Luc-Antoine's Long-Awaited Atlantis

Well, at long last, here it is: my 62cm Rivendell Atlantis 3, also known as Pélagie.

The Atlantis had already been my dream bike for a number of years when we got the A-OK from Rivendell about opening an account with them and becoming a dealer during those dreadful days of 2020 – talk about a silver lining to that whole thing! And after a couple-odd years of waiting around (and a few times when I was told it would never happen), it’s finally here. I’ve been riding it for just just over two months now and it’s everything I had hoped it would to be: a smooth-yet-responsive, comfortable, surprisingly fast bike that makes you wish the road ahead was just a wee-bit longer. It climbs great, it descends even better, and thanks to that double top-tube, it’s actually quite stiff for a bike this size and, of course, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

It’s set up as a daily commuter right now because that’s exactly what it is: it’s my only (non-winter) bike. I’ve been riding it mainly to go to work, school, to run errands, get groceries, etc.; mostly on pavement, with the occasional trail when it shows up along the way; it’s actually a quite capable trail bike, too, which isn’t the kind of stuff I’m typically attracted to riding, but it’s nice to know I can if I want to. That tall Technomic stem with the Albatross bars, both from Nitto, get me nice and upright, and when paired with that admittedly controversial saddle angle, you’d think you’re sitting in your favorite armchair. The basket is a must, but I’ve been longing to have a proper saddle-bag so that my stuff stops clanking around whenever I do go down one of those unexpected trails.

For the parts, I tried best I could to build the Atlantis most suited for my immediate needs and wants, as opposed to building it for the future, hypothetical tour around the world, a mistake I've done many-a-time and is always a dumb idea (that being said, I’d definitely ride this thing around the world just as it is now). Add that to the need to build it as cheaply as I could with a potpourri of parts I had laying around, picked up mainly from my old Polyvalent, and newer stuff because, well, I had never had a bike with v-brakes before (I know, weird right), and I ended up building the RIVEST Riv I could’ve: practical, no-nonsense and easy to maintain with fun bits and a few quirky riv-isms that I sprinkled all over the darn thing.

I could make an extensive list of everything on it, but most of it is super basic or I already explained on my previous staff bike thing, so I’ll try to stick to the more fun ones:

The hubs are, I think, early oughts Shimano Deore LX in this beautiful gold colour that I got from Zach, which he got from Roberto. Apart from that pristine lineage, their somewhat unusual colour fit great with with the cream headtube of the bike and they’re the classic open bearing shimano stuff that you rarely ever have a reason to replace other than a change in æsthetics. I laced them onto Alexrims DM18s; I could’ve done fancier, but they’re super solid and it’s my understanding that Riv used to build all of their bikes with them until they started to carry Velocity (which I might still get if and when these ones croak). Take a gander at those panda spoke nipples, too, speaking of Riv-isms.

I got the Deore XT long-cage Rapid-Rise on ebay a few years back; it’s been on a few bikes but I feel like it only started to feel at home on this one. The upside-down Silver2 friction thumbies from Rivendell are honestly the best shifters I've ever used; simple, precise, and with a RR rear derailleur, they’re as instinctive as a shifter can possibly get. Also a good trick for seamless friction shifting that I got from friend and Villeneuve co-mechanic Troy is an 8 speed cassette (which is plenty enough for the riding I do) with a 9 speed chain; keeps the trimming time to a minimum.

Yes, the brake levers are upside down, yes it’s a thing that Rivendell bikes often have, yes it’s somewhat of a Rivnerd thing that I didn’t think I'd do because I think that particular Riv-ism is just a bit too nerdy; BUT, turns out, it actually serves a purpose: if you want to put your thumbies upside down like this, if your brake levers are the right-side-up, the bolt that tightens the lever to the bar is in the way of the shifter. So you actually HAVE to put it like this. Also I personally think it looks kinda cool.

Snoopy follows me everywhere. It’s actually a tube valve-cap thing that I took off a bike I fixed a flat on years and years ago. It was sitting at the shop for a while in expectation of that particular client coming around so I could give it back, but they unfortunately never did, so I decided to give it a good home and it’s been red-Lock-Tite'd on this piece of innertube on some stem or other for a few years and bikes, now. It doesn’t have a name, I'll find one some day. If the client sees this and wants it, I’ll gladly give it back. I got no clue how I'll take it off of that valve thing, though.

That grip-job is a happy mix of Blue Lug extra-ness and G. Petersen laissez-faire. Both sides are uneven, I think one side has one more layer of shellac than the other. I don’t know if I like the feel of it yet, but it’s progressively been accumulating beausage and I think it looks fun. I did the same grip twine thing on a Hog’s Back recently and it’s much nicer than mine. I might re-do it eventually.

They’re not a part per se, but I think these here chainstays deserve a mention. They’re particularly long, ridiculously some might say. I think they’re amazing (apart from those two times a day where I have to haul the thing up or down my two flights of Montréal stairs), but to be perfectly honest, when you’re riding it, apart from being especially stable, you don’t really think about them. They’re not a life-changing feature, they just work well and I personally think they actually look super cool. I understand people who don’t, though. I always tell people that Rivendell is kinda like the Grateful Dead: on one hand either you get it or you don’t, but also it’s way more than just a brand, there’s a whole culture along with it and these obnoxiously long chainstays, like the endless jams of, say, Dark Star, are part the thing, for better or worse. As we all need a bit more GD in our lives, we could all use an extra 10 cm on our chainstays, I think.

So that’s it, I could go on forever about this bike, but we all have other things to do.

This bike is it for me. I would never try to fool anyone by saying I'll never buy another bike again (no one’s gonna buy it, and I shouldn’t be selling it), but I honestly don’t see what else I could want in a bike. Try it out, you’ll love it. Hell, if you’re tall enough, you can even try mine if you want to.

G’day y’all, s’ouerra,

12 Jun 2024
Pamela Murray
Lovely bike! I hope I get to see it in person. Please do go on forever…. I know I could tell you about each part on my bike, etc. I get comments all the time about my saddle tilt too. Any changes since you’ve written this since it’s been a few years? How are the brake levers upside down? They look correct to me. Love the silver shifters. Have you broken any plastic washers? I have the old bar end friction shifters and they are vulnerable if the bike falls. Admittedly I like a tall kickstand and the wind sometimes takes it down or my load shifts…
01 Nov 2022
I recently completed my build of the very same size Atlantis and everything you said? Simply yes. I too found myself tilting the saddle up more than usual and on a Brooks Flyer it’s all the better to activate those springs. I jumped on a pair of 65cm Toscos from Blue Lug and paired them with a Faceplater stem and inboard Riv thumbies. Such a great cockpit and I agree, one does not want the ride to end.
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