycles. After spending some time on their website, I was wondering if somebody more knowledgeable about Rivendell's offerings could explain to me the difference between their 3 production bikes/frames. They all appear to be lugged steel all-arounders designed for long distances and loads of comfort- am I missing something more subtle?? Thanks!

Becky
Got an Atlantis now, thinking about a Redwood.cory
May 15, 2003 8:52 AM
I can't afford a full-on Riv until the kids are out of college, but I've had an Atlantis for a little over two years/3500 miles. I bought it before Grant made the Rambouillet, but probably would have gone for that over the roadier version anyway. I love the bike, and since I'm 6'4"/230, the slightly heavier tubing is probably a good idea for me. I paid $950 for the frame and built it up with a lot of parts I already had or bought locally--probably have about $1300-$1400 in it, and I've never found one thing it won't do well, from fire trails to centuries with just a tire swap.
The Rambo is a somewhat more road-oriented version of the same thing--slightly steeper head angle and lighter tubing, but same quality and same price. At my size I doubt that the few ounces it saves in frame weight would even be noticeable, but I'd like to ride one just to compare.
The Romulus (called the Redwood in the larger sizes, 65 and 68cm) is essentially a Rambo built cheaper--$1400 out the door, I think, needing only pedals and a saddle (haven't read the description lately). I can't really justify ~$2100 for a Rambouillet (I'm out of decent parts, so I'd have to buy everything), but I'm thinking seriously about a Redwood.
A couple of general points: Rivendell was great to deal with from start to finish, even helping me figure out what I could use from the parts bin and what I'd have to buy. They ship instantly--I've placed at least a dozen orders, and most come overnight. Paint and finish on the Atlantis are really good, better than Grant leads you to believe with his denigrating catalog copy. With 32 or 35cm tires and a Brooks B-17 saddle, I can ride farther in comfort than I've ever been able to on any bike. And raising the handlebars level with the seat is an absolute must, no matter how the boy racers in their team jerseys laugh. It makes a huge difference.
A bit more difference than a few ouncesRay Sachs
May 15, 2003 10:33 AM
I have a Rambouillet and used to have a Heron Touring, which is about as geometrically identical to an Atlantis as two bikes can be (the biggest difference is that the Atlantis can clear fatter tires, but the Heron took 35mm tires with fenders easily). The bikes really do ride differently - both very nicely but different. The Atlantis / Heron Touring is a greal touring, rough stuff, all-rounder type bike. It has really long chainstays, a slack front end and overall a long wheelbase. It's very smooth and relaxed and comfortable to ride, but it's also very deliberate in its handling. It frequently reminds you that its in no great hurry and you shouldn't be either.

The Rambouillet feels much more like a road bike, although its still a great deal more stable and relaxed than today's typical racing bike. With skinny tires, I never feel like the Rambouillet is holding me back, whereas I *DID* feel like the Heron Touring was if I wanted to ride fast. I take the Rambouillet onto lots of dirt and gravel roads, but I doubt I'd ride it on any hairy singletrack, which you could do with the Atlantis with fat enough tires.

The Romulus, as Cory said, is the functional equivalent of the Rambouillet, just not as fancy and it comes as a complete bike, rather than just frame and fork.

Both great bikes, but different enough that it really does depend on what kind of riding you want to do with it.

-Ray
Great tires - nmal0
May 15, 2003 12:52 PM
I'm sure that on 35
b cm
tires You really ride with great comfort! I only wonder about fork and seat stays on your frame. nm.
re: Atlantis vs. Rambouillet vs. RomulusHeron Todd
May 15, 2003 9:43 AM
The Romulus is a complete bicycle with a frame that is similar to the Rambouillet. The Atlantis and Rambouillet are sold as frames. I have a brief comparison of the Atlantis, Rambouillet, and Heron models on the FAQ page of my website:

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
http://www.heronbicycles.com
re: Atlantis vs. Rambouillet vs. RomulusSteve Bailey
May 15, 2003 11:08 AM
To get into it a bit more...

