review of the Rivendell Sam Hillborne, it seemed appropriate to follow up with a test ride report of the Betty Foy. I have ridden her a couple of times before, but never had my camera with me until now. Harris Cyclery has just built up a new floor model in my size - so I took the opportunity to take some pictures and put my impressions into words. While the pictures reflect how this particular bicycle was built up, keep in mind that it is fully customisable: You can change everything from the saddle and grips, to the handlebars and pedals, to the type of components that are on the bike.
Betty Foy in Spring 2009, in conjunction with the diamond frame Sam Hillborne model. Inasmuch as a hand-built, niche-market bicycle can "sell like hotcakes" I believe the Betty does. She is charming, comfortable, and tough - and the ladies love her for that. The price of the frame alone is $1,000 and a fully built up bike starts at $2,200 or so, depending on the options. To see how this bicycle compares price-wise to other lady's frames in its class, please visit my new Semi-Custom Options page (now linked in the upper left-hand corner).
mixte frame: What starts out as a sloped single top tube splits into two stays at the seat tube and continues (at a slightly different angle than the slope of the main top tube) all the way back to the rear dropouts. The frame is lugged, with custom-made lugs in the shape of hearts and elaborate filigreed designs.
with drop bars, but the upright set-up is more typical. This floor model was fitted with black rubber grips and "thumbie" shifters, though some prefer cork grips and bar-end shifters.
If you are accustomed to Dutch-style city bikes, you will find the Betty Foy a faster and sportier ride, but still within your comfort zone. The posture is slightly leaned forward, but still more or less upright. The derailleur gearing may take some getting used to if you have only dealt with internally geared hubs before, but you will appreciate how easy it makes cycling uphill.
twin lateral stays and proportions that resembled the original French constructeurs. The Betty Foy is not that kind of bicycle. Additionally, I must admit that I find Betty's femininity overwhelming. All the hearts and the bright colours - it's very American 1950s, whereas I am more of a European 1920s kind of girl. And my final reason is ironic - because it is the reason most people love this bike: I don't like the way some of the lugwork is done. If you look at the seat cluster above (see here for what that is), you will notice that the seat stays are welded directly to the main lug, rather than capped. No other Rivendell bicycle is made that way, and I don't know why this model is the exception. Personally, I would rather have a traditionally lugged seat cluster than hearts and curly-cues.
this to have been done here instead. I recognise how nit-picky and obsessive these quibbles are, but little details like this are important to me and I have my preferences when it comes to the way a frame is put together. It's an excellent frame, just not what I was looking for.
After I posted the above image, it was pointed out to me by a couple of attentive readers that there is a blemish right at the weld junction, next to the big lug. I myself did not notice this until my attention was directed to it - but now that it has, it's only fair that I mention it. Personally, I am not particularly bothered by this blemish (I have seen worse on more expensive frames) and it would not stand in the way of my wanting the bike, if it were not for the other factors. Your views may vary.