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  Sam Hillborne
rivendell sam hillborne



product code: F-HILLBORNE-BLUE
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Description Warranty/Specs/Other Testimonials

*Sizes currently in stock - 48cm, 51cm, 55cm, 58cm.

*Colors currently in stock - Sage Green Only

58's and 62's get a double top tube. 48's and 51's are 650b. The rest are 700c. All sizes are designed to use Tektro 559 long reach side pull calipers.

More photos of Sams are continually added to the flikr pool: New Blue Sam Pics.

Sam Hillborne

Available as a frameset ($1225 including frame fork and headset) or complete bike - built to order, so prices vary. Usually around $2600. Here's a sample invoice for Deluxe Albatross Sam. Prices may vary, but this was updated June 2012. This invoice has the works, fenders, racks, bell, kickstand, sales tax, shipping, pedals, saddle, everything you need. It's an easy to print PDF, so you can use it as a template for your build.

July 2012, great customer S240 video here.

Our slam-dunk, more affordable, does-everything great road bike. Not quite a loaded tourer (Atlantis, Hunq) but not wimpy either. If you don't have a good bike, this is the one to get. If you have a bunch of expensive bikes that aren't good, don't fit, don't fit the tires you want, don't fit fenders, don't let you raise the bars high enough, and are made with materials that aren't as tough, safe, reliable, or repairable as steel, then this is the bike to get. It's our basic bike, as affordable as our bikes get, and with all of the details and values and comfort, fit, and ride that (if our bikes were famous) would have been responsible for that fame. Almost anything you can do on a bike, you can do on a Sam Hillborne. (Inside the extremes of road racing and rough trail riding).

July 2010: Sam road test @ EcoVelo


The Sam Hillborne
is the replacement for the Bleriot, with some differences. It's a cross between the Atlantis, our cantilever-braked touring bike, and the A. Homer HIlsen, our roadish country bike. "It's a cross..." means it has tubing halfway in between the two (in wall thickness...) and the 40mm max tire clearance (and straight chainstays) of the A.Homer Hilsen.
It's hand-built in Taiwan, and the quality is --- well, it is hard to talk about the quality in a comparative way without stepping on toes we'd rather not step on. It is extremely well made. Period.

It is a wonderfully versatile bike
--functionally halfway between the Atlantis (our full-touring bike) and the A. Homer HIlsen (our roadish all-arounder). But, and this is the key, a Hillborne costs about $1000 less.

You can ride your Sam Hillborne self-contained across the country, but it's also super on roads, for commuting, and fire trails. If you have only one bike, you can't do any better than a Sam. If you have a stable of "normal" bikes, this is the one you'll ride the most. The Sam Hillborne is an all-around bike that sacrifices nothing, and will do all you ask of it without a whimper, forever.

The average price of a normal bike-shop/big brand road bike in 2011 is $1,500--and there are thousands of bikes that sell for four times that. The Sam, at $2500 or so (taxes, shipping, upgrades/downgrades effect the final total) is not only a better bike than anything made of lesser materials, but the biggest bargain alive today.

Five sizes: 48 and 51 fit 650B wheels; 55, 62 and 64 fit 700C.
The frame design is "expanded," which is not at all like "compact." The top tube slopes up 6 degrees, and so the head tube grows in height to intercept it. As a result, it is easy, really easy, to get your handlebar high up where it's comfortable.

To nail the size, we'll need your height and PBH. We can't stress this enough. Measure it right, have someone help you, measure four times and give us the biggest number. That tells us your optimal saddle height and standover tolerance. From there we make sure you get the right frame, the right bars, the right stem. Don't think for a second you're at a disadvantage ordering without a personal fitting. The roads are teeming with mis-fit riders who were sized incorrectly in person, and since we send bikes across the country all the time, we've had to evolve sizing methods that work. We
must be more careful; we never get returns. This is what we do, and we do it well.

We are truly excited about this bike. There's nothing's cheap on it. It uses our lugs, crown, bb shell as always. My pick of tubing, my design.

PBH measurements and Sam Sizes:

48cm 650b = 75-81cm PBH
51cm 650b = 78-83cm
55cm 700c = 83-87cm
58cm 700c =
62cm 700c =
700c =

There is some overlap in the sizing there. If you fall between sizes you will still be able to get your bars level and above saddle height on either size but you have a choice between even higher bars on the larger size or increased standover height on the smaller. Typically trail bikes will want a little more standover and long distance cyclists will want the taller front end. We usually encourage you to go bigger, unless you like more standover.

If your PBH is smaller than 75, consider a Betty Foy, Yves Gomez, Atlantis or A Homer Hilsen. Those models have smaller sizes. If you're bigger than 101cm, look at Bombadil and A Homer Hilsen.

Shipping on complete bikes is $110-160.

Geometry Charts Here.


How much is shipping to my US address?

Frames $45-65
Bikes $110-160
Wheels $20-40

Canada's a little more, overseas is quite a bit more. Email jenny@rivbike with your address and frame only / complete bike specification for quotes.

Sales tax?

In California yes. The rest of you no. You can pick it up here in Walnut Creek too so at least you don't pay tax AND shipping.

Would it ship in pieces and then I get it built here? If so, any recommendations for a shop to build it?

Three choices:
  1. We can build it here. There's a labor charge of $210. That's to build it up, wrap the bars, install racks, the usual. If we install the fenders it's $250 ($40 more) because of the time it takes. Do it yourself if you want. It's not too hard. There's a video on youtube "Rivendell Fender Install." The standard labor charge is rolled into (included in) the build kits.
  2. We can ship it to you and you assemble it. Not recommended unless you really know what you're doing. We do install the headset for you, but everything else is on you.
  3. We send it to your shop. No recommendations there unless your local shop is one of our dealers. If that's the case, you might wanna buy the whole thing through them and support 'em.

