Support BikePortland

First look at Rivelo, Portland’s new independent Rivendell dealer (and record store)

Posted by on May 26th, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Rivendell Bicycle Works now has a home in Portland. Rivelo is a new bike shop in inner southeast that’s set to fully open next month as a dealer of the famous brand’s bikes, bags, apparel and other accessories.

Long-time BikePortland friend and reader (and big Rivendell fan) Beth Hamon rolled by the shop yesterday and shared a few photos…

a trip to rivelo, pdx

All photos by Beth Hamon/bikelovejones

a trip to rivelo, pdx

Rivelo patch


a trip to rivelo, pdx

a trip to rivelo, pdx

In a blog post about her visit Beth (a former co-owner at Citybikes) said Rivelo is “small, cute, and super niche-y.”

Rivelo is run by John Bennett, a former employee at Rivendell’s World HQ in Walnut Creek, California. Bennett calls his shop “Portland’s Rivendell Test Center.” Right now they’ve got two models in stock: the Sam Hillborne and the Cheviot. Bennett says the shop is so small they currently only plan to sell bikes, not fix them.

Bennett is also a huge Bob Dylan fan. He opened the shop with regular hours on May 23rd, Dylan’s birthday, and you’ll find a nice selection of his records for sale.

The shop has a great location (401 SE Caruthers) right on the corner of SE Caruthers and Water near the foot of the new Tilikum Bridge smack dab in the busy bikeway between the end of the Esplanade and start of the Springwater.

If you’re a big Rivendell fan or just curious to learn more, mark you calendar for June 20th at 2:00 pm. Bennett will host Mr. Rivendell himself, company founder Grant Petersen, for a talk and open house event.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • shuppatsu May 26, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Great news! I’m a big fan of Mr. Petersen’s bikes and approach. I love someone who sticks to his vision, even when I disagree with the vision.

    I can’t afford a new Riv but hopefully this shop translates to a 64cm Sam or Homer being available on Craigslist in a few years.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • soren May 26, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      I think having a semi-official shop in Portland is a great opportunity to convince Mr. Petersen that he is completely wrong about disc brakes.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • shuppatsu May 26, 2015 at 4:10 pm

        Here’s what they say on the site:

        “if you ride super slimy trails and weigh a lot, disc brakes work well. Disc brakes also make some sense for year-round wet weather commuting. But most of us here commute year round in all weather (including wet weather) with the brakes we sell, with no problems at all. Also, all of our brakes of a certain type (sidepulls, cantilevers…) are up to the task.”

        I don’t know if a soft position like that can be “completely” wrong. I have calipers with Kool-Stops on my commuter and BB7s on my MTB. I don’t miss discs on my commuter, and that’s my ride for all weather except snow. I weigh around 215 these days.

        But anyway a lot of his positions fall into the “that’s just the way I prefer it” camp. Disc brakes, low trail, IGH, aluminum and titanium frames, etc. He saves his ire for carbon. I think he’s wrong about carbon FWIW, though I just like steel for the retro-grouchiness.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • shamer May 26, 2015 at 6:24 pm

          soft position? let me quote:

          All of our bikes have disc brakes
          Immature, emerging, nascent, and futuristic widgets are the ones most in need of and most likely to benefit from radical changes…

          before I switched to discs i would wear through rims every couple of years — that is an expensive habit. peruse bikeforums and you will note that other PNW commuters have had similar experiences. i should also emphasize that many years ago one of my brake-weakened rims failed and my bike endoed. in my opinion, using a critical and expensive structural element as a braking surface makes absolutely no sense — and especially so in the slimy pnw.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • shuppatsu May 26, 2015 at 10:23 pm

            he’s not calling disc brakes immature, nascent, etc. he’s pointing that bikes have been around for a long time and that one should be suspicious of the need for radical change. The very embodiment of retro-grouchery.

            He then says disc brakes have their uses, and may make sense for wet weather commuting. I call that soft.

            Thousands of rim brake bikes run year-round in Portland. Not saying that rim failure doesn’t happen, and I’m glad you made it through ok. But I’d say it’s pretty rare. Just as I wouldn’t write off carbon for the occasional catastrophic fork failure, I wouldn’t write off rim brakes.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • mh May 26, 2015 at 10:53 pm

              Heavy, lumpy forks necessary for disc brakes are graceless and ugly. My old Bridgestone still pleases me.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Dave May 27, 2015 at 7:05 am

              Grant P. cares more about his customers’ long-term happiness with the product, beyond the immediate trendy appeal that a bike might have on the sales floor. I know him from when I worked at Bike Gallery and he was the kingpin of Bridgestone USA and think it’s GREAT that Riv is opening a local storefront. May Grant one day fly his own Gulfstream to the bike dealers’ show in Vegas and get panhandled by the carbon bike reps who are there with barely money for a cup of coffee.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • shuppatsu May 28, 2015 at 9:41 am

            I checked my bike today for wear. I ride it year-round, swapping bikes only for snow, and have ridden about 8,000 miles on it. Sure enough, there’s definitely some wear on the rims that goes beyond cosmetic. So score one for your side.

            Now, I have no idea whether the rims are good for another 400, 4,000, or 40,000 more miles. There seems to be plenty of rim left. But I grant that it’s nice to have brakes where you don’t need to worry about it.