Rivendell used to sell only custom built steel lugged frames. They still sell this as a Rivendell and this frame is ordered and built custom to each and every buyer after speaking extensively with Grant et al... They are pricey but beautiful and if I ever have the bucks...

Grant was constantly modifying and adjusting his design idea's over the years and liking a design called the Long Low, plus seeing a market for a less expensive frames designed the Heron line, having them built by Waterford. There were essentially 2 models - the touring and the road, with the touring offered in 26" or 700C wheels, while the road was essentially a typical Rivendell Long Low with 700C wheels, without the fancy Rivendell lugs and paint job. Herons sold OK, but eventually could not be supported by Grant, who sold the line (if memory serves). That owner eventually sold the line to Todd at Tullios, a Heron dealer, who has (THANK GOD !), kept the line alive (I own a Heron road - thus the italics and enthusiasm).

Grant then, continuing to see a need for a less expensive frame, had a Japanese manufacturer construct the Rambouillet and Atlantis frames (essentially the old Heron road and Heron touring models), as well as the newer Romulus and Redwood, with as others explained, the Rambouillet as a frameset while the Romulus and Redwood as complete bikes (minus the pedals, saddle, bar tape). In the mean time, Todd continues to sell the Heron line, as frames or as very nice complete bikes, expanding the color choices and expanding into titanium.

The newer Rambouillet and Romulus have a somewhat different geometry then the current Herons, with a longer chainstay and wheel base and somewhat slacker head and seat tube angles as well as accepting the newer Shimano dual pivot/standard reach brakes which allows for a tad more tire clearance. Rambouillet and Romulus are only available in the single color choices, where as Heron gives you some options. Note also that the Heron Touring and Rivendell Atlantis are designed to be all-rounders with 26" wheels in most sizes and use cantilever brakes, where as the Heron Road, Rambouillet and Romulus use standard road 700C wheels and road dual pivot brakes.

They are, each and every bike, terrific bikes and terrific bargains. There is a bit of a difference between Todd and Grant in that Todd will offer more modern components such as STI/Ergo shifters, carbon forks, threadless headsets, etc... if you feel the need to be a bit more in touch with more modern component then what Grant offers.

Steve Bailey
A few correctionsRay Sachs
May 16, 2003 5:55 AM
Originally, Rivendells weren't custom. I bought one in '97 with specs right out of the catalog - Grant picked the tubes as with a custom, but the geometry was stock. They started being custom sometime a year or two later when the prices started really going up. Also, the Heron Road wasn't a lower priced version of the Long Low, it was a lower priced version of the Rivendell Road Standard, but by the time it came out, the Riv Road Standard was both longer and lower than the Heron. The Heron Road has shorter chainstays and a higher bottom bracket than any stock Rivendell has had since about '96. The Rambouillet and Romulus are more or less direct descendents of the Long Low at a lower price. Finally, the Atlantis uses 26" wheels in about half of its sizes while the Heron Touring, as Todd mentioned, uses 700c in all sizes except the smallest (53cm I believe).

If you want a relatively quicker handling road bike, the Heron road should be the quickest of the currently available non-custom Rivs / Herons (although still more stable than about any racing bike out there). With a ti version hopefully soon available. If you want something a bit more relaxed and stable and versatile, the Rambouillet / Romulus is the way to go, and if you want a really stretched out, relaxed, and incredibly stable ride, the Atlantis or Heron Touring is the way to go. And if you have a LOT of money sitting around, get a Riv custom built for exactly the kind of use you want.

-Ray "just picking nits" Sachs
A few correctionsSteve Bailey
May 16, 2003 7:17 AM
Thanks for the corrections Ray.

Steve B.
Thanks....Becky
May 15, 2003 11:52 AM
....to everyone for all the info! I had no idea there was such a heritage in these bikes. All that info will come in handy if I ever find the cash for a new ride (tho' maybe I should try riding my current bike more first....)
Thanks again!

Becky