The Roadeo is our answer to speedy carbon road bikes that cost the same or more, last one-fifth as long or less, and aren't as safe, comfortable, versatile or good-looking.
It's the bike to get for speedy riding without racks and bags, except for maybe a seat or bar bag. Basically, it's not a "light touring" bike, or anything of the sort. It's a bike for swift solo rides and fast club rides, where riding is the thing, as opposed to doing something on your bike.
The Roadeo beats today's Modern Carbon fiber Road Bikes (MCRB) in every category but one: Weight. More about that below.
Price and Value
Frame and fork, $2,250. Complete bikes vary according to the parts----and we can put on anything you like. Most recent builds have been using Shimano 11 speed 105 or Ultegra mechanical parts. Complete builds with these kits run around $4,000 to $5,400 respectively.
MCRBs cost from $1,300 to more than $10,000 but with the same-or-equivalent parts on them (SRAM Force, for instance), they're around $5,000 to $7,000. Many of those are European-branded but are actually made in cheap-labor countries. And there is considerable profit built into those prices----enough to pay a middleman or two between the actual manufacturer and the end-user, the bike's buyer/rider.
Sometimes people associate price with quality. It works at some level, because you can't get anything made with the most expensive (and presumably best) materials and the most expensive (and presumably more skilled) labor without the price rocketing up.
But it doesn't always work that way. If you have inexpensive materials or labor, or some combination of materials and labor that combine to a low-overall manufacturing cost, but you have a brand that is associated with quality---because it used to be good, or because it has always cost a lot, or because just recently some races have been won on it---there's no law against running up the flagpole a high price that doesn't at all reflect manufacturing costs or actual quality.
Most new bike buyers have the money and spend more for a bike that is truly less.
The Roadeo is made for us in Waterford, Wisconsin, by Waterford Precision Bicycles. We buy Roadeos direct from them, sell them direct to you and don't build in promotional profit to support advertising or professional teams. You may someday see a paper brochure, but for now our promotions are on the web and way cheaper.
Our bikes are priced so that we can pay our staff and bills and keep the business going. But still----with higher manufacturing costs and overhead, we're able to price a complete Roadeo at $4,200 (or so), several hundred to several thousand dollars less than similarly equipped MCRBs.
Race bikes can be too twitchy. You want responsiveness, no doubt, but we feel our designed-in road manners make Roadeos safer and more rideable. On a group ride you need a responsive bike to avoid getting bumped and to help you fill in small gaps or maneuver in close spaces. But you don't want to be the overreacting rider who makes everyone nervous. The Roadeo is great for that sort of demanding riding, but a Roadeo will shrug off unexpected bumps and wind gusts better than most speedy little bikes do. The longer-than-normal chainstays help. They don't make the Roadeo slower to accelerate (big chainstay myth, that one) and they are absolutely better on descents, in corners and in the wind----because they keep the wheelbase reasonable.
A light bike with light wheels and a short wheelbase is too skittish for safe, intuitive descending. You can master it in time, but a little extra length in the bike makes you better descender.
We've ridden this and similarly designed bikes on the straightest and smoothest, twistiest and roughest roads in the local mountains. We tested those bikes in speedy pacelines on flat roads and rolling roads between here and distant towns. The Roadeo is the best bike we make for fast road rides, club rides, even racing.
A steel frame and fork is safer on your first ride and maintains its safety much longer than carbon does. Failures are rare, grow to total failure slowly, and are on the surface where you can see them. Failures in carbon bikes often originate between the layers, where they're undetectable until the tube snaps.
And in response to trauma, steel bends and dents. It doesn't snap, as carbon does. Steel is the safest frame material, no question about it.
A 55cm Roadeo frame weighs just under four pounds. The lightest MCRB frames weigh about two pounds. If you stop your analysis right there, as MCRB marketers hope you do, there's quite a difference. Two whole pounds. One hundred percent more.
But these seemingly significant weight differences lose significance if you think it through. For instance, when you put parts on them to make a rideable bike, the difference matters less because it's a smaller percent. When you add a rider, the total percent difference reveals how insignificant a little frame-weight difference really is.
Versatility via tire capacity and fenderability...
