About a week ago, I had the chance to take the Rivendell Hunquapillar prototype out for about 2 and a half hours for a ride around Shell Ridge on Mt. Diablo. This is the parallel-top tube prototype. The next prototype will have a diagonal second top tube for added strength.
There’s nothing more enjoyable than a mixed terrain ride. From road, to dirt, and back again several times over, my time on the Hunquapillar proved to be completely enjoyable.
The Briones-Mt. Diablo trail consisted mostly of hardpack, but the Shell Ridge Loop was quite bumpy and horse & cattle rutted in some places. The bike wore 50mm Big Apples, which felt surprisingly zippy on the road and more than competent on the trails. I never spun out the rear tire on the dry dirt. It was sunny and warm, and there were a lot of castrated bulls roaming about. Whenever I try to scoot the cattle off the trail with whistles and cowboy noises, they just stare menacingly at me before wandering off after they’ve seen enough of me. Maybe they’re wondering, “why does he have a road bike out there?”
With big Nitto Noodles, a high stem, double-tape wrap job, and the thick SRAM levers, I felt like I was holding onto an animal – perhaps a mammoth, while bumping around on the trails. It is a firm grip on a firm bike. Everything conveyed the solid feel as promised by Mr. Petersen. Climbing, the bike shined, and descending, it felt solid and straight.
I am an overly cautious dirt rider, but the Hunqua inspired faster descending and tighter cornering. I love riding my Romulus on these same trails, but the Hunqua is a different beast and glides through things that I might have taken a bit slower on the road bike.
Twice, I got off the bike and explained it to curious mountain-bikers. One even took it for about a hundred yards and really liked it. I can understand why. Any bike is fun on trails like these. I think the diagonal second top tube will only add to its allure – something unique and interesting on a very interesting bike.