This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Re- Review the Hunq

   If you ever want to be physically wasted after beating yourself half to death on the road (or off one for that matter)  hang the bike up and feel it is laughing at you, the Rivendell Hunqallar is the bike for you.

I have had one since January of 2011 and am absolutely overwhelmed at the comfort, durability and performance of the bike.  Rivendell is a small iconclastic company which continues producing beautiful lugged steel bikes.  Despite the growing popularity of other materials and, most importantly, the American obsession with lightness, speed and competition in cycling, Rivendell produces bikes that are practical for everyday use and comfortable to ride all day, day after day.
    Grant Peterson, the owner/designer, is referred to as a chronic retro-grouch, a fool and a genius.  I don't know that anything is true except that he produces really comfortable beautiful bikes.  The Hunqapillar is exactly that.  I've ridden as much as10 hours in the saddle in one day and woke up the next morning without an ache or pain anywhere, except some seriously recovering quads.  That is a comfortable bike.
    Nicknamed the"Wooly Mammoth Bicycle" there is no pretense at speed or lightness.  This bike is made of heavy gauge Kaisei 8630 tubing and it's not one for the spandex hamster. Meant for fully loaded touring off and on road, this bike exceeds any expectations I had. I've made over 1000 miles of fully loaded trips on it this first summer and couldn't be happier. 

 I'm 15 pounds overweight right now and this bike takes my 230 lb build plus 30-40 lbs of gear and doesn't even groan about it.  Don't let the weight scare you from this bike, it's functional.   You'll notice the weight on climbs--like immediately, so a triple crank is just about necessary.  Even though you just don't speed around on this guy, it handles like a quick, sure footed mountain bike with the comfort of a touring rig.

The only downside to the weight is that I have worn out two sets of brake shoes, a chain and, are you ready, broke the kickstand plate.   Rivendell was great about replacing the plate, offered to repair it, but I decided to have the plate replaced locally  rather than part with the bike.  Honestly I think I was a little negligent in not trimming down the kickstand legs right away.   The additional weight coupled with the added leverage of the longer legs was more than the kickstand plate was designed to handle.  Grant suggested on his Blug that the kickstand plates which had broken were likely the result of somebody sitting on the bike while on the stand.  I don't know about the other guy, but I didn't do it!
     Rivendell gets a lot of criticism for being an expensive version of a Craigslist vintage bike.  Those critics have never looked beyond the lugwork.  The geometry is no gimmick.  The lower bottom bracket, longish chainstays, shallow seat tube and sloping top tube are hardly classic.  They result in real comfort.
If I ever had to be down to just one bike, this would be the one.


  1. Hi. I really like this bike but I have steep hills where I live and it's probably overkill for me. Is the Sam a significantly better (easier) bike to climb with?

  2. Of course it's going to depend upon the way you have the Hunq geared up. On the other hand, I use the Hillborne whenever I am riding in a group and want to keep up better over a long distance. I love the Hunq but shaving a few pounds on the Hillborne has made it marginally faster on the climbs. Any extra weight will show up going up. That being said, whenever I want to take a 50-70 mile ride by myself, I will use the Hunq and just gear down on the uphill. Like I told somebody, the great thing is the comfort, ride it to the grocery store or over the Himalayas, it's fun no matter what.

  3. Thank you so much. Love your blog and the bike is fantastic. (As an aside, I wish there was a least one bike shop that carried Rivs in Chicago--imagine this huge population, where biking is popular, and no shop, not one! It's hard for me to comprehend Rivendell's marketing strategy.) Anyway, what I understand from you is that the Sam or the Hilsen would work a bit better for me as someone who does rides on paved streets, although honestly I really like the look of your Hunqapillar better than the Sam. I'm 56 and blind in my left eye so I need to sit up in traffic to be able to look around safely. The Hunqapillar seems safer because better suited for true upright riding, would you say that's true? Again many thanks, and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  4. Grant has said in his Blug that he really can't make money by wholesaling his frames, consequently there are only about 4 or 5 small shops who are allowed anything but the Soma San Marcos which any shop can get through Merry Sales. Back on topic, remember, the Hunq is intentional overkill meant for self sustained touring on any terrain. The Sam is the same geometry, only lighter tubing, meant for lighter loads and smaller tires. If you are looking at only using it on streets or rail trails, even country gravel, the Sam is the first choice. With the Bosco Bars, I sit bolt upright in traffic on my Sam all the time.

  5. What is the weight of each bike, if I may ask? My current ride is 33 pds and it's a chore on steep hills, I'm in granny gear or almost.

  6. My Sam is in the mid twenties and the Hunq is well over thirty. The frame and fork for the Sam is around 6-7 lbs, I think. The frame and fork for the Hunq is pushing 10 lbs, that's 54 cm frame.

    1. I fell in love with the Hunqa from watching the Hunqa Video #2, then found and read your blog, and got hooked. Yet I know I should get the Sam or the AHH. The weight difference is rather sobering! Thanks much.

    2. If you are thinking of an AHH and are worried about weight, the AHH is lighter still. Not significantly in my opinion, but I obviously don't worry about that. The AHH is made to order, so there is a wait, the Sam's are usually in stock.

  7. I read over your comments, and it seems that you really enjoy the Hunqa, perhaps more than your other bikes, and it's more comfortable. Comfort has really become the issue for me, as well as strength as I age toward 60 (and beyond!). I think I'd be comfortable on the Hunqa, able to look around, feel stable, and relax more in traffic, but on the other hand the weight concerns me as I lose in strength. Maybe I'll just have to push it up the steepest hills. That's the worst that could happen.
    Many thanks--your comments are really helping me think this through.

  8. Just wondering what you think of the Atlantis?

  9. For some reason I have never cared for it. I don't know what has kept me from it, nothing that makes sense. I have seen a couple and they were beautiful bikes and the owners absolutely loved them.