|Rivendell's Clementine, a solid, tour-ready, step-over bicycle,|
designed for those seeking long-term comfort on and off-road.
Intentional or not, the Clementine (aka Clem-L) is uniquely poised to capture folks that desire a reasonably priced (1500.00), strong step-through (or step-over) bike that can handle wider tires.
In my opinion, of course!
I believe there's a market for aging baby boomer cyclists, or for those with discomfort on a diamond frame. But only someone who is committed to research, will wade through US options and come to a similar conclusion.*
My own search for a step-through touring bike started with knowing I liked the frame geometry and low gearing of 1980's steel mountain bikes. There were a handful of models specifically marketed to women - Ross and Peugeot come to mind - but try finding those models today, especially in sizes larger than 19". Most are rarer than hen's teeth! So it was time to look beyond our borders...
|The Swedish Pilen Lyx. Photo credit: Pilen Lyx|
|The stately Canadian Urbana. Photo credit: Lovely Bicycle|
Intrigued with the Pilen Lyx, and to some degree, the stout Urbana, there was comfort in knowing that other folks were desiring a strong step-through commuter machine, if not a touring bicycle. This was in 2011, long before the Clementine's arrival in 2015, and just when I began to formulate the idea of transitioning to a step-through touring bicycle.
A couple years later, commuting regularly on Ross Mount Saint Helen's, and enjoying the ease of step-through design, this cemented my decision to seriously research my options. In early 2015, the Clementine model was pre-sold to buyers, some waiting nearly 6 months for arrival. I was skeptical of the pre-ordering concept, considering I couldn't test ride the bicycle, so I looked elsewhere, but still followed with interest the Clementine and eagerly waited riders' first impressions.
|The Ross outfitted for a simple overnight camping adventure.|
|Grant 's Clementine. Photo credit: Rivendell|
Rivendell is offering colors to please both genders, and indeed there's a growing male contingent (even Grant Peterson himself - I realize it pays to promote your own products!) who are finding the Clementine (or Clem-L) a versatile and practical machine. However, I had an interesting conversation with a Rivendell sales person who confirmed that only 1 of 5 Clems sold are the Clementine (or Clem-L) model.
Whether the Clementine becomes a sought after machine is another story. Rivendell's principles are built on producing small quantities, creating beautiful and practical bicycles, "bucking trends and making friends" without all the marketing fuss. There are only a handful of US dealers, and unless you live in California or near Portland, Oregon, forget counting on a test ride - a deal-breaker for many people. Order online and taking a leap of faith may be your only option.
And I wonder if the model suffers from the stigma associated with a "womens'" frame, especially in the US. Baby boomer riders could benefit from this style, but it may be a big pill to swallow. And new bike riders wouldn't necessarily spend 1500.00 when they can purchase a beginner bike elsewhere for 500.00.
But for those aging regular cyclists, I believe the Clementine is the best of both worlds: a sturdy, comfortable frame with ample clearance for front and rear racks plus fenders, that can haul camping gear, water bottles. etc. - all for a reasonable price. I suspect this may be the last new bicycle I buy - at least I hope so!
*Is the Clementine the only candidate for this unique role? If not, let me know in the comments.