Along with the gorgeous mast that Trisha designed, we’ll soon have a new addition to Let’s Go Ride a Bike. My decision is made, finally! Long-time listeners may remember my first steps to finding a bike to replace my stolen Jamis. I oggled bikes the I could not afford, such as ANTs and MAPs. I encountered annoying bike shop guys. I toured Chicago’s bike shops. At one point I thought I had something on the horizon, but that did not work out. After (almost too) much thought, I’ve decided that I will purchase the Rivendell Betty Foy. This was one of my original loves that’s pretty much perfect and reasonably in my bike budget (which, by the way, comes completely from selling my car and renting out my garage parking spot).
The whole time I’ve been considering the Betty Foy, she’s been only a twinkle in the goddess’s eye, but today, coincidentially, the first shipment arrived at Rivendell.
The Betty Foy is designed for women, with a low diagonal tube that’s easier to step over…What’s it for? any kind of road rides–solo, club rides, fitness rides, whatever; weekend touring; fully loaded touring; commuting; fire trails; bike camping.
The lugs are truly extraordinary.
Every lug is investment-cast, a rarity for girls frames, which historically have been short-sheeted in the lug department. They’re the best quality lugs available in the world today, and were designed specifically for the Betty Foy. Same with the bottom bracket shell.
The red touches, such as here on the crown, are luscious.
The fork crown, also investment-cast, is the same one we use on our most expensive custom frames. As fork crowns go, it is as good as they get, with functional and structural details others plain don’t got. It’s wide enough for 42mm tires; the brake hole is cast low, to maximize tire and fender clearance; and the “wing” on top is visual art in a space that’s usually blank. In the Betty Foy’s case, the wing is painted fingernail polish red.
However, I object to their mixte language:
This style–mixte, lady’s bike, step-thru, whatever you like to call it–came about originally to allow a woman’s dress to drape gently down so it wouldn’t get blown up by the wind. Most women don’t wear dresses anymore, and if they do they don’t ride bikes in them; but there remain benefits to this style frame.
Erm, I ride in a dress a lot! I will forgive them this, but they do get a demerit.
Their drop bar diatribe, however, is awesome.
Sometimes we get guys calling for their wive’s or girlfriend’s bikes, and they want drop bars because “they’re better for climbing.” Wrong way to think, pal. For one, Albatross bars are great on hils–I/Grant use them a lot, and they’re on my Atlantis, my main bike-camping bike. Two–climbing is not about bar-shape, and if you slap drops on your wife’s bike and then expect the little lady to dance up the hills like a feminine rocketship, give it up and back off, to boot! (End of preaching, most humble apologies.)
Now we’ve come to the advice portion of the post. Betty Foy comes in two sizes and my measurements fall exactly in the small overlap between the two. Either I’m the biggest person on the size 52 or the smallest person on the size 58. I have a fear of bikes being too small for me, so my natural instinct is to go for the larger size. The very helpful Rivendell guy sent pictures of each size with the saddle set to my height – the very first picture in this post (I’ll wait while you scroll up) is the 52; the picture below is the 58. He said that either would work for my size, but based on the look of the seat post, he thinks the 52 may be the better fit.
Aesthetically, I am a bit repulsed by the sight of a lot of exposed seat post, so looking at the two pictures, I’m drawn to the 58. Another consideration is that I have a long torso (for example, my darling sister and I are the same height, but sitting down, I’m two inches taller!). The reach difference from the tip of the saddle to the middle of the stem is only 1.5 cm. Any wise words on the better size for me?
Once I get past which size frame to choose, I still have to choose all the components to build up the frame with! I’m having Rivendell build it all up for me. Here is the “budget” list they sent me, which is at the top of my bike fund budget. If I should shell out a bit more money for a part really worth upgrading, though, I will happily do so. I plan to have this bike approximately forever, so it’s worth the investment.
Tire – 650B x 35 Middy Schwalbe
Tube – 650B, Schwalbe
Crank – Sugino XD2 170 46/36/24
Dhain – 7/8 SP Sram PC850
Cassette – 8 speed 11-32 (13-076)
Brake levers mtn bike
Brake Caliper – BM 73 Allen
Grips – Genuine Cork
Handlebar – Albatross Al 54 HT Nitto
Stem – Mixte Nitto Tech 10 25.4
Shifters – Thumb friction
Der F Shimano Sora triple
Der R Shimano deore LX RR Long
Wheel – 650 Budget pr 135/32
This leaves the fenders, rack, basket, pedals, and seat – all of which I’m pretty decided on. Opinions on any particular parts it would be wise to invest a bit more in to upgrade? I asked helpful Rivendell guy this and he said I may want to consider changing the thumb shifters to bar end shifters, if I prefer. I have only a vague idea of what these shifters are, and a look at Sheldon Brown’s glossary was only mildly helpful. Thoughts on the pros and cons of the different shifters?
I plan to order this weekend, after which Betty Foy will take approximately 3 weeks to get built up and shipped to me. Squeak!
P.S. Betty Foy, who sounds like a much better woman than I, is a character in Wordsworth’s poem The Idiot Boy.