            I wonder to what extent rim failure is more common on gram-shaving high end wheels.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Adam H. May 26, 2015 at 11:56 pm

          year-round wet weather commuting

          So, exactly the type of riding your typical Portlander customers will be doing?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Chris I May 27, 2015 at 8:34 am

            Did you just move here? Pac NW weather is dry for 3-4 months in the summer. This year has been especially dry. I can count the days with real rain (where you actually get wet, and rim brakes seem less effective) on one hand, and we’re starting to get into the dry season now. Disc brakes are not necessary for a year-round commuter bike in Portland.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • shuppatsu May 27, 2015 at 9:45 am

              It’s fair to characterize Portland as a rain commuter city. This year has been dry, and yes, we have a dry season. But we get rain very often. Not a lot in terms of measured precipitation, but plenty of wet roads.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • shuppatsu May 27, 2015 at 9:47 am

            I think GP’s take is, by all means, get yourself a disc brake bike if it’s important to you. It isn’t important to him. His bikes reflect his views, and he has strong views. And I like that, even though I don’t share all his views.

            I’ve considered a disc brake bike for commuting/touring, and bought a disc-compatible dynohub for that reason, despite it introducing weight and dish to my front wheel. I still daydream about a Salsa Vaya or Novara Mazama, which violate any number of GP preferences.

            At the same time, let’s not undersell rim brakes. They work fine in the wet with the right pads.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • gutterbunnybikes May 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

              Drum brakes are at least as good if not better suited for rain than disc brakes. They (drum brakes) would likely be much better with more interest from manufacturers – however they can’t be used on carbon bikes, they’d destroy the frame/fork real fast.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Paul Souders May 26, 2015 at 4:28 pm

        A fun personality test might be, “on which ONE opinion is Grant Petersen completely WRONG?”

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Al Dimond May 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

          That’s an awesome idea. I’ll bite.

          Though the Rivendell brand (the lugs, the Tolkien references, the badges and decals) doesn’t resonate with me at all, I’ll grant that the bikes are way more attractive than most. I’ll even grant Mr. Petersen his preference for friction shifting and his belief that a bit of tire tread helps with traction on wet roads. Even with my brifters, my refusal to go over 9 speeds (for PowerLink chains that can be opened without tools) apparently makes me a retrogrouch, and thus obligated to honor all elder forms of retrogrouchery. I believe smooth tires are best on wet roads on the balance of what I’ve read, and Petersen’s anecdotes aren’t convincing to me, but I won’t rule out the possibility that there’s something the theory is missing (or that tires with a little tread differ in some other way that makes them better) — it’s an area where speculation is more common than research. Other than that I tend to agree with the guy even when I make different choices than he would (sometimes only out of cheapness or laziness).

          But the axes, man, that stuff is nonsense. It’s nonsense in a way nothing else about Rivendell is. It’s the one thing Grant Petersen is completely wrong about, hyping up those stupid axes.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • shuppatsu May 26, 2015 at 10:27 pm


          The value of lugs for repairability?

          “Grip Kings,” and their lousy grip in the wet?

          Carbon kills thousands of cyclists daily?

          Axes. Definitely axes.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Al Dimond May 26, 2015 at 11:11 pm

            That’s why it’s a personality test and not a right-or-wrong test :-P.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • shuppatsu May 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm

              Rereading my comment it could be construed that I was criticizing you for talking about something as extraneous as axes. In fact, I was shuffling through a bunch of things before landing on the same thing. I read too much Bike Snob to take artisanal axes seriously.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Al Dimond May 26, 2015 at 11:58 pm

                FWIW I actually didn’t know Petersen was a paleo guy because I only read his stuff periodically.

                Ironic how badly sarcasm works on the Internet, ain’t it!

                Recommended Thumb up 0

  • CaptainKarma May 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I might be able to afford some of those bags, anyway! …and I hope those shop does not have those removable plate glass windows, just saying.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • LC May 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    Sweet bikes! I hope they’re a little less standoffish than the folks at the riv mothership down south.. 🙁

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Mossby Pomegranate May 26, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Probably not. Expect some condescending skinny jean/beardo/hipster basically telling you that you are not cool enough to own a Rivendell.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Beth May 27, 2015 at 9:25 am

        I am not skinny, bearded or a hipster.
        I assure you that I lost my coolness when I turned fifty.
        And yet, I ride a Rivendell. Go figure.
        Don’t assume we’re all a bunch of iconoclasts. Go and check out the store and introduce yourself to John. You’ll discover he’s a very nice fellow who loves bicycles and rides everywhere.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Go-Go-Gadget May 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        Generalize much?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • John Bennett
        John Bennett May 31, 2015 at 7:07 pm

        Mossby, it’s been a while since I could wear skinny jeans or even had a beard, and I’m probably about as far from “hipster” as you can get. I don’t think I’m condescending, but come on by if you get a chance, check out the shop, and see if I’m right about all of the above.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Eric May 27, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Feel like I would have to have a tweed vest, waxed handlebar mustache and a Fedora to shop there.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • shuppatsu May 27, 2015 at 9:53 am

    The Rivendell Bicycle Owner’s Bunch on Facebook is oft-bearded, but pretty far from being skinny jeaned hipsters. The demo seems to be older people who love bikes and especially love riding.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • drew May 27, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    There is nothing “theoretical”, as Grant writes in his post, about the rim holding the tire. Rim brakes wear away the rim sidewalls- and at some point the rim buckles and the tire explodes off the side, which can result in a crash.

    Here in rainy portland, with volcanic soils that scour the rim sidewalls, a disc brake has a clear advantage.

    Recommended Thumb up 0