I’ll be riding mostly around the city, some occasional trails, maybe a tour, all seasons.

Sam really is great for commuting (staff favorite) due to the stout frame, rackability, fenderability and chubby tireability. Try a Mark's rack with a basket in front and a pannier rack in back.

But those same features make it an excellent camping/trail bike (again, staff favorite). Barring sticky peanut butter mud rides (they'll jam the fenders so, just take 'em off and get dirty), a 35-40mm tire + fender is more fun than a giant MTB knobby anyways.

The above paragraph applies to touring too. The build kit + front & rear racks

Where should I start with the kits? I really don’t know much about the difference in the parts... Any guidance would be much appreciated.

All kits have the same parts except for the handlebar, stem, and brake levers. pick a handlebar, then match it to your wheelsize and there you have it. add saddle, pedals, racks, fenders as you wish.

We tend to only sell one really good variety of a certain part at a time and that's the one in the kit. Right now we only have one crank, one front derailer and one brake we like on these. Everything on there goes on most customer bikes as well as employees. Nothing cheap, nothing stupid, everything works.

Can I use parts from my existing bike?

Eh... Unless it's from another bike we spec'd it's not ideal. Some things to keep in mind:

  • 48, 52cm frames have 650b Wheels. Others 700c.
  • Rear spacing on all sizes: 135mm (MTB, not road standard)
  • One inch THREADED headset
  • Seat post: 27.2mm
  • Long reach sidepulls. You probably don't have those. Not standard reach.

Can I customize my build?

Sure. Easiest is if we stock the parts you want. We stock Phil and some Paul stuff. Just fill up a cart of parts. We can special order parts for you. it takes time and you'll have to work with our special order guru Schpensor. But totally doable.

Does it come with a seatpost, bottom bracket and headset?

Taiwanese bikes come with all three. 27.2 Kalloy Seatpost. Tange 107 BB, tange or FSA headset. Waterford frames come with a headset installed but you're on your own for bb and seat post.

What size front derailer clamp?

All of our bikes are 28.6. Any derailer we sell will work.

Seat post binder bolt size?

Screw: M6 Hex Socket Cap, 22mm length
Nut: M6 Nylon Insert Nut

What type of brakes will be required for this frame? Sams seem to have come both with and without the canti bosses in the past.

You're right, some old Sams had cantis and Waterford Sams still do.

But current BLUE Sams are all long-reach Sidepull. Just like Homer and Betty and Bosco Rubbe.

lo-fi Sam vid

Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 11   Write a review.

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
Blue Sam Hillborne - Wow! April 8, 2014
Reviewer: Fritz Hocking from Chicago, IL United States  
My new blue 60cm Sam Hillborne frame arrived last week, and all I can say is "wow!"  Beautiful workmanship, and for the first time ever, I'm perfectly comfortable on a bike.  Clearance for big tires, lots of braze-ons, etc., etc. is just great.  

Now ...  since I live in a scary, big city I need to take Grant's advice and never wash the bike.  Need to camouflage it.  It's just TOO pretty.

Thanks to Dave, Meisha, and especially Grant!

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Best bike I've ever owned March 9, 2014
Reviewer: Bruce Smitham from SAN DIEGO, CA United States  
OK, so I've owned a lot of different bikes. I just finished building up my 56cm Sam Hillborne that has a single top tube. This was a bike that both Keven and Grant thought I should be on when I first starting talking to them 3 years ago. I should have listened to them back then because I just LOVE this bike. It's the best bike I've ever ridden and owned period! It's the perfect all-rounder and I couldn't have asked for a better fit. I haven't even begun to make small fitting adjustments and could bike all day long with no problem. Sure all those bikes I purchased before and fiddled with really gave me a wonderful platform from which to appreciate bicycle better. I feel like a little kid on a new bike that can't wait to get out on it again and again. Thanks Riv for that feeling. I'm a believer!

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Support November 9, 2013
Reviewer: Chris de Bellis from Marina, CA United States  
I have so enjoyed this bike with a big back rack and a large saddlebag and a small rack and basket in front as a shopper and every once in a while as a ride to work. It carries weight well and I love the stout tires and rims. No flats and no wobble in a year of daily use! I thought I'd miss skinny tires and a light aluminum bike, but I don't at all, nor the click in pedals that go with racer fever, this whole unracer thing has been a healthy change for me, thank you Rivendell!

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Best bikes I've ever owned August 8, 2013
Reviewer: Gregg Rice from Toledo, OH United States  
I am the proud owner of two Sams. I purchased the first in 2010 using the standard build, and I've been so pleased with it that I bought Sam #2 just this month (I had it built up as two-speed like the old Quickbeam). They are without question the best bikes I've ever owned: solid, comfortable, reliable, and quick. I've received more compliments and questions about them than any other of the dozens of bikes I've had. I have no doubt that I will own these bikes for a long, long time.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Sam Hillborne February 10, 2013
Reviewer: Kai V. from Brooklyn, NY United States  
Having ridden and busted some big bikes I was looking for something that would look nice, ride better, and most of all last a long time.  So, for the last year and a half I've been putting miles on a 64 double top tubed Hillborne and it's the best bike everrrrrrrr.  At 6'8" I think I'm just about it's mechanical limit but with some bosco bullmooses it feels so very strong and is cozy in a "I still feel fast" way.  
I Love My Bike!  Thank You Rivendell

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