We can't nail to the millimeter how big a tire any bike will take, but the ROADEO will take a bigger tire than 99 percent of the road bikes in the world, and it is impossible to design a road fork that'll beat it in this way.
TECHY POINT GOOD TO UNDERSTAND, BUT IF YOU'RE NOT A TECHNO-TYPE, SKIP IT:
When we talk of clearance we use the language of tire widths, because that's how people buy tires, and the listed size--35mm or whatever--is right there on the tire. But talking about tire width in the context of top-of-the-tire clearance is a scientifically and mathematically dumb way to do it, because what usually impedes the tire, and always on a ROADEO, is the HEIGHT. But nobody knows "height language," so we (who know better) drift back into the width language. But height is where it's at.
The ROADEO accepts tire with a diameter (or height) of 703mm. That's a fact. it may come on a skinny time and a 37mm tire, or a wider rim and a 35, but 703 is the number we hang our hat on.
We don't know the diameters of all tire and wheel combinations--they're innumerable--and a tire that's 704mm on a 21mm rim will be more than that on a 24mm rim, and there's not a hell of a lot of wiggle room when you're dealing with modern medium-reach sidepull brakes and fattish road tires.
FOR SURE: The Jack Brown, which is NOMINALLY 33.333mm wide on most rims--but that's irrelevant, remember?--measures about 700mm on a 24mm rim. It's the fattest unfendered tire we can categorically commit to fitting the ROADEO fork. If you want fenders also, best limit the tire to 682mm height...which will be about a 28.
For a sporty road bike, that's almost unheard of and phenomenal. It means you can ride it on wet roads without spraying road grime on your face, your backside, your bike and the rider behind you.
Compared to a typical road bike that limits you to skinny tires that must be ridden pumped up hard, and allows no fenders or short, less effective ones, a Roadeo is just a lot more useful.
Brakes and design determine usefulness.
Modern racing bikes use short-reach brakes. Combined with modern road forks, those brakes limit you to 25mm tires, or maybe----if you're lucky----28mm. The Roadeo uses the old "standard reach" brakes, made by either Shimano or Tektro. There's no visual difference between standard and short-reach brakes; most people can't tell the 1cm difference in reach. But the extra centimeter under the caliper works wonders at making a bike more useful. Because of the Roadeo's standard-reach brakes and fork design you can ride 28mm tires with fenders or 35s without; and that's what we did with the Roadeo.
Steel maintains its strength and integrity for decades. It always has, even before the days of rust-inhibiting sprays. Steel's detractors talk about rust, but that's just talk. Paint protects the steel on the outside; Anti-rust sprays protect the inside. If you want to re-spray inside your frame every few years, you can do it in two minutes. Sprays are available in any hardware or auto-parts store. Although we--and the manufacturers---are careful to call these sprays "rust-inhibitors," if you give the tube a good coating it Will Not Rust. An ounce of rust-proofing is worth the weight.
Comfort -- with your choice of stem styles
The Roadeo lets you ride bars that are a bit higher than other road bikes. You have two fork options---both steel. The standard fork is 1-inch threadless and fits standard threadless headsets and clamp-on stems. Since the steerer tube is steel you can safely stack up your stem higher than is possible on a carbon steerer.
Combined with a slightly up-sloping top tube and our own extended head tube lug, the bars are high enough to let you use the drops way more often than you probably do now. It's just more comfortable.
The other fork option is the traditional (no longer "standard" after more than a hundred years) threaded steerer, which uses a threaded headset and a quill stem. Quill stems are easy to raise and lower so dialing in your position and comfort is even easier. It takes about ten seconds at a casual pace. No kidding.
If you like maximum adjustability and traditional looks, order a Roadeo with a traditional threaded steerer and use a quill stem. If you'd like to shave a few ounces and you prefer the contemporary looks of a clamp-on stem, opt for a threadless Roadeo.
Nobody ever squawks about the looks of fine lugged steel. Even among the finest of lugged steel frames, a Roadeo's a stunner. We use our own lugs, never hard on the eyes. The slender tubes form a slender frame, much skinnier than the frame on a MCRB. The overall effect is birdlike and structural, like a skeleton or metal bridge. Even non-cyclists appreciate the look of a fine, slender-tubed lugged steel bike.
