I’ve been thinking about getting another bike someday, and have started to brainstorm some options. In short, I think I would like to get some sort of “all-arounder” type frame, that could work on the road or on gravel, and could also do some touring if I wanted. I’ve been interested in trying some bike touring for a long while, and would like to open that possibility in the future. I’ve also been inspired recently by Probably Riding on YouTube who makes nice videos, and seems to enjoy these kinds of rides. I don’t think I need anything that is ultra tour-oriented, but I’d like to be able to do a bit of this.

There are a lot of options in this kind of bike category, so I will use this post to start keeping track of some options. The set of manufacturers on my list right now are: Rivendell, Velo Orange, Crust, and Surly. Each of these have a whole bunch of different options. I want to learn more about these and try to get a better sense of what might be best for me.


Rivendell has a lot of different options that are fairly flexible in my understanding. A general appeal of these bikes is that they have really nice construction and are all steel frames (mostly lugged) in nice colors. They are based in Walnut Creek, so I would love to visit them next time I am in SF.

Here’s how they break it down:



  • A Homer Hilsen: “between a too-skinny/ techy modern road bike and a gonzo-bozo techy mountain bike. But if you ride on roads exclusively, it’s a pure road bike, with no compromises. Its ability to fit tires to 43mm with fenders and a rack or two doesn’t detract from its roadiness AT ALL. It is the most versatile, useful road bike we make or can even imagine.”
    • “BUILT FOR: Any road, paved or gravel, and moderate fire trails. Light touring, with loads to 30lbs (or so). It’s the most versatile road bike we make, and has been since we introduced it in 2006.”
    • Recommended brake setup is “Long-reach sidepulls, or centerpulls”
    • Minimum tires are 38mm they suggest.
    • Blue color is nice.
  • Sam Hillborne


  • Atlantis: “This has been our flagship frame since we introduced it in 1999. It’s an all-‘rounder, originally designed for almost anything you’ll need or want to do on a bicycle: loaded touring, trails, commutes, and day rides. The current Atlantis defines our approach to bikes and our ride and fit and aesthetics as well as any bike can.”
  • Joe Appaloosa – essentially the Atlantis but “made in Taiwan” version.

Honestly, it seems like people build these frames in all sorts of ways, so many of these options could work for many puposes. For my purposes, probably the A Homer Hilsen could work; I also find the Atlantis appealing though it’s probably a bit more tour-oriented than I really need.

Velo Orange

  • Polyvalent: “The Polyvalent is Velo Orange’s “do-it-all” frameset. It is the ideal platform to build a sturdy tourer, practical commuter, comfortable all-day randonneur, or a rugged gravel bike.” Steel frame, welded, clears 650B x 48mm. Rack and fender mounts. IS mount disc brakes recommended.


  • Straggler: this seems like a good option for me in the Surly world. Steel, clears 700x41mm tires, drops; billed by Surly as good for road, gravel, and short-range touring. Disc brakes.
  • Disc Trucker


TBD. I know they make some good options in this category, but I want need to explore more.