If you don't love the Roadeo at first sight it's not the right bike for you, and that's fine. We aren't going to make enough to go around, anyway, so we'd rather sell them to people who think they look good. Wouldn't you?
When we say that the Roadeo is a better value than a Modern Carbon Road Bike, we say it with confidence. We flat believe it. The frame costs less and it's a better, safer, more beautiful, longer-lasting frame. Think about cost per year. If a Roadeo costs less (roughly $4,200 for the fancy version) and offers a reasonable expected service life two to five times as long as that of a MCRB, it's easy to conclude that it's a better value.
Graphical & Other Optionals
- Hot Red with cream accents.
- Hot Blue with cream accents
- Any color that goes well with cream accents will carry a slight upcharge - prices will be quoted based on color choice. That rules out white and cream, but not much else.
Any of these color options is available with a threaded or threadless fork.
Which way----threaded or threadless?
Threaded gives you more bar-height potential (which translates to comfort, for most people) but weighs about 8 ounces more. It's probably the way to go if you're a solo rider wanting a light road bike with maximum comfort and classic styling. If you'll likely run your bars at or above saddle level, this is definitely the way to go from a functional and aesthetic perspective.
Threadless is the modern way, a little lighter, more in keeping with the look of modern road bikes. It is theoretically possible to raise the bars exceptionally high with a threadless fork (with a steel steerer tube), but good taste limits the spacers between stem and headset to about 80mm--still much higher than a carbon steerer allows. If you run your bars below saddle level, then this option makes sense.
If you get one fork and later wish you'd gotten the other, you can get another fork. It'll cost you about $400, but that's right in line with a name-brand carbon fork. Our fork is safer, longer-lasting and better-looking (and then you have two good forks).
With either kind of fork, threadless or threaded, you'll be much more comfortable---and safer---on the steel Roadeo than on any carbon bike of the same size.That doesn't mean it'll never break. Any bike can, even a steel one; and the Roadeo is a light steel one. But steel, by its nature, is safer than any other frame material, and the steel in the Roadeo is really good, strong steel. We won't sell you one if you weigh 250 pounds or more. The Roadeo is a light road bike for sub-heavyweights. It's not for everybody.
Rear hub: 130mm
Seat post: 27.2mm
Front derailleur: Clamp-on, 28.6mm
BB threading: British
Two water bottle mounts, DT Shifter bosses, single eyelets front and rear dropouts
Measure your PBH. Here's a link to how.
For a "race fit" with more seat post showing, subtract 27cm from your pbh and go with the closest size. If your PBH is 87, you'd subtract 27 and get 60; you could go with a 59 or 61. If you want higher bars, go bigger. If you want more post showing, go smaller. You'll have crotch-room either way. You can go small and leave the steerer long, to get the bars up.
To place a deposit:
Call in your order and plunk down $1,200 non-refundable. That'll give you a place in line. We expect you'll have a frame or bike in three months, but that's not a promise. Between now and then we'll work with you as needed or as you like, to make sure you pick the right parts. Grant and Dave are not so current on the racing stuff, but Mark and Brian are (and they can talk about farmer parts, too). We'll do everything we can to make sure it goes smoothly. That's a promise.
If you're interested in ordering a frameset or complete bike, just contact Mark and he can help you out.
Sub-Mark alternatives include
grant, will, vince, roman, dave...all @rivbike.com.
Testimonial from an owner of TWO Roadeos:
Thanks for your help with my purchase of the Roadeo a few months back. I rode it for two weeks in Arizona at LH and NS's Desert Camp where I was a speaker.
This is my 21st year at their camps and while I've ridden my sage green Roadeo other years, I've never had the number of admiring comments about a bike as I did this year. There's something about the white with red panels that drew riders to the bike. Almost all of the riders (we had 35 the first week and 57 the second week) were on either carbon or ti but everyone was impressed by the lug work and paint job.
And they were surprised by the light weight of the bike--I think most riders who have come into the sport relatively recently think any steel bike is a heavyweight. I hefted my bike and then several carbon bikes and there was little if any difference in the perceived weight. Many carbon bikes aren't as light as most people think they are!
So I think that a lot of riders got a good look at an alternative to carbon. I certainly enjoyed riding it--great handling and comfort on the rough roads of SE Arizona.